Jessica Wu is an NYC-based wardrobe stylist, producer, and model. She is also the founder of Period Space, an online platform encouraging and empowering people to talk about menstrual and reproductive health, and has utilized her personal platform to stay active on social issues.
Side note: We're obsessed with her innovation and creativity when it comes to makeup. Jessica's Come Closer Skin Perfecting Serum-Foundation shade is 020 Celaine.
Read our mini-interview with Jessica below.
What does being a Modern Asian woman mean to you?
I was raised in a rather homogenous area in southern California, and from elementary through high school, I often felt singled out from receiving unwanted attention and comments about my race. My mission was to exist quietly and to avoid any opportunities for conflict. Luckily, as I grew older and discovered more of myself through various avenues such as art, fashion, and food culture, I really prided myself on my Taiwanese American heritage. My family dynamic has always been joyful and loud, outspoken, and at times unapologetic; I see a lot of myself in my grandparents, dad, and mom. In my household, I simultaneously observed the fruits of determination and drive in one's career as well as the physical and emotional downsides to overworking and ignoring one's health. Being able to love and accept myself admittedly took a bit of time, but I feel more proud to be Asian than ever.
What’s the greatest piece of wisdom ever shared with you by your parents or grandparents?
My senior year of high school, after a few of my applications were rejected, my mom told me to "make those colleges regret not admitting me." I feel like this attitude can honestly be applied to any part of life. Work diligently, and show those who didn't think you were qualified or good enough for them that you're everything they wanted and more. Let your actions and accomplishments make them question their decisions about you, but also don't let establishments or people's opinions be the compass for your personal successes. The only person you need to prove yourself to is yourself!
How do you deal with racial stereotypes?
I think it's important to learn about the prejudices that exist in society, their origins, and understand why they still exist. In knowing the motivations or ideologies behind perpetuating and allowing racism and microagressions, you have the upper hand to be able to take action, speak up, and dismantle it where you can. For me, I really try my best to not take it personally and try to engage respectfully to see how the other person thinks and their perspective. I generally feel like these types of attacks are made out of ignorance, willful or not, and misunderstanding, which makes it all the more important to take time to hear each other and talk it out.
How do you define beauty?
I think beauty is about finding confidence in knowing yourself inside and out, being vulnerable, and accepting your "flaws." I really believe that inner beauty reflects outwardly.
How do we move the conversation forward?
It's so important to see ourselves represented. I am extremely fortunate to be able to participate in this evolving conversation on diversity and to continue to receive opportunities for representing my heritage. We need to do whatever we can, on whichever level or scale we operate--startup, small business, corporation--and push for representation in the media landscape. If we're denied those opportunities, we need to forge our own paths to visibility. And actually, in that way we can play by our own rules too!
To learn more about Jessica or view her work, visit: www.jessicazwu.com