There are numerous ways through which one can express themselves. But there’s something about framing your thoughts into written words that’s commendable. One of the best ways to express oneself is to write. While reading is breathing in, writing is breathing out! And writers in today’s era are known for their words. One such person I came across is Jeena Billimoria. Her style of writing is unique in it’s own way. There’s a pinch of humor, sensitivity and facts all blended into one! Here’s a candid interview with Jeena that’ll give us a glimpse of her life!
I’m sure it must have taken a lot of courage and struggle for you to reach where you are at the moment, I would like to know the insights of it!
- Starting from the initial stage, did you always dream of becoming a writer?
“No! I’d always wanted to be a lawyer and never thought about writing as an option. I’m a writer by accident (or perhaps a grateful victim of fate)!” J
- Did you write any poems or stories as a kid?
“Only if it was in the prescribed homework! I didn’t really start to be creative in my writing till I was in the eighthgrade, when we were assigned a particularly interesting essay. I remember thinking, ‘Oh, that was fun!’ once I was through – and got an A on it! Haha… I did read voraciously though.”
- What are you currently doing?
“I work full-time at GQ India. I’ve also started a page on Instagram called Three With Jeena B – it’s a hobby and a creative outlet during my downtime where I can express myself without limitations. I focus on food, my travels and lifestyle.”
- What is the best thing about your job?
“The fact that I get to read and edit really interesting articles – and write some of my own, too! You also meet interesting people working at a magazine.”
- What hurdles did you go through to reach where you are at the moment?
“The fear of failure drove me to worry and stress over the tiniest things. Confidence didn’t come naturally to me in the beginning and many of my hurdleswere self-induced because of that. It was the nagging at the back of my mind that one sometimes gets that leads you to believe you’re not good enough, smart enough – or just enough. But in time, I realised that we are our own harshest critics and we need to take a step back and be kinder to ourselves. To let ourselves fail sometimes because that does happen – and to savour the small successes because the highs and lows of life go hand-in-hand. The thing is: you can overcome your day-to-day problems just fine – it’s winning the battle with your overthinking mind that’s the real hurdle.”
- What was your first break as a writer?
“I started my career as an intern at HELLO! India at the ripe old age of 20, given that most people start at 17 or 18! In my mind, it was to simply be a month staying out of trouble during the summer holidays. Applying to law school was still a year or so away. I was working in the Styling & Fashion team and one day, I was put in the spot of writing a feature on Louis Vuitton’s atelier in France. That one-month internship germinated into a full-time job that lasted eight years… I was moved to the Editorial team shortly after writing that feature.” J
- Does writing have a lot of scope in future?
“Writing will never cease to exist, or go out of fashion. The written word has been a tool of expression, persuasion, knowledge and comfort since time immemorial. Writing is a gift that must be shared with others and every platform today – from novels and magazines to newspapers, movie scripts and blogs –dependsheavily onthose individuals who bring pages to life. Words matter. They will always matter. So yes, the scope is illimitable.”
- We’ve heard that you love to bake, how did you develop this hobby?
“I come from a family that loves to cook and celebrate good food – my grandmother and my parents are exceptionally talented in this department – so it came naturally to me. I’ve always loved rich, meaningful soul food and often use my family and friends as guinea pigs. Baking for me, is therapeutic and who doesn’t love dessert?”
- What is the one thing that you love baking the most?
“There isn’t just one! I love making the classics – good old chocolate brownies and banana bread. I also enjoy making ravo (it’s a traditional Parsi semolina dessert) on special occasions for the family.J”
- What are the other interests that you have apart from writing and baking?
“As clichéd as it sounds, I love travelling –learning about alternative ways of life, listening to people with different thoughts and ideals and savouring the food they eat. I love exploring the streets and cafés that the locals visit, far from the throngs of tourists – that’s where the real flavour of the city lies. Whether on a lavish or shoestring budget – travel! It’s the best gift you can give yourself. Other interests also include annoying my younger sibling and my adolescent cat; and finding the saltiest memes for my dark, sarcastic humour to snack on.”
- What would you like to suggest to young girls who come from small towns to big cities with their big dreams?
“First rule – Work hard and don’t expect success, reward or respect if you want to take a shortcut to the top. Your patience, perseverance and contribution will be recognised, but be patient. Second rule – Never abandon your confidence and don’t doubt the things you are capable of. You will have many people rooting for you to fail, but block out the noise and just run straight towards your dreams; it’s a pretty good feeling to watch them become a reality.Third rule – don’t get political at work. Never compromise on being good-mannered in any situation – it will take you very far in life and keep you head and shoulders above the rest.”
- Quick Answers in one word or one sentence:
- Your first write up was
Better received than I thought it would be!
- Your first pay check was of
Five thousand rupees! It was a proud moment…
- One interview you will always remember
A truly memorable one was interviewing Donald Trump Jr. Things got very delayed somehow at the shoot and I had to jump into his car to conduct the interview. I was totally out of my comfort zone but he was really easy to talk to – very funny and down-to-earth.
- One person you idolize the most
My parents in equal measure – I wouldn’t be half the person I am without them.
- Your favourite travel destination
- Your hobbies
Binge-watching TV shows and reading about world history. I want to learn a new language too.
- One quote that defines you
“When life gives you lemons, bake a chocolate cake and leave them wondering how you did it!”