Parents are supposed to be their children’s first heroes. For young boys, we often dream about working with our dads when we grow up – especially when your dad has a cool job like a fireman or a football coach. Then, we grow up. Although we may still follow their career path, our competitive nature kicks in and we want to make a name for ourselves. That’s when our focus shifts from trying to make our hero proud to becoming someone else’s hero. Not to say that we forget where the initial seed was planted, but more to show that the seed has blossomed. Meet Jaden Smith.
Remember that whole dad having a cool job jargon from earlier? Imagine your dad not only being The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, but also having a few timeless hip-hop joints under his belt,including one that gets played at least once at every barbecue or cookout across the country: Summertime. Well, that’s the guy who Jaden Smith had as a first hero, Will Smith. While the pressures of not only growing up in the public eye, but doing so as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith’s son have to be a bit overwhelming at times, Jaden handles it pretty well. At this point it’s got to be second nature to him, seeing as how he’s been acting since he was five years old. His first gig was guest appearing on the TV sitcom All of Us, where his parents co-wrote and co-produced the show.
While that was Jaden’s first rodeo, it was surely not his last. It was clear that this was something that he really wanted to do, and he received an opportunity just a few years later that would catapult his career. As many of you may know, Jaden got his first shot at the big screen working alongside his dad in The Pursuit of Happyness. While many had speculated that the father and son playing a father and son on screen was a bit gimmicky, there was nothing about the film that came across as a gimmick. In fact, Jaden wasn’t “given” the role, he auditioned for the role and blew away the casting directors. The 2006 film starring the two was a blockbuster hit, and a star was born before our eyes.
Jaden capitalized on the fame and accolades that came along with that role, including an MTV Award for Breakout Performance. He followed that up with the highly anticipated leading role in the remake of Karate Kid. Teamed up with Taraji P. Henson and Jackie Chan, the family friendly film was yet another outstanding performance by young Jaden. In 2010, Karate Kid did well in theaters and received good reviews, so much so that earlier this year it was announced that there will be a sequel in the making soon.
Although Jaden has had admirable success in movies, he wanted to become more versatile. With intentions of adding a few different skills to his already impressive resume, Jaden’s first new venture was music. In 2012 at age 14, Jaden released his first mixtape, The Cool Cafe. This project has a couple of notable features, including his sister Willow and Kid Cudi. It also opened the door for the opportunity to work with pop stars Jhene Aiko and Justin Bieber. Jaden and Biebs collaborated on a track entitled “Never Say Never” from his album of the same name. Will the teenage tandem of Jaden and Justin become one for the ages? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.
Next for Jaden was a leap into the fashion world. Jaden created a clothing/lifestyle brand MSFTSrep, which he and his sister WIllow wear constantly. The line offers a style that has a broad array of unique looks for guys and girls, and also provides a bit of edginess. MSFTSrep can be purchased on Jaden’s personal website www.jadensmith.com, or the brand’s site www.msftsrep.com.
In addition to his own brand, Jaden was just announced as the new face of Louis Vuitton – with a twist. Instead of being the face that will launch a thousand men’s suits, the announcement features Jaden in a skirt, as he will be posing for the womenswear line. It’s true to Jaden’s androgynous style and this decision by LV shows flexibility in beauty standards – something that is often touted by fashion lovers, but not often actually practiced.
Jaden flew to Instagram in his odd (yet somehow still visually pleasing?) title-capitalized style saying, “Thank You So Much @louisvuitton And @nicolasghesquiere For The Opportunity To Impact This World.”
So far, the campaign has gotten positive reviews, retweets and love. At the front of that line is Willow Smith who posted a picture from the campaign on Instagram. “The more we start to realize that we are all the same and infinitely different at the same time, the more we begin to shed those expectations and live free to continue to uplift the essence of Earth,” she captioned the image.
As much success as he’s had, Jaden isn’t much different from the average teenager. When talking to him, you can tell he’s still an everyday 16-year-old when it’s all said and done – living carefree, and of course at the expense of his parents. On The Ellen DeGeneres Show in an interview he did along with his dad, Jaden said “The thing that people don’t get is everything at his house is free. So I can get anything and everything at his house.” He went on to say jokingly, “I’m going to be there for 20, 30 more years. He says that as soon as I have a movie that’s bigger than one of his movies I can get my own house.” It’s safe to say that won’t be the easiest task, but dream big Jaden, dream big.