Happy Birthday JEA! (A little about Me)

Country living, cabin loving, travel seeking, adventurer with a knack for fashion, modeling.

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Hey there,

My name is Jamie Elyse Ainsworth, and I own JEA Model Management.  Before I even begin to explain what that is and what I do, lets back up and start from the beginning.

I was born in Magee, Mississippi, a small country town about an hour south of Jackson.  Now there is redneck and there is country and let’s just say I’m somewhere between.  I grew up on farmland owned by my family.  I absolutely love the outdoors!  I blame my parents for that…instead of allowing TV, they made us go outside and play.  I remember playing in tree houses, forts, cow pastures, chicken houses, and way out yonder on the back 40!   Yes, I hunt, fish, and I even eat what I kill!  I do wear shoes most days and when the pipes aren’t frozen our toilets even flush too.   Whew! Had to clear the air on those common myths. ;)

Ok Wait, you’re wondering what you’re reading right?  Have I lost all you fashionistas so far?  Don’t worry there is a point to this country girls up bringing and how it relates to my work now.

Back to the story.  When I was 13, my dad took me to a modeling audition.  Yes, my southern Baptist preacher daddy took me!  Say Whatttt??  He really started it then.  I got a call back and got the bug to model and be in the fashion industry ever since.  We girls can always blame our daddies for the bad and the good right? ;)

After this, I began my modeling career.  Really things were local until I was about 16.  Then I had opportunities to travel a bit.  I had agency representations and got to be involved in photo-shoots and fashion shows.  I had a huge problem though and didn’t know at the time how huge it was.  Are we ready?  Those who know me now will never believe it!  I was SUPER SHY!  I would hide behind my mom and let her talk and answer all the questions.  I did not know how to have an opinion or if I did, I certainly didn’t know how to share it.    My mom and I would get into huge arguments about who was going to go up and talk to someone or who would make the phone call.   So badly, I would even be in tears at this point.  She said it was hard, but she was a good mom and stood her ground.  She would always make me call and once I finally caved and did it, I then felt so silly for arguing.  I realized it wasn’t so bad after all.  What a painful time though!

I know being shy held me back, a lot, from going after something I really wanted.  I knew how to release my inner “Beyonce” on the runway but afterwards when interest was shown or at all the call backs, I could never carry on a real conversation with anyone.  It took me years to realize that was a major red flag.   This mixed with not having a mother agent to guide me properly and give my family knowledge about the industry really made it hard to pursue a modeling career.  What was this country girl to do?

So I modeled every now and then, but nothing full time.  I finished high school and went to college.  I started focusing my attention on other things in fashion.  Starting in high school, I became a personal stylist for clients (women in my hometown).  Organizing their closets, shopping for them, piecing outfits together, etc.  Yes, I was paid and I loved it!  I thought I was big time!  I mean I still don’t know why Julia Roberts and Sandra Bullock  never called.   They missed out on some major closet organizational skills. (for a cheap high schooler rate I might add)

This even led to styling for photo-shoots, fashion shows, and then working full time for a clothing company called Libby Story.  I modeled for them and was even in charge of helping other young models learn.  I was the regional manager but I much more enjoyed the behind the scenes of the shoots, shows, etc.   Everything was going great  and seemed as if I might even have a career  and plant some roots in Jackson, MS.

However, the dream of that little 13 year old country girl still lived.  I remember I was working with an agency out of ATL when I was 24.  This is actually old for most models to get a start, but as I ate some cornbread and buttermilk I looked at my dad and said, I would just love to go to NY one more time and do fashion week.   That very same day, I got a call that said they had castings for me in NY.  I didn’t hesitate.  I talked to Libby Story and they were nice enough to allow me to pursue some dreams.  I had a flight the very next day and went straight to castings. 

Here we go!  I finally got my big chance and was ready!  I wasn’t shy!  I knew how to talk to strangers, make friends, phone calls, and OMG even order through a drive through! (which is important when traveling)   I honestly had a great time!  I booked many shows of which I will always appreciate their kindness.  Raul Paneranda, Korto Momolu, Coco & Breezy just to name a few.  They were so fun and I could now cross that off my list!

I was ready to hit the ground running!   It felt right, it felt good, and it was ahhhhmazing!!! Then bad news hit…the kind that you hear about in the industry and think it’ll never happen to you or those others models are just exaggerating about.  Well, they weren’t!  I unfortunately, could not get paid by my agency.  It was so sad to think I had put in work, time, effort, trust, etc. in this.  I was a business woman at this point and if I couldn’t make money then how was this supposed to be a career? 

I came back to Mississippi and with open arms Libby Story let me back in.  I loved working with them and always appreciate everything they did for me but that bug was still itching for more.  I didn’t know what more was, but I knew I had to keep searching.

I started staying late after work helping the Libby Story models with their runway walks and giving tips about the industry.   I had a call from a friend wanting to pay me to be in a music video.  Not to sound all high and mighty but the pay wasn’t so great and  you reach an age where time is money right?.  However, pretty instinctively, I said, “but I have another girl I can send you.” Booked!  Next thing I know I booked my high school friend model for a shoot.  Wheels started turning… There are so many pretty girls in the south that want to model, there is no longer an agency in Mississippi, there is no one to tell them how to get to NY or bigger markets,…hmmmm (picks up phone).  “Daddy, I have an idea!”

I quit my job at Libby Story and had a meeting with a lawyer the next day to start JEA Model Management.  OOOOOhhhh boy was I scared.  I was only 25 at the time and never had experience working for a modeling agency.  I had only been an unsuccessful model for 12 years! ;) I started putting all my knowledge together though (that mixed with daddy’s business side) I was forming a plan.

To be honest, I thought it was going to be just a side job in the beginning, something local for girls to do and maybe find one or two to send to NY.  NBD right?  I started reaching out to local clients to book jobs.  The first year was slow but somehow we have turned that into our own little Mississippi market!  Now we have consistent clients and I’m so thankful for each of them.  I also started submitting models out of state for placement.  Of course, it starts with one, but soon it snowballed into 5-10- 20!   This is placement for Atl, Dallas, Nashville, LA, NY, and even overseas, Tokyo, Korea, London, Paris, Milan, and more!   I could not believe what this business had turned into.

So I’m going to take this time to wish a Happy Birthday to JEA!  This year in February 2018 was 5 years in business!   I cannot believe it has been five years!  It is true, Time flies when you’re having fun!  

After the 2nd year it became my full time job and I realized that there is so much potential with a company like this.  I still can manage doing freelance work as a stylist, shoot or show producer, etc.  Which I love to incorporate, but JEA is my full time baby!  Actually 50 babies!  Whew!   I absolutely love what I do now and wouldnt trade it for the world.  Witnessing each and every one of my models grow and become a confident unique individual is the most rewarding part.

 

There are always ups and downs with business for sure, but what I’ve learned through all this and how it relates to my country life:

If you get stuck in the mud you’re not gonna lay down and quit.  You might have a mud fight first. ;)

When you see that big 10 point buck, don’t hesitate… just shoot.   Your aim is better when you don’t overthink.

Don’t ever be afraid to be who you are, have your own opinion, and to be proud of where you came from. 

Don’t take things personally when that fish doesn’t bite, you’re not gonna catch every fish in the pond.

My final advice is, don’t let work define you, but let your passions and love for others overshadow.  Yes, this was advice from my daddy, but it has helped me through my life and business.   I pray every day that this is the reason I’m in this business and that I can guide my models to grow to be confident, independent, strong, loving role models.  If that doesn’t work then its time to find a country job!   I am passionate about my job and absolutely love what I do.   I cannot wait to see what happens in 2018!

But if you want to know more about what defines me, here ya go…Hey there!  My name is Jamie Elyse Ainsworth, my friends call me James, my models call me Momma Jamie.  I dance more than any of your friends, I live in a cabin in the woods with two cats and guns, and I love the outdoors!  I’m super sarcastic, always looking for someone to be goofy with, and I never meet a stranger!  My favorite music is Michael Jackson with a second to blues/jazz and third ill give to country!   The best thing about my life is hands down my family.  They mean everything to me and are my best friends!  Without them I would not be where I am today.  If you want to get to know my personality come hang out with me! 

Thanks for taking time to read about me and some of my life journey!  Remember that social media is only the highlight reel.  Take time to get to know someone…you could be pleasantly surprised!

Check out ours and feel free to reach out!  @jeamodelmgmt @jamie_elyse_a

www.jeamodels.com

Have an amazing week and even if it’s not your birthday still order champagne to celebrate how amazing you are!  Happy Birthday JEA!  Happy 2018 Friends!!

Signed! Laya Jean Wyatt with Aston Models LA!

I am so proud of Laya!  I know I cannot put into words how giddy I am for her accomplishments and growth as a young lady.  From working as my office assistant, to photographer, to modeling under my representation of JEA, I can proudly say that Im so happy and honored to have been involved with this gals journey! She has become a unique and confident young lady who knows who she is and is proud of herself.  She is a major role model for the JEA models and others around her.  We definitely would not be a big JEA family without her! We have now placed her with Aston Models in LA so there will be more to come of her journey!  I cant wait to see who she impacts next.  Love you laya! :)  - Momma Jamie

Now, enough of my talk and take this time to read about her life and journey.  Check it out and get to know Laya Jean Wyatt, Model of the Month!

 Click Photo to view Laya's portfolio

Click Photo to view Laya's portfolio

HEY FRIENDS! If you are reading this, you better buckle your seat belt because its about to get crazy. Since you saw the title of this, you should know my name. But I will just repeat it anyway, so its stuck in your brain. My name is Laya Jean Wyatt.  I prefer to just drop the Wyatt part though. (Last names are just so mainstream, ugh.)


    I was born in Nashville, Tn in 1996. So that makes me, twenty one years of age. But I like to tell people I am forty five. Considering, I am quite the old soul. Anyway, I moved to Mississippi when I was  four years old.  And have been in and out of here ever since. When I was twelve years old until I was seventeen, I lived in a tiny town in California, outside of Sacramento. I moved there to be with my dad and his family. It was really cool, I basically grew up in a tattoo shop, which would explain my sailor mouth. I also am a clone of my dad, ask anyone whose seen us together. It’s scary.  So when I was seventeen in the middle of my junior year, I moved back to Mississippi. Guess you could say I just couldn't stay away from my southern roots. Most people are shocked when I tell them I’m from the south. I think its because you can tell I am not your typical, Southern belle debutante. But I have learned to accept that being different is way better than fitting in. Even though I’m from here, I have never really felt right saying that. I like to just say I’m a floater, with an anchor here, for now. So thats my geographic back ground.


    Ok, so on to the fun stuff. What got me into modeling? Well, a long line of events, a dream and a human named Sharon Coker. (And then another human named Jamie Ainsworth.) When I was little I was a tall, awkward, lanky thing. People always told me I should model, but I did not have the confidence to ever pursue it. Instead, I took to acting and singing. When I was in the sixth grade at Jackson Academy, I played the roll of Charlie in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. So, thats my name to fame with acting. When I got about seventeen, eighteen thats when I heard about JEA. I still never had to confidence to go to an open call. And at this point I was getting tattoos and thought I could never model because of them. So when I was nineteen years old, I met Sharon. I became her assistant and through that I met Jamie. I had pretty much pushed my modeling dream out and then one day, I came into the office without make up and BAM! Jamie gave me a contract. Which is funny because I used to be so attached to my makeup and the one day I didn't wear it, I got a modeling contract. (SO don’t be afraid to leave the makeup at home!! Its so freeing to not wear it, and cuts a lot of getting ready time off your clock.)  From then on, I have shot with dozens of lovely photographers and am now signed with THREE agencies. Thats right I said THREE! These agencies include, JEA (obviously.) Surface Model Management in NYC, and I am newly signed to Aston Models in LA.


  The funny thing is I never thought I would be able to go off and pursue this dream. I really just tried to see my contract as an experience and a way to grow as a photographer by learning both sides of the camera. I never saw myself on vogue, or going to fashion week castings. And even though I didn’t walk in fashion week, I am thankful I at least got to go to castings. If you aren't careful in this industry you can get lost in the darkness. I’ve been there. Comparing yourself to everyone, measuring your accomplishments by everyone else, and always seeing the negative sides of things. What most people don't see is the nitty gritty of this industry. The physical and mental work that  goes into being a model. We don't just show up to jobs, get pampered, get paid lots of money and leave with free stuff. That honestly, doesn't happen much. It takes work to book jobs and then to work the jobs. People think its easy to just show up and put clothes on and shoot in them. Let me tell you if you think modeling is easy heres an experiment, tighten every muscle in your body, concentrate on your face being pretty, while wearing uncomfortable shoes and a dress thats way too tight, while your trying to focus on the photographer and what he's saying, oh and you barely get a break, and you'll be shooting for at least two hours. Yea, its a lot that goes into just a photoshoot, and thats not even the half of it. It can take a huge toll on your soul. Honestly, if I didn't experience this industry, I don't know that I would have such a huge sense of self today. It has taken me a minute, but I finally have been able to just be myself without worrying about other people opinions. And its not an everyday thing. Some days I get sucked back into the negative self talk and it can take me some time to get out. I think the thing people get caught up in is that loving yourself is a destination and once you’re there you love yourself forever. To me, loving yourself is an everyday process. Everyday I’m myself, unapologetically. But that doesn't mean I always, everyday love Laya unconditionally. Some days it takes extra work to feel that love. And thats okay. The key is realizing everyone has problems, no one is perfect. We are all flawed humans. Then you will be on the way to loving yourself and all your flaws. It takes a lot of growing to get to this place. (And a lot of tears, bubble baths, affirmations and prayers.) But you’ll get there!!!! The bottom line is, you can love yourself through anything. Through any darkness, you can be light. This industry isn't the prettiest, but I love what I do.

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   Ok, so now onto random facts about me.
I love rap music & putting on a mini concert every time it comes on. Which is perfect since I now resemble Eminem.
I am lactose intolerant and it really sucks because I love anything and everything lactose. So I’m kinda in a Romeo and Juliet relationship. We are forbidden, but I can sneak around and enjoy it sometimes.
I am in recovery and have been clean/sober for three years now.
I have five rescue animals, three cats and two dogs. I rescued my first animal when I was in the third grade.These animals include, Lexi (oldest cat), her child Bella, my cat Norman who thinks he's royalty, my husky mix Mumble, and my sweet baby pit mix Lyla Grace.
I do not eat red meat. Why? Well, even when I was little I never really liked red meat. But later on this was made worse by this video I watched of a cow being butchered,(why are things like that on the internet???)  then touring a slaughter house, then just the stomach aches I get from such heavy meat. I just am not a fan.
My favorite animals include dinosaurs, giraffes, and sphynx cats.
I paint, write poetry, sing, play piano, sew, crochet, knit, sculpt,… pretty much anything crafty, I have tried it, and still do it. I get bored easily, so I need many hobbies to switch between.
I love musicals and when I get really hyper I like to have my own obnoxious sing alongs.
I cry a lot about how much I love Ellen DeGeneres and I will meet her before one of us dies.
I’m excellent at fair games and have won two of the gigantic teddy bears, and over a thousand of  other stuffed animals.   


  Heres a bonus fact: I have no idea what I am doing with my adult life half the time, but I just continue doing whatever I’m doing anyway. Most of the time I’m a walking shit show, but thats okay. I am the person in the store refusing to use a basket but grabbing so much stuff I drop everything. And even though I know this never ends well, I do it every time. No one prepared me for adulthood. Like how to have matching socks, remembering trash days, and the fact that toilet paper doesn't just show up in your house. I’m enjoying it anyway, but most of the time I’m a mess. (secret: most people are a mess, but some are just more honest about it.) ( those are my favorite people.)  Today, I’m okay with my mess, and you should be to. Because its okay to be a mess. It’s okay to show your authentic self even if it isn't that pretty some days. Through modeling I have learned that trying to be something your not, doesn't get you very far. Through my mess, I have grown and so has my career. There’s beauty in knowing we are all unique in our own ways. And if you aren't afraid to show that, some really cool things will happen. Everyday, I focus on being a better Laya. I only get one life, and I am not going to waste it hating on myself, and being a negative Nancy. (Who even is Nancy anyway??She doesn't sound that fun.)


 If you made it this far, congrats. Unbuckle your seat belt, take a breath and say “Wow, Laya.” Just kidding. But for real if you made it this far, thank you for reading this jumbled mess, filled with grammar mistakes, and things you probably don't care about. But if you liked it, and you do care about what I have to say, you can follow my youtube: Laya Jean or my instagram @layajean. Or just keep watching out for me on JEA. Thanks again for reading and if you're a supporter thanks for being there for me, and following my journey. Love you all!!!!

 Click photo to view Laya's Portfolio

Click photo to view Laya's Portfolio