Behind every fiercely independent woman is one hell of an inspiring story. Jessica Desjardins is one of those women. Creator of Beautezine, editor, photographer, web designer, graphic designer, makeup artist and researcher, Jessica was also a guest speaker in our Lifestyle Media class at Centennial College in October. Her story?
- Launched in 2011, Jessica is the brain behind, Beautezine, one of the most popular beauty blogs when it comes to industry news, articles, videos, and tutorials.
- A pre-med student, Jessica decided to let go of med school and instead became an entrepreneur when Beautezine showed impressive returns on investment. “I wasn’t able to support myself completely (I lived alone in my own apartment, paid all my own bills, etc.) on what I was earning at the time, so that was a huge challenge to overcome. I gave myself 3 months to see if I could make it work and if I couldn’t, I’d go get a job. After 3 months exactly, I was able to pay all of my bills.”
- Located in downtown Toronto, Beautezine won the 2016 P&G Beauty & Grooming Award for Best Site.
- Can we all please take a moment and humbly acknowledge how movie-star beautiful she is? 🙂
> I hope the term Boss ‘Bitch’ doesn’t offend readers. In this post, it’s genuinely meant as a compliment <<
Q1. What’s the strongest memory you have from high school?
The strongest memory I have from high school isn’t exactly the most positive one. I didn’t particularly enjoy high school and I couldn’t wait to get out and go to University, especially in my last year. I skipped a lot of classes (even though I still got great marks) and never really felt like I belonged. Looking back now, I realize it was because even though I liked learning, I wanted to be more independent and learn about what really interested me!
Q2. How do remain disciplined enough to run a successful business?
I am very self-disciplined, which I attribute to my intense, pre-med student years in University. I’ve learned to listen to my body and work when I am feeling the most productive or creative, which may not be the typical 9-5 most people are accustomed to. I work best in the morning and evening, so I’ll take my free time to relax or run errands in the afternoon instead if my schedule allows. I live by to-do lists and like to start the day by checking off one or two small, easy tasks, which gives me a sense of accomplishment and motivates me to tackle the big ones.
Q3. What were some of the key factors that made you change career paths—from medical school to being your own boss?
My passion for both beauty products and digital media were key factors that made me change my career path since they felt more like a hobby than an actual job. As much as I loved studying science and medicine, I’m happy I made the decision to pursue my business. The biggest challenge during my transition to self-employment was dealing with uncertainty — mostly financially, but also strategically, as I had no prior experience or knowledge of running a business. I’ve come to realize after speaking with other entrepreneurs and freelancers that the uncertainty that comes with self-employment never really goes away, you just learn to accept it and trust that you will always figure out a way to “make it work.”
Q4. Professionally and personally, what has been some of the biggest highlights this year?
One of the best parts of my job is getting the opportunity to travel around the world for media events and press trips. Since these trips often include unique experiences that or meeting some incredible people, I consider them to be both professional and personal highlights! A few memorable trips this year include; staying at an eco-hotel spa and visiting the childhood home of Yves Rocher in La Gacilly, France; visiting the Burt’s Bees headquarters in Durham, North Carolina; having lunch with Jane Wurwand, the founder of Dermalogica, in Venice, California; and attending the reveal party for CHANEL’s newest fragrance in Paris, France (which included a private performance from Pharrell and Katy Perry). I also was able to visit some other incredible cities as well, like NYC and Tofino, BC.
Q5. What do you secretly feel you are awkward at, one that would surprise the socks out of people who know you?
I love speaking in front of people, particularly when it comes to my areas of expertise such as beauty products or digital media. However, no matter how confident or composed I may be, I always get an excessively dry mouth (haha)! When I started doing TV segments, it became such a huge issue I actually had to start using a moisturizing mouth gel right before going live. I also had to send Ashley (Kowalewski-Pizzi, a professor at Centennial College) to fill up my water bottle for me when guest lecturing, too (but hopefully it wasn’t too obvious)! I laugh about it because even if I feel totally cool, calm and confident, it’s something I just can’t control.
Born and raised in India, Anisha Dhiman moved to Toronto to study Publishing and then Lifestyle Media at Centennial College. Writer, social media strategist and content creator, Anisha is the founder of Five Question Series, where she profiles people… you guessed it, by asking five questions. In her free time, she enjoys reading and trolling people with puppy GIFs and memes. Her only phobia? Losing her sight, but staring at the screen all day long doesn’t help much.