not in Primary anymore

sunday spotlight: janell

Sunday Spotlight is a series where we profile individuals in the Young Mormon Feminists community to hear their stories and get to know them a little better through Q&A or their personal narratives. This week we talked with Janell.



Who are you and what are you up to?

I’m Janell. I am a makeup artist. I love vintage clothing, colorful hair, and fields of flowers. My favorite band is Queen.

I graduated from BYU 2 years ago (just barely… thanks, honor code police) and I’ve been teaching makeup artistry at a film high school near Salt Lake City, and doing a bit of freelance here and there since. Los Angeles is on the horizon, and I can’t wait to get out there and take over the world.

What makes you a Mormon?

I grew up Mormon. Very, very Mormon. My great great great great (?) grandpa was best buddies with Joseph Smith. I had perfect attendance in seminary all four years, and I’d never seen a rated R movie (even edited) until I took a film class at BYU. I don’t identify as Mormon anymore, but culturally and historically, there will always be a little bit of Mormon in there somewhere.

What makes you a feminist?

I’m a feminist because I want to be who I was meant to be. I want to live fearlessly, authentically, and without shame, all while being in a world that tells me I need to be a certain way. I want to live free from guilt for the life choices I am making. I want to make choices because I want to make them, not because I am expected by The Man to make them. I deserve the same opportunities and pay as my male counterparts in the film industry, and any industry. I love using makeup artistry as a tool. It is transformative. It can shape identity. It can communicate and story tell. I love reclaiming makeup and using it’s power for good.

What makes you a Mormon feminist?

I always felt like such an oxymoron growing up. I never felt like I totally fit into all of the worlds that I lived in because of my different identities. My church friends never got why I was so weird. My art school friends also never totally got why I was so weird. I longed for a place where I was totally and completely understood and accepted.

I’ve realized that ultimately, I need to make and find that place for and in myself. I’m a Mormon feminist, and I’m also a whole lot of other things. I don’t always know what makes me those things. And that’s okay. It’s something I’m still figuring out, and watching and learning how they all fit together. All of my labels and identities help me to better understand myself, and be totally okay with whatever myself is. Maybe it’s a copout answer, but at this point, I don’t totally know what makes me a Mormon feminist.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

In ten years, I’ll have won an Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling. (I’m not joking, but maybe it’ll take longer than 10 years.) Maybe I’ll be married to the girl of my dreams, and have a cat? Maybe a kid? Maybe. I’ll be living in LA, or NYC, or London, making movies and/or theatre and all sorts of other art. I’ll be a performance artist, too. And being a makeup artist in Star Wars will definitely be on my resume.

Any parting words for us?

Be excellent to each other. And party on, dudes.

3 Responses to “sunday spotlight: janell”

  1. Pete

    “I want to live free from guilt for the life choices I am making.” This is gold right here.

    • meli

      As a missionary, I taught people in Chile who felt guilty for leaving the faith of their family, felt guilty for getting rid of icons gifted to them by their grandparents like we told them to do (because that’s what Preach My Gospel tells us to do).

      We told them to pray so that they could relieve the guilt they had for their life choices.

      That is gold right there.


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