Hello… is it me you’re looking for?
What’s up, Medium multiverse! I’m one week old at Medium, and I’m thrilled to be here! Since I’m a MySpace-era millennial who loves to answer random questions about herself, I’m going the survey route to re-introduce myself to my OG Medium followers, and some new ones, I hope.
What’s your name, and any special significance your name may have for you?
My full name is Jada Gomez-Lacayo, but I go by Jada Gomez. My mother loves jade, so she named me after her favorite gem. Jade symbolizes harmony and balance, and supports loving heart energy, which I dig. I’m definitely the carebear of any group chat, so I think I’m living up to my namesake. Jada is also Hebrew for “the knowing one.” In summary, I’m kind of a smart gem. True to the Latinx tradition of hyphenated family names, my last name is Gomez-Lacayo. It’s my family’s belief that if I ever visit Honduras, I’d be easily identified as part of the Lacayo family. I guess if I get lost or something, which is very highly possible. Gomez is a bit different because it’s so common. And that, dear new friends, is my name story!
How long have you been at Medium?
One week, and it’s been dope so far! I hope to stay here for many more days and hours.
What is your role at Medium?
I’m Medium’s Senior Platform Editor. First up, I’m incredibly excited to work alongside Jermaine Hall to create something compelling and needed for Black and brown men.
How did you find your way to your profession?
Oddly enough, I was pre-med throughout undergrad at NYU. Although I always knew I wanted to incorporate journalism into my career (my goal was to become a medical correspondent), I knew that stories of culture and identity were the ones I was most excited to tell. My family wanted to see me follow in my uncle’s medical footsteps — he became a dentist after graduating from NYU. For someone who doesn’t take many risks, I decided to delay the MCAT and pursue journalism completely. I told myself (and my frantic dad), that if I was ever unable to feed myself, I’d get back on the medicine track. Aside from a bad case of media layoff anxiety, I never went hungry. And I’ve been able to tell some amazing stories.
When you aren’t working, how do you like to spend your time?
When I’m not working, I love to spend my time rolling on the floor with my cockapoo, Lola. As you get to know me, you’ll hear me talk about Lola so much that people tend to think she is my human child. But she’s my sister friend, and we have a lot of fun going for walks, watching Netflix, and eating snacks. I also love to mentor young people in the city, and aspiring writers. As a native New Yorker, I realize wholeheartedly that sometimes all a person may need is a good ear to listen in a very busy city. A person who’s been there before can help them plot goals they didn’t even dream were possible.
What is a formative childhood memory for you?
In pre-school, I made my stage debut in a play called The Sunshine Kids. My classmate and I were supposed to banish the clouds away by singing our sunny day song. Except, she got stage fright, and ran off the stage before we could finish her part of the song. Eyeing my sobbing classmate, I thought as quickly as I could to save the day. I sang both of our parts, and yelled, “Don’t worry, I’m coming!” as I ran off to console her. The crowd broke into applause and awws, and it made me feel like four-year-old me could save the day in my own special way. Saving the day is underrated in adulthood, so I still try to do so whenever I can, in the smallest ways.
What is a book or movie that is important to you and why?
The most important book I’ve ever read is Barack Obama’s Dreams From My Father, no contest. I discovered it in college, before Obama was still virtually unknown, outside of his speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. I’m mixed race, and it was the first book I ever picked up that made me feel like my experience mattered. Page after page validated the world view I felt my entire life but never really expressed. I also learned that I share a birthday with the former POTUS (as well as the Duchess of Sussex, Megan Markle!), which always makes me feel extremely cool.
What was your first job?
I worked at a neighborhood bakery in Queens, but I quit after three days because I was terrible at tying up cake and cookie boxes. I was only 13 and had not yet gotten a healthy grasp on my perfectionism.
If you were to describe yourself using only emojis, which emojis would you select and why?
Takes a look at most recently used emojis…
Brown princess emoji: In the spirit of my birthday twin Megan Markle, there needs to be more images of brown princesses in the world, so I use it every chance I get!
Cheeseburger emoji: My favorite food hands down!
Smiley with hearts all around: I tend to be a very smiley happy person.
Monkey hiding eyes: I’m an introverted INFJ, and this emoji gets me.
Teddybear emoji: Because I’m a carebear at work, and in life.
What qualities do you value in the people with whom you spend time?
I spend my time with people who are optimistic, kind and hilarious. My mother used to encourage me to surround myself with positive people growing up, especially since I’m an only child. Keeping that mantra in mind has led me to some of the best people I’ve ever met.
What do you do for self-care?
Boxing, face masks, and lots and lots of Bob’s Burgers.
What are you most grateful for today?
I’m most grateful that I’ve found a new job where I feel calm, cool and valued, and that I was selected to work with some of the smartest minds in the industry. I’m also quite thankful for my morning chai latte, and that my train was on time today.
What is the greatest album of all-time?
Since my mother used to DJ in Manhattan in the ’80s, I would be remiss if I didn’t add my own question about music! It’s Purple Rain, hands down