Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti to legendary Haitian painter Geo Remponeau and his wife Madeleine, Jany Remponeau Tomba moved to New York City as a young woman in 1965. In 1969, she embarked on a career that would make her one of the first black supermodels in the United States.
After accepting a modeling opportunity offered by a beauty editor at Glamour Magazine, Tomba signed with the prestigious Ford Agency, becoming a fashion icon over the next thirty years. Her face graced the covers of American Girl, Woman’s Day, Mademoiselle and Essence magazines, as well as national campaigns for several major brands over a period of years when the fashion and advertising industries were first reckoning with the power of the African American consumer.
In 1988, Tomba began to study painting and sculpture formally, and began exhibiting her work even as she continued to model. In 1998, she left modeling, and went on to earn her bachelor’s degree from Hunter College and pursue graduate studies in Haitian Linguistics at CUNY Grad Center.
In 2010, Tomba was the focus of a retrospective art installation and documentary called I love Jany. Produced by her niece Sasha Huber, it brought a renewed focus to the significance of her career.