Jessica Bennett is an award-winning journalist and critic who writes on gender issues, sexuality and culture. She is a feature writer and columnist at the New York Times, where you can regularly find her byline in the Sunday Style section on topics ranging from feminists joining Greek life to female pot entrepreneurs to the hyperbole of internet speak, which has left her literally dead, like so dead she is six feet under rolling in her grave. She has profiled Monica Lewinsky, Paula Broadwell, and has tackled such important investigative topics such as Resting Bitch Face.
Jessica’s work has also appeared in Newsweek, where she began her career as a staff writer, Time, where she was a columnist, and Cosmopolitan, where she helps edit a quarterly section on women and work. She is a contributing editor at LeanIn.Org, the nonprofit founded by Sheryl Sandberg, where she is the cofounder and curator of the Lean In Collection — a partnership with Getty Images to change the way women are depicted in stock photography. She lives in New York City.
1. What are three words that best describe you?
Fun, fearless, feminist
2. Tell us why you’re awesome in two sentences or less.
I’ve got a pretty awesome job, so at the very least I’ve always got good stories. I’m good at what I do, but try not to take myself too seriously. My favorite emoji is 😐 (that’s resting bitch face).
3. What are your three biggest indulgences?
Scotch, gummy candy, naps
4. What’s currently your favorite…
Food: The kale gnocci at Sauce
Cocktail: A negroni
Shopping destination/store: The Rising States in the Lower East Side (female-owned!)
Fashion item: Anything by Faris, a local Seattle jewelry designer
Place to hangout: Freehold, the absurd coffee shop by my house
City: NYC, of course!
Travel item: My dog. He just got his service tags!
Beauty product: Moroccan Oil hair cream. Smells amazing!
Skincare product: My dermatologist would tell you I need to invest in this
Home décor item: I own probably 35 tiny cacti
Book: Sister Mother Husband Dog by Delia Ephron
Website: Astrology Today (LOL!)
Magazine: Teen Vogue, which I would have rolled my eyes at a few years ago but is absolutely killing it right now
5. What’s the ONE thing you absolutely can’t live without?
A fulfilling career.
6. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who talk around issues instead of being direct about what they want.
7. If you could have dinner with anyone (living or not) who would it be, and WHY?
8. What does it mean to you to have a strong, engaging brand and how has having one helped you?
It’s still sometimes amazing to me that I have any fans of my brand other than my parents! But I’m incredibly passionate about my work, so having a voice, a brand, an outlet, an audience, is everything to me. It makes me feel like what I do matters, and I hope it helps others. It’s also (usually) fun.
9. What is one piece of advice you would give your younger self?
To trust my gut. I spent so long trying to fit in, worrying what other people thought of me, being hesitant to speak my mind or say what I really believed, because I wasn’t sure it was right, or smart, or good enough. And you know what? Almost all of the things I was afraid to say, I still believe them. So: try to listen to your inner voice, try not to succumb to self-doubt — but when you do (because let’s face it: we all do, and that’s OK) know that you are not alone. Every other woman (and probably most guys too) are also facing these doubts.
10. What is one piece of advice you would give to women today about staying true to themselves and succeeding on their own terms?
We will succeed on our own terms, but we are more powerful together. Build alliances with other women. Reach out to them. Try not to be competitive with them. Help one another. The only thing more powerful than a self-confident woman is an army of them.