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Pulse's Alicia Burke shoots French 'Vogue'

Published:Monday | February 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Alicia Burke
Alicia Burke
Alicia Burke from the 1883 editorial
Alicia Burke from the 1883 editorial

PULSE’S ALICIA Burke is on a roll. The new international model recently shot French Vogue in London, less than two months into her international career.

Burke, winner of the Pulse’s Search for the Million Dollar Girl reality show in 2015, will be featured in the May issue of the magazine, undoubtedly every model’s dream.

Burke’s success comes on the heels of her 1883 multi-page editorial and mirrors the success of another Pulse star and supermodel icon, Nadine Willis.

Willis shot 10 pages of French Vogue in February 2002 by herself, plus a story, with the great Mario Testino, a month after starting her career in London. Testino went on to shoot Willis for her immortal Gucci campaign two weeks later, hailed by CNN in November as one of 15 ads that shook society and changed the world.

Burke shot her French Vogue editorial with another photo great — the celebrated David Simms, and their’s is set to be a very special relationship. Shot at Big Sky Studios in London’s Brewery district, Burke describes the experience as “exhilarating”. She can’t speak about the shoot, which was “closed” and “highly confidential”.

The stunning Jamaican’s mind-boggling French Vogue coup makes her one of the fastest-rising stars in the global fashion industry. French Vogue is the one (along with the American edition), that is the most coveted of the Conde Nast publications. Alicia is currently featured in this month’s 1883 fashion glossy. She started her international career in the United Kingdom in November, spending a month in London before returning to Jamaica for the holidays. Since her return to London in late January, she has exploded, booking a slew of assignments for not only French Vogue, but also Me & Em Lookbook (twice), a Topshop campaign, a Star & Co beauty and style editorial and House of Fraser, among a number of others.

Burke’s dream start to her international career has placed her in hot demand in all the major markets, quickly securing representation in Milan and New York, with Paris to follow. Pulse, which has placed her with these agencies— first Models 1 in London and then Women in Milan and New York, is confident that this is just the start of a superstar career.

“All indicators were aligned for Alicia from the start: unique beauty of face and body, personality, commitment and the all-important and often elusive star quality — the X factor,” said Pulse chairman Kingsley Cooper.

A native of Bullet Tree District in Old Harbour, Burke says her grandmother’s influence has been the most important factor in her young life. She lists Pulse’s multiple Vogue covergirl, Jeneil Williams, as her favourite Pulse model. 

Williams was a special participant (a judge and counsellor) in the eight-week model search TV show which Burke won.

At the time Burke said, “The international prospects are great. I have a strong feeling that I am going to be the next big thing. I just need to continue doing what I am doing and work hard going forward.”

This immediate period is very exciting for Pulse, with new stars such as Vogue and Elle model Francine James, Seventeen model Alysia Francis, and now Alicia Burke, beginning to stamp their class on international markets.

In addition, the global recognition received by supermodels Jeneil Williams and Nadine Willis at the end of 2015 have put an amazing year in context. Vogue declared Jeneil Williams and Nadine Willis to be two of five Jamaicans who changed the face of fashion. They were the only ones of the five to have been discovered, developed and managed by a Jamaican agency. The others were Stacey McKenzie, Grace Jones and Robyn McPherson. Of the group, only Jeneil Williams is currently in the global model market, having had one of her best years in 2015.

Alicia joins a long line of Pulse Vogue stars which includes cover girls Lois Samuels and Jeneil Williams, multiple Vogue supermodels Sedene Blake, Jaunel McKenzie and Nadine Willis, as well as Lincoln Wynter, Oraine Barrett and Rochelle Watson.