Six Months Of Challenge, Joy And The Occasional Cringe

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As her time at Rife reached a close, Jazz reflects on what this incredible experience has meant to her.

So, six months have passed.

I mean, I always knew this would go quickly but I don’t think I was prepared for how fast it was going to go. The last six months have been among the best of my life, for more reasons than one. It’s been a period of exponential growth and endless fun, so being asked to reflect on it? It’s hard to know where to start.

More than anything, my time at Rife has opened up a world of opportunities.

My immediate thought when I think back to our first days in April, funnily enough aren’t the nerves, the excitement, all the new people; it’s the introduction video.

If you know me well you know I don’t deal well with cringey things, and this video was the epitome of cringe. Two days in and with people I barely know we’re dancing awkwardly on a podium at the Harbourside, as if that isn’t enough it’s being filmed and it’s going online. I was already out of my comfort zone and looking back this was the best thing we could’ve done to get us prepared for the next six months. Along with all the achievements we’ve mad there would also be more awkward scenarios, big challenges, and times which took some guts.


Illustration by Jasmine Thompson

When I began, I hoped to become a better writer. I am an illustrator at heart, but always wanted the opportunity to push my dormant writing skills that since school, had only been exercised on mundane uni essays. Nikesh would always tell me I started articles too big, throwing a massive statement at people and then evaluating it. Looking back I can see so clearly how I’ve improved; I write now with much more ease, and the main thing I came into this to achieve has been done. Bravo.

I also got thrown into making videos. If you’ve ever made a film you’ll know the frustrations of premiere pro and how is has the ability to drive you from a state of tranquillity to insanity- zero to one hundred in a matter of minutes. But this was another thing I learnt to overcome- not saying I’m your next budding filmmaker or anything, but I can throw together a cute little vid, and I’ll take that.

But more than anything, my time at Rife has opened up a world of opportunities. I came into this wanting to have a much clearer idea of my direction, and the kind of work I wanted to make. I’m not 100% there yet, but I’m definitely on my way. The monthly trips to London for Creative Access have been amazing- I think all of us Rife girls can agree there’s something so empowering being in a room full of other creative people of colour, which is something I needed so much. In terms of networking I’ve made so many incredible connections; people now recognise me from my illustrations which I find totally crazy. I’ve done work on Black Lives Matter, body image, hair and identity, and all the comics I could imagine- my side hustle is stronger than ever too. Coming out of an art degree it’s easy to feel like all the doors are closed; now I’ve got no doubt that all my doors are open.

Coming out of an art degree it’s easy to feel like all the doors are closed; now I’ve got no doubt that all my doors are open.

Running our networking event The Link recently challenged me further, I did some public speaking. Eeesh. I’ve got goosebumps thinking about it. Admittedly, it was three whole sentences that generally came out my mouth as one long word but I DID IT. And I’ve been lucky enough to be given the opportunity to speak at a festival in Amsterdam in a couple weeks, about cultural identity, with a microphone, in front of an audience, and weirdly I couldn’t be more excited.

But lastly, the ultimate highlight. Aisha, Ailsa, and Holly. The rest of Rife. My sisters from another mister. From the get-go, it just worked. From the first week when we bonded over our shared experiences of being mixed race, to always using our mixed skill sets to work together in a way that just gels. Aisha’s silly dancing gives me more joke than I can even put into words, and she has the ability to gas me up to the most ridiculous level. But the girl is so talented, watch out for her on ‘The Get Down’ sometime soon. And Ailsa’s sarcastic humour and interpretive dancing I only wish I can pull off has infiltrated my life, and she has brought me up every time I’ve been feeling down and out. From going out to gal-dem’s party in London together, Holly and myself getting stuck up a climbing frame on our summer picnic, all the chinwag, and most of all the laughter. We’ve gone on pizza dates, drink dates, bike rides to Bath, so it’s getting pretty serious. I’ve spent more time with these guys than my actual family, and they will be part of my life forever.

Rife has treated me so well. Having Nikesh as editor and Roseanna there too has meant I’ve had the best support system possible. No question. And that is something I will be eternally grateful for.

But it wont be that easy to get rid of me. My drawings are in the office, on the walls, and hiding places you just don’t know about yet.

So, thank you. And rest assured, you’ll see me again.

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Find out more about what’s going on at Rife Magazine over the next few months, and to read more previous work from these guys, check us out on Facebook at Rife Magazine, and on Twitter at @Rifemag

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Rife is Watershed‘s online magazine created for young people, by young people.

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