_Jade Lagardere : a talent to follow
Here she is; sublime, slender, jet-black hair, sapphire eyes, sculptural figure.The magic works, before the flashbulbs or away from them. Luminous, relaxed and exceptionally gracious, Jade Lagard.re is one of those women we would all like to resemble. 5’9” tall, this radiant 27-year-old mother in a pin up’s body writes comic books and practices boxing. And if her marriage to one of the CAC-40’s top executives is the talk of the world of celebrities and finance, the author of Amber Blake is not just a beautiful woman in a glossy magazine. Add her words to the image.
Meet a top model without a filter.
You are an international model, what did this experience mean to you?Lots of things! Thanks to this profession, I was able to travel all over the world, learn foreign languages, like English and Spanish. Even if my mother comes from Oviedo, she never spoke to me in that language. I worked a lot in Barcelona and it was very frustrating not to be able to answer even though I understood! This profession is also the discovery of different cultures. The experience also teaches you the patience to spring back when faced with failure. At castings, you’re sometimes told: “you’re too tall, your hips are too wide, you’re not enough this, too much that”. It’s difficult but you have to learn how to take it, it builds character. This enabled me to become what I am today.
Are you more photo or catwalk?
I was above all a catwalk girl; Victoria’s Secret is my dream! And moreover it’s really in contradiction to the person that I am. I have always been very shy and quite self-critical and modelling has always been a way for me to accept myself. Writing is kind of a painkiller for me, and I could say the same thing for modelling. On a shoot or in a fashion show, I prefer to be completely transformed. Usually they use very nude makeup on me and I don’t like it. It’s strange, because the result is very pretty, but it’s too much “me”. In this profession, I love to play a role. When I’m in front of the camera, it’s not Jade any longer.
Your worst experience in fashion?
I shall always remember a shoot in Spain... We were two models and the client was very demanding. From the first day she kept calling me by the other model’s name. At first I said nothing, then when I reminded her of my name, she replied: “ It’s the same thing”. Everything went wrong; she never stopped making unpleasant comments. At one point I wanted to call her and I used the wrong name. She corrected me, and then I said: “It’s the same thing isn’t it?” There was a silence; then she smiled. In the end, the photo shoot went well!
Doing a shoot for Blush!
What do you think of the new generation of top models, like Gigi and Kendall compared to the era of Claudia and Naomi?
There’s no getting around it ! I began modelling with the “Top Model” generation; they are my idols. Moreover, Naomi was dubbed “black panther” and I “white panther” when I first started out. I was doing haute couture in Rome and out of ten castings, I did the ten shows, I took them all. My agency couldn’t believe it and that was how it all started.
You’re described as a “bomb”. What do you feel about that?
I’m flattered! However what people don’t know is that I put on a great deal of weight with my three pregnancies; 57 lbs for the first, 61 for the second and 66 for the last… I thought I would never lose it all. I had intensive sessions with a coach for several months to get my figure back. I mostly do cardio and I box. I adore that.
How long have you been boxing?
Since 2011, but to be honest I haven’t done any boxing for a year. It’s one of the sports that I prefer; it corresponds to my temperament. Not that I’m violent, but I’m a complete tomboy! I grew up with three older brothers, so go-karting, video games and amusement parks hold no secrets for me. I’m a regular guy (laughter)! A speed fan, I would have loved to be a F1 racing driver.
How do you achieve a balance in your life as wife, mother and model?
Very easy, me I know how to do everything! (laughter)
You write comic books. Tell us about it…
I’ve written scenarios since I was very small; it was my way of expressing myself. This passion returned in 2013 when I was expecting my second daughter, Mila. I felt the need to write again; then I created the character of Amber Blake. Amber, because my second name is Ambre and for Blake I simply began with the word “black” in English because it’s quite a sombre story. In this comic book, I evoke all the subjects that have always concerned and appalled me: rape, paedophilia, drug addiction, prostitution, human trafficking... I wanted to treat it in an entertaining way since I think this is a good approach to discussing such subjects. The positive side of all that is that Amber Blake is a very strong person, who manages to overcome whatever she has lived through. It is also a message of hope.
In fact, Amber Blake also illustrates the ills of our society, doesn’t she?
I receive many messages from people affected by this story. Amber Blake brought a certain distress to light and they could not finish it. However, readers told me: “Thank you, Jade, it’s true, we must go on fighting and not give up.”
How do you feel about the media coverage of your marriage to a CAC-40 top executive?
In the early days, I took it very badly. We were hounded because of the difference in our ages and height... People love to stick labels on others, but we all do it, so I can’t blame them! I really suffered from it, but now, seven-and-a-half years later I can step back from it. When you know me, you realise that I am not like the image I reflect!
Besides modelling, Glenat Publishing is releasing volume II of Amber Blake in June. It’s available on line, at the Fnac, in all good bookshops and supermarkets, for example. It’s quite easy to find. I just finished writing Volume III. We are also talking about publishing it in the US. Now my most important project is to produce Amber Blake as a TV series or a feature film. I would love to give my character that gift!
by Laure Delvigo
Photo Sandra Fourqui.