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  • Writer's pictureBarrio's Living Library

Front Page Story: Jada

And so it begins

All eyes are on Jada Dominguez as she strides down the runway. The lights, the whispers, the rush of adrenaline and trying to control her nerves. An audience of keen eyes inspect her from head to toe and she feels a rush of excitement.

“It’s just so thrilling…making sure I don’t fall but at the end it was so much fun.” Jada stated, feeling empowered by the experience.

Modeling has not only been an outlet for her but it has also been a means for supporting other local artists.

While modeling at Rose Fashion Show in 2018, Jada met Daniel Egusquiza, executive director of Barrio Alegria. Daniel came with a purpose, an opportunity: he was seeking someone with sewing experience. As a young woman of many talents, Jada happened to be the right fit for Daniel’s project. Not long after, Jada became a member of Barrio Alegria’s Leadership Cohort. Not only is Jada used to being under the spotlight but her passion lies with the background scenes of creating garments.

It’s about the shape

Her creativity does not stop at the end of the runway. Jada has helped create beautiful and colorful costumes that portray a story. She has created costumes for Barrio Alegria’s Where the Tree Walk, Storytelling Through Dance 2019 presentation. It became a team effort but the pieces were the fruit of inspiration that stemmed out of old Dracula movies.

Her process is quite unique. Many times, Jada finds herself drafting a design with flowy elements. With inspiration in mind she starts with a classical silhouette, simple shapes, and the rest comes together naturally. Where does her inspiration stem from? Jada is captivated by the sounds of rap, hip hop, jazz, and rock that resonate with deep meaning. Amy Winehouse and Kanye West particularly inspire her, but Jada’s most profound inspiration is no stranger to her.

Jada credits her passion for sewing to her grandma. She uncovered the beauty of creating using many fabrics through her grandmother. Jada uses her art to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps.

“I still honor her through my art,” Jada said.

La tela de abuela

As a little girl Jada admired her grandmother for many reasons. Grandma would sew endless garments and presents for her family. Jada describes her grandma as the glue of the family.

“Each were so special because they came from her,” Jada said.

As grandma would sew, young Jada would pick the scraps from the ground. Fascinated at the potential simple scraps could offer, Jada would start designing and crafting new clothes for her dolls. She kept making small projects like these. As she grew, so did her ambition and thrive to create. She attended Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center with the motivation to continue learning about sewing and fashion.

In pursuit of more

At Reading Muhlenberg Career and Technology Center she blossomed. She was a part of the sewing and clothing manufacturing program for 3 of her high school years. Jada proved to be an active leader of her program as a member of Family, Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA). Jada took the opportunity to participate in district, state, and national level competitions. Through it all, Jada keeps proving her passion and talent by receiving accolades and recognition.

“I just needed more,” Jada said about college.

She aspired to be a famous designer in a big city; she always admired the glamorous life of fashion.

Jada’s passions took her to The Art Institute of Philadelphia after graduating from Reading High School in 2015. Unhappy where she was, she decided to come back home and attend Albright College in Reading.

Jada’s outlook shifted. She noticed she wasn’t interested in obtaining an extravagant life in fashion. Jada began to find luxury and richness in her community and its potential. Jada’s pursuit didn’t stop at a classroom. She continues to learn about art through her real-life experiences.

Let the experience guide you

“I don’t like to turn down a good experience,” Jada said.

She has committed that sentiment by creating opportunities for herself and her community. When an opportunity presents itself, such as, modeling for local photographers or modeling in fashion shows, Jada seizes that venture.

Jada’s outlook on life has opened doors and guided her to where she is now.

At just 23 years old she has accomplished so much for herself. Reevaluating her goals and focus. She’s making a name for herself in the community.

Born and raised in the southside of Reading, she knows how ugly it can get in a city. Jada is determined to make a difference not only for her younger cousins, who she is close with, but also the younger generation in the community.

“I come from a huge family,” she said. “I just want them to know that they have options, opportunities exist for them too.”

The future

Jada loves being a part of Barrio and what they embody. Barrio is driven to develop social and multicultural awareness through art, which parallels Jada’s motivations.

In addition to costume making, Jada’s endeavors with Barrio Alegria include a clothing drive for Reading school district students. She worked with local businesses to collect clothing for Tyson-Schoener Elementary School. Jada would like to continue to do clothing drives with a twist.

She considers creating seasonal clothing drives and even having donations for Halloween costumes. She hopes that continuing this project will seam together community members and their ambitions.

As the sarcastic, creative, vocal artist she has defined herself as, Jada puts her passion first. She encourages creativity to be its own thing. She intends to continue planting seeds of opportunity for others like those she has established for herself.

“The little spots matter,” Jada stated.

With the comradeship in the community flourishing, Jada emerges to make her spot in the city matter.

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