The beauty, fashion and lifestyle influencer is unapologetically funny, tech-savvy and is securing all the bags. Woo is also a stand-up comedian, singer, and actress, who is currently the TV host and writer for BET’s “BET BREAKS” and “Black is Life”. She has also been featured on MTV’s “Wild N Out”, BET’s “Set Trippin” and BET’s first ever HERTV Awards Red Carpet Show. Jessie Woo uses her platform on Instagram (IG) to share light on the everyday issues that women go through.
Woo shares her experience with us about her journey into comedy, into Love & Hip Hop Miami and growing up Haitian-American. She is the “Seester-in-Chief” and she’s here to stay!
Could you tell us a little bit about your journey into comedy?
I didn’t set out to go into comedy. I have always been silly and outgoing. I was always the one willing to put myself out there and do/say the things others would not. Moving to New York in Summer 2016, I was determined to get on television and make music. Upon falling on hard times, I lost my job after moving into my first apartment, I was stressed, depressed and I just felt lost. I started taking my frustrations out on the internet. I didn’t think my silly videos would catch on quickly but they did. I posted my first video in May 2017, my infamous broken McDonald’s ice-cream machine video. The rest is pretty much history.
You are the host at BET Breaks, and you also sing and act. What keeps you inspired and motivated?
At BET Breaks, I’ve come in contact with influential speakers/journalists such as Gia Peppers, Jamila Mustafa, and several other gifted women. They motivate me by displaying their black girl magic! I grew up singing. My mom and dad are both singers with great voices. I’ve always been very artistic, drowning in my dreams of being a star. I wanted to be the Haitian Jamie Foxx – singing, acting, doing stand up comedy… I want to do it all!
Haitian culture is proudly woven throughout your jokes and stand up material. Could you tell us about your experience as a Haitian-American?
My Haitian American experience has been rough, insightful, funny, challenging… it’s been many things. Growing up in Miami during the 90s was pretty tough for us Haitians. We were made of, ridiculed, made to feel ashamed of who we are and where we came from. I just thank God for my mom and my family. My mom always taught my siblings and I that we are royalty, that we come from riches and strength. My grandma always taught me to flip the stereotypes for my gain. When I would get bullied for being Haitian, she’d tell me to tell my bullies that she eats children. Everybody believed all Haitians did voodoo back then, so they backed up off me (laughs).
Comedy is a very male-dominated field. What are some of the roadblocks and misconceptions that you’ve dealt with as a female comedian?
Equal pay and respect are my main issues. Flying me out isn’t enough. Pay me my fee! Free bottles and a free hotel stay aren’t paid. I need my check and I need it before I hit the stage. Doing standup, I’ve learned that men can really do the bare minimum and get by. As a woman I have to work harder for my respect, I don’t have that same luxury.
In the creative field, artists are often told they’ll be paid for their talents and services through “exposure.” Do you have any advice for the creative entrepreneurs and artists who are struggling to be financially compensated?
As a creative, you’re going to come across pro bono projects. It’s pretty normal to hear “exposure” be used as a form of payment, but you as a creative have to think about the “exposure”. If the “exposure” may most likely lead to a job at a major network, do it. Instagram likes isn’t “exposure” unless you can translate it into income. A lot of these folks getting “exposure” can’t pay their bills. Don’t get played out here.
You recently joined the cast of Love & Hip Hop Miami. Why did you decide to join the show and what should we expect to see from you?
I knew I was going to do Love & Hip Hop since last fall. I decided to do it because it’s a good platform for visibility. Being a social media personality as well as a host on BET has put me in many rooms I couldn’t get in before. Love & Hip Hop will do the same especially when it comes to music. Many people don’t know I’m a singer. I’ve been singing my whole life. The show gives me a chance to tap into that side of me.
In addition to LHH, I have a show on BET coming out soon called Black to Life! I’m very excited about it. You’ll see me hitting the streets of New York asking quizzing white people on black culture. Very funny! Can’t wait for everyone to see it.
Any advice for young women of color who are interested in pursuing a career in comedy?
They will try you, sis! Have a real routine for when you hit the stage. IG skits don’t cut it when you’re alone with a microphone with hundreds of eyes on you. Demand your terms and stick to them. Be creative! Be you! Don’t copy anyone’s style. There’s only one you for a reason.
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All Images: Spex Photo