Deru kugi wa utareru. Loosely translated, it means, "The nail that sticks up gets hammered down," meaning that society will tame its rebels. I've never been a fan of this one. In the natural world it's very true; separate yourself from the herd, and you probably won't last long. But society is different. A standout persona and original thought can be the perfect recipe for success, so long as you don't mind a little risk-taking along the way. The owner of this 1000+whp street Supra-Jessica Barton, the model posing in front of it-has stood taller than most within our scene for what her and her rebellious ways have achieved over the years. A pretty hard nail, if you ask us, and nothing's knocked her down yet.
Amidst a schedule full of racing the near-8-second Supra she's built over the years, running the new Double D Tuning effort founded by her and longtime partner Darin Dichiara, and modeling literally across the globe, most people would scarcely have time to spare for friends and fans. But that's part of why we like Jess so much. Beneath her beauty and behind her accomplishments is a regular girl who likes to take life fast. Let's have her elaborate:
Most people know me today from modeling, but that was the furthest thing from my mind growing up. I was the punk girl with two-toned hair working at the skatepark-definitely not your typical girly girl. When I was about 17, I started hanging out with car clubs and going to the drags with my brother. He was the go-to car guy back then, so I grew up around the fastest cars. I remember one kind in particular-they were fast, sexy, and sounded awesome. I knew I had to have one, but was stuck with a '97 Accord. I worked odd jobs and talked my granddad into lending me some money, and a year later I bought my first Supra: an Anthracite '93 twin-turbo. My mom and I picked it up from Texas and drove it back, and I remember getting into so many races on the way. We both loved the car from the beginning!
I had an intake, downpipe, exhaust, and blow-off valve ordered before I bought the car. We upgraded it some more and tuned it within the first few days I owned it. I was hooked. I drove it daily at about 500 whp for almost two years, and went to the strip every Wednesday and Friday night the whole time.
I posted up a few shots of me with the car on my Cardomain page and that's when the modeling really started to take off. Over the next few years I modeled for all the big import magazines, did the NOPI tour and hosted NDRA Race Wars and NHRA Sport Compact events, modeled for import industry companies in Puerto Rico, Hungary, and elsewhere overseas, and raced and did bikini contests at some of those events and others the whole time. 911 EnergyDrink in the Dominican Republic built and wrapped a six-speed Supra for me to race at an event down there while I was modeling, and Puerto Rico-from hosting Super Street Car Shootouts down there to watching Sporty Dyno run their three dynos all day long until 4 a.m.-was always awesome.
Success may be measured by how much one accomplishes, but respect comes with how hard they have to fight for it. Life tosses each of us some unexpected curveballs every now and then, including Jess. It just so happens she's got a knack for hitting them out of the park.
About three and a half years after buying it, a boyfriend and I were driving my Supra to my house one evening when some lady ran a red light and totaled it. Insurance companies screwed me around for a while-they didn't want to classify a car like that as "upgraded" back then-but it all worked out in the end. I saved some money, got a good deal on another Supra from a customer of Titan Motorsports, and swapped over my old car's black interior and six-speed transmission, had a cage fabricated, had it painted Aston Martin Meteorite Silver inside and out, and built a new engine setup to about 800 whp.