Joy West has lived her life on her own terms. Some would view her as living a dichotomy: on the one hand successfully running her own fashion business and comfortably working with high society, yet volunteering much of her time reaching out to help others who had fallen through the cracks of society and needed a helping hand to get their lives back on track.
From being a world champion equestrian at age 16, to singing backup for Michael Jackson on his “Thriller” album, she excelled at an early age. Stemming from her passion to help, for the past 15 years, in spite of intense opposition, even death threats from Mexican drug lords , she frequently put her life on the line helping rehabilitate over 6,000 prison inmates who were addicted to heroin or methamphetamine. Many were addicted while incarcerated in some of the worst prisons in Mexico and the US.
In a groundbreaking move, she helped set up a jail in the US solely dedicated to rehabilitating the inmates instead of simply warehousing them. This project visited by top gov officials from around the world who applauded it as an extraordinary example of prison reform. Taking individuals most society would run away from- Joy helped turn these individuals back into members of society barely recognizable from their former state. This resulted in many inmates regaining their dignity, reuniting with their families, and and taking responsibility for getting their lives back on track.
Joy helped run a crime prevention program that was run through the police department and Mayors office in Mexico with over 50,000 school kids participating. The police reported that drug use and gang activity around the schools decreased markedly and the school dropout rate diminished from 10% to approximately 1%. Families reported on a marked improvement in the conduct and attitude of their children.
At other times she has worked in prisons in both the US and Mexico with heroin or methamphetamine addicts and frequently collaborated with state and national political leaders and celebrities, helping connect them to humanitarian and social issues. She has worked In Washington D. C on projects with the US Department of Justice, The US Department of Homeland Security, The US Department of Health and Human Services, the State Department and White House.
She was invited to Costa Rica by the Rector of the United Nations University to brief their staff on drug and crime prevention. Working in D.C with the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration as the chief legislative liaison on a highly successful national drug prevention program she helped to greatly reduced the use of ecstasy and club drugs nationally. Joy was honored with a prestigious award at the National Press Club for her volunteer work with legislators nationwide.
Joy has devoted her life to the safety, protection, and admiration of animals. She is the proud dog-mommy of Athena and Bacchus, both rescues. She also is a supporter of Hero Dogs, a charity that provides service dogs for veterans. An effective altruist, she also donates part of the proceeds of her animal-friendly faux fur to endangered animals. While in Thailand, she visited with Bengal tigers at a Buddhist temple and rode elephants down to the river for their daily bath.
Joy epitomizes the saying that entrepreneurs are born and not made. Selling since the age of 16, she made her way in Los Angeles at 18 curating a line of jewelry for her trunk shows. In 2011, after years of traveling the world, Joy established stores in both Aspen and Nantucket. Now, Joy still travels looking for suppliers for her businesses. She sourced her luxurious Egyptian cotton caftans from Marrakesh; her sumptuous crochet dresses from Greece. Wherever she goes, treasures attract to her like moths to a flame. Her stores represent her unique, fun, and exciting style.
Sometimes controversial, never afraid of a challenge-despite considerable opposition and against all odds -Joy has been all about doing what she set out to, and doing it in style! Many thank her for the positive change she has made in their lives and being an inspiration of the human spirit and what can be accomplished if you set your mind to it!