Jordan Blackwell has stepped up as a Black Female Millennial Engineer to break the stereotypic walls of ‘Beauty OR Brain’. Her popular blog space, Lil Miss JB Style, which started in 2015, has blossomed into a beacon of Fashion, Beauty ‘AND’ Brain empowerment for women all around the world who are sick of being told to conform to a certain way of being, who are constantly pushed to dance to the beat of society’s drum, and who are tired of living life based on a mediocre definition of womanhood. For Jordan, there’s more to being a Black Female Millennial Engineer in this crazy world.
Here, Jordan talks to Aura’s fashion editor, Rosemary Ekong about everything from passion, fashion, to struggles she’s experienced as a smart black woman in today’s world.
Hello Jordan, tell us about your day-to-day essentials
My day to day essentials are a scrunchie, shea butter, a workout, fresh air, tea and a cute outfit.
Let’s talk about your passion to inspire women out of the confines of societal stereotypes through fashion. What activated this passion?
I carved out this space on the internet because I didn't see a lot of representation of black women in STEM, specifically engineering. I was one of the only black girls in my engineering program and even as I started working it was always just me. I've seen so many bloggers who were also engineers abandon engineering. While it's great to see them pursue other dreams, it also feels like a loss because it makes it seem like you can’t be a stylish black woman in the engineering field which is entirely untrue.
What is it like being a Black Female Millennial Engineer in today's world?
It was really frustrating for a while. The manager at my first job made my role unbearable! I was the only black female in a group of older white people and as you can imagine a lot of inappropriate things were said about me or black people in general. I got comments about my hair, questions about the dance moves/slang, and during police shootings a lot of ignorant opinions. I didn't really feel safe being myself. It wasn't until I moved jobs that I realized just how emotionally draining my first job had been.
The second job I was at least surrounded by more black people but I was still the only woman and it showed. The guys always made remarks about what I wore or what I was eating. The job I have now is great but it has been a little awkward as our company has been making attempts to bring awareness to the racial inequality that exists. Again I'm the only black person in this group so I feel like I'm back in the role of being the unofficial spokesperson for black people which can feel like a burden having to hold a mirror up to my coworkers about how the company or they themselves have participated in making the workplace hostile. Thankfully this new group is much more self-aware than my first job and I've not had as many uncomfortable moments. I feel much safer expressing my opinions and knowing I'll be heard and taken seriously.
Why fashion blogging?
I always got a lot of compliments on my outfits and the first thing people would assume was that I was a fashion major. At first I thought it was insulting but I realized that people just had an outdated view on what engineers look like. Fashion blogging turned out to be a great way to show people that having brains didn't mean I had no style or social skills.
Who are the fashion icons you look up to, and where do you draw creativeness from?
Hailey Bieber is one of my favorite fashion icons! I love her duality of look and dress up that are both classic while feeling on trend. My other favorite fashion icon is Romeofashionfix. Her statement and eye-catching outfits are my spirit animal.
My creativity comes from all over the place. It's a mix of people watching, both real life and TV, being out in nature with all its colors and textures, checking out the latest pieces and displays at my favorite stores, and challenging myself with re-wearing what I own.
Describe your style in few words
Chic yet playful, classics with a twist that are functional and comfortable
What are your favorite things to do in the world asides putting incredible fashion pieces together?
Walking my dog around the park, travelling and eating authentic food, dancing around the house, interior decorating
OKAY JORDAN, LET’S MAKE IT FUN AROUND HERE;
What is your favorite place in the world?
My favorite place is anywhere that's warm and outside. I've been to so many places but I'm always happiest feeling the sun warming my skin and taking in the fresh air.
What are the 5 beauty products you can’t live without?
All of my skincare products! But for real shea butter, grapeseed oil, the Ordinary BHA & AHA mask, the Ordinary glycolic acid toner and my Flutter T Minks Bad Gyal eyelashes!
Makeup or no makeup?
Ya girl loves when her face is flawless but I honestly don't have enough discipline to wake up early enough to fit it into my morning routine, so it's no makeup for me
Sneakers or heels?
Depends on the outfit. Since my knee surgery, it's definitely been more sneakers than heels.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Who captures your photos? I mean, does a photographer follow you around?
I wish I had a photographer follow me around because it would make life easier, I have been taking and editing my own photos for the past two years. I used to have a photographer but it got hard trying to find times that'd work for both of us.
One of the more recent books I've read that I love is ‘101 Essays That Will Change the Way You Think’ by Brianna Wiest
Favorite travel destination?
A fashion rule you never break?
I really don't know the fashion rules like that. One rule I live by is buying clothes where the inside of the piece matches the outside. It drives me crazy when the outside of say a dress has a beautiful pattern but the inside is white, it feels cheap to me.
Would you rather Netflix and chill or go to a gym?
Both! I work out in the mornings before work so I can Netflix and chill in the evenings.
On the front page of vogue magazine or not?
I mean who wouldn't want to be on the front page of Vogue?
Pizza or burger?
What is your advice to fashion influencers in STEM professions who are trying to rise above the label of "beauty or brains"?
The biggest advice I would give is to not doubt yourself! You're so much more capable than you think. A lot of the times we give our energy away to things that don't deserve it, like trying to look perfect, that you could put towards something that you actually want to spend your time doing. I'm a firm believer that if you put your mind to it you can do it and I hope that my content shows just that.