Fashion Spotlight: Supermodel Joan Smalls

Born on July 11, 1988 to a father from St. Thomas and a Puerto Rican mother, supermodel Joan Smalls who grew up on the island (PR), always knew her calling was in the modeling industry.

After being selected to walk exclusively for the Givenchy Spring 2010 couture show, Joan immediately became one of the most coveted catwalk gals.

Back in 2010, Joan (only 22 at the time) became one of the faces of the elite Italian fashion House Gucci! She began 2011 with a bang when she renewed her contract with Gucci, followed by a slew of amazingly fierce photos from their Spring and Fall campaigns. With Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, and Estee Lauder also bringing her on-board as the face of their brands it was inevitable that 2011 would be her year!

A lady who describes herself as strong, humorous and loving, she enjoys a low-key industry profile and prefers to spend her nights meditating than partying.

When she’s not busy enjoying some quiet time in her New York City dwellings, Joan voyages back to Puerto Rico every chance she gets. One of the reasons she enjoys returning to her homeland is that it allows her to visit her favorite spots — the beaches of Pinones, which are quiet, spacious and romantic.

Ever the devoted daughter, Joan spent her first hard earned model dollars buying a car for her father!

List of Campaigns: H&M, Gucci, Giambattista Valli for Macy’s, Chanel (SS 2012) David Yurman, Roberto Cavalli, Stella McCartney, and Estée Lauder.

…Runway Shows: Walks the spring Christian Dior and Jean Paul Gaultier couture shows in Paris; Also makes appearance at the fall Givenchy menswear show in Paris. Closes for the fall Gucci and Giambattista Valli shows in Milan and Paris. Opens the spring Gianfranco Ferre, Gareth Pugh, and Gucci shows in Milan and Paris.

*(Fall 2011 shows) Walked a total of 42 — New York: 17, London: 0, Milan: 12 and Paris: 13
*(Spring 2012 shows) Walked a total of 44 — New York: 11, London: 4, Milan: 14 and Paris: 15

…Magazines: i-D, V Magazine, Italian Vogue, French Vogue, German Vogue, American Vogue, British Vogue, Vogue Japan, Vogue Paris , Elle UK, The Last Magazine and much more.

…Catalogs: H&M, Macy’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Victoria’s Secret and much more.

Charities: Project Sunshine

“I’m Puerto Rican. I don’t believe in diets! I prefer working out to get toned rather than not eating or having a diet. I want to enjoy food. I enjoy tasty and greasy food! — I like cooking pasta because it’s really quick! But, I can do rice, beans, meat… whatever!”

Joan is also a college graduate with a degree in Psychology!!

Holiday Fashion Must-Have: Statement Clutches!

The holidays are always the most glamorous time of the year. Everyone’s celebrating and putting their best looks together. We want to make a good impression! — Especially if it’s at the company Christmas party (trying to prove to our co-workers that we do, indeed, look fly outside of our work attire), if we’re planning on seeing a certain someone we haven’t seen in a while, or we’re partying it up with old, current, and new friends!

The best way to make an impression this season is by accessorizing! Fab jewelry and footwear are always a must, but a statement clutch is like the icing on the cake!

Choose from a structured style like a hard case clutch, sequins, animal print, or bright jewel-toned pieces…

1. Klassiq – Snakeskin Knuckle Duster Clutch; $52.00
2. ASOS – Pyramid Lock Envelope Clutch; $35.94
3. ASOS – Colourblock Hard Clutch; $62.90
4. Valentino – Red Satin Loop Bow Clutch; $636
5. House of Harlow 1960 – Orlina Clutch in Leopard Pony; $229.00
6. Ted Baker – Hammered Metal Clutch Bag; $285.72
7. ASOS – Multi Sequin Hardcase Clutch; $62.90
8. ASOS – Star Hard Case Clutch; $62.90
9. Charlotte Russe – Velvet Zebra Envelope Wallet; $12.50
10. TopShop – Metal Bar Insert Clutch Bag; $76.00

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Editor Obsession: Wedge Ankle Boots

Though we’re already an entire month into the fall season, so many of us still have yet to completely update our wardrobe. Especially since the weather here in New York has been so hot-n-cold… literally!

Some are on tight budgets and some just aren’t sure what trends are still in and hot for the new season.

As far as footwear goes, I have a serious obsession with wedge ankle boots! They’re casual, yet still fashionable and ladylike. — Pair ’em with skinny jeans and a tee, or cutoff shorts and tights.

With my line of work, I’m usually super busy and on-the-go. So for me, wedge ankle boots are a perfect way to dress up my go-to look of blazer, tee, and long leggings!

Throwing on a pair of 6-inch platform heels EVERYDAY is not always an option.

1. JIL SANDER – Leather Wedge Ankle Boots; $1,395
2. Pura Lopez – Women’s X480 Ankle Boot; $429.30
3. ASOS – AUSTIN Zip Back Concealed Wedge Ankle Boot; $98.84
4. botkier – Women’s Val Ankle Boot; $142.75
5. ASOS – REVIVE ABLAZE Lace Up Wedge Ankle Boot; $107.82
6. Bakers – Wylie WP; $150
7. Steve Madden – Women’s Annnie Boot; $139.95
8. ASH – Women’s Folk Ankle Boot; $265
9. DV By Dolce Vita – Payton Wedge Lace Up Boots; $170.72
10. Steve Madden – Wedge Tanngoo Bootie; $80
11. Michael Antonio – Women’s Cassandra Ankle Boot; $110
12. Steve Madden – Women’s Arriela Ankle Boot; $93.47
13. FINSK – Wedge Ankle Boot; $866
14. Camilla Skovgaard – London Women’s A11001-1 Ankle Boot; $588
15. Restricted – Women’s Unity Ankle Boot; $106.43
16. Very Volatile – Women’s Twain Ankle Boot; $76.94

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Maxi Dresses: Perfect for Day or Night!

This summer’s “it” piece is definitely the maxi dress. They’re lightweight,comfy, and flattering on just about every female shape and size. Another great quality? — maxi dresses are very versatile!

Perfect for a leisure day of shopping, lunch with the girls, running errands, and even date night with that special someone!

My favorite maxi dress is a floor or ankle-length design in one solid color. Solid styles matched with exciting accessories. LOVE!


1. Calvin Klein Collection ‘Chayen Maxi Dress’ — $383
2. ‘Fancy Tale’ Earrings — $38
3. Kenneth Jay Lane Deco Black Hinged Bangle — $350
4. Miu Miu Matelassé Leather Clutch — $470
5. Pedro Garcia Zelda Swarovski Crystal Braided Sandals — $595


1. T by Alexander Wang Slub-Jersey Maxi Dress — $250
2. Snakeskin ‘Knuckle Duster’ Clutch — $52
3. Deco Drop Earrings — $3.80
4. Iced Knuckle Ring — $16
5. Lush Suede Strappy Platform — $124

**Any fashion/trend, looks, or tips requests? — Leave a comment, or forward them to!

Stay Fashionably Cool in the Summer Heat!

Whether you live in East New York, Jersey, The ‘Burbs, out West, or Down South, I’m sure you’ve been trying to adjust to this summer’s scorching weather! — Here in New York, the temperature has gone all the way up to about 109° degrees! So, staying cool [and fashionable] is a must.

– A lightweight dress like the teal one pictured above is an essential summer piece. The color is vibrant, the silhouette is simple, and it’s available at Target stores and in up to 6 different colors, for only $19.99!! — And for you girls like myself who aren’t too fond of your arms, it has (short) sleeves!

– Heavy and over-sized handbags definitely are NOT an option! Hit up Charlotte Russe for a fabulous cross-body bag. I own the same snakeskin one above, and I LOVE IT! — You can either wear it folded (as shown), or with the top half standing up like a bucket bag if your belongings need a bit more room.

– This summer’s go-to hairstyle is the top-knot. You can rock yours sleek and pulled tightly into a high bun like actress Christina Milian (pictured above), or loosely styled if you’re currently rocking braids or twists. No need for a fussy look.

Cork wedges are super trendy this season! They’re comfy, yet chic. If you’re not into the height, go for an even comfier style like a flat pair of gladiator or thong sandals.   **Here, I must also stress the need to hit up your local ‘Nail 2 Cute’ nail salon for a nice pedicure!

Another essential to staying cool yet cute this summer, is a hat. Whether it be floppy, straw, or a trendy trilby, hats not only provide shade, but aid in completing your summertime look. Charlotte Russe has a few great ones starting at only $12.50!

And finally, layer on your jewels or keep it simple, and voilà!… You’ve created a stylish look, minus the fuss.


–  Charlotte Russe: Buy 1 get 1 for $15 on all footwear! 10% off entire purchase for all BrownSista readers with code ‘KLBROWNSISTA’!



Look For Less: B. Romanek Crocodile Clutch

The luxurious B. Romanek Crocodile Rockstar Clutch has been a widely-coveted design for some time now. Celebrities like Adrienne Bailon, Eva Mendes, Ashley Olsen, Sienna Miller, and even The Kardashian sisters have been spotted carrying their own in an array of colors from cognac and brown, to turquoise, purple, and silver.

Since then, other designers such as Juliette Jake has put her own twist on this chic statement piece. But for those who still can’t afford the $575 Juliette Jake “Wrap Crocodile” price tag, has created a budget-worthy replica! — for only $65!

It may not be as striking as the original B.Romanek design due to it’s faux crocodile skin texture, but a steal is a steal, right?! And, as long as you rock this bad boy right, “Who gon’ check you boo?!” — à la Sheree Whitfield (Atlanta Housewives)

Best Dressed of 2010!

Not only is Jada Pinkett-Smith our pick for “Best Dressed of 2010,” she’s also “Super Mom of the Year” and “Hottest Mom of the Year!” The 39 year-old actress and businesswoman, who was dubbed the [unofficial] brand ambassador of Pucci earlier this year (by various fashion bloggers), has done an amazing job of promoting and representing for the high-end Italian fashion house. Like a loyal brand ambassador would, Jada donned an Emilio Pucci design to more than just a few events like the 2010 American Music Awards and CMT Awards, for example. Other designers on Jada’s radar included Chloé, Stella McCartney, Rafael Cennamo, Gianfranco Ferré, Giambattista Valli, and many more.

Jada Pinkett-Smith was also Fashionista101’s “Mom of the Year” back in 2008!

Currently, Jada is the star of TNT’s television series HawthoRNe, where she plays a registered nurse by the name of Christina Hawthorne. Back in September, it was announced that the show has been renewed for a third season, due to premiere in June 2011! And, not only did she promote her show very well, she and her family traveled everywhere from LA and New York, to Germany, Madrid, Paris, and Tokyo, on a promotional tour for her 12 year-old son Jaden Smith’s movie, The Karate Kid. The movie was a hit, and grossed over $350 million to date!

Daughter, Williow Smith (10), also revealed her singing talents to the world. And in fall, she released her first single Whip My Hair.” The catchy single was a huge success, and topped numerous music charts around the world!

Husband Will Smith has been right by their sides along the way, while working on two interquels, Bad Boys 3 and Men in Black III (due out in 2012).

With such a hectic schedule, it’s a mystery how Jada seems to keep it all together. Guess you gotta get your mind right, huh? — And, let’s not forget to comment on that gorgeous figure of hers! At only 5ft tall, Jada is a goddess!

*Best of luck to the Smith family in 2011.

**Check out our other “Best of 2010” posts!

Most Talked About of 2010!

Being a celebrity must be really tough. They’re always in the public eye. Especially these days when there are media outlets like blogs, YouTube, TMZ, paparazzi, etc. Whatever they do, whether good or bad, it will be critiqued..praised..or blown way out of proportion.

Nicki Minaj

Hate her or love her, rapper Nicki Minaj has been “doin’ the damn thing!” You already know how I feel about her style “inspirations,” but I must give credit where it is due. Even if you’re not a fan of her music, she still managed to keep her name in everyone’s mouth with other things like her over-the-top style, fraudulent derrière, and controversies throughout the Hip-Hop community.

Fashionista101: Nicki Minaj is “Risk Taker of the Year”
BrownSista: Nicki Minaj is “Swag-Jacker of the Year”

Alicia Keys

Not that it was her wish — and, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t — but Alicia Keys ruffled more than just a few feathers back in 2010! She also birthed her first child, married super-producer Swizz Beatz, and at the end of 2009, she released her fourth studio album, The Element of Freedom. I still haven’t had a chance to listen to the entire album, but I’m pretty sure it was good. All the singles she released, from “Try Sleeping with a Broken Heart” to “Put It in a Love Song” and “Un-Thinkable (I’m Ready),” were awesome! But, what could have been an extremely positive year for Alicia took a turn for the worst when Swizz’s estranged wife (Mashonda) and mother of his youngest child accused Alicia of being a home-wrecker! Mashonda released several statements via her Twitter page and magazines like VIBE and Sister2Sister, which depicted Alicia as the “other” woman.

Long story, short: Mashonda said Alicia was sleepin’ with Swizz (while he and Mashonda were still married and just gave birth to their 1st child). When she realized the two were getting a little too close, Mashonda kindly asked Alicia to back off and let them handle their own business. Apparently, Alicia didn’t. She continued to persue Swizz (or vice versa — doesn’t really matter). The couple (Mashonda and Swizz) filed for divorce, Swizz left to be with Alicia, and the two are now married, with a child. Home-wrecking at it’s finest I tell you!

Because of this accusation (and facts..and Alicia, nor Swizz not defending themselves), I don’t feel the same way I used to feel about Alicia. She was once my “sista.” I’m the only girl in my immediate family, so whenever I was feeling down and needed a quick pick-me-up, I’d pop in my favorite Alicia Keys album, As I Am. It felt as if she always knew exactly what to say, without actually knowing me or my problems. She was so real to me. So soulful. So sweet. Now? …now she seems two-faced to me! Like while she’s singing “Superwoman,” she’s also saying “B**ch, watch yo’ man!” And, I actually believe “Try Sleeping With A Broken Heart” was a direct blow at Mashonda, but that’s neither here, nor there!

“The Element of Freedom” became Alicia’s first non-number one album in the United States. *sideye* Congrats to Alicia and Swizz, nonetheless. To Mashonda, I wish much more love and success! Sorry. I’m not with all that cheatin’ and dippin’ and snatchin’ up people’s-people and stuff.

Willow Smith

Ten year-old Willow Smith was already a rising star with 5 acting roles already under her belt (2007-2010). Back in September, she revealed another talent of hers to the world. She can sing! Not only was her hit single Whip My Hair widely received by the masses, she was also signed to rap superstar/business mogul Jay-Z’s label, Roc Nation.

Willow’s talents and funky fashion expression caught the eyes of many, including other popular artists like Justin Bieber and Nicki Minaj, with whom she had chances to collaborate with this year.

I think it’s fantastic that Willow is merging into the music biz. She’s cute, smart, and very impressionable. She knows what she likes, and knows how to be young and free. The young girls of this generation definitely need someone like Willow to idolize and emulate. I’m pretty sure Will and Jada will continue to do a great job at raising her properly. Then, we can add her to the list of young celebrity sistas like Raven Symoné and Keke Palmer, who understand that they don’t have to show skin to be succesful. Go team Willow!

She’s definitely one to watch in 2011, and beyond!

Naomi Campbell

Ohhhhhh, Naomi. Where shall we start? — The 40 year-old British supermodel is always making headlines. It’s sad to say that she is better known for a series of legal issues dating all the way back to the year 2000 (ultimate FAIL), than the extensive charity work she has done and participated in over the years.

In June 2010, while on-set at a Dennis Basso photo shoot in New York (on a windy day), shocking photos of the supermodel’s hairline hit the net, and media heads went wild! Thought to be “traction alopecia,” a condition that stems from years of wearing tight braids and extensions, sent a wake up call to many women — especially ones of color. Having the luxury of hair weaves and extensions is truly a blessing for most. If you want a quick color, without the use of harsh chemicals on your hair…you can have it! The same goes for when you want to [virtually] lengthen, thicken, or protect the hair for the most part. But, just because your hair (weave) looks bomb on the outside, does NOT mean you should neglect the real hair that’s growing and living underneath!

Ladies, when getting an extension/braid/weave service done to your hair, be certain that the style is not too tight and ask your beautician to be extra gentle around those edges, or they’ll be gone for good!

**Check out our other “Best of 2010” posts!