She's A Rebel

I pulled Jolly to shoot for the personal style section of Rebel Rebel. I knew she would have a lot to say with her clothes, but her voice goes far beyond that. On the hot rooftop in July, she switched outfits three times, hula hooped, talked about how Frank Ocean came into her work and bought a scarf, and how hard it is to be a girl wanting to break into the streetwear scene. She decided to take matters into her own hands with "The Street Sleeps," a blog dedicated to women and their personal style from Brooklyn avenues to Afropunk. The bio candidly states, For the slept on.

I wasn't done hearing what she had to say, so for the second installment of the "She's a Rebel" series, I took her, two trains, and one sky tram to Roosevelt Island to talk about what it means to be a woman, a rebel, and ultimately, yourself.

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TELL US ABOUT THE STREET SLEEPS AND ITS PURPOSE

Well, The Street Sleeps is my streetwear blog that focuses specifically on women in streetwear/streetstyle and documenting that culture in it’s natural habitat. This project is important for me, and hopefully many others who stumble across it because it focuses on the “slept on.” People who are passionate about & who identify with this avenue of fashion who (for whatever reason) have been hidden from the store fronts, advertising, sizing, and/or demographic of streetwear brands of all kinds.

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A MODERN WOMAN?

Being a modern woman to me means speaking up about your opinions, being a boss and having a platform to truly find the best version of yourself. For years women were held back by social constructs and laws and now, it’s like, HA! We have so many resources at our fingertips. The internet and social media has become a huge avenue for meeting like-minded creatives and femmes and the support is unreal. I feel the love.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK WOMEN ARE AFRAID TO DO?

Women are fearless these days. It’s more about: who will actually listen to what they say or notice the things they do? If anything I think women are afraid to be rejected in a professional and even self expressive kind of way. I also wish that women were less afraid to admire/compliment one another. Media makes us feel like we are competing, or that one woman’s beauty is the absence of our own. I don’t feel that way. It really divides us.

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WHAT DO YOU THINK PEOPLE ARE AFRAID TO DO?

People are afraid of change, being out of control or feeling “lesser” than any person or group. We still haven’t all grasped equity versus equality. We have a long way to go.

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WHAT WERE YOU ONCE TOO AFRAID TO DO?

For years I was bullied and alienated. I went to a school that was majority white and well off. I was afraid to express my opinions, of talking about the things that were important to my culture. This wasn’t a fear that was instilled in my home life. The self-hate I felt was taught to me and ingrained in me for years by those who didn’t understand who I was or where I came from. I was afraid that who I was wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until later when I was around more like-minded people and those who had genuine love for me that I started to realize my worth. I’m not afraid anymore. I love who I am.

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WHAT OF THIS YEAR ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

failed a LOT. I am most proud of seeing through the smoke of it all and upholding my core values as a first priority. Like many times before, I was put in a situation where who I was was to be molded and shifted constantly in order to “fit in.” (This is not my goal.) My thoughts and feelings had to be suppressed and my creativity was suffering. When I felt the most lost I followed my heart and my passions. The blog that had been in my mind for years was started, I began to DJ more sets, I wrote poetry, did photoshoots, got published in a magazine, filmed a commercial, wrote songs, learned music production and painted. These are goals I have always wanted to realize and I feel so at peace and so overjoyed to have had the opportunity to even be paid for SOME my passions.

InterviewsEmma