A truly iconic star of the 1970s and 1980s, Grace Jones continues to inspire a new generation of stars today with her unconventional and fierce take on beauty and androgynous style.
Born in 1948 in Spanish Town, Jamaica, Jones was raised with her brother by her grandparents while her parents worked in the United States. In 1965, when she was twelve, she moved to Syracuse, New York, to live with her mother and father. The move and change wasn’t an easy one, and Jones reportedly ran away with a motorcycle gang before ending up in New York City.
She began modeling in the early 1970s and was fairly successful, although she has said that people in the industry had a hard time with her Jamaican features and that Modeling was all in between things, just to pay the rent.38 By the late 1970s, she was a fixture on the city’s disco scene, and it was while inside the infamous discotheque Studio 54 that she was discovered and offered a recording contract with Island Records. While promoting her first album, she met French photographer Jean-Paul Goude, who would have a great influence on her. He produced album covers and music videos and encouraged Jones’s style, which he has described as a mixture of threat and beauty.39 By 1989, she had released nine albums and achieved mainstream musical success, as well as modeled for Andy Warhol, Keith Haring (who famously painted her body and had Robert Mapplethorpe photograph it), and Helmut Newton, and acted in films including Conan the Destroyer and the Bond movie A View to a Kill, though music was more to her taste.
When asked in 2010 whether she purposefully constructed a persona to go with her look, Jones replied, No. I think the scary character comes from male authority within my religious family. They had that first, and subliminally I took that on. I was scared of them40 Although it is hard to pin down her look naturally, for someone who enjoys pushing the boundaries, it has evolved over time Jones has been variously known for her flattop haircut and bold makeup, especially her blush, used in liberal quantities to contour and angle her sculptured features, and bright multilayered eye shadow. As she famously said herself, like all the best icons, I wasn’t born this way. One creates oneself. I believe whatever I dream Whatever I dream I want to do.
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