Ella Jayes' talent knows no bounds. An editor at Milk.xyz as well as the editorial director and creative strategist at This Generation, Ella's work is earnest and striking. She's guided Milk.xyz's bold, futuristic content and underground, zine-like aesthetic. Also a photographer, she keeps herself busy with creative projects in her meager free time.
Milk.xyz has become one of my absolute favorite outlets; they always seem to be on the cutting edge of what's cool, and consistently feature unknown creatives who deserve more attention than what they're getting (which-- as everyone knows --is a cause very dear to my heart). So when Ella agreed to meet with me at Chelsea Market (just down the street from the Milk offices), I was incredibly nervous. This was not helped by the fact that she looked effortlessly chic whereas I was still sporting the neon yellow lanyard my job as an RA required me to wear. But she quickly put all my fears at ease with her gentle smile and words of encouragement. She told me that the key to success was manifestation and bought me an ice cream ("You'll do the same for someone else when you're my age," she said). I was in awe of her humility.
Ella became an inspiration to me because her interviews are always thorough and marked by sincerity; you can tell the immense empathy and genuine interest she has for her subjects. As I expected, she's a terrific conversationalist. But, when I reached out to her for an interview, her curiosity about my background and my interests took me by surprise. It was refreshing (given that many of my interviews are one-sided) and demonstrated her inquisitive nature. I felt so lucky to be talking to her.
What work are you most proud of?
I am very mindful of the work I produce, especially because the media landscape tends to be very dense and saturated. I'm proud of everything I put out, otherwise, I wouldn't do it. My favorite work usually involves people I have become friends with through the process of interviewing them.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Meditate, and be clear about what you want.
What's the best part about your job?
Being asked to ask a ton of questions.
What's the most challenging?
Scheduling all the moving parts on several unrelated, larger-scale shoots that are all happening at the same time.
Why do you think what you do is important?
I think it’s important to flesh out creativity and give artists the platform to uncover themselves a bit. Also, you commonly hear creatives say, “Hey! It’s not like we’re curing cancer.” Yeah, most people are not curing cancer…but it doesn’t mean that we aren’t doing something that makes the world a better place. If you can inspire somebody, or make even a single person feel less alone — you’re golden!
Using a metaphor, how would you describe your creative process?
You know what they say about dogs…
(Backstory: When I was in 4th grade my best friend’s older sister was a GENIUS, and she was explaining to me the idea that if you sound confident in what you’re saying, you can convince people of anything. So, for instance, you respond to someone with the phrase “You know what they say about dogs… (or insert quite literally anything)” Usually people won’t question you.) It’s essentially a metaphor of a metaphor? Confidence is key!
What's the best piece of storytelling you've ever encountered?
Everything A24 does; literally everything.