Fashion and the Namibia Annual Music Awards (NAMAs) goes hand in hand, and this year didn’t disappoint, with a stand out moment from Jay-Aeron Gertze (22) who is blowing up the local fashion scene with his divinely daring cross-dressing trends.
Of course the blue carpet for anyone to get noticed is an annual highlight, which once again exploded into a hive of popping flash bulbs, glamorous women in glittering evening gowns with men strutting their stuff like GQ models. But this was Jay’s night. The slender young boy who owned the carpet like it was New York fashion week, flounced, preened and posed for selfies, whilst dressed in a beautiful billowing full length floral print skirt with matching long sleeved cerise crop top, coutured by ‘SynEDGY’.
To crown the look, his non-conformist gender bending vogue was accentuated by a funky hair style, shaved on the sides and dyed bright pink on the top. His make-up was accentuated by pouty purple lips topped by dangling jewelled earrings. Jay-Aeron is a fresh breeze on the fashion scene, and his cross-dressing style is something that is fast becoming the talk of the town. Already Jay-Aeron pioneering play on gender bending fashion, is catapulting this daring Karasburg boy to new heights – whilst wearing ‘killer heels’.
But Jay-Aeron is not just a pretty face, and it turns out that this sweetly spoken young boy, is a final year media student at the College of the Arts (Cota), and is honing his skills in the media field – from television to radio as well as hosting events. “Yes I am feminine, and a feminist for that matter – but why does that have to define my masculinity – I own my masculinity, but love my feminine ways – so we need to change the standards,” says the trend setter. “It wasn’t always easy being this flamboyant, but you just have to be yourself, own it, and the world will adapt to whatever you want to be,” he says confidently adding that when s(he) is not dressed up, he embraces the boy in him by wearing jeans and a top – but still wear make-up on any occasion I feel like,” he quips.
Jay-Aeron recalls starting the make-up craze as a teenager, which is self taught and would do the make-up for girls going to matric farewells. After learning various techniques he has worked as a freelance make-up artist ever since to “get the bills paid”. He began wearing make up at 16.
“There are haters in this world that will always have something negative to say about people who are different, but I don’t focus my energy on that as most people are positive about me and my dress style,” adds Jay-Aeron, who calls himself an “agent of change”. “I get messages from so many young boys and girls, complimenting me on the way I dress and look, and it makes me feel good knowing that that I am helping and inspiring someone to have a better understanding of themselves.’’
“My mother who is my biggest fan always had glossy fashion magazines in the house, which motivated my dress sense and encouraged me to be part of the exciting world of high fashion. I am also inspired by the drag culture which has pushed my trend setting dress trends, whilst challenging social issues and being an example to other young boys like me. It’s ok to be who you are, and be your creative self.”
Referring to his “glamour squad” and close inner circle of friends who accompany him to most social events, Rumano Fabrish and fashion stylist Reinhard Mahalie, are an integral part of Jay-Aeron’s fantasy world of dress up. The trio who have become the symbol of unapologetic fashion, and use any excuse to step out in jaw-dropping outfits, whilst spending hours on hair, make-up and accessories. All three together are a magical representation of this new movement of transgender couture that is sweeping the new “in” scene.
It comes as no surprise, however, that he has sent his portfolio to a top androgynies South African model agency, who has signed him up for future shoots. He was also invited to Cape Town’s Fashion Week recently as a taste of things to come.
So what’s next for Jay-Aeron? “I want to make a name for myself as a make-up artist, and with a lot of social events coming up I am under pressure to top the outfit I wore at the NAMAS, so that is very exciting – but mostly I want to become a fashion icon and continue breaking gender barriers. “You can follow Jay-Aeron on www.instagram.com/byjayaeron