MEET JESSICA IKERIONWU
Congratulations to our April Lash Artist of the Month, Jess! She is full of life, inspiration, gratitude, and LOVE - all love. If you need a reminder as to why this industry is the best, or to get FIRED UP, Jess is your girl. Show our April LAM some love.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO CONNECT WITH YOU?
I know some people think this is crazy, but my direct line is how people reach me for services! I’m on all social platforms as @thegorjessface, and my email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHERE DO YOU WORK?
I work during the week at a non profit organization, and you can find me lashing all evenings and weekends. I share a studio with a nail tech which is great. When I started GorJessFace, I told myself that if I started this business, I wouldn’t quit. I’ve steadily kept going - and here we are 6 years later!
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN LASHING AND WHAT CERTIFICATIONS DO YOU HAVE?
It’s funny how things work out sometimes. I used to braid hair and after taking a class with Kelly Baker Brows, also did brows as a side hustle. I had so many friends who believed in me. One of my best friends kept telling me “you gotta do lashes!” She came to me one day and told me that something in her spirit told her to help me out. She gave me $300 to put towards a lash certification course, and I did just that in November 2015. At the time I was a flight attendant, and every time I came home I was taking models. A ton of them are still with me to this day! It has really been a journey.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO BECOME A LASH ARTIST? WHAT GOT YOU INTO LASHING?
Honestly, my friends were the ones to push me to fulfil my purpose in lashing. They helped me to open my eyes and realize that maybe I do have a gift for something like this. I’ve always been artistic- I love art, painting, and creating. I used to be a tomboy, all into basketball. And then I became a cheerleader, and was more into the girly things. I guess I’ve always had this overarching thing where I just step into my creativity and let it take me where it goes. Being able to create was what brought me into lashing- it’s so therapeutic to me to just get in my zone and go.
WHAT WAS YOUR BIGGEST FEAR GOING INTO THIS INDUSTRY?
*the best laugh ever* Going into debt, honestly. Financially, I didn’t know if I was going to be able to bring clients in and make a profit. In many ways I’m an extrovert, but when it comes to stepping out of my box I can become shy. I just wasn’t sure if I could tap into the marketing aspect of walking up to people, introducing myself and going “hey, come see me for lashes”. I always want to make sure these clients feel that they can trust me and believe in me before they come to see me. Still to this day, like all artists do, I sometimes question myself like, “Can I do this? Is this good? Was that client satisfied?” We all have our doubts and fears. But girl, you know when they leave your room feeling GOOD about themselves, you did that.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE ASPECT OF BEING A LASH ARTIST?
Giving back. It’s weird to say, but we really are giving back. Most women battle insecurities. How we look, our weight, etc. I love the fact that when clients have a lash appointment scheduled, they walk in like “oooh, I’m about to get my lashes done!” Then when they’re done, they walk out a whole new person. I’ve uplifted them, listened to them, supported them. Even in things as little as how their lashes help out when they’re running late for work, or the fact that they don’t have to use mascara anymore. There are lots of artists who are in this for the money, but that’s just not me. I’m a giving person and have always been that way. I love to volunteer and give back any way I can, and lashes is just one of those ways.
OTHER THAN LASHING, WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE HOBBY?
Girl, the list can go on- I really am an extrovert, I like to turn up, have fun, and hang out. I love to sing, I’m a reader, I like to write in my journal. I’m just a well rounded jack of all trades kind of person. Can we include eating? I can eat you out the house, I love to eat. But moreso singing, writing, and other creative activities. It always ends up being creative.
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A NEW LASH ARTIST?
On some real shit, if it’s your dream, write her down. After you’ve written her down, start researching and asking questions. Reach out to someone and ask if you can shadow them. Keep god first- pray about it, and never give up on your dream. If it was placed in your head to be, it needs to be. If you dreamed it, always put in the work because without work, there is no faith. Never stop. Keep continuing to reach your goals. As artists, we sometimes forget to celebrate the “now”. My friends, my spouse, and loved ones are always reminding me to stay present and be thankful for the “now”. When you get your license and certification, be thankful for them. When you take your first model, be thankful for that. Your first 10 models, be thankful. You will appreciate everything far more down the line when you have 50, or 100 clients. Always be thankful for the “now”.
WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING TO ACCOMPLISH IN THE LASH INDUSTRY?
As an African American, I’m looking to become the face of diversity. I want to show that this isn’t a one race thing, we can all come together and work together. The GorJessFace is a movement, “Do you want to be GorJess?” It’s a movement built on empowerment, unity, and diversity. All of my clients are like canvases to be able to create something that truly empowers them. I want to make them feel like they can achieve anything after doing their lashes, makeup, or brows. I’m all about vibes. I turn down the lights, get good music going, and help them decompress and relax. That’s all I want, is just to make someone feel good.
WHO ARE SOME OF YOUR INSPIRATIONS?
Erykah Badu. She is VERY fierce! She doesn’t care about what is around her, she just does her. She lives and breathes the natural life. She is a woman within a woman herself. Nina Simone is another inspiration of mine. She’s an amazing artist, philanthropist, singer, actress, writer, and author - super well rounded creative. Bishop TD Jakes - he’s amazing - just his words. Period.
Specific to this industry, Tianna @thelashexchange. That woman - I love her. She is just fucking awesome. She’s gonna give it to you real, she is the most transparent person you could meet in the industry right now. I ask her all the time, “why you so fuckin’ awesome?” and she says “I dunno, I’m just real”. She means that from the depth of her soul, that’s just her. You either accept it or not, she’s gonna continue to do what the hell she wants to do, and I’m here for it. I’m team T all day.
Of course, ya’ll, (Lash Affair) why not? I don’t think you know how much it means for little lash artists such as myself to be recognized like this! Of course, all of your artwork and products are bomb. Every month I see your posts calling out for the LAM and I always talk myself out of entering. You’ve created a foundation to help us look outside and think outside the box. You’ve set up a platform to motivate smaller artists to never give up, and show us that we all have potential. It’s so real and something to celebrate. Fuck the self doubt, I’m living in the now, and I’m Lash Artist of the Month! I’m going to take this and let it take me where I need to go. So grateful to you guys.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY YOU’VE FOUND TO GAIN AND RETAIN YOUR CLIENTS?
Word of mouth - most importantly. Social media, audience engagement, and marketing myself are all factors too but I’m all about word of mouth. The clients that I do have, I am so thankful for them. If I only have 5 clients, they’re worth a million dollars. I make them feel good and enjoy providing VIP treatments for them. Lashes are for sure a luxury essential. After I place the first fan or classic lash, and I tell them “ok, the first one is down”, I can feel their excitement! They feel like “I’m about to be real cute!”
Being able to listen to my clients, knowing what they want, and being able to give them what they want is key. It’s so valuable to give them knowledge- to explain to them why something may be too curly or heavy for their eye shape. Once clients are educated, they value my design and skills so much more.
WHAT SETS YOU APART FROM OTHER LASH ARTISTS? WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Authenticity and transparency. Another thing that I’ve learned about myself is I have a story to tell, and I’m telling it through the art I give my clients in their lashes. Each client of mine is a new canvas and a clean slate. I keep my vibrations high, I’m down to earth, real, humble, and I’m all about quality. I would rather give quality and keep fewer clients then to have a million clients I’m half assing.
On some real shit, I can’t speak to what’s next for me because it’s a process. I take it pace by pace, not rushing anything. I’m always working on creating more content, not being afraid and stepping out of my comfort zone, and engaging more with my audience.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LASH AFFAIR PRODUCT?
Shoot. I have to pick one? TLC cleanser, there’s something about that cleanser! Man I love it. If I had to choose though, Clear Connection is my all time favorite adhesive. It’s my go to adhesive for sensitive or non sensitive clients. I feel like I’m more in control of how much adhesive I’m using. I’m an old school type of person, I don’t need to be trying all kinds of new adhesives. If it’s proven that it works for me and I’ve built up my muscle memory for it, that’s what I’m going to stick with. If it’s not broke don’t fix it. If it works for me honey, you bet I’m gonna stock up!
Use code “JESSPICK” at checkout to save 15% on Clear Connection Adhesive on 4/22 and 4/23!
Want to see more of Jess? Follow her on Instagram @gorjessface!
Become our next Lash Artist of the Month! To enter, make sure to follow us on Instagram at @lashaffairbyjp. Look for the LAM photo and follow the instructions in the description. Good luck and happy lashing!