To celebrate the spirit of vibrance and renewal,
The Cut has partnered with SOREL to bring you the stories of six unstoppable
individuals from New York City’s creative communities. In the weeks ahead, we’ll take a walk with
them and explore their work, values, resilience, and all the ways their style helps propel them forward.
The Stylist and Social Media Starlet Redefining Her Platform
There’s not much you can’t discover about Jessica Wu. She’s an open book and a self-proclaimed child of the internet — oversharing is her thing. Being unafraid to address personal issues that other people shy away from, like the realities of menstruation, for example, is just a part of who she is. It’s her penchant for unabashedly spilling intimate details that’s built her an online community of over 30,000 followers. A community that helped her raise over $6,000 in mutual aid funds to issue microgrants to 24 Black, brown, and indigenous creatives and queer students during the height of the pandemic.
"Even in quarantine, I still did experimental makeup and
styled new things. I was all dressed up with nowhere to go — but
I was able to delve into my creativity."
The Brooklyn Duo That’s Democratizing Wellness
During times of stress and uncertainty, we tend to turn toward our healers. Darian Hall and Elisa Shankle, co-founders of Brooklyn’s HealHaus, know this very well. In a year that’s upended lives across the globe, wellness practices have been a salve for many. That means Hall and Shankle have been busier than ever. “When it hit really hard, we were going hard for our community because people really needed it. People didn’t have a language for what was going on. People were feeling paralyzed,” Shankle says. Only two years old, HealHaus usually provides daily yoga and meditation classes as well as private therapy, energy healing, naturopathic medicine, and massage out of its Fulton Street studio. This year, they’ve made a speedy transition to affordable digital services like the HealHaus Live virtual membership, donation-based Instagram soundbaths, and $10 drop-in Zoom yoga and meditation classes. They’ve even created the HealHaus Therapy Fund to provide free individual talk therapy for the BIPOC community.
"We get emails all the time from people that
say how much our programming has helped them get
through these last seven months."
The Fashion Writer Who Walked Away From the “Dream Job” And Bet on Herself
Journalist Marjon Carlos knows the power of walking away. In 2017, Carlos walked away from her job as senior fashion writer at the world’s most famous fashion magazine — her former dream job, the one that famously, “a million girls would kill for.” But while Carlos’ life looked perfect from the outside, she says she was burnt out: emotionally, physically, and mentally. “Being a Black woman there was really lonely,” Carlos says. “There were days I cried by myself in a bathroom or empty conference room.”
"I will try to show up with my style, because
that small effort does change things."
The DJ and Musician Who’s Setting Herself Free From Expectations
You’d need both hands to count all the things Barbie Bertisch is. Of her many titles, there’s DJ, zine creator, bassist, writer, and her newest one, record label owner. Lately, though, she’s been trying to figure out how to be just Barbie. She says for the past five years, she’s been running nonstop. “My goal is not to live in a jet every night, DJ festival stages for 30 minutes, and then leave and go to the next gig to just collect money,” Bertisch says. “A, it’s not sustainable. B, it doesn’t contribute anything to this culture. C, you just become a machine.”
"I’m hopeful for a greater, more conscious way
of living and interacting with each other.
Moving forward, what are you optimistic about for 2020 and going"
The Pastry Chef Finding Creativity Amid Chaos
As a pastry chef, Natasha Pickowicz is used to striving for consistency and flawless execution. It’s what ensured that any patron of Flora Bar — the stylish Upper East Side restaurant where she worked until recently as executive pastry chef — could try one of her signature black cardamom-laced sticky buns, and then, when they had a craving months later, come back and have the same transcendent experience. “That’s a magical, ineffable thing that actually is really hard to create,” she says.