INTERVIEW: Angelique Jeffrey

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Photography by Angelique Jeffrey

Story by Ella Audrey Rae

Social Media has a wonderful way of introducing brilliant creatives and Angelique was one of them. I connected with her at first by commenting on her weekly ‘Insecure’ post found in her stories every Sunday. She became my ‘Insecure’ watch buddy in my head. Eventually, she released her first blog post for her blog, ‘A Word’. As I read it, I became intrigued, not just at the relatable topic but her ability to take a topic and say everything you were thinking within the topic without fear, pulling at your emotions and making you want more. It’s like she was in your head and you were having a conversation with your older sister who always said the right things at the right times. As she continued to post, I became more and more captivated by her journey.

How are you handling 2020 so far? A: 2020 has been one of the most challenging years for me! We’re only halfway through it but I’ve learned so much about my own resilience in this short but trying time.

What got you into writing? A: I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. My mother taught me to read and write at a very young age and even as a toddler I was amazed at the way stories were told. I always knew I’d be holding the pen, telling my own story one day.

What has been your hardest piece to write so far and why? A: So far, ‘Sad Girl’ has been the hardest. Not necessarily to write, but to release. It’s not only a part of my story but my mother and grandmother’s story as well. I was so worried about how they’d feel about my interpretation.

What writer inspires you? A: I can’t say that I have one specific writer that inspires me, truthfully. I’m inspired by all those brave enough to share their story or stories of others with the world.

Photography by Angelique Jeffrey

Why the name ‘A Word’? A: I named my brand ‘A Word’ because that’s truly all it takes. One single word can spark various emotions, can bring you back to a specific time or push you toward the future.

You went and graduated from college. Congratulations girl! How was that experience? A: Thanks so much! Honestly, graduating college was a surreal experience and I don’t think I’ve really had the time to embrace it. I was so focused on finishing and once I finished I focused on pursuing my passion.

In one of your posts, you talked about feeling stuck after college. How did you get over that hump and how are you doing now? A: Yeah, it was hard because I felt the weight of the constant “what now” questions? And I honestly had no clue. I didn’t have a plan. I’d say I’m finally finding my footing now. I still know nothing about where I am but I definitely know where I’m going.

What is your advice to college kids on getting through it? A: My advice would be to find your own way. No one path will be the same but each is special. My journey was full of comparisons to others and I think that’s part of why I struggled. I didn’t embrace my own path and tried to follow someone else’s. Do what works for you.

Your post titled, ‘Sad Girl’ was one of my favorites you ever wrote. You spoke about the fact that you don’t have to be strong all the time. Why do you think people have this notation that they can’t break down or lose it, that they have to have everything together women especially? A: I wrote that piece for women but black women in particular because society puts such a heavyweight on our shoulders and yet we’re expected to be put together and be the “backbone” of our community. And at the end of the day, a lot of our “strength” comes from survival. We’re not always okay, we don’t have all of the answers and we can be strong and still need support.

How does one break that cycle in your opinion? A: I believe it starts with a conversation. We come from such a “hush-hush” background where the struggles within the community aren’t discussed because we have enough issues. But in order to resolve these issues, we have to go to their source and dig up the roots.

Photography by Angelique Jeffrey

Your latest piece, ‘Blocked Blessings’ has become another one of my favorites. You touch on allowing yourself to be vulnerable. What do you think it is about being Vulnerable that scares most people? A: I think the exposure that comes with being vulnerable is what scares people the most. No one wants to be hurt, disappointed, or misjudged. As humans, we avoid that as often as possible. But that avoidance can ultimately be our downfall. We never know what we would’ve been exposed to had we taken the chance.

What is one blessing you feel like you blocked because you couldn’t be Vulnerable? A: I’ve always been overly cautious when it comes to putting myself in uncomfortable positions. Uncomfortable not necessarily meaning negative but stepping out of my comfort zone. There were jobs I knew I was perfect for that I never applied for because I doubted my abilities or was afraid of someone else’s perception of my abilities. I’m learning to let go. If the worst-case scenario is that I fail, then that’s okay with me.

How do you deal with Vulnerability now? A: I just accept that what is for me is already mine. I’m still very cautious in my decisions but I look at every possible outcome as a stepping stone. There’s no decision that can affect me negatively if it’s a part of my journey.

Visit her blog and follow her on Instagram & Twitter as well.

See the full spread in issue 42 online + print.

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