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Die-hard fans of Britain’s Next Top Model will recognise Jasmia Robinson as the striking contender who made quite an impression in series two. At 24, she has taken on the business acumen of her idol, Tyra Banks, and this year she appeared on America’s Next Top Model: The British Invasion, alongside six other previous British contestants, battling it out against seven new American models. Jasmia tells Flavour about her explosion onto the music scene, knobbly knees and that pink lipstick...


We associate you with modelling, but tell us more about yourself? I’m a model and a singer, but would say I’m an all-rounder. When I was younger I was into canvas painting, designing and photography. I’m a trained make-up artist and also studied History of Art. Personality- wise, I’m quirky, bubbly, sassy, flirtatious and flamboyant! Style-wise, I’m colourful and love my pink lipstick as it reflects my personality and brightens up my face.


With so many interests, why did you choose a career in modelling? I was 11 the first time I watched America’s Next Top Model, and remember feeling so passionate and overwhelmed. I was always interested in modelling, but was extremely shy and self-conscious about being thin, so would cover up completely to disguise my knobbly knees and small chest. The show helped me with my confidence and allowed me to open up. I distinctly remember retreating into a corner on the first day of Britain’s Next Top Model when we were told to strip for show; however, it was at that point I decided to let go of my inhibitions and fully embrace myself.


Which models inspire you? Who would you like to work with? It’s all about Tyra Banks, especially her business sense. Naomi Campbell is the ultimate top model and has amazing bone structure. Lily Cole is mesmerising, she has that crazy yet elaborate look that always seems to capture you. Model-wise, I would love to work with Tyson Beckford; music- wise, it has to be Tinie Tempah!


What is the most elaborate shoot you’ve done?


On the show we did a shoot in a Moroccan desert. The task was to adorn a trash can, work with the environment and pose! It was so surreal, as we were riding donkeys; there was no electricity, which didn’t help my hair; and the direct heat from the sun meant an extreme amount of touch-ups; but it was fun!


Sum up your experience on ANTM: the British Invasion? I loved it! It was my first time in America, so that in itself was an experience; but to be flown out to appear on the show was amazing. It was very different to the British version and more intense. There were double the amount of people, cameras on you 24/7 and the budget is insane – we stayed in a five million- pound house in The Hills! Prior to the show I couldn’t catwalk, so when Nigel Barker said my face in one of the pictures was amazing and Miss J commented on my ‘fierce’ walk, I was ecstatic! Being a British girl from East London, I never imagined I would be in this position, but the experience confirmed I am on the right path.


The media described the show as the ‘ultimate culture clash’. Were there any conflicts? I loved the American girls, especially AzMarie and Laura. The only real conflict was down to the show’s expectations and my personality.


I met her I felt like I automatically went into business mode. She is very passionate about the show, but there did not seem to be that same care and I wouldn’t say I felt emotionally connected to her.


Did she deliver as a mentor? Yes, I saw exactly what I what wanted to see, which was a determined business woman of colour, who strived for success and commanded your attention! Being in her presence showed me the importance of taking charge. It was empowering to see a powerful woman run a team (with a lot of guys), and consistently remain strong and in control.


You made your debut appearance at Flavour Live with your single ‘Diva Style’ – describe your genre? Kylie meets Wylie, very funky and bubbly. I want people to dance but also get the meaningful messages behind the songs. I’m an oldie at heart and take my influence from grime, reggae and country music,


My brand is about strong women coming together


They had obviously looked at my past footage and at 19 I was more outspoken and a little more slang. Now I’m 24 and a dating coach, so I’ve broken away from certain stereotypes. I did not feel it necessary to ridicule other women, because my brand is all about possibilities and strong women coming together.


DId the Tyra you met in person mirror the Tyra portrayed on TV? It was amazing to see her up close because she looks like a porcelain doll, simply perfect! She is friendly, bubbly and tells stories just as you see her on TV. But the main attribute that shone through was her work ethic and business acumen; she wanted us to work hard. On TV, I saw her as this interactive model all the girls knew, but although she made a significant input, it was not to the extent I expected. On the British version, the supermodel host was Lisa Snowdon, who was more the stunning girl next door. She welcomed private conversations, made us feel relaxed and treated us girls like her babies. It could be down to the fact the competition was in its early stages, but I remember having a silly dance-off with her after a conversation about rap music. I did not get that from Tyra: every time


as well as people like the Everly Brothers and Dotstar.


Aims by the end of 2012? I want my single ‘Model Walk’ to do well, and hope to finish my album. I will be doing a lot of collaborations and my calendar will be coming out. I am excited about the launch of my clothing line, the JR Line. The first set of merchandise will represent ‘Model Walk’. Something close to my heart is charity work. I want to work with the youth and tackle something poignant like knife crime. I have a 15-year-old brother and he is my inspiration, so I want him to see you can come from nothing and still make something!


Finally, there are rumours of a follow-up to BNTM... Yes, we just started filming and it will be released in the UK October 1. The show will focus on all the girls from the past eight seasons, featuring highlights (including arguments I got into), illustrating how the show helped us and how far we have progressed. They will be following me around with my dating coaching jobs, modelling, and singing, so it should be fun.


Follow Jasmia on Twitter @Jasmiarobinson or visit www. jasmiarobinson.wordpress.com


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