Recently I modeled for a new clothing company called GodFire Apparel shot by my very talented friend, Jeremy Kramer. They let us keep a shirt in exchange for our time modeling for them and I grabbed one that reads “Remember Who You Are” on the front.
Initially, when picking my shirt I chose this one because it seems inspiring and I don’t really wear shirts with the brand name on the front. However, while cleaning up my studio after a 16 hour day of working my day job at CityBeat and then a freelance shoot after, I started thinking more about this shirt I was wearing.
In college I made a book with a couple friends called “Let’s Get Naked.” My section was about the body as a whole and how we are constantly changing, evolving and are never the same as the day before. This is something I still believe, but I started thinking— at my core, who am I?
I do a lot of self portraits as characters, which is pretty much just an exaggerated version of some part of me… but spike-bra, intense Jesse (see my instagram) isn’t me all the time.
As I swept the never ending pile of glitter and confetti to a containment area and threw away the empty champagne bottles that have been sitting by the wardrobe area for far too long, I thought deeply about what it means to be Jesse Fox. Three traits came to mind that exist no matter who I am with or what I’m doing and in typical Jesse fashion, I made a self portrait to go with each of them. No make-up, no costumes, no skin smoothing or retouching blemishes… just me, exactly how I was at 1 a.m. on a Wednesday.
I am a workaholic. A perfectionist. A girl who will burn the candle on both ends even when I don’t really want to be doing it anymore.
I have a love/hate relationship with this side of me. It’s exhausting. It sometimes negatively impacts my relationships. It makes my body, especially the parts of me affected by the spina bifida I was born with, hurt. Badly. But I love it because it has gotten me to where I am today, both in my personal life & my professional life. My drive & worth ethic are at the top of my list of things I love about myself & give me purpose.
I am a lover. Compassionate, empathetic & love people (& dogs).
I “blame” my moving around several times throughout my childhood on my current love to meet, connect and get to know people. If I have any form of connection with someone new, I want to be friends forever and know everything about them. I have a strong desire to help people (& animals) when I know they are suffering. When there is injustice anywhere, it affects me greatly, especially if it’s something out of my control. I have a big heart and always try to see the best in everyone.
I’m a goofy, fun-loving, silly, weirdo.
I love to laugh, make double chins, be ugly on purpose and have as much fun as I can as often as possible. In fact, I think my career is just about the only thing in my life that I go into with a serious mindset. I spent a pretty significant amount of my early life being negative and letting other people influence the way I felt and saw myself. No more! Life is short and I want to spend as much time as I can laughing through it and making the people around me do the same.
I reflected on these to think about how I can use them to enhance or influence my artwork. Obviously being a workaholic is already a major part of that and my goofy personality can sometimes show through in my quirky work— but how do I use my compassion and love for people in my work? Aside from making amazing new connections and friendships through my work and the obvious choice of having people be my subject matter of choice, I wasn’t really sure. This encouraged me to explore themes that raise awareness about injustice, not just something I’ve directed and staged for a publication or art show. It’s an aspect I’ve explored before, but one I’m looking forward to return to!
Who are you? And how do you stay true to yourself in the wild, busy and crazy world in which we live?