A fave because of all the ways she keeps it real, get into our interview with Jourdan Ash of Dating in NYC Podcast and Life with Jrdn where she oscillates between baring her latest life lesson, providing waves, and offering reviews on all her NYC faves. You can keep up with her on social media @LifeWithJRDN (Twitter + IG).
Tell us a little bit about your background: Who are you and where are you headed?
My name is Jourdan, a writer, blogger, lover of Popeyes, anime, shit talking and MF DOOM, from Harlem, New York. I am also the creator and host of the podcast, Dating in NYC. As far as “where I’m headed,” I have no idea, but I’m enjoying the ride.
How did you get your start in writing, podcasting, and letting us all in on dope shit in NYC? Who or what inspired you?
I got my start in writing in college. I had always been better at writing than public speaking, so it made sense for me to pursue something involving writing in college. I wrote for a couple of on-campus blogs which is how I got started in music writing. From there, I went on to have an internship with Complex Magazine and started my own blog, Life with JRDN, in 2014.
I decided to give podcasting a try when I started Dating in NYC as a segment on my blog. The concept was inspired by a very bad breakup that left me trying to date like the many hurt folks we know in real life and see on TV— think of a broker version of Carrie Bradshaw in 2016 with a popping sneaker collection and no Mr. Big. One of the women I interviewed, suggested I turn my segment into a podcast and I decided to give it a go. During my last year at Morgan State, I took a radio production course and was often forced to be “the voice” in many projects because my they loved my accent. It was annoying at first, but it helped me to pick up editing and vocal skills that I use today!
We’ve loved and respected your work because of its openness and authenticity. Talk to us about how it can feel to be so vulnerable on the internet? What’s the funniest reaction you’ve gotten from someone you’ve written about in relation to a piece?
I have never been a good liar, so I’ve always felt as if keeping it real is the only thing I know how to do. Being vulnerable is the only way I know how to be. I’ve struggled with sharing certain pieces earlier on with my blog, but I’ve learned that no one can tell my truth better than me. There is no one on this planet who knows me better than me— and it took me a long time to get to know myself. Now that I’m finally here, I don’t have an issue sharing or (most times) over-sharing on the internet. Everything I do, from writing to podcasting, is for me. I don’t write for anyone (especially not for free) and I don’t do the podcast for anyone, but me. I release content with the intent of getting something off of my heart or mind and believe no one is going to read or listen to it. Knowing you do something for yourself and no one else makes it easier to deal with the anxiety of sharing. It’s like “I’m writing this and if people fuck with it, cool. If they don’t, that’s cool too because I wasn’t thinking of them when I wrote it.”
The funniest reaction I’ve ever gotten to something I’ve written or probably said was when I mentioned on the podcast that I drunkenly stated I wanted to give someone a home for the winter in my throat. Never gonna live that one down.
What’s the premise behind #DatinginNYCPod? How’d it feel to be listed in Vogue and why do you think speaking freely about all things life, love, and sex matters – especially for WOC?
One of my favorite ways to learn is to have very real and open conversations. So #DatinginNYCPod came about when I was on the cusp of healing myself from a bad breakup. I was dating aimlessly which was never my thing, so I decided to get a little bit of my shit together. I started doing things for myself that my former partner did for me in our relationships. They were simple things that I should have never relied on another person for in the first place, but you know GROWTH, lol. A lot of the topics covered during the first season were things that I was dealing with personally and wanted to know healthier ways to cope or explore them.
It felt great being covered in Vogue because I truly wasn’t expecting it. Speaking about things like love and sex is extremely important for WOC because we’re often forgotten about in narratives like “Sex & The City” and “Girls.” I didn’t speak about love, dating, or sex with my mother until I was “grown-ish.” Shows like “Girlfriends” and learning from my actual friends(while we were all trying to figure out this “love” thing) groomed me for a lot of things dating-wise. So to have a platform where women and men of color can speak freely about healthy sex — what they like, how they like it, and how often they want it— love, and romance is an honor I never thought I’d have.
You’ve really carved out your own lane and voice online. Is there a method to your madness? If so, what is it? What do you hope ultimately comes from all of it?
There’s no real method to my madness, honestly. All of the topics I cover on the podcast are things that I am genuinely curious about. From there, it goes to writing out my questions in my notebook, then I do polls, and find interesting guests. I have no expectations for this podcast, to be honest, and I like it that way. It’s the most consistent I’ve ever been with anything that I’ve ever enjoyed. Not having expectations keeps me from being anxious and dreading it. I’m going to ride the wave of my podcast and when I no longer love it, I’ll stop doing it.
What opportunities do you see for women/WOC/girls like you in this 21st-century Black art renaissance and how to intend to positively influence the space? Any creators or projects you wanna shout out (I feel like you’re the plug)?
I’m hoping that there will be more opportunities for WOC in every aspect of media and streetwear. As a girl, who unleashes her inner tomboy every winter, it’s very disheartening to never see women who look like me in a Nike or prominent streetwear brand ad. Women, like Donette of Cozy Girl Squad and Laci Jordan, are doing their best to make sure black women are seen and heard in these industries. I’m very excited to see where they go.
What can we expect from you, #DatinginNYCPod, and whatever else you’re cooking up moving forward? How do you balance it all and how can we be of support? In the end, how do you want your story depicted? What legacy do you hope to leave behind?
With Dating in NYC, the only thing I’m working on is remaining consistent and getting some more sponsorships to bring more events/hoe kits to life. The best way I like for to support me and the podcast is to genuinely listen. Join the conversation online using the hashtag, share with your friends, but listening and giving healthy feedback afterward are my favorite methods of support.
“In the end,” sounds so morbid lol, but I guess if I were to ever move on from the podcast or blogging and writing, I’d want to be known for keeping it real. When I die, I want airbrushed t-shirts with my best selfie on them that read “She was a real one.”
Just for kicks:
Erykah or Lauryn? Erkyah
Favorite NYC food spot? Bobwhite Counter
What’s in your “hoe” bag? Condoms— because I don’t have time for babies. Lipgloss, face wipes, and a brow pencil. It’s the worst when your brows get sexed off and you’re out in the streets looking crazy.