We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Nova and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Jessica, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Oh boy. Let’s see…for me I felt there was no other option. I suffer from chronic pain and mental illness coupled with HFA; being my own boss was the only way I could be happy. It was 2008, I was working in a clerical position. I wore wigs to work every day to hide my pastel rainbow hair and dressed in clothes I hated so I could fit in. It was reminiscent of some of those childhood personality crushing norms and boxes we force upon ourselves. So I broke out. I had an opportunity to take my side job of fetish modeling to the forefront of my career and just…..did it. I booked myself two months straight of modeling work up and down the east coast. I packed up my shitty car, a couple of friends and we left. I’ve been self employed ever since. I have reshaped what I create, how I create, and the overall branding but always as my pseudonym Jessica Nova. Jessica Nova is the creation from which all my art stems. Bringing that part of myself out allowed me a career of art. I’ll be forever grateful to all the parts of me that I used to think were ‘issues’. By keeping me from holding a job the way society says you should in order to be a successful human. Your biggest ‘setbacks’ are sometimes the greatest gifts.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve never met a self employed artist that has it easy. It’s a lot of work, self negotiating my time between everyday and work tasks. Functioning with the mountain of hats I wear is a job in and of itself. But I wouldn’t change it. What sets me apart? I’m the only Jessica Nova there is. My art, the way I create, what the art means to me is all deeply personal to me and a nuanced reflection of who I am. Being able to express myself is deeply cathartic. What I bring to the stage is exudes my personal brand and style; and I am proud of that. I face new challenges daily; from balancing the desire to dive into my workaholic tendencies to navigating social obligations. I suck at delegating work. As a result even when I do have help, I tend to pile it onto myself instead of utilizing that help. Every day has a new lesson. A new boundary to set, a new way to look at a past ‘failure’, everything can be a chance to grow. Recently I was told ‘find the Yes in the No’ as a method of reframing our self perceived failures. Moments where we could mourn the loss of an opportunity or see the chance that we can do something else. I believe one should be careful to avoid toxic positivity but its a personal kindness to look at failures or closed doors as an opportunity for something else. It isn’t easy but it’s a modality that helps me and I hope someone reading this, it might help someone else too. What do I want people to know? I just want people to know themselves. I love when people enjoy what I create and I can share my art with them. But the joy my art gives me, I would love for everyone to find in some way and that’s really the lesson.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh yikes! I am still learning the city! There’s so much that I’ve missed over this entire quarantine. I have to say I love Piece of Cake, esp the Decatur Location and Hodge Podge Coffee. The city is full of delights, I think the joy is finding your own spots and building your own memories of special places.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I dedicate my shoutout to all those who struggle, all those who need to find their way and waste too much time questioning themselves. May you all trust yourselves and follow your hearts. I’d also like to thank the friends I have been able to partner with to create amazing companies such as MyGeekGlory, Bifrost Arts Collective, and Snake & Scorpion. Locally I’d like to shout out Red Light Cafe for the continued support and love to the Burlesque community as a whole, we couldn’t do what we do without you and we can’t wait to get back on the stage safely with all of you. If you appreciate the art I create, please consider donating to NAMI.ORG You are seen, and you are valid.
Stungun Photography CBPhotos YourCoffinorMine Productions