Meet Jessica Lakritz, Celebrating International Women's Day 2020

Londyn Swanson
March 8, 2020
Meet Jessica Lakritz, Celebrating International Women's Day 2020

Female Disruptor and Skin on Sundays Jessica Lakritz writes her thoughts on human bodies.

If you can’t visualize what this looks like, we’ve got some serious inspiration for you.

In honor of International Women’s Day 2020 and the first anniversary of Female, we caught up with a female disruptor who writes the words that make the whole world sing, on people’s bodies. Meet Jessica who combines the two worlds of poetry and the human body with Skin on Sundays. Jessica is based in Mexico City, Mexico and writes her poetic messages stamped in her own beautiful typography across the bodies of females around the world.

What is exactly does ‘poetry on people’ mean?

I write poetry on human canvases and take photos.

The poems are typically written inspired by the canvas it is written on, which creates a stronger connection between the world of art and living, breathing, real existence. Plus, the whole experience of creating the piece, the words are written on a body and turned into a lasting image, which I call physiopoetry, is part of it too. I try to make people in every kind of body see themselves as a work of beautiful art both during the creation and after when they have the finished product. Skin on Sundays started as a passion project but then turned into a growing art business. I had no experience with photography before I started, or writing on people, either, or business, but that’s some of the magic of the universe. It just throws you in and you figure out your way through.

Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Jessica Lakritz

It was November 2015. A friend asked me how I was going to get more people to read my poetry, to expand it beyond just the “poetry crowd,” and I realized at that moment I had never even thought about that possibility. But that got my wheels spinning so fast and a few days later, it dawned on me that in this age of visual media, I should write on people’s bodies, turn the poems into an image. It’s not just to get more people to read only my poetry, but to use my gift with words to inspire people, to make them feel connected or grounded or calm or excited or thoughtful. So within a week, I had the website up and Instagram up.

When did the Entrepreneur light bulb go off?

Skin on Sundays Instagram started growing naturally, and after a few months of growth, it dawned on me that I could turn this into a real business. It has always been my dream to turn poetry into my own profession, and this was definitely my opportunity. It’s still small, but I love the whole process of growing it, of learning the business side of things that the artist me never dreamed of doing.

What advice would you give other women wanting to start a biz?

When I started, I didn’t know what I was doing. I didn’t have the first idea about business or even realize the potential for business on Instagram. I was simply following my heart that told me to do this poetry on skin thing. If I would have waited until I “knew what I was doing,” I never would have gotten this project off the ground.

You just have to jump in. Plan the basics and get it going and figure out the rest later.
And trust that the answers will come if you put the work in.

How do you bring goodness to the world?

Skin on Sundays has a big purpose beyond just aesthetics. It takes a pretty deep look into society with wide-open eyes and talks about hard things. I try to create beautiful, thoughtful, meaningful work that will not only connect with people but bridge the gaps.

There are gaps between what we think we know and what we know. How we want to feel about ourselves and how we actually feel. How we see ourselves and how the world sees us. Gaps between cultures and races and genders. You bridge those gaps and help people feel connected, then there’s automatically more love and understanding in the world. If we feel good about ourselves, feel comfortable with our emotions and being vulnerable, and are more open and thoughtful when encountering differences, that helps us to be better, to be good.

None of us can achieve success without some adversity along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful to who helped get you to where you are?

My best friend is also kind of like my silent partner in Skin on Sundays. While the project started out as just mine, it wouldn’t have started without her. When I had the idea of doing this, she made the website within days, she let me borrow her camera and taught me how to use it, she taught me how to edit photos in Photoshop.

When I’ve had those dark thoughts of letting the project go because of not being able to find people to write on, or feeling like I wasn’t getting any better and so the project would never be good enough to actually connect with people, she would talk me off those ledges. I’m a person that can have a short fuse, so when something goes wrong, my immediate reaction is to hole up and cry. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely do that, but she taught me how to cry it out and then get right back on my feet and try again without wasting any time. My gratitude for all she has given me and continues to give me is pretty infinite.

What are your “5 Leadership Lessons I Learned From My Experience” and why?

  1. Momentum comes and goes. You have to keep pushing forward even when there is none. There are lots of times I have wondered, what am I doing, does anyone even see or care about my art, etc. when the momentum slows or stops. I guess I had to teach myself how to deal with that and have come to understand that you can still be disciplined even when you don’t feel motivated, and that’s how you succeed. Do it even when you don’t feel like it.
  2. Creating all the time is hard work, even though it usually looks fun. It can be fun, but sometimes it isn’t. Sometimes it is logistics and event planning, which isn’t what I initially imagined for myself. Sometimes I just want to sit in a closet and cry when things don’t go as planned. I can do that for a minute, but then I have to get over it and continue, most of the time ASAP. Pushing myself that way has been challenging and rewarding.
  3. When the haters first arrived, criticizing my work, telling me all the things I do wrong, I would get really upset. Most of them are internet trolls, though some are people who are actually in my life. Regardless, thin skin is not something that works when you’re an artist pushing cultural boundaries. People are going to hate me and tell me a lot of rude/nasty things. I don’t let myself get upset anymore, and I usually don’t respond. Everyone doesn’t have to like what I’m doing or support me. When I remind myself of that, it’s easier to let it go.
  4. The power of positive thinking is no joke. Believing I could succeed has been a necessary aspect of this project. I remember times I would start getting anxious and going over everything that could go wrong in my head or beating myself up over and over for mistakes, and that’s just a big waste of time. Learn from mistakes, but don’t dwell on them. I actually give myself verbal affirmations when the anxiety starts to creep in (or also in general) to create the energy I need to be successful.
  5. It’s always been hard for me to promote my work as if art is meant to reach people sitting in a dark corner somewhere. It felt spammy for me to talk about it. But you don’t reach people by waiting for them to ask you about what you’re doing. You get excited and share your enthusiasm for your work. It’s not an easy thing to do, but in the end, artists who live off of their art are also in business, and in business, in order to spread what you do and get people interested, you have to be your own cheerleader. You have to.

Favorite “Life Lesson Quote”

“We become what we think about.”

-Earl Nightingale

Nightingale has this speech that I heard on YouTube from a friend years ago. It’s called “The Strangest Secret,” and it’s all about this idea that we are what we think about. Who are you if not your thoughts? If you’re thinking about something all the time, you transform into it. There’s no way around it. Most people think their mind does what it wants, but this quote, what’s inside of it, has taught me how much power we have. We can train our minds to think about what we want to become, and then it’s only natural that we become that thing. It’s not an easy task to train your mind, but it is worth it.

For me, I can’t avoid having passing negative thoughts, but I can choose to let them go instead of holding on to them and letting them eat at me, so I do. I let them go. They are poison and usually not based on much reality. My life has changed so much now that I implement this. I don’t let my negative thoughts hang out. They pass through my brain like a cloud and float away as quickly as they came.

Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?

There are lots, but I would say Ellen might be my number one.

I admire how she took a shitty situation when she was newer in the business and turned it into this amazing Ellen empire. Of course, I want to pick her brain about that. I want to know who she is and absorb her energy. I think being around her and having a regular conversation would reveal so much about things I want to achieve myself. Just understanding her day-to-day, her vibe, that would be magical. Plus, she’s so funny, so it would be fun being able to be inside of that humor one-on-one.

Secret Talent?

I’m surprisingly good at interpreting tarot and other spiritual cards.

Zodiac Sign?

Aries, Gemini Rising

Currently reading?

“Happy Like This” by Ashley Wurzbacher

Where will social media in five years?

We’re going to be in that Black Mirror episode where likes and engagement start influencing your life in serious ways.

Favorite drink order?

Give me a great Oregon Pinot Noir and I’m happy.

Favorite Instagram Account?

It changes a lot, but I’ve been really into @human.edge lately. It’s endlessly inspiring photographically.

Must-Have Technology?

Airdrop is my jam.

Favorite Way to Decompress?

Sitting in a hot bubble bath with a glass of wine.

Twitter Handle

I haven’t gotten much into Tweeting, but I’m @skinonsundays there too.

Women you Admire?

Ellen, Beyonce, AOC, Margaret Atwood, Mary Karr

What are you most excited about for 2020? Share something you want to promote or the latest news/launches for your brand.

I’m publishing a coffee table book of Skin on Sundays!

Connect with Jessica through her social and check out her poetry coloring books here.

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