When I was six years old my sister came to visit us in Jamaica for the Christmas holidays. I took the magazine she brought from the plane and began to go through it when I came across an odd looking couple. The man had on a crazy black outfit with bleached blond hair and the woman had on a white wedding dress and a biker jacket. I asked my sister to read the article to me, when she was finished I learned that the man was a famous designer name Jean Paul Gautier who was designing clothing for the woman in the picture. The woman was a famous singer named Madonna. I decided right then and there that I could do whatever I wanted to, no matter what people thought of me. I did not have to be the typical beauty, I did not have to look and act like anyone, I knew I could just be myself and be successful just like this odd looking couple.That day I decided I would become a successful Model and I also decided that I would live and breath fashion. I trained myself how to pose by doing facial expressions in front of the mirror. I taught myself how to walk by "borrowing" my moms heels (even sneaking and wearing them to school). When my mom decided to hide her heels from me I would practice by walking on my tip toes.My mother and I moved to Canada and right away I began to make moves. I was in grade school when I first visited the agencies in Toronto. They all said NO right away! I did not let that get to me, and continued until I was in high school. I would visit all the agencies and when I did not get signed I would wait a week then go back to the same agencies again with a different hairdo or outfit. I was determined to do whatever it took to make them see my potential.I continued to try my luck in Canada but realized I needed to take a trip to New York. I researched all the agencies in NYC calling them to find out what day of the week they have walk-ins to see potential models. Some of the agencies I wanted to see required an appointment but to make an appointment an agent had to call on your behalf. I pretended to be an agent in Jamaica calling on behalf of Stacey McKenzie. It worked and I got many appointments thanks to my "agent"- who just happened to be ME!During this time, I had a job after school and on weekends and worked to save up money to take the Greyhound bus to New York to go to all the appointment I had arranged for myself. I had only one day to see all the agencies and had to be back home to go to school the next day.As with most things, I was not successful on my first trip. I waited until the following month then got back on the Greyhound to New York; I saw the same agencies again and got the same reply from everyone – NO! The last agency I saw was Elite Model Management. Karen Lee took a look at me and liked me right away. She decided to try and convince her boss to sign me. She did and I was given 3 months to prove myself!I went back to Canada packed my bags, dropped out of high school (not a good thing) and left to pursue my dream as a Model.Not long afterwards I returned home to Toronto. I did not know what I was in for being so young and on your own in the fashion world. I was not prepared to live with a bunch of girls in a beautiful apartment, no supervision, and no guidance. We were free to do what we wanted, go anywhere, hangout with anyone, dress any which way…I decided to walk away from this major opportunity go back home, finish school and pursue modeling again when I am mature enough to be out in the world on my own.This time I decided to take the advice of a local Canadian agent and go straight to Paris. I took the plane to Holland and from there I took the Greyhound bus to Paris (I should be a spokes model for Greyhound!). I arrived not knowing where to go until I met a girl name Dawn. She happened to be a Model on her way to see her Photographer boyfriend Vincent at an agency! It could not have been more perfect and meant to be! I followed her and while waiting some of the bookers spotted me waiting in the hallway. I got signed the day I arrived in Paris; I could not believe how "easy" it was. Too bad it did not last! Ha ha. Within a couple of weeks I was dropped from the agency. I had 1 week to find an agency and get a new portfolio (which was ripped up by the owner who did not like me/ my look at all!) so I could attend castings for the Prкt a Porter shows.Vincent took some quick pictures of me for free and right away I went to see all the agencies. It was terrible! They were so mean to me and I was turned down left right and center in the most hurtful ways. For once I felt defeated and by the time I got to my last agency I was finally giving up and beginning to believe what people were saying of me. I walked into the agency not being the upbeat, outgoing, smiley Stacey, the agent basically told me to come back the next day. I don't know what came over me, I stood up and looked him in the face and said "No, I'm here right now, I do not have enough money to stay another day, either you take me now or not, Let me know right now". Gaspard said he was happy to hear that I had a voice and right away he signed me.I was sent to meet with a famous designer name Jean Paul Gautier but I missed the appointment and while walking down the street, a lady came up to me and gave me her card and address to her office. She happened to work for Jean Paul Gautier and wanted me to come to the casting for his fashion show the following day.I will never forget the day I walked into the casting. Hundreds of models waited patiently while Jean Paul and his associates saw them one by one. When my name was called, I walked up to present myself and portfolio to Mr. Gautlier. The first thing he said to me was "Elle est belle". I looked at him and said What? " I don't understand a word of French, I only speak English." He laughed and said it again this time in english " She is beautiful", I almost cried! That was the first time anyone had ever said "I was beautiful". He had me try on a well tailored man's suit and walk for him. I did it and left. When I got outside I call my booker Gaspard to tell him how everything went. He waited until I was finished to tell me that Jean Paul's people had already called and booked me for his show right after I left! There I was, in the middle of the street jumping and screaming my head off like a mad woman!That season in Paris I walked the runway for some of the top designers including, Christian Lacroix, Veronique Leroy, and Kenzo. However, my ultimate show moment was Jean Paul Gautier. In what can only be described as a magical moment, I walked out on that runway right after Madonna with the biggest smile on my face remembering that picture from so long ago.Since then I have continued to walk the runways for some of the top designers in the world including Todd Oldham (who treated me like a princess). I have been photographed by some of the most prestigious photographers including Richard Avedon (who gave me my breakthrough campaign Calvin Klein CKbe even though I crashed the Callback!). I've graced the pages of magazines and covers of magazines including Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and Essence. I've even had the opportunity to be in movies like The Fifth Element and recently TV shows including MTV Stylissimo and Canada's Next Top Model.I strongly believe I was given this opportunity for a reason and with that in mind I felt I had to create a company that would help guide aspiring or established models on the right path to make it in the modeling world.When I was on my journey to becoming a model I did not have anyone to tell/show me and my mother what to do. I did it on my own and it was VERY hard. Creating Stacey McKenzie's Walk This Way Workshops was the best thing that I did with this amazing experience and continues to be a great reward.I hope that my story can inspire you to not be afraid to go for what you want in life.