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In conversation with Jordan Kristine Seamón

‘’I want to let young people and youth of color know that they are seen, heard, accepted’’

In this global state of stagnation, nobody seems to personify the living antonym better than the young multidisciplinary Jordan Kristine Seamón. The actress, activist and all-round artist is absolutely undefeatable! Not only has the polymath played as Caitlin Poythress in Luca Guadagnino’s serie We Are Who We Are (you know, the director of Call Me By Your Name, no big deal….), she has also just debuted her very own self-produced debut album called Identity Crisis. But these projects are only the tip of the iceberg! Miss Seamón has also directed her own documentary, co-authored children’s books with her father and works as a self-thought entrepreneur and visual artist. Oh, and lest we forget… she has been doing campaigns for the likes of nobody less than Miu Miu and Bulgari – once again, no biggie!!! With her career only just skyrocketing, we were delighted to have a little ‘behind the scenes’ with this aspiring (and inspiring) powerhouse.

Chinedu Nwakudu

Hi Jordan! In these times of stillness, you’ve actually been very busy! How are you feeling, first of all?

I’ve been doing pretty well. I’ve been able to take the time to really perfect my craft, while working on new film projects and working within our family’s new foundation. I’m very excited to announce that I am working on new music and taking time to really learn a little bit more about the producing side of my music.

You’ve released your first, self-produced album Identity Crisis! Congratulations! Can you tell us more about the context behind the recording of your intro To my wives…?

Thank you for the Congrats! The “To my wives…” is very special, which is why it is the first track on my album because during my trip to Italy, I was lucky enough to meet three amazing young women. “The Brits” is what I call Natasha, Suf, and Beth. These young ladies provided the behind-the-scenes footage for my most recent film project, We Are Who We Are on HBO, where I played Caitlin. The three of them supported me so much, we bonded on a whole other level, and I appreciate them so much. I’m not sure if I would’ve been able to be as comfortable as I was without them.

On my final day of shooting, I was talking to the girls and telling them about my album and as the conversation continued, it seemed like too much fun not to record. I didn’t have the idea to use it for my album until a while later when I was listening to the recording. I put it on the album as a ‘thank you’ to them, for just being the wonderful people that they are.

The name of the album, Identity Crisis, holds a very strong meaning. Did the making of this album teach you things about your past and/or help you grow?

Yes! I realized later that the album did so much more than I expected. In the beginning, the purpose of the album was a form of documenting all of the changes that were occurring within my life, but during the process, I continued to learn so much about how I carry myself and the type of person I want to be. While writing the album, I was able to shed a little more light on issues from my past that I had buried. There are multiple tracks on the album that are about times in middle school and instances leading through my living in Italy for six months. Though it’s called “Identity Crisis”, I realize that I learned and am still learning about myself, and it’s not necessarily a crisis, but just a part of life.

Your track thnx. is about releasing and forgiving a past relationship. Did writing about this experience help you process, heal and move on?

Absolutely! thnx is a song that I am sure many will be able to use for different types of relationships. I always say that my music is a type of therapy for me. I actually began my solo music career in hopes of getting over the severing of the relationship with the girl group that I started with earlier. My writing became very similar to journaling or talking with a good friend. Writing gives me the ability to put all that I am feeling not only into the lyrics, but also the melodies, harmonies, and ad-libs and eventually come out with a finished product that allows for processing and healing.

Your work is soulful and experimental, it’s a bit of a mix between R&B and pop. Does it feel like a coming of age album to you?

I guess it could be considered a coming of age album for me. Coming of age, in my opinion, is one of those pieces of art that shows the growth of someone from various standpoints. It generally shows the transition from teenage years to adulthood, while experiencing transitions and other circumstances, internally and externally. Personally, I feel like my album is less a coming of age, and more a learning of experiences because I don’t feel like after my minor ordeals that I have fully transitioned into adulthood, I think I’ve grown just a little bit more.

You have, alongside producing your first album, also made your acting break-through in Luca Guardadigno’s We Are Who We Are as Caitlin Poythress not too long ago! How was this experience for you, working with him and the rest of the team?

My experience of starring in WAWWA and working with Luca was the most amazing experience ever. Filming in Italy, and playing the character Caitlin, I learned so much about myself and I was introduced to so many amazing people and first-time experiences. I was also introduced to so many other opportunities that I could potentially see for myself in the future. Luca was a great first film director. He was open to allowing his actors to try different techniques and bring their own flavor to their character. He truly believed that we understood our characters best, and trusted our instincts, which I think truly brought the show to life. And I still have a great relationship with many of the cast members today, so for that I am also grateful.

And how was Italian scene?

Italy was gorgeous. Learning Italian was also very awesome. To be immersed in a different culture was both intimidating and magical. I used to get so excited about my downtime, I would love exploring the Italian countryside with my Mom and the other cast members. We were even able to visit other places like France and London, where I was able to visit a college that was on the top of my list, London’s School of Music. I am excited for the possibility of going back to Italy to visit because the experience was unlike any that I’ve ever had.

To top it all off, you also directed your own documentary on the making of Identity Crisis. It clearly shows your evolution and process. Did you need a lot of time alone or did you have any mentors by your side?

Directing the making of Identity Crisis was definitely an evolved experience. In terms of how I typically like to work, I’m an only child, so I am accustomed to and generally prefer to work alone. For this project, I wanted to have an overall creative direction, but instead of shutting anyone out and not accepting any help, I took input from my experiences. While being on set, I got a good look at what it was like to be behind the camera as well as in front of it. I loved watching Luca direct, and after studying it for 6 months, I think I definitely stole some of his moves. He really inspired me on that aspect of taking charge and working until I reached the point of satisfaction.

Do you foresee more filmmaking in the future?

I definitely hope so! On both ends, I would love to do more “directing” for music and for film. I have some projects currently in the works, and will be sharing them soon. I love how directors have the ability to build a whole world from a few words on a page and I definitely see directing as a career that I would also pursue.

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 As a singer/songwriter/actress/Artist and author, you obviously embody a strong  DIY, entrepreneurial and artistic spirit! Are you ever afraid of trying something out for the first time?  

Sadly yes, I’m always scared to try new things because I am afraid that I’m going to fail.  Slowly I’m becoming more open to the idea of not succeeding on the first try, but it has been a process like everything else and had affected how many things I was open to trying in the past. I’m hoping that lack of confidence is something that I am constantly improving about myself. My parents are my biggest cheerleaders and have always exposed me to activities and environments that were sometimes limited in access to people of color. They encouraged me to try everything and never forced me to continue in areas that I did not maintain interest in.

… do all your passions perhaps also function as a way to relax and release? 

For the most part, I am a stickler for my passion, so I’m not sure that I use it as a way to relax! I get stressed easily, and (especially in a pandemic) it helps to have different and unique ways to calm myself down, so spending time with my family, my puppy  Nova, boxing (definitely relieves stress), and unplugging from time to time, has been my go-to for the most part.

Besides your artistic endeavors, you also use your voice and platform to promote queer & youth empowerment. Why is this something very special for you?

I’m always hoping to inspire and empower young people and people of color. We have so much potential to make a change in our world. I remember not having too many young, black, and/or queer idols that were visible on film and in music that inspired me. Many of those that did exist were not celebrated equally or were ostracized for who they were. I was educated at home and were given images that many young people may not have had access to from traditional history books and television images, and I imagine if we had them early on, we would have a lot more confidence in ourselves and how much farther we would be to educate others about the contribution of people from all walks of life. I want to be that for someone. I want to let young people and youth of color know that they are seen, heard, accepted and that they have the chance to experience all of the opportunities of the same or better caliber than mine.

Looking forward, do you have anything else in store for us in the upcoming year?

Nothing I can talk about just yet, but I do plans for more music this year, a few collaborations in the mix, and even more film projects this year as we are moving closer to some normalcy in all of our lives.

Check out Identity Crisis here!

Words by Brechtje Polman