As a grad student and even as a woman, it’s really important to have people in your circle who are positive influences. You always need those people who are go-getters, that are inspiring and thoughtful, creative and even more importantly, motivated. That’s who Jessica Hughee is. She is a strong and influential woman who I have not only had the pleasure of just getting to know but also have had the pleasure of working with. Jess is a natural born leader and if you’re working with her on a project, you’ll quickly see that. She knows what she’s doing and what her vision is but she also know’s the value of consulting with the crew. She is constantly asking for feedback or opinions in order to make her work the best that it can be. And, my favorite part about working with her is that she’s always looking to make you grow. Jess is never solely focused on her own come up but also the come up of others. She want’s everyone around her to grow creatively just as much as she wants it for herself. It is an honor to have her as a friend and a member of my proverbial tribe. Let’s get to know more about the talented Jessica Hughee!
Current Location: Harlem, NY
Degree: Bachelor’s—Multimedia Studies: Film & Video
Alma Mater: Florida Atlantic University
Job Title(s)/Company: New School Housing and Residential Education—social media assistant/Freelancer (photography/videography)
Tell us a little about yourself:
I’m a Native New Yorker but I moved to Florida when I was 12 because it’s cheaper and warmer. Some wonder why I would leave such a tropical paradise, but one of the reasons why I came back up here is because there are wayyy more opportunities here for what I want to do.
I appreciate the arts and creative people with awesome senses of humor. I’m big on inner beauty and self-love. I can be awkward at times—I used to run from it, but I stopped once I realized that trying to not be awkward made me even more awkward so yeah.
But what else? I love Jesus, his birthday, cats, cheese, and chocolate.
Tell us about your business:
Making videos is enjoyable to me: I like to entertain people and to get them to think. I got into
videography because I want to help others do the same and to capture moments for them while they’re living and having fun. The same with photography: it just feels nice, capturing special moments for people.
Was there a specific experience that inspired you to start your business/brand/channel:
I was working as the historian for the Black Student Union and the VP of Marketing for my sorority. Those positions were great, but I wanted to find a way to creatively express my own individuality. My sister Tara suggested to me that I should create my own channel as a start. I’ve always been a shy person so I felt like creating a vlog would be perfect for me to give my opinion. So in 2014, I started my channel, originally titled Jessie Tayy: Positive Vibes and Random Things. After buying my own DSLR intentionally for vlogging, I started to experiment with it more and started taking pictures of my family and friends anddd it took off from there.
What were some of your past jobs and what have you learned/ taken away from them?
My past jobs were working at a water park (very first job), working on campus at a bookstore and for Housing/Res Life, Puma and Starbucks. What I learned from them was patience most definitely—I had to handle some “stank souls,” I’d like to call them. I also learned that I can’t be dependent on food and retail for a living. My hours would fluctuate so often, that it would stress me out. This pushed me to work harder towards my goals because I can’t imagine living paycheck to paycheck forever.
What have been some of your biggest challenges you’ve faced in your work and how did
you overcome them?
Getting people to collaborate with me on projects or finding freelance work. I would be approached by people, asking for pictures, and once the topic of money was brought up, I wouldn’t hear from them again. To overcome these challenges, I just let people know that I am very serious about what I do now. I go hard with the opportunities that I’m given, and I believe that that gravitates people—the right people, towards me.
What motivates you and where do you get your inspiration?
My random imagination, life experiences, and visualizing myself being happy and successful. My sisters and I like to joke around and say, “Yooo, wouldn’t it be crazy if this happened?” and we just say the most random, stupid stuff. Hanging out with people with great senses of humor gives me ideas that I must bring to life.
What I’m going through in life definitely helps me out when it comes to making vlog episodes. When you know a lot about what you’re talking about, the passion just comes out—that’s why I really sucked at giving class presentations back in the day, okay and now. If I’m not feeling the topic I’m talking about, it’s hard for me to pretend to be excited.
And when I visualize myself being where I ultimately want to be, it pushes me to work harder. The harder I work, the closer I get to fulfilling that vision.
What’s your favorite type of photography/style?
I love taking portraits of people, especially when I help them to feel confident about themselves. In their picture, it’s their moment; all eyes are on them. It makes me feel good to make other people feel good.
What does success look like to you?
Success to me is fulfilling my God-given purpose and utilizing the unique gift He has placed in me—point blank period.
Where do you want to be in 10 years?
I want to be a director, so I envision myself, well, directing (and writing, whenever I decide to practice). I might even do a little acting in my work, if I gather up the courage. I was obsessed with the thought of being an actress when I was a kid—so maybe, just maybe.
Who are some women that inspire you?
I love Shameless Maya: she’s a lifestyle vlogger/photographer/actress. I admire
her positivity and how knowledgeable and spunky she is. Shonda Rhimes is also legitness: I may not watch her shows religiously, but the woman is freakin’ talented. And Issa Rae! I loved her in Awkward Black Girl. It’s nice to see a woman of color embrace her awkwardness, and to see how she went from having a show on YouTube to now making it on HBO makes me realize that I can do it too, as long as I push myself.
Any advice for other women out there?
1. Go hard, even when you feel like being lazy.
2. Hang out with positive people: women who don’t want to compete with you but instead lift you up, and men who respect you.
3. Don’t let others dim your light because they can’t ignite their own: I used to allow people to do that to me, and it freakin’ takes time to get your glow back. Chin up, move forward, boo boo. God’s got chu.
Keep on being awesome, Jessica! If you’d like to work with Jessica, you can contact her through her website linked here!