Jenna Swain, of New Orleans, LA is frequently jetting off to NYC for weeks at a time to pursue her modeling career. She shares here images and words clearly demonstrating her abilities as a one amazing leaper of a dancer as well as showing us her very sultry glamorous side.
Her modeling uses the physique developed through her background as a competitive gymnast in Sports Acrobatics.
With 3 National Championship wins to her credit, Jenna has competed in World Championships in 1993, was a member of the 1993 National Tour of Olympic Champions, and was named 1993 Olympic Athlete of the Year for Sports Acrobatics.
Growing up an only child in New Orleans, Jenna moved to New York when she was 18 to attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, where she completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications.
In 2002, Jenna gave birth to a bouncing baby boy and moved back to New Orleans in 2003 where she lived for 2 years until her home and all her possessions were lost in Hurricane Katrina.
With her husband and son, she moved back to New York in October 2005. In New York, in addition to getting involved in modeling, she also worked as a licensed real estate agent… Wow…
In 2009 she teamed up with Maximum Exposure Films LLC and took the role of producer for 2 short films. In addition to being the producer, she also played a small part in both films.
In New Orleans, in addition to being a full-time mom, Jenna still continue to shoot fairly often and travels back to New York every 4-6 weeks for 2 weeks at a time for real estate work as well as for shooting.
She describes herself as:
“Vivacious, bold, outgoing, full of energy,slightly overdramatic at times, and loving life.
People intrigue and fascinate me and I love hearing stories about people’s life experiences.
I love good music, dancing til my feet hurt, and laughing.
I have a soft heart for animals, especially puppies and I have a 10-year-old Maltese who I consider my second child.
I’ll try anything twice, just to make sure!”
She also enjoys Yoga, Pilates and my her new-found hobby of fitness pole dancing.
You may have seen her in an infomercial she did for the “Bean” abdominal workout product, a live QVC broadcast or perhaps you have caught one of her several commercial print ads including: MTV & MasterCard’s “Shizzle Card”, Anthony Gallo Acoustics, and Harrah’s Casino.
Getting around, Jenna has also been in a children’s story telling show on Baby First TV, promo videos for Giorgio & Amber upscale men’s denim or for Organic Motion Inc., (founders in motion capture technology software), graced several Music Videos, Calendars, and been cast in several small film roles.
Jenna’s modeling started after moving back to New York subsequent to Hurricane Katrina …
“I sort of stumbled
into the world of modeling and began shooting regularly.
When I moved back to NYC, I wasn’t working, had no idea what I wanted to do, and I was still recovering from the emotional stress of losing everything I owned in Katrina.
Before Katrina, I was coaching gymnastics in NOLA.
So I was in incredible shape at that time.
I met some friends of friends in a social setting one night; and, one of the guys worked for a talent management company. He suggested that I get headshots done and insisted that I belonged in the world of television and film. He also told me about Model Mayhem and One Model Place.
I had been a dancer my whole life and was a 3 time National Champion in Sports Acrobatics.
I had spent much of my life performing and competing in front of large audiences but never thought about acting, modeling or anything like that.
I always thought to be a model you had to be 6 feet tall, rail thin and have an exotic look. Since I am barely 5”1, far from rail thin or exotic looking, being a model was out of the question in my mind.
I had my degree in Advertising and Marketing Communications from the Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC; but, working in an office from 9-5 making an entry-level salary didn’t seem appealing to me at that time either.
I had nothing to lose.
Immediately I was being bombarded with offers to shoot everything from dance to fashion to artistic nudes.”
For my first photo shoot,
“I was a nervous wreck!
I was told I could bring someone with me; but, I thought if I was going to make a fool out of myself, I’d rather not bring someone else along to watch … LOL.
But, once I got there, the photographer was great and made me feel very comfortable; and, once we began shooting, I felt strangely relaxed and intrigued with the camera.
I absolutely love to be in front of the camera!
When I look into the lens staring at me, I don’t see just a camera.
I see a stage, an audience, that I can connect with and be whoever I want to be that day.
It’s a performance.
It’s being able to play a new role or take on the persona of a new character, who may be alike or completely different than me in my everyday life.
I find that thinking “am I doing this right” or worrying “how do I look in this pose” prohibits me from feeling relaxed and comfortable. And, the camera sees that. It sort of reads all over my face.
I think over time I have learned that just being natural and letting my body move naturally in whatever way it wants, the images look better than practicing posing in a mirror.
I’ve also learned that there’s going to be pictures where I am making stupid faces or laughing with my mouth wide open and where my body position looks ridiculous or I lost my balance and fell on my butt.
Instead of being embarrassed by those images, I laugh at myself and I know for every few goofy pictures, there’s one that I am really proud of.
My favorite would have to be dance shoots.
Those are also the ones that require me to work really hard and push my body farther.
It’s challenging to jump 100 times in a row or holding balance skills for long periods of time.
I’m pretty consistent with my timing but depending on the photographer’s ability to capture me in the air at the right moment, sometimes I have to do a jump 10-15 times before the timing captured perfectly.
It’s also extremely exhausting on my end, which is also why my rates are highest for dance shoots. (Laughing)
I’ve never had a disappointed photographer or one who felt I wasn’t worth the money.
I work hard and give every bit of my energy into making the shoot a success.”
For my first nude shoot,
“I was approached by a photographer thru Model Mayhem who had been working on a project for a book publication.
I would be dancing and jumping nude while he used different lighting techniques and exposures to show the movement in the images.
At first I was nervous and wanted to make sure everything was legit and the photographer was a professional.
My biggest concern was what if I jumped or turned a certain way that left me fully exposed in an unflattering way.
I didn’t want any image to be misinterpreted or come across as being taken in a way other than what was intended.
Very quickly I realized that the images were amazing and in no way explicit or vulgar.
Being naked in front of the camera, I felt comfortable, beautiful, and sexy.
Not sexy in the way we use it in a sexual context but rather a confidence that comes from just being a sensual woman and proud of my femininity.
There’s a certain sense of freedom, simplicity,purity that I feel being nude in front of the camera; being in a vulnerable, yet powerful, place.”
When deciding to do a shoot,
“First and foremost I listen to the intentions and creative vision of the photographer and really try to feed off of his or her energy.
The general idea can be good but the intention and direction of the photographer is equally as important.
I love trying new things and I love people who are wickedly creative and passionate about their ideas.
When someone is enthusiastic and puts so much passion into their work, it’s hard not to feel that passion and enthusiasm as well.
Secondly, I consider will this be a fun and positive experience and something I will be proud of years down the line.”
For a shoot to be successful,
“Hair & makeup and even sometimes, wardrobe is irrelevant.
You can be glamorously styled in a beautiful gown and end up with boring bland images. Or you can shoot in a tank top and boy shorts with only lip gloss on and have incredible images to show.
It’s all about the attitude, the energy, and the charisma between the model and the photographer.
It’s a collaborative effort even if the model is hired to fulfill the photographer’s vision.
Both have to work and communicate on the same level to achieve the goal.
Instead of using the terms photographer and model, I prefer to say we are creative collaborators with equally important influence in creating art.”
A few essential things I bring to every shoot are,
“Mascara, because your eyes are your windows to the world and have the power to grab the attention of people by what they say and the story they tell.
Lip Gloss, because nothing is worse than having dry lips when you are trying to smile or show expression with your mouth.
A pair of high heels or boots, because when you’re barely over 5 feet tall, like I am, you never know when you’ll need those few extra inches.
I am totally addicted to wearing heels and wear them EVERYDAY!
My response is, if they were my height, they would see that the view is much better in heels; and, I have lots of practice wearing them.
I even have high heel sneakers and slippers!
Lastly, I bring moisturizer, because having soft, smooth skin not only photographs better but helps me to feel better too!
This model is too amazing for words!!Jenna pretty much rocks! Well done!
For more on Jenna, click here.
Photos are © Photographers.
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