Jennifer Chowdhury is one of the boldest Bengali babes we know! Jenn is a journalist (as seen in Marie Claire, NBC, NYT, Refinery29) and a creative entrepreneur. Recently she spent three weeks in Bangladesh covering the Rohinga crisis, an issue that is growing at large with little media coverage and funding.
Knowing Jenn for most of my life, I’ve been fortunate to watch her bloom into her authentic self. I love that she encourages body confidence and is truly driven by female success! Enjoy this heartfelt convo.
Q&A with Jennifer, journalist, activist, friend, sister, daughter.
Tell us about the turning point in your life that led you to creating your own?
Two years ago, I came out of an incredibly toxic relationship. I endured both physical and emotional abuse and when it ended, I didn't know who I was anymore. I lost everything -- my job, my apartment, friends. Since I had to start all over, I decided to go after all of my impossible dreams and I can proudly say I achieved many of them in a short time-- reporting on international stories, moving into my own one-bedroom apartment (a feat in NYC!), getting to a certain income, getting fit and so many more goals I previously thought were unattainable. But the most important thing of all -- I learned to depend on myself and break a toxic cycle of codependency.
You have 15 minutes for your morning skincare regimen, what does it look like?
First things first is cleansing. Currently, I'm using Boscia Black Charcoal Cleanser. Then I apply Derma-E Vitamin C concentrated serum which helps with hydration and hyper pigmentation (a big issue for many women of color). Next up is moisturizer. I like to use one with sunscreen in it. Currently, I'm using Origins A Perfect World SPF 40. Last is eye cream. Right now, I'm using Kieh's Avocado eye treatment.
An inexpensive yet fulfilling self-care ritual that you have mastered?
I wish I could say I've mastered any self-care rituals! I feel like people of color historically have not had the opportunties to indulge in proper self-care. Those toxic habits have been passed down from generation to generation. So, I have to continuously remind myself that it's okay if I want to take a day to myself and not respond to texts, answer emails, talk to family, friends anyone. So one afternoon a week, I shut down all my devices, turn on a 'dance' playlist on Spotify and dance spin and twirl around my apartment until my heart is bursting from childish joy.
One book you have recently read and loved?
I just finished 'Difficult Woman' by Roxeanne Gay. She's one of my favorite writers She writes a lot about being an overweight woman of color with relatable anecdotes. She's honest in her failures and success as a feminist. Difficult woman is a book of short essays that is centered around these themes. I highly recommend it.
How has music influenced you and an artist you are feeling right now?
Good writing has to have rhythm. Your story has to flow, converge, and reach a crescendo. So music is crucial to my work. It creates internal rhythm for me which hopefully, I'm able to translate onto the page. Some artists I binge on when writing include: Lauryn Hill, Sza, Yuna, Coke Studio (Indian and Pakistani versions).
A podcast that keeps you motivated when you are on the go?
I really love the NYT "Still Processing" for conversations around race and culture.
Share an advice with someone else who’s trying to create their own path, happiness, conscious lifestyle etc.?
I've learned the really hard way to never, ever, ever sacrifice self-care for your more tangible goals like career, family, financial, etc. Take care of yourself first and the rest will fall in line.