You’ve heard the term “Jack of all trades” to describe someone who can juggle a number of different trades. We would like to introduce you to New York’s Jesi of all trades.
Jesi Taylor-Cruz is a New York-based Model, Writer, Doula, Herbalist, Environmental Consultant, Mother, and Philosophy Graduate Student. These titles name just a portion of all of the work they contribute to the community.
We sat down with Jesi and discussed how they juggle each of their roles while protecting their own energy and discussed topics and conversations that are typically left out of the mainstream.
You’re a Doula, A Model, Writer, and Herbalist. You wear a lot of different hats. How do you keep yourself balanced and fortify yourself mentally while shifting between these facets of your life?
“I haven’t figured it out yet.”
Candidly, Jesi shared with us that she has been working on incorporating finding ways of balancing each of the roles she plays into her work.
“I struggle with finding balance in all of these things and because of that it’s a challenge to juggle all of those hats.”
What is the most inspiring aspect of your work?
“It’s weird to talk about inspiring aspects of my work because it’s not fully my own. Everything I do is collaborative, inspired by other people or done with the help of others. Or drawing from other thinkers and other writings. The most inspiring part is that it’s so many things in one. We’re all really in this together, for better or for worse. Hopefully, for better.”
What attracted you to becoming a Doula and what practices do you wish that Western Medicine would abandon when it comes to Maternal health?
“I taught a writing class on Rikers Island in the Women's jail and when I was talking to my students, I learned about different things and experiences from women who were incarcerated and either pregnant or recently gave birth while in jail. I realized there was a need, a need for more care in those spaces and decided to become a Doula.”
“Generally speaking the U.S has an abysmal maternal health record and practices that negatively impacts people from chronically disenfranchised communities period, not just in jails, but everywhere. I think that one of the best things that can be done is to approach reproductive justice from a more holistic standpoint, where it's not just for a person who is pregnant or a person going through a transition. It is a whole person with different aspects of their identity that are going to impact the type of treatment they’re going to get and the type of care that they receive. We have to look at people as a whole person and not just treat everybody as if they're gonna have the exact same experience when they're pregnant or giving birth.”
As a model, what internal work have you done on your journey to accept your vitiligo.
“It is what it is.”
“Even when I'm feeling self-conscious or stared at, or uncomfortable, I tell myself it is what it is and I have to move forward and go on. There are bigger things than this that are happening right now and if the reason I'm feeling self-conscious is because of someone else who I’m probably never going to see again then I try not to internalize it. It comes down to me having to force myself to just move on.”
What are the top three things that you would want someone who is unfamiliar with Vitiligo to understand?
It’s not contagious, anyone can get it, and people that are not white can have vitiligo; but it does not change their racial identity.
Modeling, you can find Jesi’s work in Vogue, Allure and Glamour Magazines. You can also catch Jesi in Thistle and Spire’s AW20 Campaign.
Follow Jesi's blog: Jesi-taylor.org