Jay Kamiraz aka Mr Fabulous. There’re no boundaries to what Jay does. Singer, Creative director of Verve Fashion, Princes Trust Ambassador, All Together Now (BBC) TV Judge, choir director, the list goes on… Founder of JK arts and the Sing to Smile programme. We at Those London Chicks are pleased Jay has taken the time out to speak with us.
You have such a strong sense of personal style. Has it always been that way or has it evolved?
My personal style is like a cameleon forever changing and evolving with each season. I started off like ugly betty, lived a colourful life like Bridget Jones and now found my inner Carrie Bradshaw, strutting my stuff and living my life like a runway queen. I mean who would have thought it at 5ft8, 38 young I would turn into into my runway fashion icon Kate Moss. If anyone has it and maintained her youth it’s her.
Speaking of which, you seem to be involved in fashion industry in many ways. Tell us about your fashion journey so far?
I’ve always considered myself a fashionista. Working in TV and Events I’ve always mixed and mingled with creative talent with their own identity and sense of style. I’ve literally seen the Devil wear Prada in the flesh ‘That’s All’ to quote a famous quote. I realised very early on that I have an avatar like gravitational pull which connects people. Many brands and emerging designers enlisted my help in wearing their clothes or endorsing their product. It is there I realised a need to create a platform to help and develop creative minds alike. I started off helping a few fashion houses and luxury lifestyle brands with fashion PR and marketing soon realising a gap and need in the industry to do it right with care, skill and integrity. With the help of my friend David Anthony and creative friends in fashion. I decided to create my own Fashion house. Creating a platform for fashion and the senses with spirit and vigour.
You are host a fashion shows in aid of the Make a Wish Foundation. What were your inspirations for that?
What are your hopes for the event?
My hopes for this event is to raise money for our charity, create a fabulous platform for all our creative brands and designers and continue to build the Verve Fashion and pop up boutique legacy throughout the UK and venture into Europe and one day internationally becoming a respected fashion director.
“I have always been a fighter never giving up, forever the optimist…”
You are also known as Mr Fabulous. How so?
I am known to everyone as Mr Fabulous, because to them there is no other word that best describes me than the word Fabulous. I could not be Mr Wonderful as that title belongs to David Anthony my long and forever suffering better half, who would insist we add the better looking and younger looking one out of the two. With Mr Fabulous came a new found presence, pose, pout, walk and vogue. Secretly I love my new found confidence, as Ru Paul would say Sissy that walk, shashay Shontay and twirl honey.
I was asked by a casting director to attend a casting with a friend or partner for a Google Box inspired food takeaway commercial. I decided to take David who never had an audition. Prior to audition I gave David the full run down and drill of how castings works. Well you can imagine that this did not go according to plan. Half way into our video recorded casting Dave’s phone rang to ask if he was involved in a road traffic accident or injury at work. Well If he hadn’t, he would of. Completely forgetting we were being recorded the verbal words of everything under the sun came out. We left feeling deflated. Surprising to us that very afternoon we got a call saying they client loved us and we are booked on the job. Well who would have thought it. The ad became a national favourite catapulting both of us to another level of notoriety with spin off commercials and Mini-series with the commercial running for 2 years.
What has been your life’s high point so far and why?
I have had a few highlights throughout my life as an artistic director from carrying the Olympic torch, winning a pride of Britain to performing in front of HRH The Prince of Wales not once but there times. My most recent high point apart from the success of the Hungry House ads was being confirmed as a BBC 1 TV Talent Judge on prime time TV show called All Together Now alongside Rob Beckett and Ginger Spice Geri Horner. The show has successfully got a second series and I look forward to being asked back.
Who or what are your inspirations and why?
Life experiences teach you to become a driving force to be better and excel. I look at many successful entrepreneurs and the one common thing we have in common is coming from a place of hard graft and perseverance.
You were a judge on All Together Now for the BBC. What was experience like on the show?
Being a judge on All Together Now was fabulous. I was fortunate enough to do the pilot which got commissioned. The best part was working alongside comedian Rob Beckett and one of my favourite spice girl ‘Ginger Spice’. I always fancied myself as the 6th spice girl ‘Fab Spice’. As an artistic director for over 12 years, it was great to be a judge and give my opinions on performances and work with 99 other talented music professionals and be recognised as a respected music professional.
Charity work seems important to you. You set up “Sing to Smile”, a creative community empowerment/motivational programme. Tell us about it?
Sing to Smile was my way of giving back to the community. A motivational programme that helps build confidence and strength through music and song.
SMILE stands for:
Sing – Motivate – Inspire – Learn – Educate
It was important for me to go back to the very community were I faced hostility and abuse and try and help others out of a difficult situation. This motivational programme was very successful winning me the Pride of Britain award.
You clearly like to give back as you are no stranger to your own struggles. What circumstances lead you to be in that position and how did you turn your life around?
At the age of 17 I was a victim of a horrific homophobic attack which nearly killed me. I had no choice but to escape from East London at the time and start a new life in North London. I lost all confidence and day by day I had to rebuild my self worth. I have always been a fighter never giving up, forever the optimist I persevered and kept on going. Now a successful Creative, Artistic Director and Entrepreneur in Fashion, Music and Entertainment I am proud that I stayed strong and defiant.
If you could go back in time and give advice to your 16 year old self, what would it be?
I would say never change who you are to please others. Don’t try to fit into a mold others want to box you in. Just be You, believe in your dreams however big or small. Keep going and perservering. Being different means being unique. Be a leader with true worth and identity and never comprise with your fabulous attitude.
Interviewed By Karen Bryson