The House of Jayne Charm and Modeling School will celebrate its 50th anniversary with a fashion show, which will display the talents of former models and honor the person who started it all, Miss Jayne Brown.
The reunion fashion show will start at 5 p.m. July 31 at The Jewel Event Center, 3333 N. Illinois St. The event will include a buffet, reception, music, entertainment and the fashion show. Admission to the event is $50.
History of the House of Jayne
When Brown became interested in modeling, she joined Cordie King Castle Modeling and Charm School. After graduating from the school in 1962, Brown began teaching modeling workshops at local community centers, and in 1972, she opened her own modeling school.
The House of Jayne Charm and Modeling School was a place where young Black boys and girls were able to develop their self-esteem. Brown enjoyed working with her students and seeing their development.
Some of the models were able to compete nationally in NAACP fashion shows, and, according to Brown, three of her models were placed in the top 10.
Many other business ideas were generated from the modeling school. House of Jayne would later branch into a boutique shop and a bridal service business all while maintaining the modeling school.
In 1976, Brown became immobilized due to rheumatoid arthritis — a chronic inflammatory disorder where the body’s immune system attacks its own tissue and joints. Her family and friends helped maintain House of Jayne while she was on bed rest.
House of Jayne would close and reopen in different locations throughout the years, but Brown would pick herself and the House of Jayne back up every time. Brown, who is now 83, will host the fashion show not only as a reunion but to also show the business’s perseverance through the good and bad times.
“To reach 83 after going through all that I have been through and having my family with me to share this experience, I am just grateful,” she said.
Where are the models now?
Valerie Lin McCray is not the shy 15-year-old she was when she first met Brown. Now, at 63, she is a Democratic politician whose most recent campaign was for U.S. Senate.
While she admitted she is still introverted, when she needs to give a speech, McCray uses the modeling tips Brown taught her, finds the confidence to get on stage and says what she needs to say.
“There’s nobody like Miss Jayne,” she said. “We were little kids from the hood, but she made sure that we were up on stage. Her idea of beauty transcended what traditional ideas of beauty were. She felt we were beautiful as is.”
Gloria Payton enrolled in modeling school at 17, during her final year of high school. After participating in the modeling school, Payton became a hair stylist, and at 65, she is a salon owner. She said a lot of the lessons she learned from Brown are embedded in her everyday life.
“It helps you in every aspect of your life,” she said. “It takes confidence and knowing how to communicate to all people. I contribute a lot of my success to her.”
Sabae Jones-Martin is a certified paralegal and is going back to school at 64. She said she was blessed to meet and work with Brown as a teenager because it showed her the potential she possessed.
“Jayne Brown took a group of young Black teens, gave us confidence and made us feel like anything is possible,” she said. “She taught us that we could do whatever we wanted to do and be whatever we wanted to be.”
Contact religion reporter Abriana Herron at 317-924-5243. Follow her on Twitter @Abri_onyai. Herron is a Report for America corps member and writes about the role of Black churches in the community.