Photos | Drew Castaneda
Who were some of your musical influences growing up?
J: I moved around a lot growing up, so my earlier musical influences are really all over the place. My favorite artist of all time is Lauryn Hill. My first time hearing Miseducation was really the beginning of my enlightenment on a conscious level. Mariah Carey’s Music Box was the second album I ever owned. When I lived with my Aunt Pat & Uncle Marty, they would always have country music on in the house which was the cause of my slight obsession with Shania Twain. Whitney Houston, Destiny’s Child, TLC, Eminem, Tupac, Biggie, Outkast, Aretha Franklin and Erykah Badu were some of my earlier influences. In high school my favorites were Lil Wayne & Kanye. Kanye is probably right up there with Lauryn for me. His music helped me dream bigger and believe in myself -- it still does to this day.
Running a creative agency, radio station, and music-management company are all very impressive feats to juggle. How do you like to decompress at the end of the day?
J: Music really helps me decompress and slow my mind down. My days usually start at 10am (yes, I’m a late starter because I’m such a night owl). I’ll meet with my team, read emails and take calls between 10-3pm. My meetings usually go from 3pm-9pm and after that part of my day is done, I’m in the studio until about 3 AM if I’m not out or have an event that night. This schedule definitely isn’t recommended, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends for years and it’s starting to catch up with me. Right now I’m trying to implement meditation and in turn, hopefully, a better sleep schedule.
What did it feel like to be featured in Forbes “30 Under 30”? There are many women who aspire to do just that, do you have any words of encouragement for them?
J: Being featured in Forbes was such a huge moment for me. For years I had been working so hard in the events and digital marketing space but I was always referred to as the “Snapchat girl,” or “promoter from Miami”. It seemed as though no matter what I did or how well I documented my work, I would never be taken seriously. My parents used to make comments like “must be nice to party for a living”. I didn’t care so much about public opinion, it was more the validation of my family and peers that I longed for. When we were recognized by Forbes, I knew I was on the right path and was inspired to keep going. It was really the first time in my adult life that my father called and said he was proud of me -- I’ll never forget it.
I will say however, in hindsight I understand that no validation was necessary. My advice to any young female entrepreneurs is to stay focused. Never let people’s lack of vision and support deter you from your path. They see you, people know the work you are putting in whether they tell you or not.
When you were young, did you ever imagine that you would take on so many passions? What is different about your life today from what you originally thought you would do?
J: I absolutely knew I would be multifaceted entrepreneur but my main aspiration was always to become a singer. I would put on performances for my school at recess where I would choreograph our moves, compose really horrible songs, make the “event flyers” and hang them in the bathrooms/cafeteria. I would get in so much trouble! My mom would always have to come pick me up from the principal's office for selling pencils in class on quiz day or, when I was older, handmade tickets to parties under the table at lunch time. My dad bought my mom a camcorder the Christmas they officially adopted me and I basically kidnapped that thing and took it for my own. I always loved making content. There are videos of me between the ages of 8-15 doing everything from fashion shows out of pieces I made from moms old curtains, to art summer camp that I somehow convinced kids in my class to attend at my house. In middle and high school I was in every extra curricular program from basketball to chorus and drama. I wasn’t much good on the court or the dance team though, so I quit those by sophomore year. That’s when I got my first job. I had two of them while in high school. I guess you could say I was always a really active kid. As far as my reality as an adult today, It’s not too far from what I used to dream of. I’m supposed to have way more properties and a jet by now, as well as arts programs for foster kids and orphans all over the world but hey, we are well on our way.
The singing thing still makes my mom a bit sad. She would’ve loved to see me realize that dream. Not sure if it’s just so that all those years of vocal and piano lessons would pay off, but I think we’ve done that and then some by now. Maybe one day I’ll tap back into that side of music.
Since we’re aware that you’re a woman of many talents, what is something you’re awful at?
J: I really can’t dance, run or cook. The dancing thing is fine because I dance my little heart out anyways but I hope I take the time to get some skills In the kitchen soon. Food is the way to a man’s heart and I’m trying to have a family. Somebody teach me some recipes (haha)!
As a human being, what do you want your legacy to be?
J: My legacy will be that I made it cool to be conscious and give back. I love people. I love connecting people, inspiring them to reach their full potential, collaborating and creating. Throughout the years I have been blessed enough to befriend people with platforms and networks way larger than mine. Right now I am focused on influencing the influential to put their time and energy into changing the world, one project at a time. My personal project closest to my heart right now is providing access to the arts for at risk youth through my foundation Little Rascals. So far we have launched and funded two programs in Miami and Haiti. I also want to create a better structure for the artistic community in the digital age. The current infrastructure for labels, graphic design, photography etc. are so outdated and one sided. I want to help put the power into the hands of the artists.