People We Love
A Model’s Guide to Atlanta’s Coolest Spots
By Jess Graves
Photos by Jace Lumley
Before all else—model, poet, entrepreneur—Jaycina Almond is a mother. Her 16 month old daughter, Syx, is the sun around which her many worlds orbit. At 22 herself, she has made the decision to build her work around her personal life, not the other way around.
“It was a necessity” she says. “I’m my daughter’s primary caregiver, she is always with me. This is it, this is my life.”
Composed and soft-spoken, one may not first realize that Jaycina (who goes only by her first name) is a formidable creative powerhouse.
“I wasn’t signed until after I had Syx,” she says of her many modeling commitments. “It was important to me to follow my dreams to truly make this my career, regardless of whether or not I am a mom. Honestly, having my daughter is really what inspired me to go into it, and she is also what inspired me to start Tender.”
Tender is a venture Jaycina imagined in two parts: the first, a subscription-based box tailored to each trimester of pregnancy, all the way up to postpartum. Products tucked inside its packaging are all natural and handcrafted by women, usually other moms. Part two, an online marketplace of thoughtfully-selected “Mama-made” goods, including furniture, art, and jewelry. 10% of Tender’s proceeds are donated to mothers in need, primarily a charity Jaycina treasures called My Sister’s House, a shelter that caters specifically to domestic abuse survivors—usually women and children. “Through Tender,” she says, “we are able to give back.”
For most, juggling a burgeoning modeling career, a young daughter and a new business might be enough. But for Jaycina, the sweeping challenges and victories of the past few years ultimately provided enough inspiration and material to fill a book of poetry. Called In No Particular Order, Jaycina explains, “it covers the transition from maiden to motherhood. I put together my favorite pieces from the past few years and my pregnancy.”
A Kentucky native, Jaycina now divides her time between Los Angeles and her home in the Reynoldstown neighborhood of Atlanta. We got her to show us some of her favorite spots to nosh, shop, and wander about—and captured her in some of our most fashion-forward summer trends (stripes, much?). Read on for her insider’s guide to one of the coolest cities in the country.
When dining out in Atlanta, Jaycina prefers friendly, casual spots close to home. “Park Grounds neighborhood coffee is so close to my house, I am there all the time, especially for breakfast when I’m too lazy or in a rush. Everyone knows us there. They have this really good vegan scramble. I usually drink an iced chai tea latte with Jaycina milk… and you cannot leave without trying one of their chocolate chip cookies! So good!”
Bartaco in Inman Park is bustling and cheerful, set off by a flood of natural light and a cozy, street-facing patio perfect for people watching. The vibe is trendy. “This place is Syx’s favorite. We usually get the portobello or fish tacos, corn on the cob, and plantains — extra crispy!” Jaycina doesn’t drink alcohol, and she appreciates the restaurant’s colorful selection of mocktails and sparkling juices. “They allow me to feel like a grown-up,” she laughs, “which is nice when you spend most of the day talking to a toddler.”
But Jaycina does most of her eating at home. “I love all the amazing farmer’s markets in Atlanta, especially Dekalb Farmers Market. It has literally everything, so it’s always fun to spend the day exploring. I love getting spices there. I try to cook most of what we eat. Right now, Syx pretty much eats vegan, but she’s not picky, so I’m able to make lots of pasta and rice dishes. I recently learned how to make fried rice for her because she absolutely loves it.”
Look After Yourself, Mama
“When I was pregnant, I was crazy about everything being non-toxic.” she says. “There is an organic nail salon in Grant Park called Lark and Sparrow that I love for that exact reason.”
Little Barn Apothecary in the city’s Westside neighborhood (Atlantans call this neighborhood simply “Westside”) shares the same ethos, packed tight with wellness products like sage and crystals and clean beauty lines like Juice Beauty, Royal Fern, goop and the shop’s in-house products, which Jaycina uses. “I really love the Little Barn brand Grapefruit Body Oil and the Coconut Mint Facial Mist… and they have a charcoal cleanser I cannot live without.”
Her enthusiasm for holistic practices extends to her fitness routine. “Solstice Yoga has an amazing Mommy Fit program that I really love. There is an instructor there named Jen who is my favorite.” she pauses to laugh. “And I love following her on Instagram too!”
Paris on Ponce—a favorite shopping destination for Jaycina—is a behemoth vintage retail marketplace and event venue situated centrally in the city’s historic (and hot-with-development) Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. It is a veritable pantheon of rotating treasures. Artfully merchandised stalls brim with furniture, vintage barware and succulents. The meandering rows seem to stretch on forever, sprinkled intermittently with thoughtful amenities, like a stylish bike rental program that capitalizes on the building’s prime location off the Atlanta Beltline.
Large swaths of busy Beltline and street-facing walls make the building a popular canvas for high-profile street local artists like James Bullough, Nate Frost and Greg Mike. “Los Angeles is very bohemian, and Atlanta is much more gritty and urban, which is how I grew up. I love meshing those influences together.”