Jessie Kahnweiler, Filmmaker

jesse-kahnwieler-8
1
jesse-kahnwieler-9
2
jesse-kahnwieler-6
3
jesse-kahnwieler-5
4
jesse-kahnwieler-7
5
jesse-kahnwieler-4
6
jesse-kahnwieler-3
7
jesse-kahnwieler-2
8
jesse-kahnwieler-1
9
jesse-kahnwieler-8
jesse-kahnwieler-9
jesse-kahnwieler-6
jesse-kahnwieler-5
jesse-kahnwieler-7
jesse-kahnwieler-4
jesse-kahnwieler-3
jesse-kahnwieler-2
jesse-kahnwieler-1
jesse-kahnwieler-8
jesse-kahnwieler-9
jesse-kahnwieler-6
jesse-kahnwieler-5
jesse-kahnwieler-7
jesse-kahnwieler-4
jesse-kahnwieler-3
jesse-kahnwieler-2
jesse-kahnwieler-1
replies

'My awkward stage probably lasted from when I was born to last week. I was always such a weird-looking kid, but I'm really grateful for that. All of my experiences growing up have ultimately ended up, someway or another, in my work. I think it's an amazing time to be an artist. You can help people understand and find their identities. I made this short film Meet My Rapist about running into my rapist at the farmer's market, and now I'm working on a show called The Skinny about my relationship with bulimia. I think it's really important to be honest about your experiences. If I fucking have this eating disorder, I think we need to start talking about it. I don't want to be the only one, but I want to start the discussion. It's about making really personal work but then not taking it personally. And something that I really want to get across in my shows or films is that I'm OK—that people like me are OK. Yeah, I had this disorder, but I was also a filmmaker, a girlfriend, a daughter, and a cat owner. And I had this big, beautiful life. I'm still kind of reconciling those two sides, but that's the story I want to tell.

I think it's really important with beauty stuff to find your one thing. For me that's when I get my mustache waxed. I did it for a date last night, and it's just like $12 that makes me feel like I'm OK—like I'm me. It doesn't have to be this super extreme thing. When I was in the thick of my body image issues, I would just not take care of myself, but when I get my mustache waxed I feel like a child of the universe. Every now and then, I'll rage against the beauty complex, and be like, 'Fuck that, I don't need it.' But it's not about them, it's about you and what you want. So rock that. Sometimes I don't shave my legs. Sometimes I do. It doesn't matter. I don't wear makeup. Actually, I just only started wearing red lipstick sometimes, but it's when I want to. And I don't feel like myself when my hair is straight. I have all these things I know about myself, but like with the lipstick I'm starting to explore a little with what feels right to me. I feel like I've gone through this second puberty at 30 years old, where I'm like, 'Oh my god, that's cute! That's a new feeling! Oooh that girl is super sexy!' Like, what is going on? But it feels like my body is waking up to what I want instead of seeking being wanted.

In the morning I wake up and I pray. I'm like, 'Alright, let's handle this.' I channel the goddess. I don't know what God is, but I know that God isn't me. So I pray to whatever is not me, and I'm like, 'No matter what thoughts I have about myself, please let me not abandon myself today.' I say that every morning. Then I brush my teeth, because I usually forget to the night before. Then I floss. I'm very big into oral hygiene, because that's something I think young people just don't do enough of. It's super preventive. Also it's your smile—your moneymaker. That's your biggest asset and you have to take care of it. I quit smoking, so that really helped with the stains on my teeth. I guess it's also good for your heart and stuff, but most importantly, my teeth are white. [Laughs]

When I turned 30, my girlfriend who works for the skincare company called Arbonne was like, 'You need to use this shit.' So when I wake up, I wash my face with Arbonne Hydrating Cleanser + Freshener. I used to think that because I didn't have big zits, or whatever, that skincare didn't really matter, but now I literally wash my face like a grownup woman. I'm being serious. It's such a turning point. I feel like even doing this little thing every day helps me feel worthy of being in the world. I look at it like a spiritual experience. People say, 'Oh you're glowing' when I use this stuff. I live in California, so before that I would just slap on Banana Boat, but now I put on Arbonne's Nourishing Day Lotion Broad Spectrum SPF 20 like five times a day. Then I use their Moisturizing Night Cream. I'm also all about cocoa butter allover the place or Vaseline Total Moisture Body Lotion.

You know what pisses me off when I get my eyebrows done? Every single time, they show me the wax and they laugh. Every time I'm like, 'No way, they're not going to do it this time!' And every single time whoever is waxing me says, 'Oh my god, so much hair!' And I go, 'Yeah, but you're a waxing lady, you've seen it all! You must have seen more hair than this?' And they go, 'No.' [Laughs] So that's something I've always been really aware of. I can name all the times in my life when someone has out loud made fun of the hair on my face. I have resented it and hated it, but I also know that I may have that, but I also have amazing hair on my head that I love, so it's a trade off.”

—as told to ITG

Jessie Kahnweiler photographed by Rick Rodney in Los Angeles and interviewed by Jane Helpern. Read more about daily routines in The Face.

Interviews, product reviews, and more