I meet Jaelyn in New Orleans East also referenced as the 9th Ward. The Uber driver, who had a myriad of inquiries for me, questioned my destination. “You’re here for Essence? There are no events for Essence happening in this direction.” I would later discover that New Orleans East, is an island, if the highway was shut off, you would be shut off from the rest of New Orleans. Somehow, with everything that happened with Katrina, I find this quite unsettling. We land in a huge strip mall and suddenly, New Orleans feels more like a suburb than a city to me. I find Cased Closed Barbershop and walk into a spacious barber shop. Every chair is filled. There are people waiting in line. I instantly notice Jaelyn, this beautiful, pecan brown woman, focused diligently on giving an older lady, a cute short cut. Without wasting time I introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Danielle. I’m here for your shoot.” She pauses momentarily, looking up to greet me, “Hi there!” She continues cutting, focused. I start snapping photos while she works.
The barbershop has a relaxed feeling, the television is on and everyone is discussing the local story, about a Chef, whose food would be featured during Essence Festival. This is mixed in with talks of both celebrity and personal gossip.
Jaelyn is lively and a staple at the shop. Her close friend owns the shop and her boyfriend, Jaelyn looks comfortable for her shoot, some stretchy print leggings and a top that states, “#WhatYoBarberLookLike” her own hashtag. She looks at her hair in the mirror and exclaims, “I never wear my hair straight!” It looks fantastic, with shaved sides.
She would meet with my team for her video shoot over the weekend and chose City Park. Defining herself as a free spirit, the park is a location she often goes to find comfort and solace. She takes #TeamBeautiful to a part of the park that isn’t easy to discover to delve more in depth into her style and personal being.
Get to know more about Jaelyn below in her exclusive interview for Hello Beautiful.
Nickname: Jae or Jae Every Dae
Location: New Orleans East (9th ward)
Occupation: Barber & Podcast host
HB: Define your personal style
Free-spirited hippie rebel.
HB: How has New Orleans influenced your style?
Here in New Orleans it’s normal to be weird and different, so I’ve always been comfortable to be myself. In any setting.
HB: What is your favorite hairstyle and why?
I’ve had so many it’s hard to choose. I either like it really low, like high bald fade or long braided extensions pass my ass.
HB: Is there anything you lost in Katrina (clothing or accessories related) that you still wish you had?
I’m not attached to too many things so I can’t think of anything I wish I had because I’m too grateful for what I still have.
HB: How has your style changed post-Katrina?
I’m pretty much the same. I still wear jeans, jackets and shoes from college…2001-2005, haha.
HB: Has your relationship with clothing and accessories differed pre and post Katrina?
I’ve always been pretty earthy; meaning I’ve had rock and gem collections and been interested in their powers and origin but now I choose to wear my stones and gems.
HB: What is one thing you never leave the house without?:
A necklace and my bracelets.
HB: What is the “signature” thing about your look?:
I’ll always have on my same bracelets and a necklace. I’m also known for my head wraps. That’s actually my default move for my head…me wearing a style for 5 consecutive day is a stretch.
HB: What is something that most people don’t know about your specific community (the Ward which you reside)?:
That New Orleans East is an island. There is no in and out without going over some body of water…that makes me so nervous in today’s world. All access could be cut off by simply shutting down highways.
HB: Why you chose this location for the shoot?
It’s my escape from reality. It’s my peace. When I’m there in that moment everything is right.