#30Under30PHL – Dessie Jackson

We met today’s #30Under30PHL woman a year ago when she was still a student at Temple University. Her genuine kindness, natural beauty and amazing skills when it came to art blew us away. Dear world, meet Dessie Jackson (thank us later).


1. How old are you?
TECHNICALLY, I am 5 due to being a leap year baby- but let’s go with 22.

2. What do you do?
I create and drink coffee. Maker of things. I draw.

3. What neighborhood in Philly do you call home?
South Philly

4. What is your favorite thing right now about Philly?
Besides the weather? I feel like there is a lot of creative momentum building and breathing right now – different art practices (musicians, DJs, fine artists, designers, thinkers) coming together, collaborating and supporting each other.

5. What do you consider your greatest achievement thus far?
Honestly, I’m proud of everything that I’ve accomplished thus far in terms of where I’m at – career wise. But, (personally) I don’t think I have a moment of considerable greatness or ‘greatest’ thus far. I’m not satisfied with titling anything with that yet – I’m striving towards it.

6. If not yourself, who would you like to be?
This is silly.

7. Your idea of happiness.
Happiness is waking up too early and not being tired.

8. Guiltiest pleasure?
Buffalo sauce. On anything – well, maybe minus sweet things. That might be a little weird…maybe. Actually, hit me up if you have a sweet treat + buffalo sauce recipe because I’d be kinda down.

9. Favorite inspirational quote?
I don’t think I have one that I live by or refer too. Honestly I just googled ‘150 top inspirational quotes’ and they were all god awful. But, my friend Jeff just told me his favorite that I do like alot:
‘The Universe is made of stories, not of atoms.’ Muriel Rukeyser

10. What do you appreciate the most in your friends?
Positive energy and the ability to enjoy.

11. Favorite food in Philly?
Man, I love food. I don’t think I have a favorite Philly specific food. Me and my friends Caroline and Sammy do love to go to El Camino and split the veggie wings.

12. Favorite drink in Philly?
Last summer my friend Francisca and I went to Varga and ordered mango-jalapeno margaritas. I think I might have re-occuring dreams about that concoction.

13. Favorite song right now?
‘Club Goin’ Up on a Tuesday’ Makonnen. my. jam.

14. A book you plan on reading?
The other week I was walking to Honey’s with my friend Eric and there was a box of free books on the sidewalk. I picked up ‘How to Be Alone: Essays by Jonathan Franzen.’ That’ll be up next.

15. A book that powerfully impacted your life?
All books are important. I don’t have a favorite or one that is THEE book. I wish I did.

16. Name one historical figure you would like to have coffee with.
Madonna?

17. How do you like your coffee?
Coffee is the best in one of those perfect mugs: generally large that fits in your hands just right. (Is that corny? kKnda.) I have a very emotional/deep relationship with my coffee. A little cream sometimes a little sugar.

18. Your main fault.
I don’t want to give the standard job interview answer by saying things like, “I’m a perfectionist. I’m never satisfied. I work to hard, blah blah.” But I do put A LOT of pressure on myself. And it creates more hurdles than does good.

19. What is your most prized material possession?
I save things – notes, cards, tickets, momentos.

20. Your biggest failure.
I’ve made tons of terrible drawings. Failure sounds kind of harsh.
I’ve failed paying my comcast bill on time too many times. I’ve been very close to failing every math course I’ve ever taken.

21. What you learned from that failure?
Everything is a learning process. The work that I’m making currently I might revisit years from now and be repulsed by it or I could revisit what I would now consider failed works and think they’re great. It depends on the lens you’re looking through in that moment. It’s all subjective.

Oh, and automatic payments.

22. What is your greatest fear?
Losing passion. Not remembering.

23. Where will you be in 30 years?
I have no idea. I like that though – not having an idea.

24. Favorite thing to do on a Sunday?
Not have a plan.

25. Best date spot?
Anything outside. Anywhere you can have conversation and grab a drink.

26. What does happiness mean to you?
I use to think about this alot. Is happiness being content? I use to feel like the word ‘content’ was anything but the meaning – because in that case I don’t like content. Obviously happiness is subjective – it could be partial – it is fleeting. It can be moment to moment and it can contain an essence of longevity.

But I’d say that my glass is half full 90% of the time and I recognize that. It’s all about the lens you choose to see through.

To put it simply:
Think prancing pugs.

27. Twitter or Instagram?
#instagram

28. Describe Philly in a Tweet.
#philly #rules

29. Who should everyone follow on Instagram?
@pugs

30. Pats or Genos?
Pats

#30Under30PHL is a month-long series highlighting Philadelphia’s most ambitious women. Created in collaboration with Femme & Fortune and Alex Kacala. 


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