Ms. Jearlean Taylor is an Author , International Fashion Model, Entrepreneur, Motivational Speaker, Cancer Survivor, Ostomy Advocate, and Mentor
Q & A
How old are you?
54 years old
What month is your birthday? (Do you follow astrology? If so, what is your sign?)
December, I don’t follow astrology
You survived a rare type of childhood cancer. What was that like going to treatments and constantly being in and out of the hospital?
At the age of three years old I developed a rare form of cancer called Rhabdomasarcoma. This type usually begins in muscles that are attached to bones and that help the body move, but it may begin in many places in the body. As a result of the tumors, ostomy surgery was next. An ostomy is a surgical opening in body (typically around belly area) that allows stool and/or urine to leave your body through your belly. This surgery is needed for a number of different reasons, but primarily occurs as a result of a malfunctioning urinary or digestive system. It is then you will have to wear ostomy bag, which is a small, waterproof pouch/bag used to collect waste from the body.
I was cancer free a year after my diagnosis and treatments, but as life would have it, two ostomy bags would be my permanent situation. My parents said I was a very strong child through treatments and the constant in and out of the hospital. The traveling back and forth from New York (Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center) to Baltimore was necessary for the best care with a great medical team. As I recall, being away from home and my siblings was rough on me and my parents, but our faith in God allowed us to have reassurance I was going be beat cancer.
You are one of six kids. How was it growing up with so many siblings? Were they always supportive of you during your battle with cancer?
Growing up with five other siblings was great. We are very close knit family. My siblings understood as much as possible my care was important. When I was able to come home it was like I never left. They have always been supportive and believed I was going to be fine.
Where do you fall in the range of your siblings?
We are number five; that is me & my twin sister.
You are originally from Baltimore, what was it like growing up here?
I was born and raised in Southwest Baltimore. I love my city. I enjoy the history, the communities, and the neighborhood I grew up. We were like family. All the kids played together. It was fun and community unity. We looked out for each other and developed a bond that still remains until this day. It’s often said we don’t have to be a product of our environment. I believe it is our environment (community) that gave us a sense of pride of where we came from. It is now we can look back, be proud, and say thank you community.
How did you begin your modeling career?
I was discovered in mall. A modeling scout invited me to well-known modeling company Open House. I went and listened to information about the company. I started modeling classes with Travis Winkey Modeling Studio. I worked hard and what I thought would be just a hobby turned into another career. My journey to become a model allowed me to step out the box and try something I never did before. Additional, modeling helped my self-esteem and made me realize I was more than my ostomy bags. It is now 21 years as a fashion model and I have no desire to stop.
When did you decide to write your book?
I decided to start my book in 2006, but it was not published until 2013. Those years before the publication was writing, crying, reflections, lost emotions, hurt, disappointments, divorce, and I can go on. However, those years was a time of healing, loving the essence of who I was becoming, and finding clarity. My journal book of so many thoughts developed into my “Pretty Girl Blues”.
Where can your book be purchased?
My book can be purchased on Amazon or my website www.jearleantaylor.com
Are you still modeling?
I am still modeling and no plans to stop anytime soon. Additional mentoring and training up and coming models.
Are you involved with a modeling agency?
I am not involved with another modeling agency. I am a freelance model.
Do you do community service work through modeling or by other means?
I own and operate J & Company Christian Modeling. We build, train, and develop from the inside out. The modeling industry can be often “selective”. However, I am seeing positive change with diversity and inclusion. J & Company teaches all interested in modeling no matter the age that beauty starts within. We help build your self-esteem and self-worth. No matter if you want to make this a career or help be the best version of you we are here to help guide you. I am admired for my journey in fashion world, be it; magazine features, T.V., fashion awards and recognitions, billboards, workshops, and especially having ostomy bags as model. We are more than our circumstances. We can be, do, and live our life to fullest in spite of this thing called life. Dare to dream and be all your heart desires. Go for it!
What is your most memorable experience?
My most memorable experience is realizing that God had plans for me before I was born. Every experience made me stronger no matter the circumstance. The best memories are instilled in my heart and therefor will always remain timeless.
What is your hope for younger generations growing up in Baltimore City?
We can look around Baltimore and see many things and not just “The Wire” which was ground breaking for our city in positive ways. We often look at the negative about Baltimore. However I think of ways to keep hope alive and our generation motivated. My hope is for us to be more open, understanding, and remember we didn’t always get it right when we were younger. I believe in “show & tell”. It’s time to show our young generations all things are possible. It is time to tell them they are more than they have become. It is our experiences and life lessons that we can share so all generations can realize if we made it they can to.
“We are all different to make a difference.”Anonymous
I used to say, why me?’ why cancer, why ostomy bags? Now I say, ‘why not me?’ Just because you have difficulties in life doesn’t mean you can’t make it. Why not you!
Be the change you want to see
Every closed door does not mean no
We are all born with a purpose
Remember, all things are possibleJEARLEAN TAYLOR