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Conversations with the Inspiring Jazz Daniels

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jazz Daniels.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Jazz. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
Whewwww, chile man where do I begin. I am originally from Chicago, Illinois. I lived there for almost 10 years before I moved to Atlanta. In Chicago, I just knew I was going to be a basketball star that was my dream there (I went so far as to play on the boy’s team because we didn’t have a girls team and the rules didn’t say I couldn’t ). I use to think I was really going to be in the WNBA because when I was living in Chicago, I wasn’t thinking realistically. I was trying to get out “the hood” and I was good at basketball so I thought that was the way. LOL. Fast forward, my mom told the family that we were moving to Atlanta and my world shattered. I was heated all I knew about Atlanta was that it was hot and I was not having it. Turns out that that move was the best decision I could have made. I continued to play basketball in highschool but I started to find my real passion. I developed a love for clothes and for a little minute, I thought I wanted to be a fashion designer and for the longest, I wanted to do fashion. My grandmother at an early age got me into thrifting and seeing the value in what was looked at as valueless.

After high school, I went to Georgia Southern for Fashion Merchandising but college was not fun for me. I had anxiety and realized that I didn’t even want to pursue fashion anymore (I didn’t think there would be much stability), so I left and although I definitely could have finished, I literally had no want to be in Statesboro anymore. One thing I am grateful for from GSU is that I discovered my love for beauty and makeup and it was here that I started playing in makeup. I can back to my hometown and went to school closer to me and begin freelancing out of a salon in Atlanta for almost a year while also going to school for business and marketing. Fast forward, I stopped doing freelance because frankly, I didn’t have the patience or passion to continue and I didn’t feel that I should without those, I started working with a small. business called Ayele & Co where I started to work as a producer on photo shoots for their brand before increasing my responsibility. We did shoots all over Atlanta, New York, and LA. I realized that behind the scenes work is where I thrived. Putting together photo shoots, linking creatives, was my passion I love it. Every step of my life has brought me to this point. I learned teamwork from playing basketball for so long and in that toughness and tenacity from playing with the boy’s team for two years. I learned about the fashion industry from my merchandising instructor and was able to exclusively be mentored by her and help her during local fashion weeks. Working freelance as a MUA on sets and for clients taught me how to work under pressure. I don’t regret any step in my journey because it’s brought me here. I am where I am because of the “failures” or what I perceived as failures but I’m happier than I’ve ever been.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Excuse my french, but HELLLL NOOOOOO. It was never a smooth road and that’s okay because success usually isn’t. Toward the end of my first year, I lost a scholarship while I was at GSU due to anxiety and I thought my life was over. When I decided to change my major, I had reservations because I felt like I was a sell out; I felt like I was giving up on creative outlet to get a desk job and that terrified me. I’ve always stuck by not wanting to end up in a desk job because I knew I would be miserable. When I decided to take a year off to pursue other endeavors, I considered myself a failure. I thought I failed my parents, myself and It wasn’t until talking to my parents that I realized I was creating issues that didn’t exist. My parents said, “If you don’t want to go to school, that’s fine. It’s no point in taking out loans for you to do something you don’t like, but you need to have a plan B” and I did. It’s okay to have more than one passions. It’s okay to switch majors it’s okay to not be sure and I think thats the main thing I wish I would have known. I was 19/20 years old believing that I was supposed to have everything figured and because I didn’t I thought I was behind.

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Currently, I work for Ayele & Co a black-owned cruelty-free skincare company as a Producer as well as their Outreach Department. In layman’s terms, I bring fire people together, make dope content, and I (along with my team) figure out ways to increase the company’s visibility, image and brand name through social media, local events, campaigns, collaborations, etc. I don’t necessarily specialize in any one thing. I like to think I’m good at a variety of areas. What I’m most proud of is being able to foster genuine (this is very important) relationships with people from many walks of life, backgrounds, etc to create something that we can all be proud of. I think knowing what creatives work well together, bringing talented individuals together for a bigger purpose is a skill that I’m very good at.

Who do you look up to? How have they inspired you?
Probably my mother. It is such a cliche answer but no other woman is deserving of the accolades and the praise. There’s no other woman that I’d rather look up to. There’s no celebrity or artist, or anyone who I could possibly mention that would measure up the that which is the woman who birthed me. She is the hardest working woman I know and it is her perseverance and drive in her own life that encourages me to never stop working for what I want. She is the example of how to not let roadblocks or perceived roadblocks stop you.

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