all american girl jessie andrews
There’s something that happens when you look into Jessie Andrews crystal clear green eyes: Any preconception you might have of the DJ/ model/ jewelry designer melts away and you realize you’re with a next-level, mystical human. Her energy puts you at ease. The camera loves her with every shot. She’s taller than you expect, strutting a perfect 5’9” with the confidence of a woman on a great path of creative freedom. She’s a mutt of epic proportions (Chinese, Latvian, and Irish) and proves that interracial breeding is truly the evolution of beauty.
In just three years, she’s given herself completely to every artistic effort she can handle and been amply rewarded. This is the real Jessie Andrews: An artist, a visionary, a musician and more importantly, a kind and confident girl who embodies the DIY movement like no other. She’s the face of American Apparel, she has her own self-run and extremely successful jewelry line (www.bagatiba.com), and has been heating up the DJ world, bringing some serious natural jockey skills to the decks (no laptop, thank you) and remixing top artists to the delight of all house music lovers across the country and beyond.
When we met on that cold day in Chicago, it was immediately clear there was no affectation, no pretension and no fear in this girl who would be warming the frozen legs of club-goers and fans at the exclusive Studio Paris later that night. She’s down to rock, even braving 15-degree weather for a few choice photos outside. No bullshit anywhere- just work. After a healthy lunch, a little shopping with friends and enjoying a huge porterhouse, kale salad and coffee at RPM that night, Jessie took over Studio Paris with a set as jovial and energetic as herself- laden with perfect transitions between deep house, hip hop and electro and back again. Forget what you think you know: Jessie Andrews is the embodiment of the new All-American girl.
Check out her remixes on Soundcloud. (You can buy her new single “I Never Knew” from Ultra Records on iTunes.
What brings you happiness?
There’s a lot of things that make me happy- The number one thing is seeing other people happy. That’s the thing that makes me happiest. Inspiring people also makes me happy.!
Does that fuel your creative process as well?
Yeah, it does! It makes me want to create more.
Everyone’s like “The Kardashians are not good anything-blah blah blah- they have no real talent!” And I answer “No. Their talent is marketing and using what they have to create more Being a brand.” My real talent is having a creative mind and using the same skills they do. Marketing. Creating. Branding. Building. Learning. Pushing the limits.
Did you have any musical inclinations as a child?
￼My dad made me listen to a lot of Bob Marley, Queen, like really random stuff. And my mom listened to Norah Jones, Seal- she was into Sade and the soft stuff. I had a weird provincial upbringing. I’d never even heard electronic music until we started going to the clubs..
Did you have any posters on your wall as kid?
I did not. I was a lame kid, I guess. (laughs)
What music pumps you up when you’re getting ready to go out?
I really like AlunaGeorge’s “Body Music”. Its an insane album. I know all the words to it. Its amazing. And lately I’ve been into Rudimental with John Newman. So good.
Did you always know you wanted to be a DJ?
I didn’t. I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I was 18. I was just like “Whatever is coming my way, I’m gonna take it.” When I moved to LA, I started meeting all new people, and everyone happened to be in the music industry. . It made me realize how much I liked music when I watched them DJ. A body high in itself.
And you work now with these guys. You’ve been hanging at the compound with Skrillex and the like…
I was actually with them a few days ago. We had a Christmas eve party at our friend’s John Dadzie’s (DJ/ Producer @12thplanet). I’ve had Christmas eve there for the last three years with John, Sonny, Jen Lasher, Nadastorm. Everyone of our friends is there: Kastle, AC Slater. Its a whole family. Its awesome.
Are you a big collaborator? Do you have any mentors in that group?
Yeah, yeah, yeah! (smiles) I love collabbing with people. I think its fun. Almost more fun than doing something by yourself. I don’t really have any mentors but Jen Lasher is one of my best friends and I talk to her the most about music. We tag team all the time cause we have similar tastes and good chemistry.I guess she’s a big sister type of mentor for me in a way and I admire her skills and knowledge about music.
Was she responsible in your path to become a DJ? Or did it come about organically?
I think it came organically. Everyone contributed. I’m like a sponge. I watch something and pick
it up immediately. So it was really easy for me. I would ask questions to different people and run with it. Nobody was like “I’m gonna sit down and teach you. This is the cue button, blah blah blah.”
What’s the best advice you’ve been given as a DJ?
Oh, that’s tough. In the beginning I had a really hard time deciding what I wanted to play. I don’t want to be an open format DJ. I kinda want to play stuff I like. I had a lot of trouble and I’d ask my manager “Should I play electro? Should I play house music?” and he’s like “You gotta go
one or the other but whatever it is you have to love it and stick with it.” That’s pretty good advice.
It can be easy to get in your own way as an artist. Do you find yourself pulled in too many directions on occasion with all your endeavors? How do you balance it?
I do. All the time I’m like (mimics panic) “What was I supposed to do? Where am I supposed to be? I’m supposed to do something today…put in the calendar! (laughs)” On the day before Christmas I was running around and I had a 2 o’clock work out but before I had to bring my manager his presents, I had to go meet with my lawyer after, have lunch with him and exchange presents, meet with my friends, ship jewelery, water my girlfriend’s plants, make sure MY plants were watered, and pack for a week of traveling and djing. It was insanity! But I get it all done because I’m good at managing my own time and not being lazy.
As a guy who collected seashells as a kid, your new necklaces on Bagatiba (www.bagatiba.com) made me smile. Did you consciously make those because of your life in Miami or wanted to make jewelry that sings from the sea?
I’ve gotten a lot “beachier” lately, I don’t know why. The stuff I made in the beginning were simplistic pieces I wanted I wanted for myself. When I go shopping I see certain pieces I want and I go “Ooh that would look good with this or that!”. Making jewelry really keeps my mind moving, building and creating.
You’ve moved up so quickly in the last few years through the fashion world. Who do you enjoy shooting with?
Obviously, Terry. He’s really fun to shoot with. But he’s more of a friend than “shooting with fashion photographer Terry Richardson.” We were friends first before we shot together really. I like shooting with Dov (Charney, founder and CEO of American Apparel) He’s really good- really into what he does- really, really nice, as are all the photographers at American Apparel: everyone from Taghrid and David Gomez in the studio, Mateo Arciniegas in New York and Jared who I’ve shot with all over Canada, in Montreal, Toronto, and back in LA. He kind of shoots everywhere. I have a lot of fun shooting with all of them. I’m really excited about the photographers I’m working with in 2014 already One of my goals in 2014 is to do more mainstream modeling like the Forever 21 and H&M kind of stuff I see in the mall. (laughs)
Is there anything artistically you feel like you haven’t accomplished yet with photography?
I think its just going to come with age, but I just don’t look good with a ton of makeup on . I wish I could pull off a shoot where I have a ton of makeup, like all black smokey smudgy…
Well, most girls would kill to be naturally pretty…
No… I really wish I looked better with make-up on. No matter how much I try to fix it in the bathroom, I’m just like “ This doesn’t even look like me!” But artistically and creatively my number one goal in life is to inspire people. I was just telling my friend that the other day. Everyone asks “What do you want to do when you grow up?” Well not like “when you grow up”, I mean, I’m 21! But “When you get older, what do you want to do? You won’t be able to do this or that anymore.” And my answer is “I don’t know- But whatever it is, I want to inspire people.” And that is what drives me to do anything and everything.
And lastly, any advice for men on how to treat a lady?
Be an asshole. But not a real asshole. Girls are so attracted to what they can’t have. It’s always true.
-Words and Photos by Tyler Curtis