Sinclair: You shared something super touching the other day on Twitter: “I guess it’s safe to say now, I’m the new Executive Editor at Bustle. This is a dream. And all I can think of is the little brown girls who will see me and know they can do anything they ever dreamed.” Who inspired you to go after your dreams when you were a little brown girl?
Jada: There are so many people who inspired me as a little brown girl. For starters, my parents were always supportive of me dreaming big dreams, and opening the door wider for the generations to follow. I’ve always admired Danyel Smith, an acclaimed journalist and author who created an entire era at VIBE, because she’s brilliant and authentically herself. Former president Barack Obama is my greatest hero.
I discovered his book Dreams From My Father in college, when I was sorting my own identity. He’s always fought for the greater good, and he’s humble and confident in a way I hope to embody in the tiniest way. When I found out we share the same birthday, I officially named him my birthday twin!
Sinclair: What’s one challenge you think women of color face as they seek to progress in your industry?
Jada: One challenge is definitely the ability to get a foot in the door. In media, connections are everything, and there are some talented writers out there who just need access to a platform. I make it a mission of mine to nurture young journalists, of any gender or nationality, and to help connect them with the right people when I can. It can really make all the difference.
I believe that light will always be the antidote for darkness. – Jada Gomez
Sinclair: Have you ever felt like a fraud while on your journey to where you are today?
Jada: I’ve never felt like a fraud, but I have definitely had moments where I felt like I was too young, too quiet, or too something to really make an impact. I first started out as a reporter at TIME, and I’d sit in the newsroom meeting with so many incredible journalists—Pulitzer prize winners, journalists who’d been embedded with troops in Iraq, people I’d seen as regulars on CNN.
What could I, fresh out of college, contribute? But I realized after a year or so, that I did have value. I understood the burgeoning impact of social media and how to incorporate it in traditional media. I had a diverse upbringing in New York City which is extremely valuable, and I had my own perspectives. Once I started to own that, I started to thrive. But it’s still a growing curve, and I’m still constantly changing and learning about my worth.
Sinclair: When was a time that self-doubt was at its worst for you while on your career and life journey?
Jada: When I started out, layoffs in the industry were constantly happening. I was laid off at my first job after just a year, and I really never thought something like that was even possible in college. I blamed myself, and I thought there was something I could have done better in my job.
But in fact, my boss was so impressed with my work ethic, that he actually recommended me for my next role! There’s always another door. But I do know that I feel nerves every time I start a new job because of stability. It’s nagging at times, but I try not to let it take over my brain so that I can truly do my best work.
Sinclair: What are your unshakable values and when did you become clear on them?
Jada: My core values are the same ones I have in my personal life: to treat people with respect first and foremost, to be honest and reputable, and to uplift with my words. In my career, I’ve been unwavering in the way I support my teams—there’s no hierarchy, we’re all valuable and in this together!
It’s extremely important for me to treat sources with respect, and to tell their stories honestly and accurately. Trustworthiness is crucial in journalism. And I also tell the stories that will uplift communities, whether they are informed, or inspired. I have been clear on these values since day one.
There’s always another door. – Jada Gomez
Sinclair: What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone struggling with self-doubt and feeling like giving up on their dreams?
Jada: Keep going! It takes years for someone to be an “overnight success.” Make sure to do the work, and treat people with respect. If you’re interested in journalism, read everything you can get your hands on. Use everything you can as way to learn and grow. Don’t give up on you.
Sinclair: Imagine that all your life’s work disappeared and you only had 1 minute to tell the world what you believe to be true. What would you say?
Jada: I love this question so much, because it’s so easy to caught up in titles and accolades. I believe that we must take care of each other as humans, regardless of race, gender, or any other differences. I believe that light will always be the antidote for darkness. And I’d want people to know that I tried my best to be a good human, to myself, and everyone I’ve ever known.
Jada Gomez is a Queens, N.Y. native, with a love of all things music, books, sports, and glitter. An NYU graduate and the child of New York DJ’s, her love for pop culture turned her childhood dream into a dream career in journalism, that led her to TIME, PEOPLE, HipHopDX, and Latina. Her spirit animal is a combination of a Care Bear and a Disney princess.
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