Credit: Glenn Sandoval.

GRAZIA: This illustration is a unique imagining of your unique world; perfect just the way it is. How do the things depicted in the illustration make up your individuality?

JESSICA: For as long as I’ve been a journalist – which is many years now – I’ve always had an affinity for living and working in New York City. There was something about combining what I love to do – write – with a place that has so much grit and grunt and pace and thrill. I’m my best creative self, and maybe the best version of myself, when immersed in the city’s vibrancy and I think Glenn Sandoval has really captured that energy and colour in his illustration. My NY days are often made up of enjoying the things I love; coupling a good coffee with a good read or getting dressed up and unearthing a new cocktail bar before settling in for some delicious Italian pasta. If only I could have fit my baby grand piano inside my tiny Lower East Side apartment and, well, I really would have carved out my perfect world.

GRAZIA: We’re at an interesting inflection point in the world where the pursuit of perfection is finally being stamped out as a tired idea. In its place is a celebration of uniqueness. Can you describe a moment or a time in your life where you felt like you came into your own?

JESSICA: I have a very vivid memory of the day I moved to New York. As my taxi drove over the Brooklyn Bridge into Manhattan, I peered out the window and the bridge’s suspension cables were intersecting my view of the honeycomb-lit city before me. I saw a little man pushing a cannoli cart along the uneven pavement. Another was busking in the street with his saxophone. It was like an old movie reel and my heart was beating. I became so overwhelmed by both the sheer terror that I wasn’t built to hack NYC’s mean streets and this vital feeling of “something might happen in my life… tonight!” That day really represented an opening of opportunities and while I was so apprehensive, I’ve never felt more sure of myself. I felt like I was finally exactly where I needed to be, in my career and in my life – and I became more confident in my purpose and myself because of that. It wasn’t everybody’s idea of perfect – but it was mine.

Credit: Instagram @jessicalbailey_

GRAZIA: What are your favourite attributes about yourself?

JESSICA: One of my writers recently described me as “kind” and “fiery” [laughs]. I guess I like both these attributes about myself. I would like to think I’m a kind, good person; I have a lot of empathy for people. I think it’s how we build connections. I also like that I do have a very passionate side where I will, more often than not, speak my mind in order to get what I want. Is it fiery? Maybe? In moderation.

GRAZIA: When do you feel most confident/empowered?

JESSICA: I feel confident and empowered when I hit publish on a really great story. If you can move people with your words – and incite an emotion in someone else – I think that’s really powerful.

GRAZIA: What is your number one pick-me-up tip when you’re feeling a bit down on yourself?

JESSICA: A fellow writer recently told me “no problem is impossible to solve in the dying daylight”. So my tip would be to go for a walk and try to absorb your surroundings. We can get so beaten down in our minds and thoughts and worries. I also like to make like NY-based writer Cleo Wade and take three deep breaths and have a glass of water.

GRAZIA: What do you love most about Marc Jacobs Perfect scent?

JESSICA: I think someone’s scent is what makes them really memorable. They say when one of our five senses is taken away, the brain is re-wired and the others are strengthened. I guess in a world where we’ve essentially lost the sense of touch – and we can’t travel – a scent can transport us to places past.

When I lived in New York, it made sense for me to wear something that was spawn from that city and you can’t get more New York than Marc Jacobs! Wearing “Perfect” reminds me of sitting in a little speakeasy in Manhattan – and a really wonderful time in my life, a time when I felt like I’d come into my own.

GRAZIA: What are your top three tips for self-love/managing self-doubt/insecurities?

JESSICA: 1. Take inspiration from Instagram, don’t compare yourself to the other people on it. Most of us are only ever posting a highlights reel and I think it’s important we always keep this in mind. 2. Talk to your friends. If your self esteem isn’t at an all-time high, reach out to a girlfriend. A good one will gently remind you of all the wonderful things about you. We all need our tyres pumped up every now and again. 3. Never underestimate the number of avenues you can explore in order to live out your passion. I always tell my writers that opportunities will not just land in your inboxes, you need to go after them. I think creating opportunities for ourselves helps us have something to be proud of and in turn helps us accept ourselves as the unique beings we are.

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