Upon first glance, Stacey McKenzie might not come across as the typical supermodel, but that’s just to the average mind. Now look closely and you will see that her unconventional features are what makes this beauty stand out in a crowd. After being told “no” time and time again, it was determination and a dream that pushed her to not give up. With a bevy of freckles and eyes that could cut glass, this statuesque bombshell brings something fresh and unique to the catwalk, a distinct look and a wonderful personality to match.
Clutch: You were a judge on Canada’s Next Top Model, how was that experience?
Stacey: Being a judge, model coach and mentor to the girls on Canada’s Next Top Model was a dream come true. I was able to give back my expertise and experiences to help those up and coming models. It was the best feeling because I felt that this is why I was blessed to be in this fab industry, for me to inspire and give back.
Clutch: Is the show much different from the American version?
Stacey: From what I was told the show is a little bit different. The Canadians seem to be a little nicer! (Laughs) Other than that it was basically the same, Tyra is a smart woman!
Clutch: Have you ever worked with Tyra Banks?
Stacey: I’ve never worked with Tyra while she was modeling, but I remember meeting her back in Paris in a shopping area called Les Halles. She approached me and complimented me on my outfit that I was rocking by a local Parisian designer named Xuly Bet. I told her she was beautiful and then took her to Xuly’s showroom and got her some free gear! I keep forgetting to ask her if she remembers that! It’s crazy how things come full circle because Tyra has been looking out for me, inviting me on both her shows and showing me lots of love as her “Favorite” judge on Canada’s Next Top Model.
Clutch: What was your most memorable gig?
Stacey:I have quite a few memorable gigs. If I had to narrow it down to one it would have to be my first major fashion show with Jean-Paul Gaultier. I arrived backstage to see one of my favorite singers Madonna getting her hair done. She looks at me and goes “you are so beautiful can I have your eyes, lips, hair, freckles and body?” I almost died after I told her “hell no!” Then in the show Madonna walked out first and I came out after her, I was dying inside the entire time, but you could not tell. Then, while walking the runway I spotted Lenny Kravitz in the audience so I walked off the runway and sat on his lap, took his face in my hands and kissed him right on those rock and roll lips! I then told him how I’m in love with him and think he’s so fine, then got up and continued to walk behind Madonna! Never did I think in a million years this little six year-old Jamaican yardie’s dreams to be a model would come true and I’d make it among these great icons! I’m so blessed.
Clutch: What’s your perfect vacation destination?
Stacey: My perfect vacation destination other than my country Jamaica would be Africa. I’ve never been but I will be going and I’m sure I might not come back other than to work!
Clutch: Tell me a little about “Walk This Way.”
Stacey: I created Walk This Way Workshops back in 2000. The idea came about when I first started modeling. I did not have any guidance whatsoever like many aspiring and established models out there. I had to find out on my own how to go about finding an agency, how to deal with my agent, how to walk the runway, how to pose, how to deal with my finances etc. It was very hard and I said to myself I am going to have workshops where I give back my expertise and experiences to help people. At first it was geared towards models then I had people in general approaching me who didn’t have the confidence to make their dreams come true. I feel I was blessed to be in this industry, for me to be a teacher and give back and Walk This Way Workshops is it. Right now I do classes in Canada and I’m about to launch in New York, Europe, Asia and the Caribbean. I travel and do seminars for Walk This Way Workshops as well.
Clutch: You have a great body, what are some of your techniques for staying in shape?
Stacey: Thank you about my body! It’s bad to say but it’s the truth, I actually do not work out! Yes, I’m telling you the truth! I walk everywhere though, so if I had to say I work out that would be it. I used to walk from East Houston to 116th street in Harlem everyday! I love to walk.
Clutch: Any other hair or skin tips?
Stacey: I live for natural products! I mean NATURAL. Pure shea butter, cocoa butter, mango butter (puuurre). That’s all I use and my skin is on point. Yes I’m high headed right now! (Laughs) You can use shea butter in your hair too, also avocado oil and almond oil. But no matter what, at the end of the day you have to take care of your core first and foremost. So it’s important to eat right. I don’t but I should!
Clutch: You were born in Jamaica and you lived in Canada, New York and Paris, where do you live now?
Stacey: I live between Canada and Jamaica at the moment.
Clutch: Can you give a little insight into the history of your modeling career?
Stacey: Wow, that’s going to be some serious writing right there! Check out my website www.staceymckenzie.com there’s a blog about ‘PERSEVERANCE’, that’s the real deal insight of how and when I began my modeling career.
Clutch: Do you have a boyfriend? If so, is it hard to maintain the relationship with your schedule?
Stacey: I don’t have a boyfriend at the moment, but when I did I made sure I found time during my schedule to pay attention to my man. Women are a strong set of human beings; we work it out and make it happen! It’s hard at times but I make it happen.
Clutch: Ever worked with any serious divas?
Stacey: Yes, recently! I was shocked at the attitude of this model who’s somewhat known. She was so disrespectful to the people working on the gig we were on. I could not help it but the Jamaican came out of me, I had to check her and let her know that just as easily as she was accepted in this business, she can be easily dismissed from this business. I told her that she needed to treat people no matter who they are or what they are with respect. Anyway, to make a long story short, she cut her eyes at me and gave me her back for the rest of the shoot. Poor tragic soul.
Clutch: Even though women of color have made strides within the modeling industry, do you feel as though there is still a long way to go?
Stacey: Yes, I do feel we have a long way to go. Take a look at the business, there’s hardly any black models on the runways, in the “High Fashion” magazines, and more importantly, advertising campaigns where the money is really at! Even now for me, a model that has a great body of work is still believe it or not, fighting to get gigs. I think it’s really important for our people in the industry to be heavy hitters and really push putting us out there in the forefront.
Clutch: I read in an interview that you had an album coming out, is this true?
Stacey: I have been working on some music for quite sometime now, but at this moment I have been more focused on my Walk This Way Workshops. You never know you might see me and Grace Jones doing a fly song and video in the future!
Clutch: Where can we see more of you? And what should we expect from you in the future?
Stacey: You can check me out on my website to be updated on my whereabouts and whatabouts. You will definitely see more of Stacey McKenzie. I will be teaching for my Walk This Way Workshops, I will be on the big screens and little screens a lot more soon. I will be on the runways and billboards again too! I’m about to cause another wave of commotion again, so the world better be ready.
Clutch: What advice would you like to give to not just aspiring models, but to all our readers out there with dreams and aspirations?
Stacey: My advice to people is to first and foremost love and accept the person god has given you to work with. And once you have that on lock no one or anything can stop you from going after your dreams and goals in life. If I had listen to people telling me that “I will never or I can never,” I never would have had the opportunities in life that I have right now. God blessed you with life, make the best of it. Yes, there are ups and downs but it’s up to you how you recover.