Our first ever, Spotlight Interview! Once a week we will be interviewing one amazing woman who inspires and slays. I was looking at Insta when I came across Jamie’s profile. I couldn’t help but feel a kindred- spirit-thing the moment I saw her. If I could describe her in one word, it would be: Badass. A girl after my own heart, growing up in rural Pennsylvania she never quite fit in (mainly because she was just too awesome for the regular folk). I sent her a few questions, for each month we’ve decided to stick with a theme, this month’s theme is, “New Year, New You” (appropriately so). I absolutely loved her answers and I know you will too.
Tell us where you grew up and what kind of childhood did you have?
I grew up in the middle of nowhere in Pennsylvania. My house was surrounded by woods and we didn’t have many people who lived on my mostly dirt road. It was incredibly isolating.
My parents were both blue collar. My father had a union job and my mother had two jobs: she drove school bus and worked at the school cafeteria.
We had pigs, chickens, dogs, and cats. Our cars broke down a lot, so I was especially isolated and couldn’t be in extracurricular activities or meet up with friends. My brothers and I would make up games. One game was a talk show. I would interview them and they would pretend to be characters and I would record this. I was very much interested in fashion, but couldn’t afford clothes. I would study Vogue magazine. I would get bags of used clothing for a few dollars and try to recreate the looks.
Tell us your experience with bullying?
Bullying started when I was in 4th grade. I wore adult clothes because I was too tall and large to fit into children’s clothes. My stomach protruded and I had scoliosis. The bullying very much affected me, but I think it was less than some kids get.
After elementary I went to a large rural junior and senior high school (grades 7th-12th). I was harassed by peers, teachers, and my classmate’s parents. All the kids from nearby rural communities (some even 1.5 hours away) were bussed in. I always did my own thing and was harassed mercilessly. It was less about my size, because I was quite thin at this point. Rumors started that I was a devil worshipper and a lesbian, because I didn’t fit in. They did it with such anger. I had my head slammed into a locker. I realized that I would be left alone if I only took advanced college prep classes, so that is what I did.
When was the first time you realized your worth?
In junior high I heard of the Riot Grrrl movement. I caught onto it too late, because most of the bands known in the movement weren’t together any longer. But I read zines related to fat positivity, classism, and queer punk. I felt like it was speaking to me. So I started to see the bullying was from a place of both ignorance and a need of power. I took my life back. I embraced my clothes, I became very outspoken, and developed a community of other weirdos in high school. We are still friends to this day.
How important is a sense of humor when dealing with hard times?
HUGE! I’m actually always laughing and making fun of situations. HUMOR IS EVERYTHING TO ME. It’s a release, a way to bond, and when done right is a sign of intelligence.
Tell us about your favorite go-to outfit that makes you feel ultra chic and sexy?
I love to wear metallics and velvet in most any combination. Lately I have been wearing a lot of high-waisted jeans with velvet tops tucked in and metallic booties.
What’s the best advice for self-care?
I personally like to take time to put together a look that I love and have someone take photos of me. I also avoid negative people (all negative people, even relatives). Surround yourself with positive people. If you don’t have positive people in your life, find people on Instagram.
What are you up to currently?
I am preparing my house for a move! I am relocating to another city in 2018.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In five years, I plan to have a TV show online. I am going to create a studio when I move to start small. This has a been a long-time dream of mine, but it is still very much a large learning curve.
What’s the one piece of advice you could give your younger self?
Fuck the haters! Do not let them make you question your worth.
Who would you say is your biggest inspiration?
Anyone who is truly living their lives on their own terms with love and compassion.
Don’t forget to follow Jamie @ www.instagram.com/jamie_jetaime