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  • Nic F. Anderson

I am... Jess

Folks in the LGBTQ+ community are usually lumped into one category; however, we're all different in our own special way. The "I Am" series interviews folks, from all over, who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and so on in hopes to bring awareness to the differences and similarities we share. Participants are asked the same questions as to highlight how one question can have unlimited possibilities. There is limited editing on these questions to maintain the integrity of the interview.

Photo of Jess | Used with permission

What are your pronouns?

They/them she/her

Where do you live? Chicago

What’s your story? What do you do / what are your hobbies / fun facts about you / things you like to do in your free time?

I always felt uncomfortable in my own body. I didn’t understand where this feeling was coming from. During college the director of diversity and inclusion asked me if I was interested in going to MBLTACC, an LGBTQ conference for Midwest colleges. One of the seminars I attended spoke about gender identity and expression. This was my “aha!” Moment! Since then, I truly embraced my masculine presentation and inspire queer individuals to feel confident in their style. Fun facts: I love sports! If I’m not playing then I’m watching. In my free time I like to model! Whether it’s a photoshoot or down a runway- I love being around fashion and fun people

If you are an artist/musician/entrepreneur/business owner/etc, please explain what you do, how you got started, how your work has progressed and why you do it.

I started as a content creator. After developing my style and connecting with so many people I decided to branch out and become a stylist. It’s rewarding to see how confident people are after working with them. I hope to always inspire others to be true to themselves.

How does your identity/identities (sexual, gender, racial, ethnic, religious, political, etc) influence your work, if they do at all? If there are other influences not identity-based, please feel free to share those, too.

As a queer person, my style depends on how I feel that day. The days I feel more masculine - you’ll see it through what I’m wearing. The days I feel more feminine - I’ll wear bodysuits or very feminine colors. This varies day by day.

What has your journey been like to becoming comfortable with who you are as an LGBTQ+ person and/or artist/musician/entrepreneur/ business owner/etc?

It took a long time to feel comfortable in my style. I used to resent the idea of being masculine. So, I took it one step a time. I started by cutting my hair. Then I donated all my feminine clothes (dresses, skirts, etc..) and replaced my entire wardrobe with thrifted masculine clothes. Now, I’m comfortable with my style and feel confident on how I present.

Where and how would you like to see your work progress?

I would like to do complete wardrobe makeovers for people who want to expand their style. I want to show people that clothes are not gendered.

What are your dreams and aspirations with your work or life?

My dream is to help as many people as possible find their creativity through their style. Everyone has a unique sense of self and their style can reflect that.

Where can people find you online? Please only add links that you don’t mind strangers following you on!


Twitter: @thethriftedgay

All photos of Jess were used with permission.

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