Verge Meets Jenna McMahon

Jenna McMahon, a student at Liverpool’s Elliot Clarke Performing Arts School, has been following her passion of dance, singing and acting, passions she has had since a young age.  Adding modeling to her string of talents, however, was something relatively new and quite an unnerving thought. But, with a push, she discovered a new aspiration and became a finalist on Britain’s Next Top Model.

“To be honest, when I first saw that BNTM had came back and I saw the application form I was so excited but way too scared to apply, so left it for about a week and then my best friend and my sister were telling me to just fill it out,” says McMahon. “So if it wasn’t for them I don’t think I would of had the confidence to even fill the form out.”

From landing a spot on Lifetime’s coveted modeling competition, Jenna contributes her studies, particularly dancing from which she has been doing since the age of three, to helping her prepare and keeping rhythm on the catwalk.

Sadly, Jenna was eliminated from the competition after landing in the bottom three and we were sad to see her go! Verge was happy enough to speak with Jenna about how modeling has become not only a new passion but a career choice she looks to pursue, as well as how she has had to overcome her own insecurities when taking on modeling.

Verge: Have you ever thought of modeling before or has it ever occurred to you before your audition that this would be a possible career path?

Jenna McMahon: I was actually signed to an agency for about four to five months so I had a tiny bit of experience, but not much as I couldn’t fully devote my time to it but now it is all I want to do!

Verge: Were there any insecurities that you have had to overcome?

McMahon: I think the industry can be so strict on your measurements — that was my only insecurity. I’m happy in my body now but I did compare myself to the other girls a lot.

Verge: Even with your own body insecurities within the industry, images of fashion models in advertisements and magazines can affect the youth who see those images. What would you say to those young individuals on loving their bodies and to maintain that throughout the rest of their lives?

McMahon: Always be healthy, never crash diet to be like girls in magazines – yes you can aspire to be like them or sure but make sure you do it in the right way. I think the industry has changed a lot now and strong is definitely beautiful! Team healthy and happy.

Verge: Now that you are entering the modeling industry, are there any positive and healthy body image rules or changes that, lets say, is different from 10 years ago?

McMahon: I think the modeling industry has varied so much that not every agency is looking for the same thing no more. It’s okay to have more of an athletic figure – healthy and strong is just as beautiful as naturally thinner girls.

Verge: What advice would you give other model hopefuls?

McMahon: My advice to any model hopefuls is that you 100% have to be confident in yourself because if you don’t believe in yourself that will show on set. I’m still learning that myself to be honest, it’s hard. I struggle with that because there is so much competition. Don’t compare yourself to others or you will send yourself crazy! If it’s something you really love put your all into it and be passionate.

Verge: What inspires you?

McMahon: Successful hardworking people inspire me because I think if they can do it and work there way up to be the best then I can do that.

Verge: What do you hope to see happen in the modeling industry in the future in regard to promoting positive body image?

McMahon: I just hope that the industry can start to widen their range of models. To me ,personally, I feel not being the right measurements puts people off wanting to peruse modeling, there should be a market for everyone as there is so many different types of modeling.

Verger: Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?

McMahon: Hopefully in the next five years I will be a full time working model but I would also love to try a bit of television work.

Verge: Are there any routines or rituals that you do to get ready for a shoot or to get ready for the day?

McMahon: Every week I have a personal training session with my trainer, Chelsea, to tone and keep fit and I stick to a healthy diet plan just so I feel confident in my body, ready for when I do a shoot what ever it may be.

Verge: What have you learned and taken away from your experience on BNTM? 

McMahon: After being on BNTM I have learnt that I am lot stronger as a person than I thought I was. The process was tough and sometimes a bit overwhelming but it has definitely helped me grow as a person and gave me the confidence to peruse modelling as a full time career as before the process, I never believed I could.

Verge: If you were to model for a designer/campaign, who would it be?

McMahon: I have always said my dream campaign would be Calvin Klein! I love how natural and simplistic they make their shoots.

Verge: There is a lot of confrontation that can go on back and forth between competitors.  What would be your advice to avoid negative confrontation, especially in a very competitive industry? 

McMahon: People are always going to talk, good or bad. My advice would be if it’s not constructive or going to help you in anyway then ignore it, negativity is not worth your time.

Verge: What has made you stronger, not only as a model, but as a person since BNTM?

McMahon: I think being able to cope with the mixture of personalities in the BNTM house and being away from home made me realise that I’m actually stronger than what I thought and I can stand on my own two feet.

Verge: What is your favourite memory from competing in BNTM?

McMahon: Ah I have so many favourite memories from BNTM, but I think my favourite would be meeting three incredible girls. Bethan, Georgia and Lexi. They are my best friends and I couldn’t imagine my life without them now and I’m so glad I got to share my full experience with them. Also, meeting Abbey Clancy. I really do idolise her and to have her as head judge was a dream come true, she is literally one of the loveliest people I have ever met!

In image gallery, Jenna McMahon is modeling lingerie brands Selina Bond, Coco De Mer, Lascivious and L’Agent by Agent Provocateur. Photoshoot styled by stylist Joanne Mulcare, hair and makeup by Emma Rozenbroek and photographed by Jo Emmerson.

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