“Being handpicked by Jennifer Lopez for her national campaign for her JLo clothing line was exactly what I needed to prove to my parents that I can do this,” reminisces actress, dancer and model Jessica Caban of her first big break into the fast paced entertainment industry.
But for this Harlem-born and Bronx bred beauty, her talent was obvious from the beginning. As a young child, Jessica’s parents enrolled her in a local dancing school where she studied ballet but it was her days as PS 127 during her first rehearsal where Mr. Sabelly noticed her adding gestures and mannerisms that gave life to her character that planted that first seed.
Unfortunately, Jessica was unable to pursue her passion for her arts due to her parents’ firm belief in education. Her parents wanted her to follow in their footsteps to pursue a career in the medical field but little did they realize this was only a temporary halt.
In 2002, Jessica landed her first modeling gig that would change things forever. She worked alongside her longtime idol and fellow Bronx native Jennifer Lopez. “It was cool being around her. I learned a lot from her. She had a lot of really good advice to give. I am so grateful for that opportunity. It still makes me smile today.”
Since then, Jessica has gone on to appear in campaigns for Clean & Clear, hosted Viva America on BETJ, and appeared in Complex. In 2008, the petite Latina put her beauty to the test when she competed against hundreds of talented hopefuls to be crowned the first Model Latina in Los Angeles. A few years later, she went on to star in her feature film debut when she starred alongside Walter Vincent in the boundary-pushing love story “Are You for Great Sex,” which she earned the Best Actress Awards at the Boston and Hoboken International Film Festivals. The following year, she signed contracts with Pantene Pro V and starred opposite Interscope recording artist Jared Evan’s music video “Always Rains.”
The petite Latina has also become a red carpet staple. She confessed that one of her favorite labels right now is Carmelita Couture by Carmelita Martell. “I love her line because it’s for curvy girls and even though I’m little, I have my curves,” she admits. “I love getting all glammed up but sometimes I want to be sexy. Sometimes I want to be understated but my favorite is still jeans, a t-shirt and pumps. I’m a Forever 21 and H&M girl.”
Recently, Jessica found herself as the victim of cyber-bullying when rumors ran rampant about a supposed relationship between her and singer Bruno Mars. “I consider myself a pretty confident person but when people are personally writing you and emailing you all of this mean stuff, it’s hurtful. I can’t imagine growing up today with everything on Facebook and twitter . It’s hard.”
While she does admit that there is a pretty special someone in her life, her celebrity crush is none other than John Travolta. “I’ve always had a crush on him,” giggles Caban. “He sings. He dances. He’s just amazing.”
Nowadays, the Latina triple-threat has more on her plate than ever. This year, she will begin filming her new movie a new romantic comedy called “Getting Even,” and will be appearing in ads for Garnier, the Marriott, Johnny Walker, and Tiger Beer. She will be co-hosting the a Latino on AIDS Commission Charity with Rosie Perez for the Children’s Hospital as well as hosting the silent auction for the 12th Annual “A Slice of Latin America” Gala and the 30th Anniversary Celebration for the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families.
It’s hard to disguise the fact that since she scored her first national campaign ad or was named the first ever winner of Model Latina, Jessica is as ambitious as she is beautiful – and she has no plans to stop. When asked what does it mean to be chosen for this month’s cover in honor of women’s history, she said, “It’s fucking hilarious. I think it’s cool because in the time we live in, it’s all about booties out and boobs out but I think it’s good to give homage to a time when it wasn’t all about your body parts. The ‘40s was a time of classic beauties and more about the fashion and clothes.”
But the most exciting part about being chosen is showing her father how she looks. “He always says that I should wear my hair back like this so I can’t wait to see what he thinks.”