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GIRLS: Justene Jaro

Featured in Freestyle Volume 08 2009. Photography by Estevan Oriol. Story by Cristian Diaz.

It’s funny how visual association works sometimes. Peering from a room a few floors above, I grin at the streets I’ve memorised without ever visiting. Anthony Kiedis sung to me about these streets, Keanu Reeves chased a rubber-masked Patrick Swayze through these streets, and the guy rocking a Canon AE-1 around his neck framed these iconic streets. I embrace the LA aura and attempt to distract myself from Estevan Oriol’s latest metaphor of desire, Justene Jaro.

I’ve been around enough shoots to understand its standard dynamics. There’s a photographer, a model, high voltage flashes and pragmatic assistants. All combined in the jostle against a deadline and a Xanax-induced editor. That’s standard practice, scripted and scheduled. But this was none of the above; this, right here, was an artwork in progress. I’d never have picked that it was the duo’s initial collaboration. It’s kind of hard to believe this as Estevan conducts from a veteran lens while Justene darts her trademark look right through it. “We were introduced by mutual friends at a dog show. They had wanted us to work together for years,” says the half Puerto Rican/half Filipino stunner.

As the “It” girl of the US import scene, Justene’s exotic exterior is plastered along the walls of every Honda Civic owner, as well as various Rap/R&B music videos. But her appreciation for all forms of art is kinetic to this shoot. Lying, standing, arching in every conceivable direction, she paints the room with her giggles and frowns while the vintage Canon immortalises the images with every shutter sound.

Raw, dark and real… Estevan Oriol and Justene Jaro. Enjoy…

To find out more about Justene Jaro visit

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