Grace Jones

“I can be a pain, but most of all, I can be a pleasure.”

Grace Jones, Jamaican-American Singer, Actress, and Model, 1948-Present.

Grace Jones is a triple-threat artist, early proponent of androgyny, and avant-garde style icon. Her distinctive fashion sense defies gender boundaries, paving the way for a generation of women in the arts. A slave to no trend, “Slave to the Rhythm” remains her most requested song.

Jones’ date of birth is a moving target; she once told a New York Times reporter, “I never remember how old I am. I’m 5,000 years old.”

What is known is that Jones and her five siblings were born to a very religious family in Jamaica. She was primarily raised by a step-grandfather who believed in corporal punishment. To escape her daily life, she became a daydreamer. Following her parents to Syracuse, New York as a teen, she worked as a go-go dancer, dropped acid, and was a nudist (briefly). With her arresting looks and steely gaze (a product of her daydreaming she has said) Jones broke out as a model at age 18 in Paris, where she was a favourite of Yves St. Laurent.

Jones moved back to the U.S. and rose to fame as a disco queen in the 70s and 80s, appearing regularly at Studio 54 in New York with her flattop haircut and Egyptian-inspired outfits. Corsets, hoods, capes, headpieces, and colourful makeup were all part of the iconic look. The wide-shouldered blazer she wore in the promotional poster for her “Nightclubbing” tour of Europe is a classic look.

When disco died, Jones turned to New Wave and Electronica as well as movies, such as performing as a Bond girl in 1985s A View to a Kill. She was a muse to designer Issey Miyake and photographer Helmut Newton. One particularly controversial photo shoot was as a portrait done naked in a cage. Jones was known for blowout birthday parties at The Palladium in New York and Les Bains in Paris and put a great deal of work into her ensembles for these events. She has inspired artists like Madonna and Lady Gaga, but refuses to collaborate with other celebrities stating that they would benefit more than her.

Oddly, she performed at Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 and, as recently as 2015, she performed topless while hula hooping at the Afropunk Fest in Brooklyn.

Her contrarian personality has stayed with her for life (her memoir is titled; I’ll Never Write My Memoirs, a lyric from her 1981 song “Art Groupie”). She remains extremely popular in Europe, where she continues to tour. 


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