When you work in this industry, you frequently meet people in the entertainment industry who are so overrated. They either think they’re wayyyy more amazing than they are, or they kinda just slide by in life with tons of followers but aren’t actively doing anything.
I came across Jean Watts on Instagram, and was absolutely taken by how beautiful this chick was. I headed to her site to investigate more, and become totally captivated by her story. I’ve mentioned how I try and showcase people who have similar stories to me on A Life in the Fashion Lane and the other platforms I write for, because the stories that inspire me the most are the ones where the person worked their ass of to get to where they are. Good for you if you were born into it, but the people who weren’t definitely have to work a tad bit harder to succeed at their dreams.
I jumped on the phone yesterday to chat with Jean about her rising musical career, her thoughts on social media and teens, and why Instagram is so f***** fake. I hope you love reading about her as much as I loved talking to her, and I’m excited to have her join an upcoming M.I.N.T. talk in the fall!
A: What was it like moving to LA when you were 20?
J: I was in a toxic relationship. I had been dating someone since I was a teenager and the friends I had were not good. When I moved to LA, I separated myself from my past life. I was staying with someone for a month and she had Netflix, so I watched the Katy Perry diary on repeat. For two weeks I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know anybody. One of my friends from Chicago invited me to dinner and I met someone at that dinner. It all kind of went uphill from there.
I got conned into contracts I never thought I would. You work with people who pretty much act like they want to help you but only help themselves. You have to know who’s true and who’s not.
A: How does social media affect you?
J: Social media has opened a ton of doors for me since I developed a following. It’s easier to get in front of people, but besides that, I deep down really hate it. I’m an adult now, and even still when I’m on Instagram for too long, it makes me depressed. There are even big celebs who stop themselves from going on the web. I couldn’t even imagine being a teen doing that. When I was in middle school, there was Myspace. That was enough for me! Now, it’s hard. My biggest struggle is because I’m doing everything on my own, I have to work to develop my audience as much as I can. I’m hoping when I’m at that really “known” level that I can post anything that I want without thinking about what people want to see.
A: What advice would you give teens who are just starting?
J: Before people even wanted to hear me sing, they would ask me how many followers I had. For me, I have my Instagram and I use it as a business. I’m still trying to figure it out. I separate it from myself. I don’t care about it as much as I should. For these young kids, I try and tell them to be original and be who they want to be. If you want to be a blogger, stay true to yourself. Break through the noise. Take your real life experiences and talk about them.
A: How do you stop comparing yourself to other people?
J: It happens to fucking everybody. I would say that when I notice I’m sitting on Instagram for too long, I have to really stay present and remind myself what I’m doing. I get out of my head and think about how the amount followers I have doesn’t relate to anything regarding my worth. It’s hard trying to do social media and play this game and be an artist. It’s so draining and it’s such a fake world. There’s a happy medium and I’m still trying to find it.
A: How do you stay grounded?
J: There’s a really dark part of me that I’ve been through. I know what the real world is. You really have to surround yourself with real people. I meet these girls on Instagram IRL and I’m cool with them, but it’s hard to hang out with them. I hang on to my old friends. I love the industry in a way, but I have my reality. It’s hard because I always try to be that person who is going to stay that way. I go to these Hollywood parties, but everyone is so dependent on their followers and who they are.
A: What do you do when you’re not working?
J: I never went to Disneyland before, and I went two years ago and it’s now my favorite place. Whenever I feel too adult, I go to Disneyland. That puts me in a happier mood. I’m a huge gamer and I love PS4. I like hanging with my friends and we go to cool comedy clubs and lounges.
A: Where is your favorite place in LA?
J: Nobu in Malibu. Anything that has to do with a beachside restaurant, I’m so about. You definitely don’t get that in Chicago.
A: If you could team up with one clothing brand, or performer, who would you choose?
J: I love Alexander McQueen’s new collection. If I was doing a big red carpet, I’d probably choose him.
Singer wise, I’d love to team up with The Weekend. Or Justin Timberlake!
A: Is there one person you really respect in the industry?
J: Beyonce. She’s the hardest working person in the industry. She always reinvents herself. I never want to be the artist who has 3 of the same albums. I want each album to be it’s own piece of art.
A: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
J: If the world worked out perfectly, music is my biggest passion. I love art, and I love painting. When it comes to creating, it’s such a high for me. I want to get into acting. I haven’t gone into auditions, but I’ve been training for it.
I am starting a company called Volt Cosmetics, too, that I definitely want to build out. I want it to be like Marc Jacobs. I just went to Will.i.am’s studio and it’s the coolest building ever. He has an entire building for a creative space. The last thing is when I’m in my 40s, I want to get into directing.
A: What’s your top makeup tip?
J: I got into makeup as a young age. In middle school, I’d go to school with gems on my face. When I was 14, I started wearing lashes. It was a form of expression. I definitely made that stuff cool before Coachella did! I loved looking different. It’s kind of like getting into character. I’m trying to do more natural makeup though (laughs). I just posted a glam picture again, but in general, I love the natural look.