FASHION feature - Transform To Freedom
Jazzelle Zanaughtti on combatting societal norms and what to do when things seem Ugly Worldwide.
Hand picked from Chicago and honing her boldness in her identity, and right down to her core, is fierce model Jazzelle Zanaughti.
Having experienced troublesome years as a teen when facing several cases of bullying, Jazzelle now stands tall in the modelling industry as both an activist and a rare discovery by Show Studio’s Nick Knight. Renowned for her non-gender specific exterior, she is increasingly becoming one to watch as she bosses a buzz cut and improvised eyebrow art as a f*ck you to conventional beauty standards. Appearance aside, her general aura and attitude is what sets Jazzelle aside from others as she challenges various societal issues so passionately, opening the eyes of her fans in a way similar to a young Grace Jones; encouraging all to steer away from standards that are slyly pushed on us.
In tune with our theme this issue, “Free Speech”, we caught up with cool cat Jazzelle and asked her to comment on some topics that are frequently being discussed in society at the moment.
Did you ever struggle with expressing yourself growing up?
Jazzelle: Most definitely. I have always tried to express myself freely growing up, but I would be deterred and find myself trying to fit it in to someone else’s idea of ‘cool’. Bullying and shit really got in my way most of my life, and I ran away from it in every way I could think of.
Can you tell us about some of the issues going on in current society that are particularly frustrating for you?
Jazzelle: The disrespect and carelessness for black, POC, and transgender rights/lives.
You have a very distinct look and attitude, and you challenge gender norms and roles extremely well (I have to say!). But do you think that women still struggle with freeing themselves from restrictions?
Jazzelle: Absolutely! The media is constantly shoving some type of societal norm down our throats in any way they can. It’s fucking hard to break out of the shell that we are forced to build over the years because we fear judgement and lack of acceptance. It’s scary to free yourself, but once you take that leap the world is at your finger tips.
What piece of advice would you give to our generation in terms of getting their voice out there and being ‘free’?
Jazzelle: Stop caring so damn much and stop living in fear! Speak what is true to you, and only speak about what you believe in. Don’t let anything or anyone (including yourself) hold you back from the person you want to become. Live unapologetically!
There's a lot of interesting things going on now in the media with people challenging beauty standards and there's a lot of gender fluidity in the mix. So, would you go as far as saying a revolution is taking place?
Jazzelle: Absolutely there's a revolution! Such big strides have been made in the past few years, and bigger ones will be made in the future.
Who do you look up to as a muse?
Jazzelle: I’m my own muse, honestly. Don’t get me wrong I have so many artists that I am inspired by, but at the end of the day, I don’t take anything from them creatively. If anything, I’m more inspired by people’s personalities. Creatively I’m more into drawing my inspirations from the smaller things in life, like a toy, or a fruit or whatever.
Do you find it frustrating that people are categorised and labelled the terms ‘feminine’ and ‘masculine’? Are they even a thing anymore?
Jazzelle: Personally, gender is something that I don’t even think about anymore. It can be frustrating when someone presses the topic on you, like, why do you even care?! Can’t I just do me? Why can’t she do her? Why can’t he do him? Why can’t they do them? Why is society always so worried about someone else's body?!
Tell us one thing you'd love to change in current society?
Jazzelle: Society’s idea of beauty!
Lastly, if you had the chance to scream one thing of importance for the entire world to hear, what would you preach?
Jazzelle: BLACK LIVES MATTER.
Words / JESSIE PINK