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Jessica White (1984- ) is an American fashion and print model. Tyra Banks has called her “the model of her generation”. Although best known as a swimsuit model in Sports Illustrated, where she has appeared for each of the past five years (2003-2008 – a record for a black model), she is also a serious fashion model, having appeared on the runway for top New York designers like Ralph Lauren, Oscar de la Renta and Tommy Hilfiger.

She is that black girl in the Robin Thicke music video “The Sweetest Love” (2008).

She is the first – and so far only – black model to land not one but two make-up contracts: first CoverGirl at age 16 and then Maybelline in 2007.

She has also modelled for RocaWear, Sean John, Baby Phat and Victoria’s Secret, among others, and appeared in Harper’s Bazaar (twice), Teen Vogue and King and on the covers of Surface and Trace.

She is 176.5 cm tall (five foot nine and a half). Her measurments are 34-24-34 (86.5-61-86.5 cm), giving her a waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.71. She is thin with large breasts and long legs.

She grew up in in a rough part of Buffalo, New York. When she was seven her father got very sick and died. By 12 she was drinking and getting into fights; at 13 she began to smoke pot and at 14 she was raped by someone she knew. But that same year she went to modelling school and was discovered two years later. She went to Paris to become a model. Within six months she was modelling for CoverGirl, Chloe (Spring 2001) and the Gap.

jessicawhite32In 2002 she moved to New York and modelled for the top fashion designers there. A year later she was in Sports Illustrated. That made her name.

Even though she was making unimaginable amounts of money, she was spending it even faster and went broke. She did not even have proper shoes for the snow in New York. She became a drunk and got hooked on cocaine too. She was growing up lost:

I felt like it was more important to them for me to make the money and become famous instead of concentrating on the person who had a soul who was lost and needed some help and foundation, and I wasn’t getting it.

In 2008 she moved back to Buffalo. “I never thought I would be back in Buffalo,” she said. “I had decided I was moving to London, marry some English guy and have some cute little biracial babies. It has to be God that I’m back here.”

She still models, but she is proudest of her work with troubled girls, girls who are like how she used to be. She wants to open a halfway house for them.

It was turning to God that got her off of drink and drugs. Now she has a different view of life:

The biggest part is realizing I’m not just here to take pictures – God makes all of that happen – but because I am a Christian, it is to shine and make a statement just for God.

See also:

Robin Thicke - The Sweetest Love

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