04 Jun How a Lack of Diversity in the Fashion Industry Helped Texas Model Jessica Meshaun Find Her Calling and Start Her Own Agency
The fashion industry in Texas has been seeing exponential growth over the last several years, enough to garner attention from the CFDA and find further opportunities to collaborate with multiple fashion capitals while keeping it’s unique Texas flair. With this growth comes the need to fill in gaps, and the fact that Texas is big enough to be it’s own country, there’s a niche for everyone. Harnessing those talents come with great responsibility and fashion veterans like Jessica Meshaun are ready to take the lead and the challenge. We met with the model and now mother agency visionary to get to know the beauty, brains and mastermind behind a movement that intends to revolutionize the fashion industry.
SLTV: Hi Jessica, I am so excited to finally get to interview you. I’ve seen you everywhere since we started covering fashion events in 2015. When we found out you’re now running your modeling agency, Meshaun Model Management, LLC, I knew we had to share this! Tell us about your career. How did you go from model to mother agency?
JM: I’ve been in the industry for 12 years and I’ve worked as a freelance model and also with an agency. I’ve walked the runway at Santa Fe Fashion Week, in New Mexico; Bronner Bros. Hair Battle in Atlanta, GA; San Antonio’s Fashion Week for 3 consecutive years; and multiple photoshoots based out of Tampa, FL, and Charlotte, NC. I also had the opportunity to get behind the scenes to co-produce fashion events like Stylish Saturdays here in San Antonio, TX. I knew I wanted to start my own agency when I kept seeing the same faces over and over again. Texas, and San Antonio more specifically, is full of beautiful, talented people just waiting to be discovered. I had a calling and I never wanted anyone to feel like they’re not good enough, or beautiful enough, or tall enough or whatever the case may be. The industry is also lacking diversity, I mean true diversity. So, with my many years of experience and the need to expand those industry standards lead me to build Meshaun Model Management, LLC.
Model: Cynthia | Photography: Elvin Blackmon, Jr.
SLTV: It seems like it was a natural progression and as you’re such a wealth of knowledge it’s quite fitting! The agency is relatively new, though. How has working in the fashion industry during the Pandemic affected your business?
JM: I don’t think that a lockdown should force you to be creative, but it can definitely serve with something that’s already in you. I took that as a challenge! I am so blessed to have been able to close out 2020 with 30 models signed! That happened literally from July through December of last year. Zoom was my best friend during that time, and in an industry where you kind of HAVE to be face to face, I took the challenge to build connections with people however I could.
Model: Amina | Photography: Elvin Blackmon, Jr.
SLTV: That is so true! Zoom is all our best friends now! Exactly how long has the agency been in business and what are some projects your models have been cast in?
JM: We’re celebrating our 2nd Anniversary and what better way to celebrate that with securing my models a trip to New York for Fashion Week? I have 9 models secured in fashion shows on September 11th for Coastal Fashion Week, a traveling show from the Gulf Coast that will be presenting during NYFW. We’re also planning a Halloween fashion show, and hopefully at Texas Fashion Week 2021 as well. We also have models who have been published and our photographers have all been published in publications like M.E.X. Magazine, Dreamy Magazine, Malvie Magazine, Sheque Magazine; and “SHE IS” Magazine.
Model: Maddison | Photography: Julian Garciahttp://instagram.com/_bluesteelphotography_
SLTV: That is impressive for such a short period of time and during a Pandemic! So, what are your thoughts on the Texas fashion industry?
JM: I’m a Texas girl at heart, I’m from Dallas and I still tear up whenever I go back home and see that skyline. I’m never surprised to see a Dually (truck), next to a Mercedes, next to a horse at a stoplight (laughs). That’s just Texas and I love every aspect of that! Honestly, the state is just so huge, I feel like I’m only seen by a certain demographic and certain people, s to have access statewide and now nationally would be huge! Not only that but to be part of the Initiative (TFII) and bring more people in, to help get models paid what they’re worth, to have them seen and be side by side with reputable people with longevity and tenure is really my goal. Whatever I can do to be part of the bigger picture for the Texas Fashion Industry, that’s where I want to be with my team.
Model: Jessica | Photography: Darryl E. Edwards
SLTV: Speaking of your team, I definitely recognize some of the faces on your team site. Tell us about your team and some of the work you all do.
JM: I have an incredibly talented team! We do everything in-house and we produce the content, edit, everything.Our Talent Director, Tamara “Shuga” Odom, has 10 years of experience working in places like Seattle, New York and will even be attending Milan Fashion Week this coming Fall. I also have 3 photographers on staff, Darryl Edwards, Julian Garcia and Elvin Blackmon, Jr. We also work with an amazing stylist, LaKeitha Smith and we’re currently looking to add a hair & makeup team. The foundation of the agency is really teaching. I would never want to send a model to a casting and they have no idea what a casting even is. So, we’re heavy in Runway Training, which we have classes weekly for beginners, our more experienced models still receive training once a month. We also do photo sessions where we teach Posing 101 (angles, creative concepts, etc), we even have them research and study so they can prepare for the training. We recently had the opportunity to help with training Fresh Face models with the Texas Fashion Industry Initiative in preparation for Texas Fashion Week.
Model: Tianna | Photography: Darryl E. Edwards
SLTV: You really have a solid team and we love to see that growth. What are your goals for Meshaun Model Management, LLC.?
JM: I want to bring more diversity to the fashion world and promote all cultures, all sizes, all heights, all skin tones, and all backgrounds. I want to be guilty of finding those people, polishing their talents, and have the joy of being part of their growth and development.
Be sure to follow Meshaun Model Management, LLC on their social media and if you or someone you know is interested in pursuing their modeling career, check them out and see if they’re a right fit for you!