Jessica Lee Reedy Goes High Fashion
By Julie Perine on June 03, 2012
“My dream was to go to New York City. My mother was a former model and lived there for 15 years,” said Lee – as she is known in the fashion world – about her mom, Pamela Thrasher. “Since I was like 6 years old, I’ve been a very artsy person, looking at ‘Vogue’ and sketching out things. I’ve always known I wanted to be in the fashion business.”
Just 17 years old, Lee left school in her pursuit of the runway, finding herself in renowned shows featuring works of Adrian Alicea, Dita Sandico-Ong and Irina Shabayeva – not to mention Nolcha Fashion Week.
“Nolcha Fashion Week consists of like 10 shows in one day with designers who fly in from all over the world with their collections,” Lee said. “I did fashion week for their fall/winter 2012 collections.”
Among those designers were Rebeca Tiago of Puerto Rico, Danilo Gabrielli of Italy and Megla M of Greece.
“She had an amazing line of modern things like Lady Gaga would wear,” Lee said. “I opened the show in this crazy black, bubble-sleeved outfit. It was like playing dress-up. Her things are really out there.”
Back stage was exactly as she had imagined.
“It was so hectic. Every time you come off the runway, there are assistants at your side, doing your hair and make-up and ripping off your clothes,” Lee said. “You have three minutes to be ready and get back on the runway.”
There were some mishaps – including missing ensemble parts – but she had to “rock it anyway,” she said.
Lee was summoned about the possibility of modeling in New York back in October.
“My agent in Atlanta, Element Model Management, sent out an email asking which models were interested in going to New York City to do photo shoots for some agencies,” Lee said. “I told her I was very much interested, but several weeks went by and I never heard anything. Finally, in late-November, I got an email saying that Emmanuel New York Models was really interested in me and loved my look. They wanted me in to move to the city in a week and a half.”
Without hesitation, Lee made the move.
“When I first got there, I did a couple of photo shoots with Kent Miller, who shoots lots of stars,” Lee said. “I did jewelry and hair shoots – nothing big – until New York City Fashion Week. That was my big break.”
Lee’s stay in the Big Apple was a fashion frenzy whirlwind and a valuable experience insofar as her knowledge of the industry. But it wasn’t all “butterflies, glamour, glitz and rainbows.”
“If I wasn’t going to castings, I’d be working out four times a day and basically not eating; just chugging water. It’s a very gruesome industry with so much pressure to be skinny,” she said. “Lots of opinion is involved. You’re torn down and analyzed. Your body image is torn down a lot.”
It takes a strong personality to endure, Lee said.
“Thank God I had that or I would have crumbled to pieces,” she said.
Another negative element of her on-site modeling was some misrepresentation she encountered with an agent. She had to take that one to court.
“You just have to keep your guard up all the time,” Lee said.
While in New York, she wasn’t surprised that she ran up against such stressful factors, but it wasn’t until she returned home to Bridgeport that she realized the magnitude of it all. She had gotten “caught up” in the excitement and lifestyle, she said.
She’s now a few pounds heavier and a little wiser.
“I would say it hasn’t really changed my perception, but it’s made me realize there are more important things in life,” she said. “But I met so many amazing designers and other good people in the industry. I have a lot of good contacts and it showed me to a different world. I have no regrets. I wouldn’t take it back.”
She’s shooting for a career as a baby clothes designer and operating a high-end boutique in L.A.
Her love for babies, especially her niece Amie, is the driving force. In fact, she believes she’ll name her line “Amie by Jessica Lee.”
But while pursuing that dream, Lee still plans to revisit the runway. She’s already been invited back to do Gabrielli’s next show.
“He’s becoming huge in Fashion Week,” Lee said. “He’s moving up to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which is the biggest thing in the fashion world. He’s becoming the new Michael Kors within the next year. I loved walking for him.”
Lee has also had the opportunity to meet up with yet another hometown girl, Christina Iaquinta Stuber, owner of her own custom-design bikini company, mikinibikini.com.
Lee is the daughter of Pamela Thrasher (shown with her above, right) and step-daughter of Woody Thrasher.