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Djazel - Giselle, Modeling Jewel

I saw that Maxim was having a contest called Maxim's Finest, so I just thought "what the hell, I have nothing to lose" and decided to enter the competition. I ended up placing 6th in my group, which was actually a pretty big accomplishment for me considering I literally beat hundreds of other girls, and I was still in the top 10 girls of my group! 


1. Can you tell us about your roots, about growing up?
I was born in Toronto, ON, Canada but when I was five years old my family and I moved to a small suburban town about an hour North West of Toronto. The neighborhood we lived in started turning into a rough area. There was a lot of crime, drug dealing, and gun violence, I remember being terrified to sleep in my own bed. Obviously, this wasn't the kind of environment my parents wanted to raise my sister and me, so we moved to Georgetown. It was a small, safe suburban town, with a family-oriented, tight-knit community, and it wasn't too far from Toronto, which is where my parents worked. My sister and I continued going to school in Toronto and commuted with my parents every day. My sister was seventeen at the time so she probably would have rathered die than switch high schools, and I was too young to fend for myself or see myself off to school, so my mother would drop me off at my grandparents' house and they would walk me to/from school. It wasn't easy waking up at 4am and getting home at 7 or 8pm, and it wasn't easy being bullied at school, so the moment I turned twelve and graduated grade six, I asked my parents if I could start going to school in Georgetown. They agreed it would be best for me and registered me at one of the middle schools in town. I adjusted well and made friends but I had no idea what the social strata were, so I just tried to be friends with everyone and never stuck with a certain clique. That method carried on into high school even though I had learned who was who by that time. I didn't care who was who or which clique they belonged to, I couldn't be bothered because I knew it wouldn't matter once we graduated. High school was interesting and taught me some valuable life lessons. Despite moving schools to escape being bullied as a child, I still experienced it throughout my entire high school career, and that taught me that you can't run from your problems nor can you allow your problems to hinder you in any way. Maybe some people were threatened by my independence, physical appearance, personality, or intelligence, maybe there was jealousy, or maybe it was because I was a little rebellious and didn't fit in with one crowd. I wasn't the only female who was bullied, there were at least two other girls that I knew of and we all know how gossip/rumors spread like wildfire in a high school, especially in a small town. If I wasn't the target, it was just going to be someone else, and vice versa. I eventually learned to laugh off the daily gossip and rumors during my Sophomore year but by the time I graduated high school, I was over the social politics.


2. What was your childhood / teenage dream? What did you want to become
My childhood/teenage dream was to become an international superstar, singer, songwriter and performer.

3. Any idols during the teenage period
My biggest idols during my teen years were probably Beyonce, Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez, Ashanti, Alicia Keys, Ciara, Rihanna, Cassie, The Pussycat Dolls, Kelly Clarkson and Nelly Furtado

4. When did you start with modeling? Can you recall your first photo session
I first started pursuing modeling as a profession almost two years ago. I had been experimenting with music for a couple of years so I had done a few photoshoots during that time for promotional purposes and album/single cover art, but eventually I felt that because the market was so saturated, I needed to do more than just make music in order to stand out from everybody else. Naturally, because I already had some experience in front of the camera, and felt more experience would only boost my music career, I went with modeling. I just felt modeling would give me more exposure, and expand my market, so I took a few acting classes and started to really pursue modeling. But my first ever photo shoot was about four years ago for my album cover which was cool and memorable because I got to collaborate with two of my friends from high school; one was a photographer and the other was a hair stylist. The fact that we were all friends made me feel comfortable, we had fun and we were able to get a few really solid shots!

5. Can you tell us about your favorite place for a photo session so far
So far, my favorite place to go for photo shoots is Los Angeles, I love LA! The weather's nice all year-round so you don't have to worry about photo shoots getting rained or snowed out; plus, the environment and atmosphere are unbelievably photogenic, I mean, the options you have as a model or a photographer are endless! I often joke around that you could literally just hop out of your car, stand on a street corner, take a picture and be able to capture something beautiful because the natural landscape and architecture are just stunning no matter where you go.

6. You are a brand ambassador too. Can you tell us more about that 
I am a brand ambassador! So what that means is that certain brands will ask me to either represent or work with their brand in different ways. One popular method that you probably see a lot of models using is called affiliate marketing which is when they post a photo of themselves on social media using a certain product/service with a caption endorsing that product, and then give their audience a custom discount code encouraging them to go ahead and try the product. The custom discount code allows the brand to track how many people use the code and then the brand pays a certain percentage of every sale to the model. Usually, the model either gets the product/service they are endorsing/advertising for free, or they get a very large discount. Another popular method is when certain brands or companies hire or sponsor models and in return, models must show their support by using the brands' products/services, promoting the brands' products/services, wearing the brands' products, and going to any events that involve the brand. I've worked with beauty companies, apparel companies, cigar companies, beer companies, and dispensaries. I've worked on the car show scene as a brand ambassador for car shows and I've also worked booths at car shows as a brand ambassador for companies/businesses in the automotive industry.

7. Who is in charge of your make up and hairstyle
I normally do my own hair and makeup but sometimes I'll hire a hair and makeup artist, or sometimes one is provided to me by whoever coordinated/organized the photo shoot.


8. What would be your advice to young girls who would like to start modeling career
My advice to young girls under the age of 18 would be to have your parents approval or permission first! Once they've given you permission or you've become of age (whichever comes first), I suggest researching local photographers' portfolios, making a list of 5-10 photographers you'd like to work with, contacting those photographers and then working something out. I find Instagram and Facebook to be the best ways of finding photographers to work and collaborate with but I've also had some luck with Model Mayhem which is a website exclusively for artists in the industry (models, photographers, hairstylists, makeup artists, stylists, designers, filmmakers, etc.) that offers a network and access to casting calls. Instagram's cool because once you start following photographers and liking their work, IG starts to suggest similar accounts so you can find even more photographers that way. Facebook has tons of photography and modeling groups that you can join and network within, both locally and internationally, some of which even post casting calls and then, of course, there are certain groups that only post casting calls. If you have a budget and can afford to invest in your portfolio by paying some of the most well-known photographers in your area, then go for it! If you're on a tight budget, you can still find some very talented photographers who are also in the process of building their portfolios and work together TFP (Trade for Photos) which means neither party gets paid but both parties walk away with edited images to add to their portfolios. When you're organizing a photoshoot with a photographer, make sure that the agreement between you and the photographer is crystal clear and that you both know what you are or are not getting out of it. The best way to do this is to have a release form/agreement that you and the photographer sign prior to the photoshoot, but as long as your agreement/communication online is documented, you should be okay. Always be cautious and safe when meeting/working with a photographer for the first time by either bringing someone with you, having someone drop you off, or giving the address to someone, be it a friend or family member, someone you trust should always know your whereabouts. You can try and approach model and talent agencies but if you're just starting out and have no professional photos or portfolio, 99% of them will charge you hundreds to thousands of dollars for portfolio photos and then they don't even guarantee you work or gigs. I would highly suggest practicing your poses and facial expressions in the mirror or using your phone to find which angles and lighting work for your face and body. If you're not sure how to pose your body, another good way to learn is looking at how other models pose and imitating their poses; try flipping through a magazine or checking out different models photos on IG.

9. We have seen in your bio: Maxim’s finest 2017. Tell us about that.
I saw that Maxim was having a contest called Maxim's Finest, so I just thought "what the hell, I have nothing to lose" and decided to enter the competition. I ended up placing 6th in my group, which was actually a pretty big accomplishment for me considering I literally beat hundreds of other girls, and I was still in the top 10 girls of my group!

10. Any hobbies
I'm a creative person so I love to sing, write, paint and make or build things with my hands but I also love knowledge and learning so I read and do a lot of research on all kinds of different things.

11. How do you stay in shape
I don't work a normal 9-5 job and my schedule is constantly changing, so it's hard for me to follow a strict diet or gym schedule but I stay in shape by being as active and eating as healthy as I possibly can. Most of the contents of my kitchen are organic, all natural, free-range products. I try to eat as many homemade meals as possible but if I do have to eat out I'll usually pick something healthy and very rarely do I eat at fast food chains. I drink lots of water, and I rarely drink juice or dark colored sodas. If I'm craving something fizzy, I'll either go for sparkling water or a clear pop like Sprite, 7up or Ginger Ale. I rarely drink liquor or any kind of alcohol. I try my best to get my ass into the gym or do a quick workout at home but if not, at the very least, I always get a workout from cleaning my condo, doing obscene amounts of laundry and walking my dogs 3-4 times a day.

12. You have several tattoos. What do they mean to you
On my left side, I have an owl sitting on a horizontal treble clef disguised as vines. I love music and owls are one of my favorite animals so I wanted this tattoo near my heart. Owls symbolize knowledge, magic, and mystery, which is why I decided I wanted to disguise the treble clef by flipping it on its' side and making it look like the owl was just perched on vinery, guarding and protecting. Beneath my left breast, I have "Follow your dreams" in a fancy script which is pretty self-explanatory. I got that one done when I realized that living my life by society's standards or norms wasn't realistic for me and that I was meant for something greater. I've always been obsessed with Egyptology ever since I was a little girl so on my left wrist, I have the eye of Horus which symbolizes power, health, and protection. Some of you may recognize it as the third eye which refers to higher levels of consciousness, enlightenment, spirituality and clairvoyance which are all things that interest me, things that I've studied and continue to study. I love simple wrist tattoos, they're just so delicate looking, and I thought it'd be the perfect place for something simple like the eye of Horus. On my sternum, I have an ankh which symbolizes life. I decided to get it on my sternum not only because I had never seen anyone else with it and I love to be original, but also because the ankh would literally be pointing towards my uterus and reproductive organs, AKA "life". I ended up adding a floral arrangement on either side of my ankh to reinforce the "life" symbolism I had going on. When I was looking for flower arrangements with my tattoo artist, we found one with peonies and berries and it just worked. Peonies remind me of my childhood and my grandmother because my grandmother had peonies in her garden. That and I love eating any kind of berry, so it was perfect. Finally, I have "vai te terminar" on my spine in plain Roman script because those were my grandfather's last words to me before he passed away. It was part of our ritualistic 'goodbyes' and 'I love you's'; my grandfather used to always say it to me when it was time to leave which is why I had it tattooed on my back.


13. Social media accounts so people can see your work.