#WahineWednesday: Jess Molina
Giving others a voice through storytelling
Recently we had the awesome opportunity to talk to editor turned actor and TV host, Jess Molina. Jess was named as one of Hamilton’s most influential young people for her
contribution towards arts and culture in the inaugural 30 Under 30 awards, presented by the Hamilton City Council in 2015. She also hosted the Hamilton episode of Neighbourhood on TV One back in 2017 and, like most aspiring actors in the country, has appeared on Shortland Street and a few independent film projects.
These days, Jess has a very strong voice within the blogging and social media communities and is passionate about using that voice to encourage and celebrate diversity. Putting time aside from her incredibly busy weekly schedule, Jess kindly answered some questions for us.
Tell us about yourself… who is Jess Molina?
Good question – and hard to answer! A few years ago I realised that it was getting hard to describe what I do. I was a magazine editor, I was dabbling with acting, I was blogging. The word “storyteller” came to mind as that was essentially what all those fields are. I’m also a chronic oversharer on the internet! I also consume a lot of pasta and I’m a self-confessed fairytale believer. And that’s just my night job!
By day, I work for a big corporate, helping bring their stories to life in different latforms. I’m always down for a laugh and poking fun at myself and honestly you can often find me in front of a computer with Disney songs blasting at full volume. I guess you could say I have an undying belief that my fairytale is just around the corner.
Where is home for you?
New Zealand is home for me! I moved here at the age of 18 from the Philippines and New Zealand is where I found my place in the world. I consider Hamilton to be my NZ home town. It was such a shock to move to Hamilton from Manila. My entire life was lived in a concrete jungle and I absolutely love big cities so moving to Hamilton was definitely different. I fell in love with the place though! There’s something so comforting about living in a small town and seeing such familiar places all the time.
What are you most passionate about?
I’m most passionate about telling a good story. And I don’t mean just a story about ‘good’ things.
I think every one of us have a story to tell, we all face challenges and adversity and I
think talking more openly about the not so good things we face too is very important.
I am also very passionate about diversity and normalisation in the fashion, beauty and film industry. It’s funny because I’m obviously a plus-sized fashion/beauty blogger and actress. The odds have been stacked against me to begin with! So I’m always looking for ways to make these spaces more inclusive and intersectional. I have been blogging for nearly 16 years and feel very fortunate to have this voice and to be able to give others a voice too!
Are there any new projects that you are working on?
Yes, I am launching a little something called Loudly Quietly soon. Over the past year, I’ve been dreaming about what the next stage of my blog/website could look like and I think I’m finally at that point of being able to share that. Blogging has always been something so personal to me. I don’t do it to be an influencer or to be famous – I treat it like an online diary. It’s always been a place for me to express myself and share stories about my life. I think that’s why I’ve managed to keep it alive for years. You have to be completely passionate and in love with what you’re doing/creating to keep it going, right? So I think maybe blogging might be the biggest love of my life.
Loudly Quietly is the next chapter of that love. I have the best commuity online and I genuinely enjoy all the conversations and stories that people share with me! You can go on Instagram and only really see a little bit of the full story when people engage with you publicly and I find that Instagram DMs are really where you connect with others. And it’s those stories and that feeling of being trusted with people’s stories that I want to capture. I guess this is a long-winded explanation about what Loudly Quietly is! Maybe we’ll settle with Loudly Quietly is kinda like a personal, collective journal filled with incredible stories and moments in time.
I’ve just finalised the holding page for Loudly Quietly, so you can check it out here: loudlyquietly.com and watch as it comes to life.
Alongside your incredibly busy lifestyle, do you manage to find time for hobbies and
Of course, although I need to get better at slowing down and just chilling out! I love love love cooking and eating and I find that that’s the best way for me to relax after a long day. There is something so comforting about stirring and mixing and creating! I also love watching films and hanging out with my family. I try to do some personal journaling daily and keep my Instagram updated - as that’s my main form of social interaction lately!
One last question, if you could give your younger self one piece of advice, what would it
Ooooh good question! I think I’d tell young me to just keep showing up no matter what life throws at you. Do the work no matter how challenging it may seem, even when you feel like you can’t do it. Don’t hate the experiences that shaped you, especially the ones that you feel makes you different. Own who you are more and never be afraid of your own voice. You’ll speak up on the things that matter. The things that are hard to talk about. And just when you start feeling like you may be sharing too much, that you are too ‘exposed’ and vulnerable, that’s when the magic starts to happen. It’s those moments that will resonate with people the most because you’re never alone in how you feel so always be honest. Also make sure that wherever you are, whatever you are doing, try your best to always be the kindest person in the room.