Full of life and energy, Jamila Wardknott, is an incredible woman. She’s British, a Playboy bunny, driven, and is constantly looking for ways to improve her career and her life. Jamila is as enthusiastic as they come, and that’s what sets her apart from other models: whatever it is that she’s doing (modeling or not), she’s happy doing it.
Justin Marroquin: How did you get interested in modeling?
Jamila Wardknott: My passion of being in front of the camera started at a young age. From attending dance and stage school from the age of three to four, I was avid to be in the spotlight and to be dressed up, and well, that passion just grew and got me to where I am today. It is an interest that constantly grows as I learn more and as I meet more people in the industry. My passion is something that seems to grow from other peoples passion and interest. There are so many areas that modeling involves and I do not believe that is something that I could ever grow a disinterest for.
Justin Marroquin: What was your first photo shoot experience like?
Jamila Wardknott: My first photo shoot (besides posing in front of cameras as a young girl) I was lucky enough to shoot in the Caribbean, and to be published in a magazine that is distributed in Tuxtla, Mexico. It came naturally to me, knowing my angles, and how to work the camera: both with my body and face; and I knew that from there the passion would only develop and it would be something that I would need to pursue as I grew up.
Justin Marroquin: You’re known to be very dedicated and focused with anything that you do. Where does that come from, and how do you stay that way?
Jamila Wardknott: The discipline of theater school taught me a lot. If you want to succeed in something–that time and attention is needed. It is most certainly not being “the best” or in terms of modeling “the prettier” but having a personality and attitude to succeed, and open mind to new things and new people. This work opens so many doors of opportunity, and whoever you are, there are a thousand girls behind you dying to take your place (whatever business you’re in). So really enjoy it while it lasts, and put the passion into that you have, and I can promise you that eventually, your hard work and dedication will pay off. Life’s too short to sit and let it pass you by. Opportunities don’t come to you; you have to find them!
Justin Marroquin: What is your definition of beauty?
Jamila Wardknott: As old of a saying it is “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”
I have been privileged enough to travel many parts of the world, the most influential places to me: Latin America, Europe, Southwest Asia. In different parts of the world various things are considered beautiful, the emphasis on the eyes, curves, hair, and style. To me, confidence and finding your individuality is important, and something that develops with age. Women are beautiful in various ways, and not always the same. There is no definition of beauty per se, because my eyes see differently to yours and yours to the next person. It’s a matter of opinion and something that will constantly change and develop through time–for individuals, and with “trends” for those who follow the fashion scene.
Justin Marroquin: You were named Cyber Girl October 2013 for Playboy Mexico. How did you react, and what’s it like to be a part of the Playboy family?
Jamila Wardknott: Posing for Playboy was something that as a young girl, was given to me as an idea and from there, it grew into what is now a forever growing part of my life. The appreciation of the female body and beauty, and the collective group of girls–who internationally, are selected to be a part of the “Playboy Family” demonstrate diversity, and various styles and body types. Although the typical Playboy model is the bouncy, busty blonde–you can see that various types of girls are being acknowledged throughout the world for their attitude ans sass; and their great ability to work the camera and show off their curves. I felt privileged to be recognized and published as Cyber Girl, and it has given me many opportunities. I was photographed for the front cover of August 2014, and have had the chance to work with them in many events. It’s not just a privilege, but an experience that has been and continues to be (without sounding too cheesy) life changing. I can only hope there is more to come.
Justin Marroquin: Are there any companies/publications that you haven’t worked with, but want to?
Jamila Wardknott: Well, as far as companies go: I like to open the door of opportunity to other people, as others have for me. Independent clothing companies, not just lingerie and swimwear; local companies that would like that little push through social networks or promoting their events; I am always happy to help. Publications–there is a list, but working on it one by one.
Justin Marroquin: The modeling industry is extremely competitive and tough–how do you remain optimistic and positive through it all?
Jamila Wardknott: For me, one thing that changed my outlook and allowed me to see a lot of progression in moving forward with my career and acceptance of myself, was not to focus too much on other people’s success. Use it as inspiration and motivation, but try not to get stuck on how fast others are moving forward in comparison to yourself, and not to compare your self physically/successfully because everyone has their own story and struggle as to how they got there, and most definitely–everyone has their own time.
Justin Marroquin: Besides modeling, what else are you interested in and passionate about?
Jamila Wardknott: Travel. You travel not only to escape, but also to discover, reflect, enjoy, find, and release the hidden you. Whether it’s culture, food, art, new people, parties, and clothes. Wherever you go. when you leave the place you call home, not only by plane–you will find a whole new world. Although I am from London, where the culture and people from other countries is extremely varied. When you travel–you see a whole other side of this. You learn, you grow, and it is amazing. Variety, really, is the spice of life. How can you expect to grow if you only surround yourself with people just like you? Meeting new people is like traveling: It expands your horizons to the depths of their minds. You don’t need a plane ride or even to pack your bag. Just strike up a conversation with someone totally different from you, and let them take you to their world.
“Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow.”
Namaste from India.
Justin Marroquin: What can people learn from you, and how can they apply it to their lives?
Jamila Wardknott: As mentioned above, I think to learn from someone you really just need to spark up a conversation. For me, I traveled from a young age, and I feel now there is more fear and less trust in the world–with the internet creating propaganda of each country, no longer highlighting the best things, but the worst. It is important to understand that life can be dangerous, but it can also be fun; there are dangerous places in every country you travel to (even your own). But take risks and more often than not, you will not regret them, and besides, you can only ever learn from your mistakes.
Justin Marroquin: Happiness and success is different for everybody. What do they mean to you, and do they play a vital role in your life?
Jamila Wardknott: First of all, it is important to know that success is not always the key to happiness. You can have one without the other, and more often than not, it is the case. Happiness comes from within, from yourself–first of all, and then by the situations you surround yourself with. The people in your life, the food you eat, the dedication you provide to your passion, hobbies, feeling confident. A personal rule of mine is: you should never do anything that doesn’t make you happy; life is too short. Until now, it has been a great method to avoid the dull day-to-day drag of life that some people fall into. Some say irresponsible and that it will come back to bite me on the bum, but I will cross that bridge when, and if I come to it.
Justin Marroquin: Share some advice that has helped you the most in your life thus far?
Jamila Wardknott: Well, again–as mentioned above: whatever it is that makes you happy, is what you should do.
“You will find that people will always have opinions about your decisions. Don’t take it personally, it’s simply because they’re not courageous enough to take action in their own lives. Be a leader in your life and pay no mind to those who lack the courage to do the same in theirs.”
Like Jamila’s page on Facebook
Follow Jamila on Twitter
Check out Jamila’s photos on Instagram