BY: DELLIA RISMAY
Being born in Chicago, a city that has historically been big on the music scene doesn’t necessarily guarantee that someone will grow up to be a musician, but it probably helps. A native of the Windy City, Jakielu is a singer, but she also does much, much more; women like her are the embodiment of a person who wears many hats.
Like so many of us, Jakielu’s life story isn’t a completely linear one, but her indirect path has shaped her into the multifaceted woman she is today. Before settling in Toronto for good in 1998, she moved around quite a bit in her youth: attending private schools, schools for gifted children, Catholic schools, inner-city schools, and even a French school in Calgary, Alberta. All throughout her education, Jakielu’s father encouraged her to approach the education system with a healthy amount of scepticism: to listen to what her educators were teaching, but follow-up with her own research. “It wasn’t just a matter of reading what they gave you…and then accepting that as truth. My father instilled in me that you read what they give you, and then you go out and do your research, you find the big picture,” she says. “A lot of times, I would bring them the truth, I would go out there and do my research, and I would say ‘well actually, this is what I found…’ and they didn’t like that. So, my approach to education is not necessarily what I learned in school, because I learned most of the things, the knowledge that I have now outside of the “education system.”
Although Jakielu isn’t the biggest believer in traditional education systems, she did study business at Humber College and then went to a private career college to take a medical aesthetics course, which was inspired by a long-time love of beauty and self-care. “I was always a girly-girl, I’ve always liked make-up, and skin, and hair and all those types of things. My mom and my sisters were always very good with hair…I was always passionate about beauty, but I didn’t know there was a name for it. So, when I was looking to do something business-wise…I didn’t know where to channel it. So, I said I have to choose something that I am already good at, that I have a passion for, so I chose the beauty industry,” she explains. On top of practicing as a medical aesthetician, she also teaches the practice to others who desire to learn. “I deal with a lot of students ranging in different backgrounds. These women come and they all have a different story to tell…it’s a wide range of people that I deal with, so that’s very fascinating, I love that about my job,” says Jakielu.
In line with her do-it-yourself views on education, Jakielu creates and sells her own line of organic skin and hair care products for her clients, which is called Pretty Faces by Jessica. Jakielu realized that a lot of beauty products marketed towards Caribbean, black, and other ethnic communities are unhealthy, and so wanted to create less damaging alternatives. “It started off that I would make stuff specifically for [my clients], but it did so well that I made it a line and I sell it. I promote health and organic living, and proper health and nutrition,” Jakielu says. The products are made at her home and can be purchased by placing an order through the Pretty Faces by Jessica Facebook page.
When Jakielu isn’t busy with seeing clients or creating beauty products for them, she is either creating music (which can be found by searching Jakielu on soundcloud.com), co-hosting a show called Artist to Artist on i-Live Radio, holding a clothing drive for battered women, working with a group called Tru-Paz, which works in collaboration with World Vision and talks to youth in schools about how they can be successful in life, and sponsoring and being a guest celebrity judge on GTA’s Got Talent, an event that also functions as a drive for bone marrow donors of Caribbean descent. Being involved with the community in a positive way is something Jakielu holds near and dear to her heart. “It’s very important to give back,” she says.
Jakielu has identified several things she’s passionate about and has found ways to be involved with all of them. For many women, that process is not such an easy feat. She says people shouldn’t get discouraged if they take some time to find their path, but instead focus on what it is that they want out of life. Her other advice? “Never take no for an answer. Never, ever ever. Keep going until you get what you are seeking for.”