“Modeling is actually acting, athletics, and marketing all rolled into one.” – Doa Jafri
Welcome to Face Time. DFW Style Daily’s exclusive series goes beyond the runways and picture-perfect shoots to get to know top Dallas models on a personal level. Why? Because there’s a hell of a lot more to making it in one of fashion’s most competitive fields than just a fit figure and shiny hair.
Take Doa Jafri, for example. The young Texan boasts keen insight into the business of being beautiful, and between Fashion Weeks she maintains a second career as a web developer. Really. Read on for our entertaining chat with Doa, and click here for more Face Time model interviews!
Name: Doa Jafri
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Agency: Wallflower Management (Dallas), Major Model Management (New York City)
Notable Clients: Victoria Beckham, Emilio Pucci, JC Penney, Neiman Marcus, Earthbound Trading Co., Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
DFW Style Daily: At what age did you begin modeling? Were you ‘discovered’ or did you pursue modeling as a career?
Doa Jafri: “I remember being scouted a couple of times growing up, but I was a goofy tomboy who didn’t look like the blonde, big-haired bombshells I thought to be models. So, I assumed the scouts were scammers and thought, ‘Geez… do I look insecure or something?’
“I liked being on the other side of the camera, anyway. I’ve always loved landscape and documentary photography. I was 17, pouty, and smart-mouthed when one of my photography mentors coaxed me to take pictures for her fashion portfolio. She took a few shots, put down the camera, and said, ‘Doa – you’re going to be a model.’ I told her to quit trying to butter me up. Soon, the photos got around, and my first agent convinced me it wouldn’t be a bad way to make extra money while I was in college. Somewhere between my freshman and senior year, I realized I had stumbled into an equally expressive art form.”
What is the most challenging aspect of your job?
“You’re a product at the end of the day. That means people stand in front of you and actually tell you that the way you look, something generally out of your control, is ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ It’s hard to initially get over that, but you do. After all, the body is just a vessel, and while our outward appearances are up for judgment and critique, true confidence springs from an unwavering faith in the beauty of our souls.”
Are there any “deal breakers” for you when it comes to job requirements?
“Nudity isn’t my jam. It can be done tastefully, but staying true to my roots while being a role model for other girls from conservative families is important to me. It’s not about the amount of skin shown, but more the intent of the photo.”
In your opinion, what is the biggest misconception about models or the modeling industry?
“That modeling is easy! Even I used to think, ‘All you have to do is stand there, right?’ Modeling is actually acting, athletics, and marketing all rolled into one. I like it because it challenges me. I’m also a full stack developer, meaning I code websites and apps and things like that. Having two very different careers keeps me balanced.”
Do you have a personal role model? What have you learned from his/her example?
“Malala Yousafzai is a real example of bravery. She’s made the world a better place, which I’m passionate about. She reminds me to ask myself what I’m passionate about, and to do whatever I need to do to further that, especially if it scares me.”
If you could head out on a dream assignment for any client, anywhere in the world, where would you go? Who would your dream client be?
How would you describe your personal style? Do you have any favorite Dallas-area shopping spots?
“I’m really drawn to classic elegance, but I like to put a funky twist on it. A black, simply cut silk jumpsuit and D.I.Y. pressed neon floral boots? Any day. I drive around Texas a lot, so I like to check out vintage stores outside the city and pair those finds with beautiful items from Ten Over Six.”
What did you have for dinner last night?
“A burger, kale salad with apples and walnuts, and half a pint of Ben & Jerry’s to treat myself for finishing my first show season in New York!”
If you had a free afternoon or evening in Dallas, how would you spend it?
“I love a good show and hanging with friends, whether it’s the ballet or a concert.”
All photos, courtesy of Wallflower Management.