Jessica Durrant is the artist behind the stunningly gorgeous watercolor blossoms on our latest product, the Super Naked, Plum + Chia Face Oil. She is a fashion and beauty illustrator, with clients including The Washington Post, Target, Sephora, IKEA, Starbucks, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, Ralph Lauren, Talbot’s, Brandon Maxwell, Diptyque, Chantecaille, Jimmy Choo, and so many more! Durrant has also collaborated with CHANEL, Oscar de la Renta, and Elie Saab, AND her work has appeared in Season 2 of The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel and Emily in Paris.
We here at Maya Chia are such huge fans of her gorgeous work using watercolor, pencil sketching, and gouache/acrylic, and we couldn’t be more in love with the plum blossom tree branch she painted in watercolor for the front of the Super Naked Plum + Chia Face Oil. Also, she crafted gorgeous plums and an entire orchard of plum trees for the top and sides of the box-- you really have to see it! You can hear Jessica talk about the process in this Instagram post!
But, as with all the women we feature in our Beauty Spotlight series, Jessica has multitudes of wisdom to share beyond her stunning visual artwork. In this interview, she tells us about the life behind her art, some of the choices she has made that have led her to where she is now, and her brilliant advice for facing challenges. We just love it when talented, smart women share their more vulnerable stories; that is how we change the world!
Maya Chia Beauty: What is one thing you do every day?
Jessica Durrant: Walk my new puppy Sophie. I am an avid walker, and the bonus is doing it with your animal. It feels so good for the body & soul.
MCB: Where would you go if you could travel somewhere right now, all expenses paid?
JD: What a fun question! I have always wanted to spend more time in Sweden. I spent 24 hours there and was really intrigued by the quality of life, the attention to detail in every aspect of design, and the crisp, Northern, unpolluted air.
MCB: If your 10-years-ago self could see your life now, what would surprise her the most about it?
JD: The short answer would be: she has the life she always wanted but never knew it would be possible. I started my entire life over a decade ago-- left a decade-long marriage and took a huge leap of faith that I could support myself solely through my artwork. I was beginning to sell online and take freelance commission work from brands like Target and L’Oreal and I had hope that I could continue it a little longer. I am amazed that all this time later the amount of people (especially women) I have gained in my life as well as the incredible opportunities and love I have experienced since then has been surprising and rewarding. I have survived a lot, and I am stronger because of it all.
MCB: Who is the person you wish you could talk to more?
JD: My maternal Grandmother, who passed away a decade ago. I miss her so much, and always loved spending time with her at home in Daytona Beach.
MCB: What is your favorite Maya Chia product, and why? :)
JD: Picking one is hard, but I love the Refresh Mint mask. It works so fast, smells so good, and I love the tranquil ocean-blue color. It feels & looks like a spa treatment. It’s the perfect quick mask to put on if you need a fast fix to get your skin more even and bright.
MCB: What’s your “sliding doors” moment? Some time when your life almost took a totally different direction?
JD: It is when I decided to leave behind my ex and our religion and the life I had built for myself behind. For so long I thought it was all my own choice. Turns out (like so many people) I made choices as a young adult to make my family and everyone else around me happy. I often think back about how my life would be so different if I didn’t have the courage to start over and be my true self. I certainly wouldn’t be living an authentic life, or have the dream career I have. I let other people choose things for me for so long, and for the first time when I was 31 I decided I needed to take the reins of my life and live my truth -- as cliche as that sounds. Letting go of what others might think of me and my choices was a huge gift to myself.
MCB: What is the biggest challenge you face now or have faced in the past? How did you overcome it?
JD: That’s a tough one. My 30’s were full of some really hard times, but also some beautiful and amazing times. I would say my biggest challenge I am working to overcome as of late, is the anxiety and PTSD I have since overcoming 2 really intense near-death episodes that involved immediate hospitalization and intervention to save my life. Something changes on a cellular level in your body when you experience that kind of trauma, and it’s like the flight/fight is there with you and hasn’t completely exited your body fully. Meditation and yoga, as well as prayer, journaling and long walks with my pet really help calm my nerves and remind me that I am healed and I am okay. If you’ve ever suffered from panic attacks, I know you can relate. And staying on top of your self-care is so important. It sounds silly but having spa nights with products like Maya Chia really does help! When we slow down, that really helps with our breathing and energy overall and will keep anxiety attacks at bay.
MCB: What do you wish you knew/learned sooner?
JD: That we as humans are all the same. It doesn’t matter what country we hail from, religion or belief system we practice or race we are … we really all want the same things in life and if we stopped judging people based on those things the world would be in such a more loving place.
MCB: What is one easy thing you do to be more “green” or eco-conscious?
JD: I do believe in the old adage, “waste not want not.” As Americans we consume so much stuff and are usually always thinking about what to next buy. Whenever I clean and reorganize (be it my skincare collection, pantry, or art supply kit) I am able to see all the stuff I have and be able to utilize what I have spent my money on first before stocking up on new things. The old saying is, “being content is wealth in and of itself.” I think if we consumed less and used all that we have before buying new, it would help the planet more.
MCB: What’s the best advice you’ve ever received-- and think other people might benefit from hearing?
JD: Everything that you have now was once a thought. So be sure you are visualizing what you want to manifest next in your life….because it’s already on its way to you.
MCB: What is something you’re really proud of?
JD: My resilience. Without it I would not be the person I am today.
Thank you, Jessica, for your honest, thoughtful answers to our favorite questions! You can all see Jessica’s work online at her website, https://jessicadurrant.com/, and on her Instagram, https://www.instagram.com/jessillustrator/. We’re very excited to share that Jessica’s work will be in the Fall Art Show, as a featured artist, at the Hillary Whitaker Gallery in Florida! Check out more details here: https://hwhitakergallery.com/.
And, of course, you can acquire a small piece of Jessica’s art when you buy our Super Naked, Plum + Chia Oil, with her gorgeous hand-painted blossom design on the packaging. Don’t forget to take a peek behind the scenes, and learn more about Jessica, her art, and the Artist Mentoring Sessions she offers at https://jessicadurrant.com/.