Bermudian model, singer, carves her path in the UK
Kyra-Jaye Hinds is lighting up the fashion world at the moment as the lead model in an ad by UK-based fashion retailer Pretty Little Thing.
The spotlight will soon switch to her voice. The 18-year-old signed a music contract with Hope Valley Records days after she was taken on by Nemesis Models.
“It just happened kind of fast,” said Kyra-Jaye, who left Bermuda for Manchester, England six years ago. “Apparently it’s not normal for a model as new as me to land [a contract with PLT]. Two days after I got signed to Nemesis I got signed to an independent record company out here as well – so I’m working alongside both.”
Plus-sized, her skin discoloured by vitiligo, she hopes she inspires others who are not as comfortable standing out in a crowd.
“I guess I would just like to remind them that they’re beautiful regardless of what society might say. [I would tell them], you’re beautiful and you hold something very unique that other people don’t have so embrace that, and really show it to the world, because once you embrace it and you are confident in yourself the world will follow you and love you.”
It took a few years before she felt that way. She remembers being around the age of seven when she saw the first spot on herself. She later learnt it was vitiligo, a condition where there are discoloured patches on different parts of the body as a result of the skin losing its pigment cells.
“I had busted my lip and when my lip healed – vitiligo. It messed with my self-perception a little bit but it went away. I was very happy that it went away actually.
“And then when I was about 15 I had to get surgery on my leg and the scar healed fully white. And from then it spread all over my body. I don’t know what changed – I guess I was a bit more mature – but I really enjoyed it.”
Having strong role models likely helped her through. According to the teenager she’s benefited from “every female in my life”.
“Both of my grandmothers, Donna Mae Hinds and Germaine Trott; my mom definitely, Tinee Harvey, and my aunt, Denaye Hinds is a very big inspiration. My dad, Kodi Hinds, is a really big inspiration to me as well.”
She said of her vitiligo: “My family was like, ‘We could get this to help it; we could do so many different things.’ And I just, I was very adamant on the fact that I wanted it. I really loved it and I embraced it and I was like, this is part of me that I’m not going to be able to change so I might as well accept it.”
Although interested in modelling “from young” she only got seriously involved this year.
“Once I had gotten older I just lost interest,” said Kyra-Jaye, who regained her focus while in Bermuda this summer. “I did two small jobs. I worked with Dove & Butterfly, a skincare company. They do face washes, body butters and all that type of stuff. That was my first paid job. And then a few weeks after I did the Dove & Butterfly shoot I did a shoot with Cassine [a beauty product retailer]. I was the face of their fall campaign. That’s really it.
“The Pretty Little Thing shoot was my first job as a signed model.”
How that came to be, she isn’t really sure.
“I don’t actually know … I had been with the agency for about a month and, two weeks off my trial period – so technically I’d been with them for two weeks – I did a test shoot. Maybe a week after my test shoot was live on the modelling agency’s website, PLT put me on hold to work on the shoot.”
A few days later she got the call she’d longed to hear.
“One of the creators contacted me and asked if I would do the voiceover because he saw my Instagram [posts where] I sang and did music. So he said I would be perfect for it. And once I agreed to do the voiceover I automatically got put on to be a model.”
With so little experience she has no idea how she knew what to do.
“I wish I could tell you. Modelling comes natural to me, regardless of the company I guess. Being in front of the camera is the same thing no matter who you’re working for.”
Friends and family have all “just been really proud”, Kyra-Jaye added.
“I think they all kind of knew that this was what was going to happen. My mom and my dad and the rest of my family were like, ‘Yeah, you’ve been a star from young. You always wanted to be a model. This is just normal for you I guess.’ And my friends are just really proud and excited to know that I’m on PLT.”
As for her music, she’s been singing “for ever” and hopes to eventually share her voice and her piano playing with the world.
“I write my own music, I compose some of it. My goal is just to put out music – singles at first and then I want to work on an album or two in the next two or three years.”
For more information: hopevalleyrecordsltd.com; nemesismodels.com. Follow Kyra-Jaye Hinds on Instagram, @/kyrajaye_