Jess Young

Jess Young

"At Home with Snuggs" is a series that revolves around individuals sharing their genuine and authentic menstruation experiences.

This month we chat with Jess, a musician, dj, nail artist and founder of Boys In Polish. Jess talks us through everything from public leaking to tracking their cycle and accepting their period not as a nuisance.

Q1- To begin with, would you mind introducing yourself, and giving us a brief overview of you, your work and what you are all about? 

Hi! I’m Jess Young, a nail artist, musician, DJ and founder of Boys In Polish- a platform that aims to make manicures more inclusive by including men and non-binary people. I am all about trying to make the world a better place through my creative aptitudes and enjoying life ;)

Q2- Could you talk us through how you got into music?

I always loved to sing from when I was young. My mum says that I was very good at Vietnamese karaoke when I was a little girl, but unfortunately the whole language has escaped my brain now haha. I would say I really delved into my musicality when I was in secondary school. I went to a girls school and I often reminisce about the excitement and passion I had for my music classes. I had an amazing music teacher, was surrounded by talented and supportive girlfriends and did school concerts. It was such a wholesome and cute time! As for DJing, during my music GCSE, I had a dream to DJ for my school prom, so I picked up DJ lessons outside of school. I don’t think I would be doing music if I didn’t have those teenage experiences and support from my family and friends to be honest. I try to channel that fearlessness and free spirit from little Jess to this day. 

I also did a music production diploma course during COVID times and that gave me the knowledge and confidence to make and release my own music- another life changing moment that allowed me to tap into the nostalgia. 

Q3- You’re a creative individual – from founding Boys in Polish to your new release and everything in between. Is making and creating something that comes naturally to you?

Not to sound woo woo but it feels like my purpose! Of course there are days where I just want to do nothing and watch TV, but eventually after time, I always come back to missing my creativity and then it feels like a big satisfying exhale when I do work that muscle. When I take time to really rest, I naturally have the energy and motivation to create, rather than it feeling like a chore. The balance between rest and showing up for my creativity is so important to me. 

Q4- Can you share a specific instance where your menstrual cycle influenced your creative process or approach to music composition or performance?

Following on from my last point about balance, I have only recently acknowledged my menstrual cycle as a way for me to tap into my power, and I have to thank Maisie Hill, the author of ‘Period Power’. As I write this, I am currently in my menstruation phase, described as the winter season of the four phases. I would say this is the best time to melt into my music, especially song writing,, as it’s my time to really reflect, let go, and listen to my intuition.

Q5- How do you manage the ebb and flow of energy and inspiration that comes with the menstrual cycle, and do you have any specific rituals or practices that support your creative process during different times?

Up until recently, I viewed my periods as a nuisance, but after becoming more knowledgeable about periods, I honour my cycles and work with the phases and can definitely see improvements in my life, health, and mood for doing so! Perhaps this also comes with getting older, but I make an effort to rest and take downtime, instead of guilt tripping myself into making every day ‘productive’.
I see this as a way of not only recharging my physical battery, but my creative and emotional ones too. In a nutshell, during my follicular and ovulation phase, I am much more social, embracing creative collaborations,, but when my luteal and menstruation phase arrive, I just want to be alone or with my close ones. 

Q6- When are you most connected with your body? 

 During meditation and yoga, and the moments between getting into bed and falling asleep.  

Q7- How are you kind to yourself, others and the planet? 

I make an effort to recycle at home, purchase reusable and good quality things, i.e menstrual cups over tampons, reusable bottles over plastic ones, glass straws instead of plastic straws. I also NEVER just throw away clothes. The thought of that makes me genuinely sad. I read somewhere that Burberry burned a something- tonne of clothes rather than selling them at a reduced price and I couldn’t stop thinking about it for like two days. I use an app called Thrift+ which allows me to send my unwanted clothes to be resold, and if they are, I get points I can use to buy clothes off their site. Anything that isn’t sellable, they will recycle responsibly, saving me a lot of treks back and forth to the clothes recycling bins. 

Q8- Could you share any rituals or self-care routines you follow during your menstrual cycle, and how does Snuggs fit into these practices?

When I am on a heavy flow, I get super conscious about leaking in public. As great as menstrual cups are, they are a bit tricky to remove and wash when you’re out and about, so Snuggs gives me that extra layer of protection and peace of mind, say if I do have a long day doing nails in the studio. Herbal teas are a saviour when I am on my flow as well. Staying hydrated is a must in general, but especially during menstruation as that is the point where I am at my lowest energy. I never drink cold water, room temperature water at most- In Chinese medicine, it’s not good for your spleen and digestive system. Warm water is an essential Eastern way of living, and to be honest a lot easier to drink! 

Q9- Can you describe your personal journey with your menstrual cycle and how it intersects with your day to day life. 

I have been tracking my cycle for about two years now, and understanding my cycle has been life changing for me. From knowing when I need to prepare for my period (which avoids stained underwear and unexpected leaks), to knowing the days I ovulate, this is the self knowledge I didn’t know I needed. I knew that I didn’t want to go on the contraceptive pill or have any foreign chemicals/things in my body as birth control, and that is how I came across cycle tracking. I know my body thanks me for making that decision! Instead of taking a pill and messing up my natural hormones, all I need to do instead is take my temperature every morning as soon as I wake up and log it in. Also, instead of finding reasons for why I am moody or irritated all of a sudden, and feeling like a bad person when I don’t have one, I now know that it is often just me coming on my period and that I need to take time to myself. 

Q10- How has your understanding of your own menstrual experience influenced your perspective on menstruation in a broader context? 

Our period is like our inner compass, and we must follow it! <3 

Interview conducted by Sarah Hazeldene- Head of Community at snuggs, featuring Jess Young.You can find more from Jess over on @jessyoungofficial and @boysinpolish