April 2, 2019
Business as pleasure, pleasure as business
" Someone who knows when it’s time to move on to the next thing. Who’s a part of the real world and reacts to it. Someone who is driven, ambitious, carefree and curious."
As well as being her own brand, Jessie Andrews is the CEO of multiple brands–all of them built on her own innovation and determination. Whatever has come in Jessie Andrews way seems to have been a door into another opportunity.
I vividly remember Jessie’s face appearing and reappearing in American Apparel advertising, and to me she’ll always be associated with the company at their prime. To her, on the other hand, it was merely a gateway that lead to something else. With an admirable ability to shift from one industry to another, Jessie has gone from being an adult film actress, to a DJ, to an influential business owner. If this says anything about her, it’s that she shouldn’t be defined by what she is doing at the moment. Instead, it is Jessie’s fearlessness, and a do-it-yourself attitude of the highest standard, that should. Wherever she wants to go, she’ll go.
How did you come in contact with Adriana Roslin?
She wanted to shoot some of my jewelry. I don’t normally respond to these requests, but my assistant said that I really should check her work out. She is from Spain and we ended up talking for ages about the Zara town in the middle of nowhere. It’s basically this little town made up of Zara employees.*
I told a friend that I was going to interview you, but they didn’t know who you were and lacking a better summary I just said that if one google your name one of the top results is a Forbes article about how much you achieved by 25. All I got back was “wow”. And I feel like there are many stereotypical questions a young successful woman would get after laying this fact out, such as “do you feel a lot of pressure?” And of course you can answer that if you want, but what I want to know first is: doesn’t it just feel awesome?
It does feel awesome, but it also comes with a lot of pressure.
Tell me about your background. How did you grow up?
I grew up in a very normal home. Not rich, not poor. My mom is a police officer dispatcher and my dad is a handyman. He was the one who taught me that you don’t need to hire anyone to do anything. Whenever he fixed a lightbulb he made sure I was with him to watch and learn.
How would you describe yourself?
I always say modern woman. It’s getting a bit outdated.
" Even if it was very real, porn was just a job for me. I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s either in you or it isn’t. I think that was why I had to get out as well."
So porn was just a pit stop?
Even if it was very real, porn was just a job for me. I feel like it’s one of those things where it’s either in you or it isn’t. I think that was why I had to get out as well.
How familiar where you with porn before you got into the business?
Not at all.
A lot of women probably feel adverse to the idea of enjoying porn, because it doesn’t feel like the industry is for them. Do you think there’s a way to change that?
There is porn where women are sensual and idolized, but the ones people see the most may put women off from enjoying it. With all industries, there is more than meets the eye. I think if anyone is serious about a career in porn they should do as much research as possible before coming to any conclusions.
I had this intense dream of working at American Apparel and when I finally had the chance it was a dream come true. In recent years, I guess especially in Sweden, American Apparel’s reputation has really been shattered to pieces and I find myself having to make the occasional excuse for my year with the company. How was your experience working for them?
I find that a lot of people had an American Apparel phase. I started out working in one of their stores too. When I worked in their store I felt just like you. There was a gap between that and modelling for them. I got out before they went bankrupt, so I wasn’t really there when all that happened.
Did your time with American Apparel inform your current aesthetic in any way?
Yes, multi-use things. I really liked their basics. It felt conservative. The idea that you can use something in many different ways, and for a long time, without it going out of style is important to me.
What do you think of the term ‘entrepreneur’?
I definitely see myself as an entrepreneur. I never wanted to go to school, I just wanted to do the things that I wanted to do. I like to come up with things that haven’t been done before. That’s another thing I feel is either in you or isn’t. Not everyone can become that. I see opportunities and I make them happen. If i don’t know something, I make sure to learn it.
It’s a term that is easily misused. I think an entrepreneur needs to take big risks and innovate, not just own and delegate.
You seem to find incredible joy in what you do. Do you differentiate business from something you do purely out of pleasure?
Not really, they’re the same to me.
" I never wanted to go to school, I just wanted to do the things that I wanted to do. I like to come up with things that haven’t been done before."
In Stockholm, you can now choose high school programs teaching you how to become an influencer or youtuber. What’s your thoughts on being your own brand?
Really? Do they teach you how to look cool and inspire people? It’s probably a hard thing to teach. In some way, you have to have it.
I think me being my own brand is extremely important, it only helps the brands I own. It’s like free promotion, a relatable face, and I’m my own best salesman.
Your personality is very consciously embedded in your brands then?
Yes, but they are all different parts of who I am. I shoot everything for all of my brands so that’s why you’ll find a similar aesthetic running through all of them. I haven’t allowed anyone else to shoot yet.
Are the different parts of who you are the reason why you’ve created several brands focusing on one type of product rather than creating a ‘lifestyle brand’ that sells everything?
Yes, there are different sides of my personality in every brand. Bagatiba represents my girly side. Basic Swim the one I go to when I’m in a more relaxed mode; at the beach or when just want to wear something very simple with my Vans for instance. I see Jeu Illimite is my lifestyle brand. But I’ll go crazy if I don’t stop soon.
And perhaps you’re running out of personalities?
Haha, yes exactly.
How did the Hadids, Jenners and Kardashians come to wear your brands?
It’s all about knowing the right people and to put the products in front of them. BUT if the quality and designs aren’t good there’s no way it’s going to be worn. I’m thankful these girls love the designs and brand association to what I’ve created.
You make both life and success look easy.
It’s not. I’m up by 6am going from one thing to the other. A day in my life involves a lot of coffee, trips to the jewelry district, my pattern maker and studio, running round to meetings, shooting girls, all while answering emails & running socials via my phone. Last year I hired an assistant for the first time. If you’re organized and do everything you need to do then it gets done.
Could you tell me a bit about 1201 B Studios and how you utilize it?
I wanted a space for my brands and where I could create and shoot. All of my brands have their separate space in there. It’s a showroom and sometimes I invite friends and their brands there. It’s a nice space to be creative. Before I made everything in my apartment, but it’s not a good place to invite people over. With the studio everything comes together really well.
Are there any negative aspects to your fame?
Maybe mo money, mo problems. What rapper is that? Biggie Smalls!
But no, I don’t think so. I mean, a lot of hate come with the internet. Some of my friends read the comments section and get upset by the things people write about me like “how can you let them say such things?” But I don’t usually read them, and if I do, I don’t let them get to me.
Do you still make music?
No, not in the last two years. I don’t have time and it requires a different lifestyle. You don’t get any sleep. I love traveling, but three cities in three nights… There are other things I want to focus on now.
My sun care line Petiue. I don’t know much about skin care and there is so much to learn. The idea came to me back in 2014, so it has taken me some time to get there. I’ll tell you more when it launches this summer.
But also, I’m just very happy to be here.
*The company town is called La Coruña, located in northern Spain.