Sydney-based teenager Juay Kennedy is a multi-talented new face with charisma to burn. This model, DJ, actor, and elite football player has an irrepressible energy and striking look — and it is winning him fans in both Australia and abroad. Photographed by Yaseera Moosa for MODELS.com.
Who are you, where are you from, and what do you do?
My name is Juay Kennedy and I was born in Singapore but I now live in the Eastern Suburbs in Sydney, Australia. My cultural background is African/Asian from my dad’s side and Australian Anglo-Saxon from my mum.
My interests are in both the creative and sporting areas. I dance, act and have a real passion for music which has lead me into DJing. On the sport side, I play AFL (Australian Rules Football). I am fortunate enough to be in the elite Sydney Swans program for individuals that display the ability to potentially play professionally.
What unique quality or qualities do you think you bring to the table?
Well, I think my versatility. I model, act, dance, and DJ in addition to being an athlete. And being a mix of African, Asian and Anglo-Saxon makes me quite unique.
You’re a creative person, with interests in music and art. Who was the first artist to make a big impression on you?
The first artist that inspired me and still does is the late Prince Roger Nelson. As a complete artist, I think Prince was and is the best ever.
Who was the last artist to make a big impression on you?
Because I’m into house music BIG TIME, it’s Sandy Rivera. He is a master and pioneer of house music. I am amazed at how he has been able to stay relevant over a 30-plus year career. I was fortunate enough to meet him and he’s the nicest man. He has taught me a lot (not just about music).
You’re young, and new to the fashion industry. What has been the biggest surprise or learning curve so far?
Just how many talented and creative people are out there. It has blown me away. I love the fact that the majority are wanting to share and learn off each other, so we can all grow, create, perform or whatever it is we do.
What motivates you?
I want to be the best I can. The thing that makes me feel most alive is to entertain an audience, whether on stage or on the sporting field. To make people happy by what I do. I always try to do my best. There is a Prince quote I love and that motivates me, “I don’t like to go to sleep anymore because the dream is never as good as real life.”
What distracts you?
The opposite sex. They really distract me, because well… you know, it’s a lovely distraction.
What or who is under-appreciated?
Women. Starting from the fact that they give us life and they can do anything but still need to battle for many things they shouldn’t have to. I always think if there were more female leaders than men that the world would be a much safer and kinder place.
What’s the best experience you’ve had in fashion?
Wow, that’s a tough one. Doing a shoot with Simon Upton for Harper’s Bazaar is probably my highlight. The energy and atmosphere that Simon brings to shoots is totally unique and allows everyone to bring out the best in themselves.
What project are you working on now/next?
Right now I am doing a shoot for Elle magazine. I’m also focused on rehearsals for my lead as Peter Pan for an upcoming play while preparing for few upcoming DJ gigs/radio performances. At the same time, I am preparing myself physically for a 5 week intensive training program with the Sydney Swans, where I hope I can meet the targets expected and stay in the squad.