By Pamela Drake
Our Stories: An Intimate Connection Series
I am excited to start this series of interviews with Jodieann Stephenson, a City Tech student in the Professional & Technical Writing program. Jodieann is an NYC based writer, an avid wearer of black, a lover of life, and all its madness. She enjoys wandering around NYC searching for new coffee shops and boutiques to check out. As a fellow classmate, her passion for writing has led her to have her own personal blog, https://blackattireaficionado.wordpress.com/, where she writes poems of personal struggles including beauty standards or love. Writing gives her a chance to create, which is her next passion and which constantly inspires her craft.
Image by Heloise Bymhee
- Describe yourself in one word? How does this word represent you?
Fabulous is the only word that comes close to who I am. Growing up, I had little to no confidence and I struggled with not being beautiful or smart. It took many years for me to become who I am now and that’s Fabulous.
- How do you balance school, work, and family demands?
I balance school, work, and family demands by doing it. Everything is doable and if you think it’s not, find another way.
- Who are your biggest influences? Who do you admire most? Who or what inspired you to do what you’re doing now?
Influencers, start at home. I’d have to say my mother has been my biggest support system and influencer by always pushing me to believe in myself and go after my dreams. There are two books that I read that have made me fall in love with writing and fiction which are “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou and “Americanah” by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
- What tools or personality traits do you think is indispensable for accomplishing your goals?
I think it’s great to be a good student, smart and participate in extracurricular activities, it’s very great. But I think in order to accomplish your goals above anything else, you need to be humble. Humility is one trait that every successful person I’ve seen have.
- What is still your biggest challenge or stumbling block(s) and what are the best ways you’ve found to overcome them?
My biggest challenge to this day is stuttering and my pronunciation of certain words. I would really like to overcome my speech problems.
- What’s the best advice you ever received?
The best advice I’ve received is to “Always believe in yourself!”
- What would you have done differently if you knew then what you know now?
I would have followed my heart sooner rather than later. I spent several years trying to become a dentist when deep down I had a burning desire to write. I wish I had taken the creative path a lot sooner but life always leads you to what you love.
- What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
The most surprising lesson I have learned along the way is that if you ask people out to coffee they are willing to share their stories and networks with you.
- What’s next for you?
I’m looking forward to graduating in June 2017, traveling to Europe in the summer, starting my career as a copywriter and blogging more often wherever in the world I am.
- What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered?
I would like my legacy to be known as the first Jamaican woman to write about the Jamaican Diaspora.
Jodieann strives to overcome her stuttering. For many, public speaking can be a nightmare but that hasn’t stopped her from taking the mic and conducting her own interviews. Her approach is to practice constantly. Developing confidence in one’s own ability to speak correctly is probably the only real solution to cure stammering and although it can’t be cured overnight, time and patience rewards in the end. Personally, I have no doubt that she will achieve all her goals. Thanks to Jodieann for being so generous in giving this interview.
What are some of your strategies for overcoming your challenges?
If you liked this interview, or if you want to be interviewed, or even to suggest someone for an interview, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below.