Grace Jones was born on May 19, 1948 in Spanish Town, St Catherine, Jamaica to Marjorie Jones (née Williams) and Reverend Robert W. Jones. When she was 12 she moved to Syracuse, New York, joining her family who had already moved there. She studied acting at Syracuse University and appeared in her first musical; halfway through college, she was approached by a drama professor who proposed that she work with him in a play he was putting on in Philadelphia, she accepted.
Jones later moved to New York City and signed on as a model with Wilhelmina Models, but when her looks weren’t successfully received, she moved to Paris, France, where her androgynous, bold, dark-skinned appearance was so highly visible, she began to model for Yves Saint-Laurent, Claude Montana, Kenzo Takada, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Hans Feurer, and Azzedine Alaïa, and she appeared on the covers of “Elle”, “Vogue”, and “Der Stern.”
Disillusioned with modeling, and since she always wanted to be an actress, she began her movie career playing small parts, her first being in the blaxploitation flick Gordon’s War (1973) followed by an uncomfortable cameo in the unwatchable French sex comedy Attention les yeux! (1976). It wasn’t until the the ’80s that Jones’ on-screen career really soared, when she appeared in three supporting roles: Zula, the amazonian warrior in the American sword and sorcery/adventure film Conan the Destroyer (1984); May Day, the secondary antagonist in the 14th James Bond film A View to a Kill (1985); and Katrina, a bloodthirsty Egyptian vampire queen in the comedy horror Vamp (1986). Leaving audiences with only the resonance of unique and tantalizing movie performances, Jones hasn’t acted in a feature film since the ’90s.
In recent years, Jones’s primary focus is sharing the vulnerability behind her larger-than-life persona. Jones and director Sophie Fiennes released the documentary Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami (2017). According to Fiennes, the documentary is not a retelling of what can easily be found in books and magazines, but an intimate portrait of Jones in recent years as she returns to Jamaica, the country of her birth and childhood, for a family reunion.
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