“Sometimes you have to be a high-flying bitch,” Grace Jones chuckles in the trailer for a new documentary about her life, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami. What the singer/actress/model/icon is referring to is unclear, as, for someone who attacked life with such vigor, the term could apply to anything.
At this point, the world has come to recognize that Jones is a singular figure, one who has never not been relevant, even as she approaches 70. Born in Jamaica and having moved to Syracuse when she was in her early teens, Jones first started her career as a model. But things didn’t get off the ground until she moved from New York to Paris in 1970.
“I went to Paris, and in three months, I was on four covers. My timing was just right,” she told Interview magazine in 1984. Throughout the interview—conducted by Andy Warhol and André Leon Tally—she name drops her favorite designers including Claude Montana, Kenzo, Alaïa, and Issey Miyake, giving insight into how she pieced together her spectacular wardrobe.
Like many a pop figure that came before Jones (David Bowie, the punks), and after (Madonna, Lady Gaga), clothing and makeup were an essential part of her self-made image and helped elevate whatever music or art she created into something truly unique.
Whether it was putting out albums, starring in James Bond films, or acting as muse to a number of photographers and designers, it should be noted that Jones didn’t just fall into such a visually driven career. It followed because of the look she created for herself. And her dedication to individuality—not merely looking good, or not looking like everyone else, but true self-expression through aesthetic—is what makes her a badass bitch and a pop-culture icon.
This week, the trailer for Jones’ long-awaited documentary finally dropped, giving us a glimpse into her creative process. At just over a minute and a half, the clip focuses on Jones applying makeup (for the stage or for a night out is yet unknown), utilizing the same bright reds that she rocked in the ’80s and a dash of gold (“I’m going tribal,” she explains). With any luck, the film, which was shot over the course of 10 years, will give insight not only into how Jones crafts her looks and is inspired, but also what drives her to keep going.
Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami will premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival this September