Global nomad, Hawaii’s sweetheart, and now Taiwan’s new top model, international model Jaclynn Joseph has done a formidable job of combining a love of culture and traveling with a lucrative modeling career here in Taipei. Stylish, versatile, daring, and 100% original, Jaclynn is also fiercely independent and a real go-getter.
MSW: Hi Jaclynn. Thanks very much for agreeing to answer a few of my questions. Can you tell us a little about yourself?
JJ: My full name is Jaclynn Joyce Joseph and I am originally from Hilo, Hawai’i. My family immigrated from the Azores and Madeira to Hawai’i to work on the sugar cane plantations. I’ve been lucky. I’ve done quite a bit of traveling. I’ve been to 4 continents, 9 countries and 14 U.S. states.
MSW: When did you first start modeling?
JJ: I started modeling as a hobby when I was 18. I come from a very small town on a very remote island, so building my portfolio and establishing myself as a model took quite a while. The opportunities for models in Hawai’i are very limited. I began modeling professionally in 2007.
MSW: What made you decide to come to Taiwan?
JJ: I had been living and modeling in Los Angeles, CA when the opportunity to move to Taiwan presented itself. The person I had been dating received a schlorship to National Taiwan University and we thought it would be a great opportunity and a challenge to live abroad and try something new.
MSW: You obviously do well with modeling here in Taiwan. Every time I check in with you, you’ve running off to a new photo shoot or filming a new commercial. Is modeling a full-time occupation for you?
JJ: I teach English part time here in Taipei and I also model professionally. That means anything from television commercials to bridal catalogs. I’ve shot about 6 national commercials in Taiwan so far, the last one being a commercial for a cellphone company; the strangest one having been for a skin bleaching product.
MSW: How do you find work?
JJ: When I first moved to Taiwan I worked exclusively with an agency, but after a few months I realized it was in my favor to work as a freelance model here, since agencies take upwards of 40% from their models. I work independently with a variety of agents and photographers. I’ve been lucky enough to befriend people in the industry who send plenty of work my way. I also have a modeling website and a flickr page both of which receive a lot of attention.
MSW: What is your most memorable fashion shoot?
JJ: I don’t have a favorite shoot. I try to have fun and enjoy every shoot or job I am assigned to. I try to lighthearted and free spirited when on assignment. It tends to de-stress the crew on set and also create more natural and beautiful photographs.
MSW: Does your job allow you to be location independent?
JJ: Definitely. I can model pretty much anywhere I choose to live. I have a degree and teaching experience to fall back on as well. I really want to go back to school to get my masters degree in history, and I’ve been contemplating taking a few years off to focus on that goal.
MSW: Your photo albums on Facebook and Flickr are very creative and unique. Have you ever thought about making them into something more?
JJ: I’ve played around with the idea of printing out my photos and making a book of sorts, but alas I haven’t taken the time to create anything yet. I’m open to ideas or suggestions, though. 😉
MSW: What advice would you offer for others who are thinking of moving abroad to find work?
JJ: Do your research! I moved to Taiwan on a whim with 2 weeks to pack and prepare. Big mistake! I was miserable the first few months here in Taipei and wish I would have read up on the cultural differences, the weather, the differences in modeling industry between the U.S. and Asia…etc. A little bit of research can go a long way towards helping ease stress and tension in an unfamiliar situation.