Updated: Jan 12
Make no mistake.
For decades I chased the "perfect" life.
Crafting my life goals around the images I saw in magazines
(hello, I’m a kid of the 80’s — no social media then!)
I thought a perfect life meant I was at the "perfect" weight, with the "perfect" partner, and in the "perfect" career.
Enter, reality. (And about 20 years of therapy later)
Here I am now focused on crafting a "Good Life" — one that is designed on my own terms. Anchored in the vision and values I hold most dear.
And even focusing on a GOOD (not perfect) life can challenge the people pleaser in me — who was raised to think that good would never be "good enough".
Oh but it is.
It’s so good.
In fact it’s great.
And great is often so much better than perfect.
Now I think often about that little girl who dreamed other people’s dreams and I can’t help but think how stoked she’d feel at seeing the Good Life I’ve made.
A body that is healthy, and moves with grace and power (and loves to kickbox!)
A husband who loves me to the ends of the earth (and is super cute!!)
And a career that is creative, and built on the things I love the most: helping people feel seen, heard, and understood.
So when Shoutout LA reached out to interview me about my life and career in LA — I answered their questions with that little girl in mind.
"Look at the life we made," I kept thinking… "Look at this Good, Good, Life."
. . . . .
ShoutoutLA: Hi Jess, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
Jess Weiner: I believe, as human beings, we all want to be seen. When we feel seen, we feel safe, heard, and empowered. My company, Talk to Jess, focuses on helping brands and companies better represent ALL people in their media, marketing, advertising and workplace. This isn’t just a nice to have, it’s a NEED to have for the world we live in today.
I feel so proud to have been a part of two big culture changing moments.
The first was in 2006 as part of the team who launched Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty, kicking off a new global conversation around beauty ideals.
A decade later in 2016, I again helped to disrupt social norms, this time as a part of the team at Mattel who helped to change Barbie’s body, introducing 9 body types, 35 skin tones, and 94 hairstyles to date.
In the work that I do, we help to create healthy dialogue around race, disabilities, gender fluidity, mental health and so much more. And it’s not just about marketing or advertising, we also help companies educate their employees and leadership so that they can change their internal policies in order to create a more equitable culture at work.
My passion is to help individuals and organizations have the tough and courageous conversations necessary to make change from within.
It not only produces better business results but it benefits our communities when we all feel more seen, included, and engaged.
SLA: Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
JW: I’ve been an Entrepreneur and a CEO for over 25 years, and I literally started from scratch. When I started, like most entrepreneurs, I had no idea where this adventure would take me. I’ve made it up as I go along.
What sets me apart is that I’ve taken the things I love — cultural issues, creativity, and education — and I’ve created a career where I help change big industries and the way they represent people and tell their stories.
I don’t come from money and I’ve never taken investors, so everything that I’ve created is self-made. I am a female owned multi-million dollar business and I’m incredibly proud of that.
The journey of running your own business, though, is never really easy. Everyday, I learn so much about myself through my work, especially because no matter my title, I’m still an actively growing, changing human being!
And now after 25 years of running Talk to Jess, I’m adding a new platform to my company focused on online education. I’m launching The Good Life, a series of courses and workshops focused on personal and professional development for individuals.
We tackle topics like success, leadership, self-love, and happiness, helping people develop the tools to live a Good Life — which we define as building a life you love on your own terms.
SLA: If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Jess Weiner: Here’s what we’d do on a decadent day of self-care in LA! Early morning hike in Fryman Canyon. I feel lucky because we live here and it’s basically my backyard – the views, the trails, the tranquility never gets old. I have a favorite bench at the top of a trail that overlooks the valley, so we’d stop there and do a little meditating and contemplating.
Then we’d move on to a yummy brunch at Petit Trois. Best omelette and croissant I’ve had since being in Paris. Then a massage at Burke Williams, I love the Sherman Oaks location, I have my favorite therapists there and love the hot stone deep tissue massage.
Then an afternoon movie at the Arclight — and my husband and I love the chicken sausages there so we’d grab one for lunch — and popcorn of course!
Then we’d head west on the 101 before sunset over Las Virgenes road into Malibu and catch a beach sunset before getting dinner outside at Nobu in Malibu. Hands down we are getting multiple orders of yellowtail w/ jalapeño and some miso cod!
Then finally, a leisurely drive back (because hopefully we’ve dodged traffic) to the valley and maybe a stop at Fatamorgana gelato in Studio city before heading home. Felipe loves the pistachio and I’m a fan of deep, dark, chocolate with hazelnuts!
SLA: The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Jess Weiner: My shoutout is dedicated to my incredible husband Felipe Lopez, who is an extraordinary artist and woodworker. We complement each other so well. I didn’t get married until I was 40 and I’m so glad I waited! Finding my partner came after many years of personal (and some painful) lessons that led me to create a loving, equitable, and exciting relationship with an amazing human being! www.felipelopezwoodworker.com.
The above interview was originally posted on ShoutoutLA.