ELEVEN SIX WOMEN | JORIAN SEAY
We had the pleasure of talking with ELEVEN SIX Woman: Jorian Seay about her journey in journalism, ambassadorship for 'My Black is Beautiful' and her recent #ITalkIStand project, a pivotal content series on navigating Racism with families, small children and Interracial friends. A Mother herself, Jorian is also an advocate for empowering mamas in their purpose and through her "Message for Mama's" series and a recently launched event platform named: 'Mommy & Me', she "attempts to pull out of moms" in her community "an extraordinary sense of self." Jorian is photographed at her Chicago-home wearing some of her favorite pieces from our Spring 20 collection.
Photos Courtesy of Jorian Seay
Tell us about your journey in journalism and how it led you to forming Jorian Seay LLC?
From a very young age, I knew I wanted a career in journalism. I actually wanted to be a meteorologist. Reporting the weather seemed like the coolest job ever. It took one meteorology class (cloud types, warm and cold fronts, high and low pressure systems) in college to push me in another direction. I’ve always enjoyed writing and am a natural wordsmith, so I really found my rhythm in print journalism. One month after college, I landed my dream internship at EBONY magazine. I was offered a full-time position with the publication at the end of my internship and that was the start of my career. Over the years, I’ve written for a ton of publications across a number of fields, including medicine and finance. While I’ve enjoyed something about every position, nothing has been more fulfilling than starting my own company and delivering content that really comes from the depths of my soul and resonates with yours. I love helping people push through barriers and really make it over to the other side. And by make it, I don’t mean land their dream job or mate (though that might be part of it), I mean discover authentic joy and peace. That looks different for everyone. It’s something we all deserve and should strive for. So, with my LLC, and through my website, events, collaborations and speaking engagements, I’m able to control the narrative of my brand, create content and plan events that really bring all of that together and supports women on their journeys.
You were an ambassador for Procter & Gamble’s (P&G) My Black Is Beautiful (MBIB) campaign for a couple of years. Can you share with us what you gained from this experience and how it empowers African American women?
That campaign was truly an intersection of so many of my life’s passions. It was one of the very best experiences of my life. I was featured in national beauty campaigns, wrote inspirational posts, traveled, engaged with a community of women and was able to represent Black women in a way that was so positively uplifting. There were five other women who were handpicked by P&G to go on that journey with me. We were from all over the country and had vastly different backgrounds, but we worked together to push MBIB’s amazing messaging. That opportunity was the quintessential example of being stronger and better together.
We discovered you and were inspired by your recent #ITalkIStand illustrated Instagram series on how to navigate Racism with our families, small children and with Interracial friends. Can you talk to the importance of this now more than ever and give further advise? (See #ITalkIStand Series at the end of this Story...)
The weekend after the murder of George Floyd, my eight-year-old son had so many questions. I was completely struck by his perception and depth of understanding about the occurrences around him. In that moment, I was hyper-aware of the many hats I wear; a mom, an educator, a therapist, a woman, a Black person, an advocate and the list goes on. I realized how much of an effect I had on this child’s learnings, experiences and future and I didn’t take that for granted. His ideals will undoubtedly help shape our tomorrow. As I attempted to unpack the super complex issue of race relations in America, I was careful and intentional with my words. After navigating our difficult talk, I thought about how awesome the world would be 20 years from now if every mom owned her power and used it to positively shape the hearts and minds of little people within her household and her family and friends. I reached out to Laura Leigh Bean an incredible illustrator who is also a (boy!) mom, and asked her to collaborate with me on an illustrative series about race in America. She immediately agreed and boy, was it such an amazing, transformative experience. I’m better because of it and hope that others are able to use what we created as a source of support and direction in their pursuit to end racial inequity and inequality.
We love your ‘Message for Mamas’ series – how did this start and how did it develop into an event platform for ‘Mommy & Me’?
I love the camaraderie and unspoken sense of understanding had amongst moms. There are so many societal standards and expectations unnecessarily placed on moms, so I use my platform and community to try to undo some of that. I try to create safe spaces for moms where they can just be themselves. We’re all women before we are mothers, but a lot of who we are as women tends to become really lost and redefined after we start having children. We neglect so many aspects of our full selves. So many of us suffer from guilt and overwhelm simply because we think motherhood is supposed to feel or look a certain way. Through my Message for Mamas series and my Mommy & Me events, I’m able to meet women right where they are. I empower them to own their purpose and really go for it. As you do, you’re fulfilling your own destiny while inspiring your little ones to do the same. Moms are always going to take care of their babies, but it takes a certain type of woman to take care of herself as well. That’s what I attempt to pull out of the moms in my community—an extraordinary sense of self.
Tell us about the inspiration behind the book you are releasing this year and who you want it to reach?
This book has truly been a labor of love. I drew inspiration from all of my life’s experiences. I’ve seen and faced a lot over the years and am using the wisdom I’ve gained through going and growing through life to inspire others. The book is a guided journal that helps you work through the areas in life you must master, alter and conquer on the road to your happiest life yet. It deals with love, forgiveness, resiliency, compassion and so much more. While it’s a tool everyone can benefit from, it’s truly for the person whose experiences have left them feeling stifled, powerless and/or defeated. This book will shift that person’s perspective and trajectory. And while I’ve been working on the book for over a year, with all that’s going on in our nation and world, there’s no better time than now to release it. It’s healing and such a great resource. It will be available this fall. I can’t wait to put it out there!
Have there been unexpected silver-linings or joys for you from this home-spent COVID period?
There are honestly too many to count. COVID has changed every aspect of my life. My roles as a mother, a partner, a businesswoman, a friend have become so drastically altered. I’ve spent more time with some and less with others, but the communication, the care and the love I have for those around me has been so palpable since COVID began. I’ve lived with a renewed sense of intention. I haven’t just thought about checking in on my friends or family members in other states, I’ve actually picked up the phone and called. I haven’t just thought about dropping everything and going for a family bike ride, I’ve backed away from my desk, grabbed everyone’s helmets and headed out. I’ve counted my blessings during this time and really have realized just how abundant they are. I’m in this incredible posture of gratitude, love and grace. I love it!
Which ELEVEN SIX pieces are you loving from the Spring 20 collection and why?
I’m absolutely obsessed with the Layla sweater. It’s incredibly versatile and it’s comfortable as ever! My style is super relaxed, so it pairs well with so many pieces in my wardrobe. Whether dressed up or down, its detailed structure gives off a very effortless, well-put-together vibe. The azulene provides this fun, bright, yet understated pop of color. I can’t rave about it enough! The Maria cardi-dress is also a fave of mine. Like any native Kentuckian, I love a garment that can be paired with my vintage cowboy boots. My first thought when I saw the piece was how amazing it would look with my boots, so it’s an instant winner! It’s also extremely comfortable, timeless and versatile—you can rock it by itself or with bottoms and a cami. It’s definitely a staple piece.
by @jorianseay & @lauraleighbean