Leicester – born medical student Helena Jay was wandering through Regent’s Park on a sunny Saturday when she was scouted by Lohan Harper from Next Models. Details were exchanged, a whirlwind week of meet and greets followed, and the 20 – year – old was booked to walk in Alexander McQueen’s Spring / Summer 2022 show. The catch? She had to dye her hair ..lavender.
PARIS, France – It was hairstylist Guido Palau’s idea when he saw Helena try on her look: a heavenly liliac off – the – shoulder skeletal corset dress with ribbon detailing, crystal raindrops, and shredded tulle cloud embroidery. ‘How would you feel about…?’ Guido tentatively asked. The industry newcomer was game. ‘I’ve never dyed my hair before in my life!’, she tells us, her purple tint still giving off a punkish air that believes this med student’s day – to – day at UCL. ‘I’m a fan!’, she adds triumphantly.
Still riding on a high from being immersed in Sarah Burton’s spectacular universe, the world the comes up most in our conversation is ‘exciting’. ‘I’m very new to the world of fashion, so I think it was the best first experience I could have had’, she says of walking the makeshift runway on a rooftop within East London’s Tobacco Dock. ‘The venue was like nothing I’ve ever seen… a vig bubble in the sky’. With dramatic views of the capital backdropping her debut, the show went by a flash – her initial nerves giving way to, you guessed it, excitement.
Now in her third year, Helena’s modeling side job has given her a sense of equilibrium. Becoming a doctor is still on the agenda, but she’s keeping all doors open with regard to her future. This seems remarkably cool – headed for a young woman who describes the past couple of weeks as a ‘fairy tale’, but with Next watching her back and the grounding influence of Burton’s ‘down – to – earth’ team, this lavender – haired star will go far.