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Jazzmyne Jay is unapologetically herself

Many might look at Jazzmyne Jay and wonder how she made it this far. She is every marginalized community rolled into one; a fat black lesbian woman. But, despite the odds, her resilience, defiance, and kind heart has allowed her to be a much-needed voice for her peers. While others may be called fighters for the same work that Jazzmyne has done, it almost seems out of place to use those words. It’s as if her magnetic field has called to like and drawn them in, giving them a place to rest and heal. Read ahead for our talk with inspirational Jazzmyne Jay, you cant help but love her.

MAKEUP SELENA RUIZ @anythingforselenaaassss

Who is Jazzmyne Jay?

Whew, Jazzmyne Jay is a Libra sun, Pisces moon, and Taurus rising– so you already know I stay flirting, then I cry for hours! I am someone who is constantly changing and working on being comfortable with myself. My whole life, I have wanted to help and inspire people, especially through fashion.

I would walk around JcPenney’s as a little girl and style outfits and put them all on one hanger, thinking I would help the person who found them. No matter what I am doing, I want to help people- no matter what they look like -feel good about themselves and not so alone.

What is something you wish you could have said to your younger self?

My younger self needed to hear so many things, but I think what I would tell myself is that “your now is not your forever, and you know you are bigger than this.” I grew up in a small town, and I always felt as if I was trying to be everyone else (smaller, straighter hair, less gay) instead of really rocking who I was. 

How did you come to learn self-love?

For me, self-love is a constant journey. Honestly, I don’t even know if there is a “finish line.” Through the years, I have realized that I change every day. I grow every day; sometimes, I take steps “back,” sometimes steps forward, and sometimes no steps at all. 

The most important thing about self-love for me is being there for myself and accepting myself for where I am at. I think I came to learn to accept myself because for so long, I didn’t.

How did you get your start in the fashion industry?

Shit, I don’t even know! It is absolutely wild for me to look and see where I am in my career today because I never planned for this. When I started growing a social media following and being on camera at BuzzFeed, I was very deliberate about how I wanted to be perceived. 

At the time, I really didn’t connect with anyone I saw on camera. I wore wild lipstick colors, tutus, pink hair, and other days I would show up in a Bulls jersey in a backward hat. My goal was to show that fat Black lesbians look however they want to! 

With figuring out how I wanted to be seen, posting my personal style on my Instagram, and just being me, it somehow worked out! 

You are so confident and unapologetic, and I love that your content is fashion-forward but also about body positivity – whatever that may look like. When did you realize that living in this space was helping to inspire others to do and be the same?

First of all, thank you! To be honest, it still is very surreal to me that I have helped many people that I probably will never meet. What is interesting to me, though, is realizing that I literally have been doing this since I was a child. I have always been driven to inspire in whatever way I can; I just never imagined it would be in the way that I am now. I am so lucky and so grateful!

Growing up, who do you feel inspired you?

Growing up, I was definitely inspired by my parents. They went through many hardships to be together, and they were also fly as fuck! Their 90’s style was too damn good. I was inspired by Oprah, Tyra Banks, The Spice Girls, Queen Latifah, Tia, and Tamera Mowery, That’s So Raven, Miranda from Lizzie McGuire, Salt n Pepa—the list goes on!!!

How do you feel like being from a small town in the Midwest to living in a big city like Los Angeles has helped shape your personality and the way you show up in the world?

Being from a small town and coming to a huge place like Los Angeles allowed me to be my damn self. When I came to LA for the first time, it was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders. I would walk down Hollywood Blvd. and see people who looked like me, people who looked different than me, and I wouldn’t hear about it from my mom’s hairdresser’s stepdaughter! 

I feel like Los Angeles allowed me to fuck up and grow and find myself.

Jazzmyne jay x submission beauty

If you weren’t doing what you are doing right now- diversity and inclusion consultant, model, content creator, activist, working at BuzzFeed -what would Jazzmyne be doing?

This is a tough question!!! When I moved to Los Angeles, I set up “pillars” to help me make decisions (I’m a Libra, remember?!). In whatever job I was at, I told myself that I was good if these pillars were being met. My pillars were 1) I have to be allowed to be myself: wear my makeup how I wanted, wear clothes that I felt good in, do my hair however I want to. 2) I have to be able to inspire people and make people feel confident. 3) I had to be adequately paid for what I was doing!!!! 4) I had to love my job at least 75% (I don’t believe in completely loving your job). 

If these four things were met, I knew I would love what I was doing. But, to answer your question: I would probably be somewhere in the fashion industry or coaching volleyball. I coached for five years, and I love it so much.

I know that you are a diversity and inclusion consultant; what does that work look like, and what helped jumpstart you in that role? 

I really pitched my role as a D&I consultant at BuzzFeed until bigger steps were taken in the company. I found myself doing a lot of D&I work as a producer and as a talent but not having a title or compensation for it–which if you are a minority IYKYK. 

I enjoy working with BuzzFeed, obviously because I know the company. I know what it takes to make content diverse because I did it for years, and I know how simple it is! I usually set up meetings with producers to think about D&I before their content is made instead of having it as an afterthought. I like doing this work because it allows me to think creatively and also about D&I.

I admire you for how you use your voice for the things you are passionate about, like coming out. What do you think is the best way to be supportive of someone who wants to come out?

I feel like this answer has changed many times for me throughout the years. When I was younger, I was like, “WOOOOOOOOO COME OUT COME OUT!!!!!” Which was cool but also very privileged. My outlook now is more so “if you want to live your life being you and coming out is important to you–do it! You got this! If, by chance, you are not in the position to be who you are because of safety, living, family circumstances, school, anything–know that you are not less than in the LGBTQIA+ community. We will always be there for you whether you come out or not.”

What’s one beauty product that you wouldn’t want to live without?

This answer has also changed for me throughout the years! Like four years ago, I would have said liquid lipstick, and now I barely wear lipstick. My fave beauty product is my Claropsyche Sketch Paint palette. This palette has helped my mental health over the last year and a half for real and allowed me to be creative with myself. 

What does self-care mean to you, and what does your self-care routine consist of?

Much like my acts of self-love, my self-care as a whole is honoring myself and what I want. This past year and a half specifically, I have been sticking to the boundaries that I set with family and friends. Sticking to my boundaries is very hard for me, especially as someone who doesn’t deal with conflict well. 

I have also been setting 1-3 minutes a day aside to breathe. I know that may sound odd, but taking time to focus on my breathing and be with myself has been helping me so much.

Can you tell us a little about “Mentally…I’m Here.”

Mentally…I’m Here is an Instagram Live show that I started back in June 2021! With everything that has gone on in the past year and a half, I feel that mental health is being brought to the surface of society, and more conversations are being had than before. I started this show honestly just to normalize mental health conversations and to start conversations and hopefully help people.

I wanted to create an open space to talk about mental health topics in different ways- from anxiety to obsessive-compulsive disorder to imposter syndrome to mental health in relationships. I was so lucky to work with so many beautiful, vulnerable guests that shared great lessons they have learned and are currently working through. Season 1 just finished, but all the episodes are found on my IGTV under Mentally…I’m Here!

What’s next for Jazzmyne Jay?

Honestly…who fuckin knows. I know before the end of my career, I need a clothing line or shoe line. PERIOD! I want to keep pushing the ceiling and get into more hosting and just being a bad bitch. Also, I want to get back into coaching volleyball again, so I think I will be doing that in the next few years!