I’m a changing woman right now. I’m transforming into a different vessel of who I want to be. I don’t want to define myself—I want to flow. In layman’s terms, I’m a free woman, a woman who’s discovering newness, a woman who is recalibrating her world from how she lives, how she thinks, how she works, and how she dreams. One of the biggest things I took away from the last couple of years is perspective, and the ability to move into a life that I’m excited to live and away from things I don’t align with.

I was born in California and grew up between Virginia and New York. I found my way back to New York for college but then I dropped out of school and started in the fashion industry. I loved school, but it was just too expensive.

I decided I would get an internship and a job, then leave college in order to save up to return to school. But I never went back.

I was 17. I had saved up maybe a few grand from working summers in Virginia, and thought, Okay, this is going to get me through the year. I quickly realized it was going to last me a month, maybe two, and I needed to get a job. I remember going into the financial office at LIM and they told me last year hadn’t been paid for and asked what my plan was. And I didn’t have one.

I don’t come from a well-off background. My mom didn’t have a plan to pay for college. I didn’t either. My plan had been to get there and then figure it out. I had gotten a few scholarships but those didn’t do much. So I was strategic. I decided I would get an internship and a job, then save up to return to school. But I never went back.

Titles don’t really matter to me, but each job has given me new life and rejuvenated my ability to create.

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I started interning for Heathermary Jackson, who was a contributing editor at Teen Vogue. It wasn’t paid, but I was excited for the opportunity. I worked retail at Uniqlo from 4 to 11 PM, and then sometimes would have to be on set at 6 AM. I did that until Opening Ceremony hired me to be a styling intern.

I really excelled there. I wanted to be there. Opening Ceremony was a company that cultivated a lot of very young talent and I rose up quickly, first as an assistant stylist, and then a stylist. I worked on Kenzo shoots, too. I left Opening Ceremony a week before my 21st birthday to assist Giovanna Battaglia. And it built from there.

I’ve been in the industry for 10 years, working with brands like Net-A-Porter and Vogue. Titles don’t really matter to me, but each job has given me new life and rejuvenated my ability to create.

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Now, I combine all of these different experiences into everything that I do. I’m a stylist, a creative director, and a model on some occasions. I’m a digital creator, a moderator, and a connector. We have so many fancy titles and some people only take a few. I want them all. It’s beautiful to focus on something, but I also think when you’re too focused on one thing you can miss other opportunities.

Right now I’m living between America and Jamaica and it feels like I’m living between two worlds. I am proud and passionate about Jamaica, but I’ve also wanted to become more private here. I’m reading The Jamaica Reader right now. It’s a kind of an encyclopedia of information about the country. I didn’t want to plant myself here with my privilege and my Western way of thinking and show up with no notion of history. I’m also reading this book called The Untethered Soul. It teaches me how to keep my center, how to acknowledge my wholeness, who I am and who I want to become. Weed also brings me back to my center.

I use weed in a way that enlightens who I want to be and who I am.

In my world, especially as a Black woman, I grew up with the notion of cannabis being bad, that it was something that makes people lazy. I grew up in the era of “don’t do drugs,” so I had to relearn the beautiful nature and essence of what cannabis is. Can we say weed? Can we say ganja? Can we say the terms that people use to connect it to its origin? In college, I would smoke weed with my best friend and then feel bad. But why? Why is smoking this bad? Why is indulging in this scary? In Virginia, they would lock people up for weed. My sister's first boyfriend went to jail for selling, and he’s still in the prison system.

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My relationship with weed started as an adolescent. I smoked at a party or with friends in a private setting. I would buy weed without really knowing what it was or who I was buying it from and roll it in a Black & Mild cigarillo. I remember we had a game night with brownies and everybody got so high because we didn’t know what we were doing. But I’ve grown up with weed. That’s really it. Like, I’ve grown up with it. And as you grow up with things, you just adapt to all the ways in which they can live.

Weed has always been a part of my creative process and my dialogue with people. I’ve been smoking consistently for the last 10 years. If you’re coming over to my house, you’re going to have your choice of a joint, tea, tinctures, edibles, and three different strains. But I’m no longer smoking in ways that don’t serve me, in ways that make it feel like I’m just here to get high and suppress myself. Now I use weed in a way that enlightens who I want to be and who I am.

If you're coming over to my house, you're going to have your choice of a joint, tea, tinctures, edibles, and three different strains.

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I love smoking weed in Jamaica because I know the farmer. I’ve met the person who’s created the weed. It’s like eating an apple you picked fresh from a farm versus a GMO one that you got in the grocery store. You can taste the difference. You can taste the intention. You can tell that it hasn’t been enhanced or modified. Ganja and things like apples, they’re rooted. They grow in the ground and rise up. Things like that—they ground you. Weed grounds me for sure. It also allows me to dream. There’s this one strain in Jamaica called Cherry Pie, it’s very natural and very potent. It makes me so emotional that I have to choose carefully when I smoke it. That’s another thing that we should learn: how to process this medicine with our bodies. When you take medicine, you need to know how much to take and when to take it.

I’m weaning myself off of Advil. I take Advil a lot when I’m on my cycle as do a lot of women. I’m really focusing on holistic ways to tap into healing my body. I try to listen when my body is telling me “Hey, I’m craving nutrients from fruits. I’m craving more iron.” If you take your time to listen to what your body needs, you can feed it well, instead of just numbing it with medicine that takes the pain away. Like, Oh, I really don’t feel well. Maybe we shouldn’t force ourselves to feel well just to work.

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I am a very spontaneous person when it comes to pleasure, excitement, and joy. I run full face into joy. The pandemic stopped my ability to do that. It also made me think about why I needed to. Now, in a new country, I’m like, Okay, you’re in your playground again. You get to discover again, you get to spread your wings and fly.

What’s bringing me joy is discovery. I’m looking out the window and I see the blue mountains surrounding me. I step outside and it’s 85 degrees. I’m connecting to all the herbs that don’t suppress me, but instead show me what my body can do. Aligning with Mother Nature, with a different way of thinking and living that isn’t so connected to Western society, is bringing me happiness right now. I just got a Super 8 video camera from the ‘70s and a point-and-shoot film camera. I’m taking them around Jamaica and finding joy in all of the ways in which I want to express myself.

I am inspired by the Lauryn Hills of the world, the Erykah Badus of the world, the Malcolm Xs of the world. Lauryn Hill embodies the woman that I’ve always wanted to become in the way in which she connects to how she feels and how she doesn’t need to shutter her discovery of life. She allows herself to make mistakes. Nina Simone and Anita Baker are women in music who inspire me creatively in how they live and breathe their artistry.

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My mom made sure to raise me amongst people who looked like me and thought like we did. I had a really beautiful childhood for a lot of my adolescence. It was my mother, my sister, and me. My mom was a young mom in her twenties. I remember going to different shops together, especially Carol’s Daughter. This was when Carol’s Daughter was the hottest. It was a really beautiful holistic mother-daughter store that blew up. My mom would pick bath salts and different butters and things. I learned about aesthetics and pleasure in discovery through my mother.

My sister was so boisterous. She was the first born, so she had to be a lot stronger than me. She walked in the world in a way of “I am here, I am present, and so be it.” She taught me how to walk in my truth. I was always a sensitive one, so I would question everything and have a dialogue with myself. I sometimes have to try out a few different things. I’ve always been an explorer. If I have an idea that could bring me and my friends joy, I am going to make it happen. I’m the friend who’s like, “Hey, let’s book a flight and fly here tomorrow,” or “I just found an amazing architect’s house upstate, let’s go.”

Slowing down has given me the opportunity to tap into my inner self and find a community of people who aren’t tied to work or success in this career.

In New York, as freeing as it is to be an artist or a creative or someone in the fashion industry, it comes with such pressure to create and to be a certain type of person. You have to know who you are so people can market you or so people can acknowledge you. Why do I need to have answers when I’m questioning everything? That conditioning of who I’m supposed to be as a stylist, as a fashion editor, of needing to have a Vogue cover, of needing to constantly put out work to get recognition—I no longer want to be that.

People will ask, “What are you doing nowadays? Are you not styling anymore?” Of course I’m styling. I’m just not styling as fast as I used to. I’m more intentional about the projects that I take on, but I still do this work. Slowing down has given me the opportunity to tap into my inner self and find a community of people who aren’t tied to work or success in this career. In Jamaica, I’m learning a new way of being in the world and of connecting with people.

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I want work to be associated with great things. I don’t want it to just be about money. Currency is energy, but money can be used to validate work that doesn’t align with who I am. Money is attractive, and I think sometimes that’s a trap. Money doesn’t equate to happiness and happiness can be found in so many different things. I want to live in a world where I allow energy to flow and not be blocked or limited by what makes money.

With labor strikes and people quitting their jobs, I think people are aware of the fact that our livelihoods do not need to be tied to how we work. How we live is more important than the labor that we do. I want to reimagine what work is for myself. Right now, I’m removing the things that don’t make me happy. It’s a journey.

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This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. Mecca James-Williams photographed by Ryan Duffin in Brooklyn. If you like this Conversation, please feel free to share it with friends or enemies. Subscribe to our newsletter here.