Crucian designer and model 'put St. Croix on the map' with Playboy … – Virgin Islands Daily News

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Mostly clear. Low 74F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph..
Mostly clear. Low 74F. Winds ENE at 10 to 20 mph.
Updated: January 25, 2023 @ 10:31 pm
This photo of Crucian model Janeisha John, dressed as a mermaid, graced the pages of the January issue of Playboy Denmark, a 12-page spread that was shot entirely on St. Croix. The architect of the project was fellow Crucian Aria Garcia, above, a budding designer and creative director.
Designer Aria Garcia and model Janeisha John, both Crucians, collaborated on a 12-page photo spread in January’s edition of Playboy Denmark, which features John, above, wearing a gold strapless top molded from lightweight material and fashioned to resemble the map of St. Croix.
Crucian designer Aria Garcia is the creative director for the January 2023 Playboy Denmark magazine featuring Crucian model Janeisha John.

Crucian designer Aria Garcia is the creative director for the January 2023 Playboy Denmark magazine featuring Crucian model Janeisha John.
This photo of Crucian model Janeisha John, dressed as a mermaid, graced the pages of the January issue of Playboy Denmark, a 12-page spread that was shot entirely on St. Croix. The architect of the project was fellow Crucian Aria Garcia, above, a budding designer and creative director.
Designer Aria Garcia and model Janeisha John, both Crucians, collaborated on a 12-page photo spread in January’s edition of Playboy Denmark, which features John, above, wearing a gold strapless top molded from lightweight material and fashioned to resemble the map of St. Croix.
When designer and creative director Aria Garcia was tapped to do a double-cover and 12-page photo spread for Playboy Denmark’s January 2023 issue, the chance to showcase her island home of St. Croix and its shared history with Denmark was too compelling to resist.
Using St. Croix model Janeisha John as her muse, St. Croix’s rich architecture and historical ties to Denmark as a backdrop, Crucian designers and as many local businesses and talent as possible during a photo shoot on St. Croix, the result is what both Garcia and John described as “magic.”
Garcia is chief executive officer and creative director of AREGA, a growing high-fashion empire. She has created for the likes of rappers Iggy Azalea and Saweetie, and has participated in New York’s Fashion Week four times since 2016 with her AREGA designs. Garcia is also growing her reputation as a successful creative director. She has directed covers for magazine brands including Vogue , Harper’s Bazaar and Latina . Playboy magazine previously enlisted her talents to creatively direct the publication’s Playmate of the Year, July 2022 cover issue and spread, in which she featured jewelry by St. Croix’s Crucian Gold.
It was a natural choice for Garcia to select fellow Crucian John to model for the spread. John represented the territory in the 2008 Miss America pageant and the 2010 Miss Universe competition, and was crowned Miss U.S. Virgin Islands in 2010. She has produced and worked as a television host for various networks including local stations WTJX and WCVI stations, before relocating to Los Angeles to pursue a career in television, film and modeling. She was featured in the 2021 Elléments Magazine December holiday issue.
“As a designer from the Virgin Islands, to creatively direct the cover of Playboy with a talent from the Virgin Islands, on St. Croix, for Denmark, the last place that owned the USVI, there were no other options for us,” Garcia said. “We weren’t sure if we were going to be able to execute it because it was a very expensive project to come and shoot in the Virgin Islands. It was a lot of hard work and preparation, so I give it up for the entire team, especially Janeisha, who was 100 % adamant about putting the Virgin Islands on the map. I’m just the visionary behind this, but it’s Janeisha’s moment to shine, for everyone to see she’s been working hard a long time. I want my fellow sister to shine.”
Shot by celebrity photographer Chris Martin on St. Croix in just two days in December, the spread includes not only designs by Garcia, but also designs by Jamal Drummond of Ahmadz Fashion, who encouraged both Garcia and John as a mentor-of-sorts during their early years, jewelry by Crucian Gold, local videographer Rashad Martinez and hair by Daphne Jean-Marie of Hair Plus Salon on St. Croix. Even John’s mother asked to be an assistant on the shoot.
“It’s truly an honor,” said John. “Aria’s creative vision is impeccable and she spearheaded the project, but coming together to collaborate on the project was just magic.”
The spread includes not only John wearing a gold strapless top, molded from lightweight material by 3D artist Mike Moceri, and fashioned to resemble the map of St. Croix for the cover, but also as a mermaid, a look also used as the second cover. John was also photographed in a cultural Carnival-style outfit and headdress, a sparkling yellow gown by Garcia, and other island-inspired creations — six looks in all.
“There are so many different creative outlets to shine a light on the Virgin Islands,” said John. “It doesn’t have to be what we typically do. We stepped out of the box a bit, but everything we did was in great taste, classy, nothing over the top. It was art, and we did it keeping in mind the cultural and historical significance. Literally being able to wear a mold of St. Croix across my chest during a shoot at Salt River, at the heart of St. Croix, it was just a beautiful moment for us.”
Putting St. Croix on the map was the foremost intention of both Garcia and John, but being an inspiration for the next generation was important to them as well.
“We do hope it impacts St. Croix in bringing in tourism and brings awareness to the beauty in our island, in our culture and in our diversity,” said Garcia. “I just really hope this inspires the Virgin Islands to continue to work and continue to dream and continue to believe. It’s so important. I feel like we need to keep that alive, so when individuals know that little ol’ Aria Garcia, who is a designer and creative director, is able to do this, everyone and anyone can do it. It is important for them to understand that ‘if she can do it, I can do it.’ It’s really that simple.
Crucian designer Aria Garcia is the creative director for the January 2023 Playboy Denmark magazine featuring Crucian model Janeisha John.

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