J'na is a beautiful soul. I truly enjoyed our conversation and getting to know her on a personal level. She has created a home with Vibe Magazine and Billboard. I know for a fact she is going to take her career to higher levels. Even when life hit her from different angles, she kept fighting. J'na is what I call a woman with determination. She wants you to be inspired!
Who is J’na? [Jay-Na]
I'm a bubbly, energetic, charismatic person. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’m definitely a fighter. I have gone through a lot since I was young. It’s so much easier to go through life positive. I’m here because I survived, I fought and did what I had to do. A positive outlook on life has helped without a doubt. My parents divorced when I was really young and it affected me a lot. Recently, my mom passed away. I do everything with her in mind. She had cancer, but you couldn’t even tell she was fighting. She had a smile on her face, even through chemo she was all smiles. If she could smile through that, you can smile through any hard day. Nothing is really as bad as it seems.
Describe your career.
I am a Contributor Writer for Vibe.com and a freelance writer for Billboard. I was an intern with Vibe the summer of 2015. In January 2016, I was hired as a freelancer. During the day I aggregate news stories. I do a lot of research to figure out what current pop culture events are happening. I research to contact people to interview. I like to get things done way ahead of time. I highlight what I want to add and important quotes or information that people may not know. I read my stories like five times, I’m such a perfectionist. I would love to continue interviewing people. I want to make my writings and interviews personal. I want to make celebrities with high profile jobs appear more humanized. I want my readers to understand them. I like to dive a little deeper, looking back into their personal archives, asking things they want to talk about.
How did you begin working for Vibe Magazine?
When I was in college, I liked writing about music and entertainment. In May, I began my first internship at College Humor. By July of that year, I didn’t think I wanted to do it anymore. They weren’t interested in what I liked. I had a successful blog my sophomore year in college (30,000 views). After finishing my College Humor internship, I stumbled upon an internship for Vibe. I sent my resume and I didn’t hear back from them. It turns out the email from them went to my spam mailbox. I went in their office and told them about the legacy of Vibe. I got on the train [to head home] and I got an email saying, “You start next week”.
Which celebrities have you interviewed?
Michaela Coel: "Chewing Gum”
Hit Boy [Producer who wrote Niggas in Paris]
I went to the VMA’s and interviewed: ASAP Ferg, Chance The Rapper, and Justine Skye
I went to Broccoli City and interviewed Rapsody and Sir the Baptist
I interviewed the children of Ol Dirty Bastard from Wu Tang Clan, as a Father’s Day piece
What is the best part of your job?
Connecting with people who are high profile and seeing underneath the glitz and glamour. They are regular people. I like to see the human side of people who have extra ordinary lives.
How far do you want to take your talents?
I always wanted to do something in front of the camera. I am a dancer and I love being in front of people, because that’s where I really shine. Sway is my favorite person. He is so chill and really cool. I met him twice, and he actually takes the time to talk to you. I would love to do something like that, but in another dimension. It would be fun to expand in that way. When I get older I may go from music to harder news.
Have there been any roadblocks along the way?
It was just me and my sister after my mom passed. We started staying at a family friend house. We had a lot of mental strain during that time. We have a cute condo now where I can thrive and do my best. Having to transition on our own was very very stressful. Trying to get into New York was the worse.
WHAT IS THIS CHAPTER IN YOUR LIFE CALLED?
This chapter in my life is called, the “Young Grasshopper Phase”. I’m doing well and getting amazing experience, but I’m only 23 and have so much to discover about the industry and myself.