Jess is a first-generation Vietnamese-Australian creative entrepreneur. She is the founder of Scallion Pancake, a purpose-driven brand consultancy, takes photos, climbs, models, and is a Max Effort Training OG.

Health and wellness are buzzy, overused words. What's something you need to feel your best?

I feel good when I'm treating my body with respect when there is an alignment between my physical, mental, spiritual, and social self. This means making decisions not on how it feels at the time, but how it might make me feel down the line. I'm lucky to have cultivated practices over the years that build towards a feeling of alignment, which also means having a sense of balance between 'health-focused' choices and when to loosen my grip and indulge. So feeling good could mean being super consistent with my daily meditation and journaling practice, or it could mean having a pint of ice cream and skipping my workout when I'm overwhelmed. The throughline is putting myself first and prioritizing what I need to do to achieve that sense of alignment.

How do you show up for yourself?

Putting myself first and being kind to myself. That means actively working on destructive patterns of negative self-talk when it happens, and allowing myself the ability to put myself first selfishly before trying to serve others - I have a long, inherited pattern of putting others first as both a woman and with my Vietnamese/Chinese background. Showing up for myself is cutting myself a break, allowing myself to be selfish, and carving out the time to be still. When I'm still, I have the space to think critically, and evaluate what I need.

Favorite Winter spots to visit in New York?

Hiking upstate when it's snowing is a bit of an ordeal but totally worth it - it feels like you're in a completely different place. Otherwise, Bathhouse or Spa 88 - it's ideal bathing season.

How do you show up for others?

It's funny because it feels like all my answers are linked! Showing up for others requires me to show up for myself first. That is one of the biggest things I'm learning. My instinct is to over-extend and say yes regardless of my capacity as a way of showing up for others. I'm unlearning that by being intentional about taking time for myself first and practicing my 'no' to others. That way I can wholeheartedly say yes and serve my loved ones when I can be fully present.

Is there a moment or individual that you attribute to any major milestones in your life?

It has to be the support of the people around me. Whether those relationships are with family, friends, or with professionals like my therapist. I would say that self-work and trauma work through therapy, sound ceremonies, and women's groups have all been the biggest catalysts for change. They have shaped me into the person I am today and to be able to reach the milestones I am proud of.

Favorite brand we should know about right now that you just uncovered yourself?

Super random but I'm obsessed with Zhilyova, a female-founded lingerie brand out of Ukraine that has such a modern + sleek approach to lingerie and feeling sexy. I think I'm a bit alienated by traditional lingerie, which I think can represent this very traditional version of femininity with which I don't identify with. I love that Zhilyova's pieces are so different and stay away from the lace/frilly/huge boobs territory.

What’s one of the most exciting things about your community that you’ve noticed recently?

I've noticed a collective forward growth and expansion in how we show up for the world around us, and how we use our short, brief life to contribute to wider social change and impact. I'm seeing so much curiosity to learn about others, about ourselves, and an active collective effort to create -- create new businesses, structures, ways of leadership, family dynamics, etc. I also see this through this ripple effect of creation that's happening with my friends who are betting on themselves to create the change they want to see rather than waiting on others.

You do a lot of incredible work that’s  behind the scenes. Any upcoming projects you’re excited about?

Thank you!! There's no one big exciting project to share, more a series of smaller moments that lead to the next in an effort to become a better leader and human being. I'm working on scaling Scallion Pancake, the brand marketing consultancy I started to serve founders of color and brands/causes that make a positive impact on businesses, consumers, and the world, which includes working with VOCAL, a creator marketing agency focused on progressive movements, where I've been lucky enough to work with organizations like Planned Parenthood and ACE. Alongside that, I'm growing and deepening my work with clients like Omsom and Bullet Journal.

I'm also working on hobbies and projects that help me grow my ability to tell the stories that can be helpful to others, whether that's through video content (I'm working on a YouTube series about things/activities that were inaccessible to me when I was younger because of class/income/representation that I have since been able to experience) and being a creator, or through commercial modeling (being able to represent a different version of beauty in the industry) and community projects.

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