Jazzelle Zanaughtti doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. She doesn’t follow the model template, in fact, she avoids it altogether. “I’m pretty tapped out,” she explains. “I don’t hang out with people in the industry. I keep to myself, do my own thing.”
The brains and beauty behind Insta account @uglyworldwide, Zanaughtti doesn’t listen to the haters. “I’m from the streets of Detroit so if you wanna fight, we can fight. The hate within people comes from hate within themselves. If people don’t like me that’s cool. I’m not for fucking everybody.”
She’s relentlessly herself and always has been. “I dropped out of pre-school. I told my mom ‘I’m not fucking going anymore’,” she says and simultaneously settles the nature versus nurture debate. Yes, some people are just born with it and Jazzelle Zanaughtti is one of those people.
“You’ve got to keep on fucking stepping and you can’t let these motherfuckers get in your way. That’s the number one lesson.”
Lesson number two? Don’t just trust your intuition—train it. “Every day is a learning experience,” she says. “In training my intuition. In not judging people but knowing people.”
Born in Detroit, Zanaughtti left home at the age of 17 and describes her move to Chicago as “the shit of dreams”. Well-versed in such dreams, the unapologetic model got her big break from an Instagram DM from renowned photographer Nick Knight. But don’t get it twisted, her success cannot be attributed to pure luck—”everything after luck turned into hard work,” she says.
“There’s a certain amount of luck when I first started. It was lucky that such a big photographer saw my little tiny Instagram. What wasn’t a moment of luck was showing up to the shoot and performing. What wasn’t a moment of luck was me reaching out and saying ‘Hey, can you help me?’. What wasn’t a moment of luck was all of the hard work I put in. There’s no luck when it comes to that.”
Hearing Zanaughtti speak about her life, it’s clear she’s been prone to her fair share of hate—and so comes rule number three: Watch out for the vampires. “Protect your energy. People out here can be bloodsuckers.” And part of this protective process has been learning to define self-care on her own terms. “I’m a bit of a loner,” she admits. “I need to take time for myself. From taking a walk to watching seventeen movies back to back, I just try to zone out and be a normal human being.”
Teaming up with Palladium to create a capsule collection, Zanaughtti epitomises the counterculture values of the brand with her unapologetic outlook and boundless energy that never asks for permission. “Despite all the hardships, you can’t let that shit dim your shine,” she says and you get the impression she knows exactly what she’s talking about. It’s an ethos that defines the final and most important rule of all: Stay curious, stay hungry. “You just have to be creative and take inspiration from anywhere—like the shape of broccoli. You just have to think outside of the box.”