Today I sit down (virtually) with my friend and stylist Jessica Zanotti. We have collaborated on many projects together and I have always been in awe of her ability to combine aesthetics, elegance, and mindfulness. I am honored and inspired to talk over many topics with her including what it means to be an artist in 2020 and the movement towards a more feminine and collaborative way of working together.
Jessica, can you share a bit about yourself, your background, your upbringing?
I was born and raised in Orange County, California. My beautiful mother is Japanese and my father is Italian. They both grew up in Los Angeles. I’m a Gemini. I love art in all its forms and expressions.
What led you to a career in styling, the arts, and also holistic living?
I’ve always had a love for creating moods and worlds, telling stories through visuals, fashion and words. Style to me, is an art form, a way to tell the story of who you are and to embody who you want to become.
This deep connection to creativity through style, led me to FIDM, where I received my formal training in fashion. I went on to become an assistant at a few PR firms, fashion/culture magazines and with renowned stylists for years after college. This broadened my experience throughout the realms of high fashion, editorial, advertising and lifestyle. Eventually I branched off on my own, and focused on styling and creative direction.
Amidst this transition I experienced a major burnout and mental health collapse (perpetuated by a Xanax addiction and ultimately a disconnect from self). This led me to seek healing, and I found my way to meditation and holistic living, receiving a certification as a Holistic Health Coach along the way.
Through this portal of transformation that I call my own personal Renaissance, my relationship with creativity, fashion and art changed — it deepened. It reshaped my perspective on what creativity, success, and “work” means to me, which resulted in the unification of style, art and holistic living in my career.
Could you describe a vision for how wellness and the arts can contribute to creating a more equitable country, society, and world?
I believe that sharing stories through art is one of the most impactful forms of social justice. I envision a world where art that shines light on society’s systems, failures, ambitions and successes is openly accepted, accessible and abundant, engaging people’s minds and hearts to cultivate compassion and connection through these stories; ultimately shifting the narrative to shape a more equitable and inclusive world.
Life feels uncertain or uncharted as we enter the second half of 2020. What guidance would you give to women spiritually and artistically during this time?
e are living in unprecedented and rather chaotic times, so I would offer doing what feels right for your body in terms of making sure you prioritize self care, nourishment and practicing presence. Focus on taking it one day at a time. Prioritizing self care is one of the most important things you can do for your art, your community, your relationships, and it can in turn create a positive ripple effect on the world around you.
Nourishment can look like warm baths, immersing in nature, a swim in the ocean, dancing, journaling, self massage, self pleasure, wholesome meals, ceremony… it’s different for everyone. Carve out time for the things that make you feel joyous and connected to your body.
Some women / companies in the wellness space that inspire me to stay connected:
- Somatics + Embodiment: Prentis Hemphill , Priscilla Rodgers
- Spirituality: Charlotte Nguyen
- Astrology: Auric, Aaya Samadhi
- Nutrition: Sophia Roe
- Women Empowerment: Benshen, HER USA
- Overall Wellness: WellSet — a booking platform with an assortment of vetted practitioners and healers
Through presence and self cultivation, our creativity can flourish. There’s so much opportunity for change and innovation right now, so if you want to tap deeper into the kind of art you want to create, below are some prompts that may help guide you.
- What are your core values?
- What does the future you want to live in look and feel like?
- Is the way you are currently living your life in alignment with your core values/ future life vision? (can look at it through pillars; health, career, home, relationships, self expression, purpose )
- What are some creative solutions to align the pillars / core values that are out of sync with your desired future?
- Can you envision a way to merge your talents, passions and values into a unique web of your own creation? What might this look like? Can you find examples of people who have done this in a way you find inspiring?
- Is there a story sitting inside of you that you’ve been wanting to tell? What is it?
Hopefully journaling these prompts can help guide you to find more clarity on your creative journey. Now might be the time to cultivate your own personal Renaissance to effectively contribute to the collective rebirth we are experiencing as a nation right now. Your art, your story, your voice is valid and important.
Last book you read and what you thought of it?
The last book I finished was Untamed by Glennon Doyle and it absolutely set me on fire, in the best possible way. It’s a story of reclamation, of inhabiting all that we are as women; learning to accept and embrace our complexity, unapologetically. Her writing is soulful, tender, powerful, rageful, passionate — all the things. Needless to say I loved it and it inspired me to continue unlocking all the different sides of myself to become more fully embodied, whole and empowered.
Last movie you watched?
‘Black is King’ by Beyonce. There aren’t enough words to describe how powerful this film is. What an inspiring story of Black empowerment, told in a way that only Beyonce could.
Another notable film to mention; ‘Aviva’ directed by Boaz Yakin. I watched this film during quarantine and was taken aback. It was such an unconventional and beautiful film; a love story exploring gender dynamics, expressed through the most stunning dance sequences. It was sensual, vibrant, raw — highly recommended.
Go to easy foods to make at home during coronavirus?
I’ve been rotating Poke Bowls and Cauliflower Crust Pizzas :)