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Transgender Model Dominique Jackson Talks about Abundance

Meet Miss Dominique Jackson

Transgender model, Dominique Jackson shares her story has taken her from the island of Tobago to Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York City to the reality show Strut to serving her LGBTQ community at Destination Tomorrow. Her story will inspire you.

Model & Reality Show Star Dominique Jackson

“It all began with a high five.”

In an incredibly competitive industry, it’s easy to begrudge the success of another model or actor, to view a colleague’s achievement as if they’ve taken something away from you. But successful transgender model Dominique Jackson rejects such a scarcity mindset, celebrating the success of her colleagues. In fact, the simple gesture of a high five sent waves through the community—and led to the opportunity to do reality series Strut.

Dominique grew up in privilege in Trinidad and Tobago but was ultimately rejected by her family over her gender identity. She moved to the US in 1990 and started school while she was transitioning. Dominique has encountered her share of obstacles, from homelessness to drug and alcohol abuse to survival sex work, but a combination of intuition, belief and therapy have allowed her to view those challenges as a test that helped Dominique realize just how far she can go.

Dominique paid her dues in the modeling industry, doing a number of free shows before landing a job as a resident model with Adrian Alicea in 2009. This break led to her first appearance at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week that same year. Today Dominique shares the trajectory of her modeling and acting career, as well as her challenging personal journey as a transgender woman. She explains how a shift in mindset and a healthy dose of discipline helped Dominique see her way clear of $10,000 in credit card debt, and how she came to serve as Director of Programming for Destination Tomorrow. Learn about her work to support the LGBTQ community and how to adopt a mentality of abundance.

Listen to Dominique on Queer Money™:

Topics Covered

Dominique Jackson’s childhood in Trinidad and Tobago

  • Educated grandmother ‘had station’
  • Molested by priest
  • Tried to portray male image
  • Teased and bullied
  • HIV patients not afforded medical care
  • Decided not to go back to island

Dominique Jackson’s challenging journey to the US

  • Moved to Baltimore in 1990
  • Tried to go to school while transitioning
  • Moved to NYC
  • Endured homelessness, survival sex work
  • Met partner (now husband)
  • Struggled financially (public assistance)
  • Realized in country illegally

How Dominique Jackson overcame obstacles to living her dream

  • Made the mistakes (drugs, alcohol)
  • Trusted intuition
  • Sought therapy
  • Chose respect over acceptance

How Dominique Jackson got her financial life in order

  • Used credit card for entertainment, ski vacations
  • Overspending to compensate for loss
  • Debt collectors started calling
  • ‘Stopped everything’ in 2006
  • Created budget, limited recreation
  • Started paying $900/month on cards
  • Consolidated cards, paid off after 10 years

How Dominique Jackson kept sight of her goals

  • Intuition, belief and therapy
  • Saw challenges as test of ability to survive
  • Processed failure (vs. wallowing in despair)
  • Chose not to embrace negative labels

Dominique Jackson’s modeling success

  • Fist gig in Baltimore, 1993
  • Did many free shows
  • Resident model for Adrian Alicea in 2009 (Fashion Week)
  • Cecilio Asuncion proposed Strut reality series
  • Signed on despite reservations
  • Asuncion opened Slay (agency for trans women)

Dominique Jackson’s mentality of abundance

  • Doesn’t view other models, actors as competition
  • If someone else lands part, it was for them
  • Learn from failure to better self

Dominique Jackson’s role at Destination Tomorrow

  • Nonprofit experience offered to help with fundraising
  • Sean offered role at organization
  • Introduced to board as Director of Programming
  • Served in that capacity for five months
  • Advocate for LGBTQ community
  • Medical care
  • Treatment for mental illness
  • Education
  • Insurance

Dominique Jackson’s advice for parents

  • Don’t put labels on child
  • Give time to express
  • Explain that whatever they decide is okay
  • Don’t overanalyze
  • ‘Let them grow up’

Dominique Jackson’s take on clothes

  • At work as model, wear clothes necessary to tell story
  • ‘What I wear does not make me’

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