Jajone Cuff, a junior television and digital media major, has an artistic life outside of campus.
Cuff grew up in Brooklyn, New York and was eager to dip her toes into various styles of art. She expressed the familiar concern that racial representation was lacking in media and art while she was growing up. As a result, she decided that she herself would be the representation that was missing from her life as a child.
She quickly became inspired by Virgil Abloh, Rihanna and Daymond John. These three moguls helped Cuff realize that everything from fashion to photography was meant for her.
In high school, she started her own clothing brand called, TheKidInTheStorm, a custom clothing brand that specializes in designing denim clothing along with creating original canvas paintings. Her brand is not only filled with her passion for painting, but it allows her to grow as an artist as well. Although she loved what she did, making time for it became a struggle.
“My brand has taught me that being an entrepreneur at a young age is very challenging, especially with school in the mix, [which took] up the majority of my time,” Cuff said. “It’s hard to balance between creating and being a full-time student.”
Despite the obstacles, Cuff didn’t stray off her path to building her brand. Since its launch, she has come out with multiple collections like “The Heart Break Club” and “The Eye of The Storm.” These collections mirror the vision of her brand while allowing her to create with no limit. The success of these collections has sparked clientele around the Montclair State University community.
Imani Monet, a senior medical humanities major, is one of Cuff’s customers and has had a positive experience with her.
“I absolutely loved [working with Cuff],” Monet said. “She really made sure to listen to what I wanted, [and was able to] execute the products.”
Cuff went on to explain that being a business owner is a constant learning lesson.
“I have to learn about marketing, budgeting and networking,” Cuff said.
This led her to expansion and exploration into the world of photography. She started a photography business back in 2021 called Stormzeyeview, with the intention to capture the Black person’s experience.
“My mission is to produce profound images that capture not only Black culture and the beauty within it, but themes of love, family, spirituality and sexuality,” Cuff said.
Since the start of her business, she has been booked and busy for the New Year, shooting all over the tri-state area. Raven McGleese, a model and photographer who has worked with Cuff, also enjoyed her experience.
“Working with [Cuff] on her photography projects is always a blast,” McGleese said. “She is open to your ideas for the shoot, such as style, poses and location, and will literally make your vision come to life.”
Cuff’s fashion and photography have also given her the tools to discover new layers about herself and what she likes.
“Since starting, I’ve learned a lot about myself,” Cuff said. “In fact, I think tapping into my art has shaped me and allowed me to discover who I am and who I can become.”
Cuff is more than excited for the future. She will leave Montclair State with not only a degree, but a bright future ahead — and, in the field she is most passionate about.
“I found what I want to do for the rest of my life,” Cuff said. “I learned a career shouldn’t feel like work because I genuinely enjoy creating and learning about my craft, to the point where it has become my lifestyle.”