Jenn is a functional nutritionist and esthetician who I first discovered through Instagram. I loved her strong voice and holistic approach to health. Her account is also an amazing resource for healthy, delicious recipes that highlight whole foods and their benefits. I visited her cozy, healing space for a facial and left feeling deeply relaxed and glowing. I'm excited for you all to get to know her!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, your work, and where we can find you?
I’m a holistic esthetician. I have my own studio in the Marigny, I’m also collaborating and working with Polite Society uptown, creating holistic + clinical facials and educating. I’m very passionate about forging warm, mystical spaces for clients and friends. I’m also Finally finishing my undergrad this year and getting certified in functional nutrition through NANP. Photography and creating and pairing flavor profiles as I cook has sort of become my medium...
You can find me on Instagram @ritualbodywellness to set up appointments and eventually on my website, assuming it will be done before I turn ninety.
Where were you in life ten years ago, and did you ever see yourself where you are now?
Hmmm, ten years ago I was bartending here in New Orleans, Lower Decatur street specifically. All of my most valuable and cherished relationships blossomed in those years, which I find ironic. At that time in my life, there was a lot of self-medicating, anxiety, and trauma to work through. I was a total marathon asshole to myself, so I'm grateful that those friendships even began, much less remained genuine. I, of course, had no idea at the time I would be obsessed with helping people live healthier and more intuitively.
Where do you derive strength? What gives you the fortitude to keep going when the going gets tough?
I think there are a lot of us who were not given the agency in childhood to foster nourishment, support, and strength. Strength is simply adaptation, and hormesis is that catalyst. I have always seen challenges or past trauma as a tool and a teacher. My younger brothers also foster a sense of purpose for me, and my godmother has always marched to the beat of her own drum, exhibited courage, and shown me a mother’s love.
What is one of the biggest challenges you’ve faced, and how did you overcome that challenge?
Right now, trying to build a business out of a passion, and stay true to myself. Crippling imposter syndrome doesn’t help. Ha. I try to do something creative, something for a loved one, and something for myself daily. I make To-Do lists of To-Do lists and set smaller attainable goals that will hopefully morph into my dream career.
What is an early or favorite scent memory you have? What comes to mind when you imagine your favorite scent?
Gardenias, smashed-rotting figs, and nicotine. We had a gardenia bush growing up—my mother was obsessed—and I would pick them for her. Just around the corner, my grandmother and great-grandmother had a fig tree that shed the plumpest figs I’ve ever seen. Half would rot on the balmy pavement, and half she would bake. She said it reminded her of being home in Croatia. Nicotine comes from the inside of my home. Everyone smoked inside their homes in the 90’s. It was gross, but now the smell is a time machine for me.
Self-care: What is one non-negotiable self-care ritual that you try to regularly attend to?
It’s cliché, but I have to workout daily. Exercise was the first avenue I discovered that helped my anxiety disorder. I love being soaked in sweat from any labor of love—hiking, lifting weights, climbing stairs, riding, it’s all therapeutic. I have 16 oz. of filtered water with the juice of one lemon and a pinch of sea salt every single morning. I love to read, write, dance, and cook foraged and magical meals for friends. I’m really into my Tarot as therapy and part of my spirituality—I’ve been working with it since I was 17 or 18.
Nature: We take great inspiration from travel & nature. What is the most inspiring natural place you’ve ever been to and why?
It's hard to pick just one. I love wild and open, uninterrupted nature. It’s raw and instinctual. When you’re deep in the mountains and forests, no lights, no people, no campgrounds, no cabins, you can hear the wolves, wind, water, and you feel most like yourself. It’s like empathy for all the cycles of life and true connectedness. It’s healing and vibrational, and even sexual. I also love the jungles in Mexico.
What is your favorite Smoke product?
Ritual! It’s like Topanga Canyon in the 70’s, in a bottle. That’s me.
And finally: What’s your greatest hope for the future?
I want to see radical and restorative change, both in our food system and in our political landscape. I hope for humbled and vulnerable politicians, the manifestations of racial and gendered bias challenged and uprooted, the food and sick-care system confronted and transparent. I want us to step out of the liminal space between seen and unseen worlds of oppression. Less passivity and more justice and love. We all have a place, we just need to have the courage and find it.