Jess Molina is a writer and lifestyle influencer who embodies what it means to take care. Having built an authentic social presence and platform from the ground up, Jess isn't afraid to use her voice as a force for good or to amplify those around her. It was a pleasure to catch up with Jess to find out more about her inspirational journey and how she takes care.
Hi Jess, tell us a little bit about your career and creative journey so far?
I grew blogging and made my first blog at 12 years old, using the family computer with dial up internet. I’m an OG and have seen blogging go from something my parents couldn’t even pronounce (they asked me what a b-log is) to mainstream and now social media as another evolution of it. What I loved most about it was creating an online space just for me, treating it as an online diary. It’s still to this day how I treat my own social media accounts. Sharing parts of my life as it happens! Blogging was my side gig up until 2021, when I decide to quit my 10 year corporate career and do what I love full time. It’s been a journey for sure but in so many ways I feel like I’m just beginning. I have so much I still want to say and create and I’m super excited to do all that!
We love that you dedicate so much of your time towards using your platform for good - we would love to hear first hand why this is so important to you and how this has guided you as a creator?
I’ve always said that writing was my way of making sense of the world. I’m naturally quite passionate about social justice and I see my platforms as an extension of who I am so talking about issues I care about was always going to be inevitable. The first time I truly realised I had a voice, and a voice that could be powerful was back a few years ago at the height of the marriage equality bill, my friend encouraged me to make a submission to parliament as to why I support marriage equality. I was still at uni, it was around 2 am on the last day of submissions and I clicked on the link my friend sent me and started filling up the online form. I decided to copy my answers and post it as a draft on my blog in case the form malfunctions and I’d love all that writing. I hit publish on it and went to bed. I woke up the next day to a bunch of emails and calls. MPs were writing to me personally to thank me for what I wrote, saying that my letter was the talk of parliament this morning and people were touched by what I had said. I was 21 years old and getting ready to go to my retail job. I had someone from Stuff ask if they could publish my letter. I finished work when the shop closed to find my words on the front page of Stuff, hundreds of comments and shares, people finding me on Facebook either to tell me how much that letter meant to them or to tell me why I’m wrong for wanting to support marriage equality. Social media wasn’t as big as what it is now and that was the first time I realised I had a voice and I am capable of using it to be part of discussions like that and ultimately create change. It still guides me to this day as a creative.
Could you talk us through your creative process - what does this look like for you?
In all honesty, lots of procrastination! I’m a perfectionist and that’s not often a good thing. But I like to draw inspiration from everywhere! So my creative process often involves people watching, listening to music, moving my body, freehand writing in my journal, and doing everything else but the work I need to do! I always joke that my house is always the cleanest when I’m on deadline because you can bet that I will be doing all my chores instead of work. I also feel more creative and in tune with myself at night so I like to work until the wee hours of the morning when the world is quiet and I can tune in to my own voice.
Loudly Quietly is a beautiful online space. Could you tell us a little bit more about this and what inspired you to create a platform of your own?
Thank you! I’m definitely not where I want to be with it yet. It’s been an abandoned creative project that has haunted me for the last year.
I started Loudly Quietly as a response to how I was feeling about the state of the world. I've had my own domain (jess-molina.com) for the last decade and the website has grown so much to the point that I was having to bring in contributors to help me with the content. I have been wanting to rebrand it & create something that had the same vibe as my original blog but better. I've always said Loudly Quietly was my blog's natural evolution. I was sitting on a train on April 27, 2019 (yes, I still remember the day!), deep in thought, listening to music. I was thinking about racism, thinking about the Christchurch Terrorism Attack just the month before, and I was just feeling everything too deeply. The news cycle was depressing, I had no faith in most of the op-ed pieces in mainstream media, and I was thinking about what I could personally do to address the issues close to me, to help elevate the voices that I think should be leading these conversations, and what I could tangibly do to make the world better. I think everyone can relate to this feeling of wanting to solve the big issues we face and then feeling absolutely overwhelmed on where to start. Like, I am one tiny voice in the void who wants to help solve racism, help end fatphobia, and help make the spaces I occupy to be not just inclusive but intersectional.
I was listening to Talking Heads "This Must Be The Place" on repeat when I realised I wanted to find a place online that felt like home. That's how it feels like every time I blog - that I am home. But I wanted a bigger home to fit all of us! And the name came to me just then and there. I realised in order for any progress to happen, we need to know when to be loud and when to be quiet. We need to know when to pass the microphone, when to shut up and listen to people who've lived experiences that are different from us. Loudly cannot exist without quietly and vice versa. I liked the idea that these two need to co-exist for change to happen! I got off the train and right in the middle of brunch with my best friend, checked if the domains and social media handles were taken and bought it straight away. I’m gearing for its relaunch this winter and I can’t wait!
We also love tuning in to your Sunday Table series every weekend. Tell us a little bit more about this and what you have been loving creating in the kitchen recently?
Ahhhh that makes me so happy – again, thank you! It started last year when I was feeling burnt out and blah. I was about a year into being a full time creative and was discovering who I am now that I get to do it for work. It used to be my hobby, so now I felt like I had to have a hobby outside of work. And I’ve always loved cooking! Ironically my hobby is now part of work lol. But Sunday’s are my favourite days and that’s usually when I have time to cook and experiment in the kitchen. Plus I love the ritual of dining – setting the table, making food look pretty, sharing it with people I love. It’s definitely a challenge to come up with a new recipe every week though! I’m a pasta girl through and through so that’s a staple in my repertoire. I’m loving creating meals from what’s in season though! Think I’m finally ready to share my tomato soup and garlic bread recipe soon.
What does a typical day in the life look like for you?
I like to work pretty late so I do love to sleep in. I adopted 2 cats back in January – a gorgeous pair of sisters that have been in the shelter the longest – and we are still getting to know each other and getting comfortable with each other. Lately they’ve been starting to really trust me so my days start with pats and chin rubs with Ollie and Chelsie. I make breakfast and do some meditation, then I get ready for the day and do my morning skincare. I like to have coffee while I work on my to-do list, then I start checking my emails and socials. I love time blocking so I usually allocate 45 min sprints and 15 min breaks throughout my work day. Then I have lunch and have a break! I am pretty much useless from about 1 pm – 3 pm. One of the biggest privileges of this creative life is being in charge of my own schedule so I use that time to do chores or read or chill. Because honestly it is so hard to get work out of me during that time. Then I get back into it until around 6 pm. I start the dinner routine and chill out before working for another hour or so before bed! Unless I have an event to go to.
How are you doing, Jess?
Right now I’m very good. One of the cats, Chelsie, was on my bed this morning and spent a good time using my foot as a pillow and she’s never done that before so that made me so happy! Then Ollie, her sister, kept coming over for pets while I was answering these questions and again that’s never happened before so I am just over the moon right now. It’s truly the little things that excite me and even just looking at my cats is enough to put me in a great mood.
How do you take care? Whether this be prioritising self care or advocating for others?
I really believe in the saying that you can’t pour from an empty cup. Especially when it comes to advocating for others of putting yourself out there to deal with social justice issues. I’m no use to anyone if I’m not OK. I can’t show up for the things I’m passionate about if I’m not putting myself first. I like to have ‘do nothing’ days where I literally just stay in bed and stare at the ceiling. I enjoy journaling and watching my comfort shows, eating what I feel like, and hanging out with friends. I like the rituals of skincare as a physical way of looking after myself. Also going offline helps!
What are your tips for aspiring creatives or creators looking to forge their own path?
It seems counterintuitive but prioritise yourself. Create things that make you happy, just for you to enjoy. Everyone else liking what you create is just a bonus. I used to get asked a lot for blogging advice and I would always say start it for you. While it’s understandable and great and natural to want to inspire others with what we create or put out there, I don’t feel like it’s a sustainable way of doing things. We are human beings, we won’t be 100% inspiring or even motivated all the time. That’s a lot of pressure to take on, to project on your creativity as well. So instead of wanting to inspire people, just inspire yourself and create from a place of genuineness. You can never go wrong with that! I always tell myself, it’s OK if I’m the only person who feels moved by my art. It’s OK if I’m the only one I save with it.
What are your favourite local recommendations? Think best eats, shopping and things to do in the city.
My ideal day out right now would start with a Mibo pastry and coffee, pork pinchitos from Alma for lunch, going for a wander in the city and ultimately ending up at Unity Books, before having a drink at Somm and ending the night with pasta from Bossi.
And finally, what is next for you as we look forward to the second half (!) of 2023?
The second half of the year is always my favourite! I start to feel more myself when the temperature drops. So many creative projects going out into the world like the relaunch of loudlyquietly.com, my newsletter going public, and other events finally starting to come back again. Also really looking forward to winter fashion and dressing in layers and not having my makeup melt from the heat. I’m ready!