( ENSPIRE Community Spotlight ) Jordan Emanuel Raises Awareness Around Mental Health Stigma
ENSPIRE Contributor: Spencer Hatcher
Yesterday marked the beginning of Mental Illness Awareness Week (MIAW), a period dedicated to raising awareness and educating about mental illness, fighting the stigma, and providing support. In honor of this year’s MIAW, model and humanitarian Jordan Emanuel is using her platform to replace stigma with hope, sharing her struggle and shedding light on the complexities of mental illness. ENSPIRE had the opportunity to interview Emanuel, to discuss this timely topic and speak out on her journey with mental health.
Emanuel, who holds prestigious titles including Playboy’s 2019 Playmate of the Year and Miss Black America New York 2018, has first-hand experience with both anxiety and depression. Due to her struggles, she has become passionate about bringing attention to and creating mental health programs geared towards assisting others in need. Emanuel also serves as an advocate for the multi-dimensional woman who can be comfortable in their sexuality while simultaneously being a business-minded entrepreneur. Especially this year, with an increased number of Americans struggling with mental health conditions in the global pandemic, Emanuel is determined to use her platform to educate, empower, and spark positive changes in society.
Why is it important for you to spread awareness about destigmatizing mental illness?
Life is short. People should be able to seek the help they need to make this life as easy and tolerable, and enjoyable as possible without being shamed or judged about it.
What do you want people to learn from your journey dealing with mental health?
I really just want people to feel inspired to live their best mentally healthy lives. And if they’ve read or seen something I’ve said or done that inspires them to do, so that’s exactly what I strive for. I’m in your corner, and I hope that resonates with even just one person feeling more open or comfortable with getting some extra help with things they’re struggling with.
Being the Co-Founder of Women with Voices, your main initiatives are mental health awareness and sexual education and liberation. What inspired you to combine these two topics?
They are two separate initiatives; they just happen to be two topics I’m passionate about. I’ve dealt with anxiety and depression for over 10 years, so I want to help give people better access to resources than what I had, and I also want them to feel okay with getting help if they need it. As far as sexual education and liberation I was in a program called Teen Pep/Hi Tops, and as seniors in high school, we went to local high schools and middle schools to educate kids about gender, relationships, our bodies, and sex. I wanted to implement a similar program for adult women and take it a step further to be proud and comfortable within our bodies, what they look like, and how we use them.
What inspired you to create Women with Voices, and what does your role in the company consist of?
WWV was founded by my dear friend Cloe Luv. When I met her, I told her I wanted to be apart of the organization, and we went from there. I’m a co-founder, but I’d say my role is to create programming around the nonprofit as a whole, but specifically my initiatives and how they can bring even more women together.
After completing her degrees in broadcast journalism, music business, and art history from the University of Miami, Emanuel has gone on to contribute to numerous outlets under media powerhouses Cox Media Group and Moguldom Media Group. In addition, Emanuel has starred in campaigns for top brands such as Cover Girl, Rimmel London, and American Express, also known in the entertainment space as a famed DJ, having hosted top industry events.
Emanuel has a philanthropic spirit and uplifting energy, both leading to her position as co-founder of women’s non-profit organization, Women With Voices. Within this organization, she focuses on two main initiatives—mental health awareness and
sexual education and liberation.
As a woman who has the first-hand experience with depression and anxiety, Jordan is passionate about bringing attention to and creating mental health programs geared to assist those with their struggles. In addition, she serves as an advocate for the multi-dimensional woman who can be comfortable in their sexuality while simultaneously being a businesswoman.