The title of Vice President is all about how much money you have made within a two-year period. Already, I'm bored with the title VP and am looking forward to becoming Senior VP" states the go-getter. Jhones is a powerhouse that knows what it takes to get what she needs to grease the wheels of success. For her, there is only one way to go and that is to the top. Success came not because someone handed it to her but because she dared to grab onto the brass ring and didn't let go until she turned it into gold.
By Deardra Shuler
Amanda Jhones is someone who seizes life by the horns to make certain it goes her way. A model, singer, actor, artist and now real estate dynamo, Jhones, believes in being top notch at whatever she involves herself in no matter the field. Thus, is it any wonder she was recently appointed one of the Vice Presidents within Prudential Douglas Elliman, a company that ranks within the top 10 of all real estate companies in America. Jhones is the first African American to claim such distinction within the 100-year-old company's history. "There are many VP's.
Born in New Jersey and raised in California, the striking 6'1" Jhones started a modeling career at 17 years of age, cat walking the fashion lines of Givenchy, Chloe, Madame Gres, and Valentino in New York, California, and Paris. "When I was 14, I stood about 5'10," and was told I should get into modeling. I was just interested in having fun. By 17 years of age I was working. I am a Leo and though I don't search out the spotlight or put myself into it, the spotlight seems to search me out," claims the smoky voiced agent. One such spotlight is The Amanda Condominiums, located at 32 West 128th Street in Harlem, a complex named in her honor by a developer who was so impressed with Amanda's business savvy and management skills that he dubbed the luxury development after her. It is her aggressive sales style, which prompted Ms. Jhones to head up her own team of African American real estate agents under the Jhones Group banner within Douglas Elliman. This group includes Jamie Thomas, Persia Walker and Jacquelyn Carson who assist Jhones in overseeing multi-million dollar projects that consist of townhouses, coops, condos and some rentals. Jhones has netted profits of over $30 million dollars in sales for Prudential Douglas Elliman.
Her real estate achievements have presently stopped Jhones from singing for her supper due to the demands of the job, but it has not arrested her love of Jazz music. A professional singer prior to accepting the dare that changed her career and her monetary prospects, Jhones traveled as a band leader and with her own trio, singing before audiences in Manhattan, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Kuala Lumpur, Switzerland, Japan and Turkey. She recorded her debut CD "Sweet Dreams" and later recorded "Wild Is The Wind" for the Cadence Jazz label, which is presently available at Tower Records. Amanda graduated in 1998 with a degree in music and earned a BFA in Jazz and Contemporary Music from The New School University. She performed as an opening act for Dizzy Gillespie, Stanley Turrentine and Will Downing as part of the Cool Jazz Summer Cruise and recorded with the likes of Kenny Barron, Hilliard Greene and Kenyatta Beasley under the name Pucci Amanda Jhones.
"I have been listening to music for a very long time," purred the jockey-of-many talents. "I never realized I had an actual voice until after my mother died. One day I decided I was going to sing. I opened up my mouth and lo’ and behold, I had a voice. When other people were listening to the Temptations and the Supremes, I was listening to Carmen McRae, Billie Holiday, Sarah Vaughn and Miles Davis. In fact, my dog's name is Miles," giggled the bemused Amanda. "I've traveled a lot. I have sung in five star hotels, smoky nightclubs and concert halls. I've had acting gigs on TV, for a while in L.A., and reoccurring roles on Hill Street Blues, The Jefferson's and a couple of movies that I won't dare mention. The theatre was my joy. My wings were not clipped thus I went where the wind blew me" reflected the free spirit.
"I actually got involved in real estate on a dare and I loved the challenge, so here I am 6 years later. I always tell the creator, whatever path you lead me on I am going to do it well. As it turned out, I was celebrating my graduation from The New School at a restaurant with a communal roundtable-styled setup. As it turned out, some of Douglas Elliman's top brokers were celebrating their success at the same table and we started talking. One of the agents quipped I needed to make money since I was a singer and suggested I get involved in the real estate business. I felt rather insulted by her comment but it is the best thing she could have said because I got feisty and decided to take her on and since my friend dared me also that was all I needed. I took a real estate course at NYU, within ten days had my license, and started working with Douglas Elliman. The firm started me at 40%, which I believe was 10% less than what the other new brokers received. I guess they thought I wasn't going to last. Little did they know! As part of my job, I work with the development team at Elliman. We are bringing new and exciting developments to Harlem. You could say that I am Douglas Elliman's Harlem expert, although, I sell and have sold, properties throughout the city, from Tribeca to Washington Heights. I just happen to know Harlem. I know the groove of Harlem, the rhythm of Harlem and the feel of Harlem. I remember a time when people were scared to come to Harlem but that no longer applies. I also like the fact that many black people are able to buy property in Harlem," stated the prolific real estate agent.
The real estate business is no walk-in-the-park and it has taken Jhones's strength of character and tenacity to keep her a winner in the game. "I have been adored, admired, and discriminated against," claims Amanda. "In this business, you run the gamut of all emotions. My client base is from Israel to Texas. I'm often asked, "Who's buying in Harlem" My comment is...everyone! Several well known black and white celebrities have bought and are buying. Harlem is becoming the Rodeo Drive of the world," Amanda remarked. "For example, when I work with developers, I tell them what I know will sell in Harlem; a loft-like apartment, 2 bedrooms, high ceilings, two baths, balcony, gym, and sundeck sells. 32 West 128th St., is constructed that way; therefore, I was honored when they called the building "The Amanda.’ Since, I was named after my grandmother, I view The Amanda Condominiums as a tribute to my grandmother; a woman, unfortunately, I have never met. However, my father told me many stories about Mandy. My grandmother was born into slavery, survived it, gave birth to 16 children and lived to nearly surpass 100 years of age. I can’t help but admire the survivor that was my grandmother. The interesting thing about my family is that we come from a long line of enduring people who live to a ripe old age. My father who just passed away in his favorite chair died at 95, and his sister died at 105 years old," stated the charming mother of a daughter who is a minister and who is presently expecting a child herself.
Her life filled with accomplishments, Amanda reflected on what she viewed as her greatest accomplishment. "I think my greatest accomplishment is my daughter and the fact that I still have all my marbles in the 21st Century and that my mind is strong, my will is strong and that I am still here amongst all of this. I think that is a tribute to God and a tribute to the strong stock I come from. People are cracking up these days and doing things that at one time was unheard of. I have to stay strong. I pray in the morning and plant both feet on the ground. I am ever so humble. I do unto others, as I would have them do unto me. Yes, I do unto others but the one thing I won't do is turn the other cheek."
Jhones has a website at Puccijhones.com but interested parties and potential buyers can call 212-769-9882. Prudential Douglas Elliman is opening up a new office in Harlem located at West 117th and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard. Although, Jhones plans to hold court at the Harlem office, her main location is at 68th Street and Broadway. If you are in the market for real estate and want to acquire the best, than go with the best. You will find that few know real estate better than Amanda Jhones.
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