Medical Student Turns High Fashion Model Overnight

Szyja Abramczyk

November 16, 2021

Haute couture label Alexander McQueen held its spring/summer 2022 show in East London, not far from where University College London third-year medical student Helena Jay was scouted to model less than a month earlier.

One moment, she was meandering in Regent's Park, and the next, she was exchanging contact information with Logan Harper of Next Model Management. She was booked for the McQueen show shortly after.

Although Jay still has her sights on finishing medical school and eventually becoming a doctor, she also intends to keep an open mind about the future. In a year of such "unprecedented" events, Jay is embracing each turn of fate.

The theme of McQueen's spring/summer 2022 runway revolved around the unpredictability of nature and the ever-changing sky, drawing inspiration in large part from the recent pandemic.

In an interview with Vogue, creative director Sarah Burton said of the theme, "I've been thinking about what we've all been through: this constant feeling that you don't know what the next day is going to be and how you have to just face it with bravery."

Jay, with her readiness to dive headfirst into the world of high fashion, is emblematic of the theme. At her fitting, hairstylist Guido Paulo had a vision: He suggested she dye her hair pale purple to match the dress, and excited newcomer Jay was more than happy to oblige, despite never having dyed her hair before.

The show took place on a rooftop in East London. It was encased in a giant cloudlike bubble designed by Smiljan Radic. Jay came out in a lilac-colored, tulle corset dress with crystal raindrop details and sheer skeletal boots, her new lavender ombre hairstyle sweeping past her shoulders as she walked.

With equally dramatic and beautiful views of the London skyline and only a thin, transparent ceiling separating the crowd from the heavens and the wild elements, the whole experience "went by in a flash," Jay said.

"I'm very new to the world of fashion," Jay told Vogue. "So, I think this is the best first experience I could have had."

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