Jocelyn Drawhorn is a creative writing professional and photographer who calls North Carolina home. She launched a freelance photography business at the age of 19 and knows firsthand what it’s like to be an “up and comer” with big dreams. For the last several years she’s worked hard to hone her creative writing and design skills so she can help brands like yours reach their highest potential. Her creative talents have most recently been highlighted by WEEN (the Women in Entertainment Empowerment Network); where she has served as the Social Media Coordinator and Web Content Manager since January 2013. During her years working as a creative professional, Jocelyn has been able to network and assemble a team of the industry’s most talented writers, graphic designers, and photographers who are ready to help position you to be “next up” for success!
1.) First let me start by thanking you for taking the time to do this email interview with me. You are a very busy woman between being an insurance agent for All State, running your own photography company, Joc’s Photography, being the Social Media Coordinator and Web Content Manager for WEEN, and running Next Up Media Consulting. How is it that you manage to do it all? Which hat do you like wearing the most, Insurance agent, photographer, writer, or owner of Next Up Media?
God! haha There are plenty times where I’m worn down, discouraged, and overworked, but my desire to make a difference in my life and the lives of others is what keeps me going. Believe it or not, I feel like there is so much more I need to be doing; but my body keeps me in check. Hands down my photography is my absolute favorite! I haven’t been able to commit as much time as I want to personal projects and test shoots, but the love is still there. The process of creating memories of a single moment in time is inexplicably euphoric. It makes me feel like I have some hand in telling the story of the present to future generations. I could do it forever.
2) You seem to have a well-rounded love for the arts. You sing, you’re a photographer, you write, and you run a company that is built around promoting other people’s artistic endeavors and building their brands. What drew you into the artistic world? When did you first realize that photography and writing was something that you wanted to get into?
From the time I entered this world I wasn’t ‘normal’. I’ve always lived life looking through sprinkle coated lenses. Where most kids were playing spades and Double Dutch I was in my room constructing my own magazine out of glue, staples, markers, and pictures I cut out of my mom’s old issues of Ebony and Essence. I even tore out those little perfume samples and stapled them inside my magazine. haha That mindset naturally spilled over into journal and poetry writing. I believe my love for photography was innate as well. I remember getting my first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Polaroid camera in the early nineties and taking pictures of EVERYTHING just wasting film.lol At that time, there weren’t many things more exciting than waiting for the film to come back from Walmart. Also, some of my best memories were enhanced by snuggling up to my parents and looking at old family photos. By the time I got in college, I realized I wanted to help create memories like that for OTHERS and decided to take the leap and launch Joc’s Photography.
3.) Let’s talk about Next Up? First can you explain to the readers what it is that you do at Next Up Media Consulting and how you help your clients reach their full potential in their business? What do you love most about running Next Up Media?
Next Up Media Consulting is a boutique agency that primarily helps small businesses, indie brands, and non profits grow their customer base through social media and digital marketing. This includes web design, blog maintenance, social media marketing, and marketing consulting. As a small business owner, I know how chaotic life can get. You wear every hat in the company and on top of that, have to find ways to grow your business without breaking the bank. That’s why Next Up exists; to provide committed, affordable, personalized marketing services to other small businesses to help take them to that next level in their respective industries. I love doing this because I believe small businesses change the world! As a small business owner or independent artists, you see a need, you have a passion, and you go for it! I want to do all I can to help grow whatever vision my clients have. It literally makes my day seeing hardworking people succeed!
4.) You also work with WEEN, which is such a big influence for women in the entertainment industry. How did you get started working with them and how has working with such a powerful group of women influenced you both professionally and personally?
I began working with WEEN in 2013 after noticing some opportunities where I could help grow and add value to the organization. Two of the founders, Valeisha ButterfieldJones and Sabrina Thompson, are from my hometown, so I reached out to them one day to offer my time and talents. I’d already been following WEEN since its inception, and knew I had to be a part of what they were doing. The next thing I know, I’m setting up interviews and experiencing the power of the WEEN network first hand. Words can literally not express how grateful I am to be part of such a dynamic entity. Women (especially women of color) lack true role models and are left with the notion that “the only way to get into the entertainment industry is to be a video girl”. WEEN shuts that all down. This network is overflowing with CEOs, publicists, television hosts, lawyers, brand managers, film directors, political activists the list never ends. Though I haven’t met everyone in person, being part of such a tight knit community of positive women inspires me to tear down stereotypes of what women can do.
5.) You seem to have a good network of people around you. How important is it for you that you have a strong core group of friends that not only understand your creative nature but who in their own way have their own creative abilities that you can pull from as well?
When I tell you God answers prayers….!!! It’s SO IMPERATIVE for creatives to have other like minded souls in their circle. Most people tend to not ‘get’ us, so when you find that small group of people who not only understand howyou feel,
but can also encourage you to be your best self it’s like walking on gold! Most people don’t realize that it’s very easy for a creative person to experience sadness or frustration throughout life especially if they work a hohum job that can’t feed their creativity. They’re more prone to feeling isolated or depressed, and having at least one or two people in their corner to help them to push past any creative humps they may come up against can make a world of difference.
6.) You’ve had the opportunity to meet with many influential people. Out of all of the people you have photographed or interviewed who has inspired you the most and what about your interaction with them left the biggest impression on you?
I always joke and say that he’s my ‘muse’, but my great friend Samoht (Thomas Parker) has always been my favorite subject to photograph. We’ve known each other for over 10 years and from the time we met, he exuded this overwhelming uniqueness. From the way he dresses, to the songs he records whatever he does in always evolving, and I’m surprised every single time he gets in front of my camera. There is literally never a bad moment when it comes to collaborating with this guy!
7.) You see artists of all areas from writers to singers and actors using their influence as an artists to incite change in one way or another whether it is becoming a spokesperson for certain causes like anti-bullying or sponsoring arts programs in school and things of that nature. If you had to use your influence as an artist in today’s society what cause or charity would it be for and why?
I’d use my influence to champion for victims of rape and sexual abuse. I’ve been personally affected by rape and know all too well the psychological and emotional repercussions that almost always come with it. Any organization that serves to help channel negative experiences like this into positive outlets, I’m all for. Right now, there is an organization called “Remove The Zipper” that was founded last year by Vanessia Morgan. She’s a victim of sexual abuse and rape and created RTZ to provide a “safe haven” where survivors can feel safe enough to not only share their stories, but to be part of a network of supporters who want nothing more than to help them flourish spiritually and psychologically.
8.) Okay so I really want to discuss the OSR Relationship Forum that you started. Explain exactly what is the OSR Relationship Forum and what made you want to start this event? How has starting this event changed your life?
The OSR stands for The Opposite Sex Revealed Relationship Panel Forum. It’s basically a night where guests can not only experience an interactive, honest look into the mind of the opposite sex, but also enjoy great food and entertainment. I was inspired to put together the OSR because I was tired of seeing friends on my social media timelines “assuming” they knew what the other sex was thinking. I saw women sleeping around with multiple men because they assumed it was the only way they could find love. I saw men actively cheating on their girlfriends and wives because they wanted to have “one up” on them or “beat them to the punch”. I saw people so in love one week, and expressing their disgust for the
same person the next. It really saddened me to see so many people saying with they wanted love, but not knowing how to effectively communicate and find it. So I tapped into my network of experts, realists, and professionals to create a panel discussion that would address the issues EVERYONE has while navigating the single life, the dating scene, and marriage. Our first year was sold out and really made a difference in how people approached and handled love. That’s what I’m looking forward to as we host it year after year; for men and women to learn how to cultivate and eventually live out healthy and meaningful relationships.
9.) Is this going to be a yearly event? How can the readers find out more about OSR and how they can possibly attend, sponsor, or perhaps even become a part of the actual event?
Yes! The OSR is currently annual, and will hopefully end up becoming a bicoastal event. I’m always looking for partners, sponsors, and vendors as well as panel members and participants. You can find out everything you need to know about the event at www.TheOSR.com and email me via the contact page. Since the OSR is only held once a year, there is a Facebook Discussion Page where everyone can have an ongoing conversation about various relationship topics until the next year.
10.) There are so many ways that people define success today, whether it is having a lot of money and material possessions or simply being financially stable. What does success look like for you?
You know, my definition has changed over the years; but right now I believe success is doing what you love, while fulfilling your purpose. You may not be able to launch that music career full time, or have to run that bakery from your kitchen, but as long as you are reaching people and changing their lives with your craft I say that’s success enough. The whole world doesn’t have to know your name, just the people that count!
11.) So what’s next for you? What do you see being your next venture? How can our readers keep up with you?
I’ve been getting tons of requests about putting together an OSR speed dating event, so that’s something I’ll be looking into next year. I’m also an avid blogger, so readers can find out what’s going on in the life of Joc at jocsnotebook.wordpress.com
12.) Lastly, I feel like so many of us writers, us artists in general, are made to conform to other people’s idea of what we should be. I think we creative types should be unafraid to be whoever it is that we feel we have the right to be. So what is your write 2 be? What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity?
I write 2 be candid. I’m growing in my spiritual and religious walk with God and in this time, I’ve learned to be comfortable with the quirks He’s created me with.
In a college linguistic course years ago, I learned that no one is REALLY born to speak in proper English. Everyone all across the wold has their own dialects, slang, or customs that make them who they are. I want to make sure that whatever I say or write reflects that unique human attribute! Readers can feel who you are so much more when you are candid, and up front with them and that’s what I strive to do in my work daily.
Please check out her blog @ http://jocsnotebook.wordpress.com/
Also her photography website @ http://www.jocsphotography.com/#!
As well as her Media Consulting company @ http://www.nextupmediaconsulting.com/