It all started when Guido Melo, managing director of Melko (read our interview with Guido and our thoughts of Melko this Friday) asked us “why are you doing this?” and more importantly “what do you have to offer that’s different?”
Many people have asked the same questions since Ella and I started talking about making a blog, but as I sat across from Guido in what was my first ever interview, I suddenly felt intimidated. They’re hard questions to hear, and harder to answer.
For the rest of the day, I was in my own head. I spent hours just thinking, and writing, and revising and wondering and dreaming. Why am I doing this? What’s the point?
I have always been interested in writing. Creative writing is my passion, and I fully believe that I will be a writer all my life. I am 100% confident that I will finish writing wonderful books and people will read them and, more importantly, love them.
But I have more interests, interests that can be explored and expressed through writing. I’ve always had an eye for the creative, the wonderful and the aesthetics of life. Even if I don’t fully understand it, I want to learn more about the world of fashion and beauty. I want to explore it on a “shallow” level, and enjoy the things that look and feel nice simply because I want to look and feel nice. And I want to explore the “deeper” levels.
I believe in equality for all. I want to celebrate and showcase what the world has to offer. I want the black designers and trans models and disabled makeup artists to have their work be loved and appreciated by the world. I want every piece of clothing and beauty product I own to be sourced fairly, for everyone who worked on it to have been given fair and legal treatment. I want to find wonderful, quality, cruelty-free and vegan and vegetarian alternatives to the things I love. I want to know that my money is going towards companies who aren’t actively harming the world, but who are also actively protecting our environment. I want very simple things. To look and feel great and know that no person, animal or place was harmed in the process. It’s not an easy feat, and I’m always learning more, but I’m striving to achieve this.
So, what do I have to offer?
To put it simply, femininity as we see it does not cater to every person who, regardless of gender, feels connected to femininity. I have often questioned my own view of gender as a concept and as it applies to myself. I experimented with being referred to as “they”by those closest to me (for example “This is Jess, they like flowers. Their favourite colour is pink, and I want to give them a hug”), and although I still think of myself as a cis-woman (meaning that I identify as the gender that was assigned to me at birth, so I am still connected to being a woman and feel happy with that connection) it was nice and I fully encourage the use of they/them/their pronouns as a gender-neutral and respectful way to refer to anyone. I have thought about the gender binary as a whole and how we are raised to follow it without even realising it. I have a critical eye when it comes to these things, which can and does relate directly to the fashion and beauty industries. I want to help build a world that has more of a diverse view of gender, and I’ll do what I can, even if all I can do for now is write blog posts about the things that I care about.
I am a lesbian, and because of this I’m not always seen as feminine or beautiful. Femininity doesn’t always apply to me. Maybe I don’t need it to, and that’s ok. I think I have taken a few steps to act more feminine than I would be comfortable with to counteract this idea, and I would like to rethink that and do what makes me happy and comfortable. I do love nice clothes and makeup, but I want to explore the uses of fashion and makeup to be creative and feel good. It’s a fine line between doing something because you want to and doing something because you’re expected to.
I am a naturally creative person, but I do have a vague interest in the science of nature. I wanted to study floristry and did enjoy it a lot, but I’ve learned that while I love flowers and the natural beauty of the world, I’m not interested in selling floral arrangments to make a living. I am still interested in flowers and plants and would like to learn more about their uses in skincare.
Since starting to work at Lush Cosmetics I’ve been completely enthralled by the products and ingredients. Every day I love learning more and more about skincare, about how the ingredients our world provides naturally can do wonderful things for your health and appearance. I love learning about the scientific elements of these ingredients and what makes them do what they do. I love learning about the creative process of designing new products and revising old recipes. I love experiencing the results and watching people be absolutely thrilled by the perfect product. I’m truly happy to be involved with such a wonderful company and to learn about something that has always intrigued me. Everyone around me can tell that I’m in my element at the moment, and I would love to stay a part of this world. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll look into designing my own skin care products. That seems like a dream right now, but it’s one that I’m enjoying.
So why am I doing this? And what do I have to offer? Maybe I just want somewhere to explore my own thoughts and learn more about the world. Maybe I just want to write. Maybe I love fashion, maybe I just want to feel pretty. Maybe I’m challenging the norm, or maybe I’m trying to change it. Maybe I’m finding my passions. I don’t know yet, but I do love the process of finding out.
Much love, Jess
– A huge thank you to my good friend Haydn for letting me use his wonderful photo as the header for this post. Check Haydn out on Instagram –