by Kimberley Cummins
In the words of Li’l Rick, “Talk yuh talk don’t bother we, talk too cheap can’t buy groceries”.
That is also the attitude of 20 year old, Ju-Ju Leto. Even though the title is not her given Christian name, it is the name by which many Barbadians (especially those on social media sites) have come to know her. Leto first caught the eyes of the Barbados TODAY team last Sunday at the MQI/98theone Soca Royale at Bushy Park in St. Philip. Subsequently, she appeared on the back page of the July 31 edition.
A beautiful girl wearing a Mohawk hairstyle, a pair of black and white leggings, a black tube top with a purple cardigan – she looked stylish. However, it was her unfamiliar piercings which stood out most to the team. She sported five face piercings: one in each cheek, one in the septum, two snake bites (lip piercings), and as well she had a vertical industrial bar in her ear.
In an interview with Barbados TODAY she explained the piercings were just “her style”. Other people, she said, had either tongue or navel piercings but she liked to be unlike others. Growing up, her personality was always bold and free spirited so she knew she would not allow anyone or even herself to place her inside a box.
“That was always me, when I first had the nose piercing when I go to town you would hear a lot of people saying ‘She look like a bull cow!’ or something like that. But I don’t dig nothing because it is me and I like my style and that is how I gine be. Nobody ain’t going to change me, don’t mind the talk, I ain’t going to change my style because of what people saying and because a lot of people don’t accept it — that is just me,” she said.
The Vauxhall, Christ Church residents’ hairstyle also catches many stares from the public. She wears it in a Mohawk; one day it could be pink, on another blue or whichever colour she feels characterises her feeling for the day.
The big fan of alternative music said she was encouraged to adopt the style two years ago because of her admiration for Jared Leto, the lead singer of 30 Seconds To Mars.
But there is more to Ju Ju’s strength of character than her determination to always display a fashion statement that contradicts the status quo. The second year Accounting student at the University of the West Indies Cave Hill campus can easily be described by some as “crazy” — in a Ha! Ha! kind of way.
In May this year she said she proved many of them right when she entered a competition to win tickets to an event.
“Music Factory, they had a ticket give-away going on (I could have paid for the ticket) but the competition was all about what was the craziest thing you would do for a ticket. You had to comment on what you would do get the most ‘likes’ then you would win the tickets.
“I could’ve pretty much said I would dye my hair and once I got the most ‘likes’ I would win it. But the sort of person I am, I decided to do something really crazy and say I would wear my swim suit to school and do my exam in it.
“I got like 150 comments and then I got a call, the woman asked when was my exam, I said this day and she said, okay she will meet me at school. The day I left home in my swim suit, I didn’t wear any clothes at all, I got school before my exam started; went in the guild, played some pool, went to the canteen bought a drink and walked around a bit.
“I didn’t do the exam because when the woman came she told me she would give me the tickets just for coming to school because she thinks that is crazy enough. I’m just crazy like that, I don’t care what people think, I just do what I want to do,” the former student of the Christ Church Foundation School student said.
Although Leto said she holds an Associate Degree in Accounting from the Barbados Community College and is presently at the UWI pursuing a full degree in the same discipline, her true love is not Accounts and she has already taken her first steps toward accomplishing her dreams.
“When I was at UWI I realised what I wanted to do and it is not Accounting,” she said. “I want to be a designer, to make my own clothes because I have a different style and there is nobody here that sells my stuff so I have to bring in my stuff, get them on-line or make my own stuff.
“I am dropping out of UWI this year — I could always go back ’cause right now I want to do the garment making course either at Skills Training or the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. I applied already. After that I will go to BCC and do a fashion course.
“In five years I will probably have the same style with a different hair colour, more piercings and more tattoos for sure; and I will be an alternative designer/model (maybe based in England) — designing goth, punk or rock styles with a lot of black and not island style.