S4EP10: Confident, Creative & Black ft. Janina Ordoenz
Hi ºF-TV family!
I hope you are well, healthy and finding peace. We've made it to the last month of 2020 and that itself is a major blessing!
It's been a YEAR...an emotional, challenging & frustrating year. We've unfortunately continued to see Corona Virus cases & deaths rise, businesses close, unemployment soar and continuous acts of social injustice against Black bodies across this country. Its been overwhelming to say the least but in between all the bad things, there's also been some good. Some people have gained new skills during quarantine. Some people have gotten the chance to spend quality time with their families. Some people have found themselves. If you are healthy, sheltered and still surviving in December of 2020, that is really good!
As the year wraps up, we all tend to reflect and reminisce on the events of the past 12 months. For me, it's been especially comforting to know that in between all of the madness, uncertainty and fear 2020 brought upon many of us, there were times where the universe allowed me to find moments of joy. Rather I was doing epic photoshoots with my friends in colorful masks or finally getting the chance to finish painting a portrait, those little moments of joy in 2020 is what helped me survive. Since technology was even more apart of our lives this year, I stayed on my phone. Social media has become my personal daily news paper and the major events of 2020 were always front page. Sometimes, it was very triggering to log into Instagram or Facebook without seeing a picture or video that broke my heart, especially this summer with the news of the tragic deaths of #BreonnaTaylor, #GeorgeFlyod#AhmaudArbery. It wasn't easy to try to stay away from our phones, especially being in quarantine. I knew I needed to control the content I was seeing in fear of sinking into depression, so I made sure to follow self care pages, comedians and social media content creators who brought me joy. One of those brilliant and multitalented people is Janina Ordonez.
I've been following Janina on social media for awhile and I can attest that whenever she shares a post, it will either make you laugh, feel inspired or feel confident in your skin! Rather its a funny meme or a promo post for her stylish and comfortable 'Black & Creative' t-shirts she's designed, her pages @Madamoflaughs & @SheExcels brought me great comfort during the challenging moments of this year. I consider Janina a multi-hyphenate that I admire. She's a Photographer, Content Creator, Visual Artist & a Designer. It's pretty dope for me to be amongst other amazing creatives in the city, especially those who have big ambitions and do the work to make their visions come alive. It's something aspiring entrepreneurs like me need to see. 2020 has been a year where the visions Janina put out into the universe, flourished this year! She made it a goal to start a t-shirt line this year and now one of her promo posts for her beautiful Kwanza shirt is now being played on national television and promoted on billboards and on Tik Tok! Yes, she did that!
But the creative journey wasn't always easy for Janina. The Boston native was raised by a single mom and grew up thinking that a creative career was a big risk. "I didn't see it as longevity." Many people do struggle to make a reasonable living as an Artist and unfortunately society still views 'the arts' as just a hobby and not a realistic career choice. So out of fear, Janina continued to suppress her creative itch, however, she always excelled at creative activities. Rather it was crafts, painting or producing something artsy out of unique materials, she was really good at it. When she entered adulthood, those creative urges started tickling her spirit. She had so many creative interests but often, like most Artists, felt like she was being confined to a box. "I always felt this pressure from people to choose one thing." I can definitely relate to this struggle! It's so hard to pick one thing when your heart wants to do everything. It also doesn't help if relatives, friends and society are not as supportive. But the creative queen didn't let other people's opinions stop her, she started diving into various mediums of art. One of her first passions was photography!
With her interest in photography, Janina was able to connect and network with other Black female Photographers around the world who were snapping incredible moments through their lens. She also shared with us that learning photography and enhancing her intellect in various skills around photography, made her realize she can make a business out of it and she did! She's worked with amazing clients and you can view her growing beautiful portfolio at www.janinaphoto.com. She didn't stop there, she started painting again and soon was creating other platforms to share her love for comedy and Black culture.
@Madamoflaughs was created to make people laugh. "Humor in the black community has always been a survival mechanism." She created the platform while navigating college to keep her spirits up. As she began reposting funny content, her following began to grow and now Janina creates her own funny content both on Instagram and Tik Tok. @SheExcels was created as a business to help other creatives produce income around whatever they were good at. The same way she found success in building a photography business, she wanted other creatives to know that they can do that too. Janina also shared with us that the name She Excels"not only is it a business, it's an affirmation." She also now has a shop for She Excels Merchandisewhich includes trendy and comfortable t-shirts, mugs and accessories to remind you of your greatness as a Creative. If you need a boost of confidence or reinsurance as an Artist, then you must follow this page!
Although Janina has been grateful to find success and thrive this year, finding joy during this pandemic wasn't always easy. "There were times where I didn't have peace." She conveyed to us that just like for many people, it was a rollercoaster of emotions. Especially being Black in America, you were once again reminded by this country that your life doesn't matter. "Even going out to protests was risky" and the fact that our phones were the main source of communication for many of us, it was a battle to know when to log off. "Social media was one of the platforms where people can express what they were feeling about everything that's going on in the black community, in addition to the pandemic." For many creatives, social media has always been an outlet for them. There were many times where Janina felt helpless and wanted to do something. One of the things I learned this year was that there are many was to be an activist and leader. Finding ways to uplift the Black community during another time of despair was her mission, so she used her wits and gifts to share some joy. She continued to post positive content, share helpful resources and encourage folks to practice self care. She also took some time to disconnect and protect her peace. She turned to spiritual practices, prayer, meditation, tarot cards, astrology and other subjects she was interested in to bring her peace and joy.
Her sassy spirit guides helped her too! Janina discussed her love for astrology and how understanding one's birth chart and astrology makeup, helps guide you on your journey. She even took the time to share with us our 2021 Horoscopes! I have a feeling that no matter what your sign is, you've got some great lessons and blessings coming your way!
Watch our FULL interview on our YouTube Channel hereto learn more about Janina's artistic journey, the inspiration behind designing her t-shirts line (trust me you'll want a shirt too), advice for building up your small business and a tarot card reading to boost up your spirits for the new upcoming year!
Thank you so much for supporting us this year! Producing Season 4 during this ongoing pandemic was an experience lol but we were blessed to have incredible people on our growing platform!
We are so excited for Season 5 with NEW content and even more NEW exciting news! Coming to you in Spring of 2021. We hope you all have a peaceful holiday season and we'll see you in the new year.