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Interview with Artist Janis E.

"I hope that I can inspire others to rise up against everything that brings them down and do what they must to set their lives straight and live life fruitfully."

By Cendrine MarrouatPublished 11 months ago 15 min read
Janis E. - Photo courtesy of guest

Today, I am excited to spotlight Janis E., another member of the Vocal community.

Janis E. is a writer, photographer, and dancer who creates content to motivate, inspire, and heal. She has made it her life goal to share her story so that others can learn from her experience and her guidance. Knowing that certain content can trigger anger or resentment in others, she uses the power of her own talents to heal from her own wounds.

Cendrine Marrouat: Hello Janis! How did you become an artist? What came first: dancing, writing, or photography?

Janis E.: I started dancing when I was eight, when my mother managed to get me an audition for a magnet school, Charles R. Drew Elementary. I learned ballet, jazz, and modern dance in the first two to three years.

When I was a 5th grader, with two years of dance already under my belt and a whole new passion for writing developing, I was in full control of my last year of elementary school. For having really good grades, I was offered to join the newly created club, Writer’s Playhouse.

It was when I became truly invested in wanting to write my own story, and maybe someday even publish my own book.

My next chapter began when I graduated elementary.

I was a 6th grader with an eye on becoming one of the best in my class. I learned even more dance types, like Flamenco, Congo, Afro, Pointe, Lyrical, and Belly Dance. By the time I was a 7th grader, I had created a name for myself in school. But it wasn’t until a year later that I truly started embracing all the skills I had gained over the years.

I spent the summer months between 7th and 8th grades practicing fouetté turns. I was determined to go back to school with a whole new skill that no one in my class had. And it was worth it. I landed lots of lead roles in my class, and was able to request new dances. I auditioned for the Nutcracker and was able to dance with professionals. My mother was also able to enroll me in some acting and modelling classes at John Casablancas. It was then that I was exposed to the world of modelling and photography.

At Casablancas, I learned how to dress, walk the runway, do my makeup, and do some acting. Aside from learning all of that, what truly got my attention were the photoshoots. The photographer made an even bigger impression by directing me. Flashes, lenses, lights. It all intrigued me.

My last year of dance was in 9th grade. Then the next two to three years, I focused on taking photos while living in North Carolina. In my senior year, I focused on other things like musical theater.

In college, I took some more dance, film, editing, and script classes. Some time later, after being indecisive on what I wanted to graduate under, I started focusing on my writing, and majored in English & Creative Writing. Though I didn’t get to graduate [by choice], I did take everything I learned and applied it to my current project.

And now, here we are, many years later.

CM: How does the creative process speak to you? And does one artistic field prevail over the others?

JE: Creating dance choreography vs taking photos and editing them vs writing a story or a poem, it’s all so different. And they each require a different thought process, creative spark, and inspiration. I wouldn’t say that one prevails over the other, but rather that they compliment one other somehow.

I dance to elevate my spirit. I write to release my feelings and thoughts. And I take photos to challenge my creative thinking.

When I create choreography, I truly have to connect with the music. I first close my eyes and listen. If the beat takes me to a place of bliss, I kind of just run with it. What usually happens is this. I would start meditating to a playlist, then a song comes on that sways my body to move on its own. And eventually two hours have passed and I’m drenched in sweat and thirsty for water. I literally transcend to a whole new place and simply let the music take me there.

With writing, it works in a similar way, just less active and more creative and free. I love listening to music when I’m creating something. Whether it’s a dance or a story or even taking photos. It kind of helps set the mood, if you know what I mean.

The type of music I listen to when I write dictates my writing tone and style. Piano- and violin-based music influences an emotional writer, while hip-hop/rap beats without lyrics influences a lyrical writer with a rhyming scheme.

But all in all, each writing style always tells a story.

And finally, photography. When I take photos, I usually like to plan ahead of time to know the style I want to challenge myself with. I look up sample photos for ideas and try to recreate it in my own style.

While some selfie-photo sessions are spontaneous, I prefer to plan them out because it allows me to truly work on improving my skills. I like to time myself when I do preparations and breakdowns, usually to help me work on time management for when I actually get clients.

The best part about all three of my passions is that they all tell stories in their own way.

CM: How would you define your style? Is there one piece you wrote that sums up who you are as a writer? Why?

JE: I suppose that I’m the type of writer who likes to transport my readers to where I was when I wrote a story, or at least in the time in which it happened.

My style is not really proper, it’s simply my own style. I like to mix some poetry into some regular old storytelling formats. Occasionally, I add some dialog, but most of the time it’s all about the thought process or the emotions that are felt at the moment.

One key thing to know about my style is that I love connecting my works to one another. It’s like a little scavenger hunt. A way to keep my readers interested and wanting to keep reading. I create my main story, Storming Ice, and then I create small pieces on the side that tell a backstory to the purpose of a specific emotion, thought, or scene.

Within the story, you will find links associated with certain text. These links are the direct connections to these back stories.

I can share one of my blogs that still shows what my writing style is all about. It is a backstory linked to The Prologue of Storming Ice, SelfiePro By Janis E.

This specific blog shows my writing style perfectly. How it transitions from a regular writing style [no rhyming] to a more poetry style writing [slight rhyming]. There is never truly a warning or indication of this transition, it just happens. It is meant to simply flow, and not have any warning, just like life itself.

One last thing about my writing style is that less is more. For example, when I want my readers to truly see and/or feel what I experience, I do less descriptive writing, and just use simple words as sentences. I love doing this because a simple word can have multiple meanings or it can be descriptive enough all by itself.

Embrace. Passion. Love. Heal.

CM: You are the creator of SelfiePro, a project that mixes your passion for photography with selfies. The goal is to create a “story of myself with superpowers”. Would you tell us more about that concept?

JE: Growing up, I realized that I was never good at premeditated actions, like acting, or posing for the purpose of showing an emotion in front of others. I was also not very good at memorizing scripts. I think this comes from the ‘stage fright’ I’ve always had when speaking in front of others. That is why I decided to become a photographer and a writer.

While I do still have the ability to be in front of the camera with SelfiePro, I can do it in the comfort of my own space. Plus I can be the main character, and tell my story—my way.

Creating a character is about creating an image, and what better way to create that image than doing it yourself.

The purpose of SelfiePro is to help others learn how to practice self-love and self-care for the sole purpose of taking selfies. It is a way to get themselves into their characters, and take amazing photos to embrace their awesomeness, their way.

Storming Ice was the surprise project that came to mind when I was going through my own healing process. I figured, well I have all these amazing photos and an idea to write about myself, why not create a story explaining why I took these photos and add some magic to it!

I decided to share my story in the best way that I knew, with my writing and my photography.

I’m hoping that I can inspire others to do the same with their lives. To rise up against everything that brings them down and do what they must to set their lives straight and live life fruitfully.

Photo courtesy of guest

CM: Why do you think this project was needed?

JE: At times, it is hard expressing oneself honestly, without being judged. This goes for everyone.

For me, coming from a Latin/Hispanic background, it came with a lot of expectations, comparisons, judgements, and criticism. I know that my family came from places where love and tenderness were extremely limited, and that always made it difficult for me to express myself without being hurt.

I am a very emotionally sensitive person. Not because I get hurt easily, but because I feel everything. This is where my spiritual side comes from. I am connected to everything!

There was a time when I wanted to commit suicide because I felt so misunderstood, alone, and unloved. I was so down one day I decided that I wanted to end things, and so I prepared a letter for whoever found it. The letter I wrote explained how I felt and what I wanted to do to myself. But whoever found it, read it, crumbled it, and threw it in the trash.

I was crushed, and while I seriously wanted to die, I felt like I had a greater purpose in life. I begged the universe for a way out, and finally life presented an opportunity. This opportunity sent me thousands of miles from my misery, and I was able to focus on my own healing.

I honestly feel that this project is needed now more than ever because life is already hard as it is.

This world is changing. Fast! With social media on the rise, popularity contests becoming a trend, financial crises affecting people’s sanity, high depression, stress, anxiety, and just life issues, we all need some type of reminder of who we are and what we stand for.

SelfiePro is the introduction to an era of self-love and self-care. A way to help oneself boost one's inner glow, self-confidence, and one's ability to heal in many ways—mentally, emotionally, physically, spiritually, and sexually.

CM: The book series “Storming Ice” was born as a result of your SelfiePro project. Several episodes are available on Vocal. Why this title?

JE: The title, well this is simple to explain.

I thought about the title Storming Ice when I was in the 12th grade. It was after living my Bella life in a whole new state with my very own Edward. I lived in North Carolina during my Bella era.

Winter for me was the hardest, not my favorite season because it’s too cold, but the one I enjoyed the most. I enjoyed winter because being from Miami, Florida, it was a new experience. I saw snow, icicles at my window in the mornings, got to cuddle by the fire, and enjoy hot cocoa.

It was the season before a new beginning.

Moving back to Miami after 3 years made me miss the winters. I wished to have the ability to go back again. It was then that I thought about the title. Something powerful, meaningful, and, hopefully, a connection to my own powers in a book that I would someday find time to write.

Storming Ice was born from my true connection to water and my want to be near winter again. And now an inspiration for my growing powers!

CM: Could you share a short extract from the series with us?

JE: Excerpt from Storming Ice - "Chapter 2: Leo"

I reached for the towel rack, only to be reminded that I hadn’t finished folding clothes from the day before.

Unwilling to find my hand towel, I shook my hands in the air, and I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Water droplets from my hands, all of them, floating in the air as if they were diamonds.

My hands, no longer wet, were warm, hot at the palms. But somehow the water droplets were crystallizing.

Crystalline on steroids, gorgeously tantalizing. Barely moving, naturally hypnotizing.

I moved my hands in the air, swaying the diamonds. Slowly, they made sweet sounds as they collided. Tings & pings, like glass harmonizing.

Rainbows appeared, reflected from the floating ice. Tiny colors filled the room, powered by the vibrant sun. I was in a place of bliss and beauty. Hypnotized by the crystal cuties.

A moment in time where everything was frozen. Moving waters. Rainbowed colors. A painted scene all too serene.

Instantly disturbed. A loud boom. The front door, forcefully shut.

I lost focus, and all too soon, was it over. With barely any water damage, I did not hover. Opening the bathroom door, I realized something to be discovered. Leo’s face was in shock.

Did he see what I just saw? But how? No way. He couldn’t have. The door was shut. My mouth opened, and I was about to confess. But then he looked away and just left.

CM: What is one of your quirks that you feel makes you unique among your peers?

JE: I would probably have to say that my unique quirk is being real. I’m not afraid to embarrass myself or be myself even if it means that people call me immature or childish.

I believe that behaving wild, silly, and fun is not childish, but rather a part of you that allows you to enjoy life and live freely.

We all have different personas. Not personalities, but personas. We don’t behave the same way with everyone. We as humans tend to express ourselves through our comfort levels. The more comfortable we are with someone, the more we can be ourselves.

I would rather show people my silly side before my mature side. I believe that showing my true self helps people break down their walls faster, and they get comfortable with me faster. Plus, I have this crazy theory that if people see my true silly side before my mature side, I would have the ability to impress on a grander scale once they finally see my mature side.

So yes, I suppose that is my quirk. Being myself no matter what, and allowing people to meet the real me.

CM: According to you, why is it important to create art that inspires and uplifts others?

JE: I believe that a good adrenaline rush is triggered by inspiration.

I create inspiring pieces, whether they are dances, or photographs, or stories/poems, because I want to inspire myself and people to live life fruitfully by doing what they love. I want people to feel and know that they too have the ability to follow their hearts and create a life that they want.

I want them to be inspired by their own lives and create something amazing out of it.

And like I said, I am a real person. I will not sugarcoat anything when I am having a bad day. I share my stories, my struggles, and my challenges because people need to know that it is normal.

But in the end, I always want to make sure that I share my end results, the masterpiece. Because the end result is the true inspirational work.

If you see my pieces, you will notice that I love adding dramatic, motivational music. It adds a little flare and spice to the everyday drama.

And so, I will continue to work on making this world more positive and inspirational, one masterpiece at a time. Because we all need a little magic in our lives.

CM: What do you want people to learn from your work?

JE: I want people to learn how to live for themselves. If anyone has the ability to make their lives amazing and wondrous, it is them.

One step at a time, and one day at a time.

No goal is ever easy, and no dream is ever easily achieved. With every new accomplishment, there is always a new challenge waiting. That’s just how life is.

Life is like a video game. After each checkpoint of a finished mission or quest or goal, a new level unlocks. And it is up to you whether you want to continue or not.

The great part about our lives is that no one else wields the control, but ourselves.

We get to decide what we want and how we handle things. I know that some cases are a little more complicated than others, but I truly believe that with hope and action, anything is possible.

We all go through challenges, whether it’s work, relationship, family, or self related. But if we are truly unhappy with something in our life, we have the ability to make small changes in our routine to help pave a road for ourselves and lead a fruitful and vibrant life—our way.

And that is what I want to teach through my work. Positively, lovingly, and energetically.

Photo courtesy of guest

CM: What advice would you give to other artists?

JE: Life is hard, but being an artist is even harder.

We are constantly fighting to fit in or stand out. But we must always find a way to be ourselves and add a bit of ourselves in everything that we do. What this means is, add your own magic and your own energy to all of your work.

Don’t create art just for money or for fame. Do it to make an impact—to make change. Find a way to truly inspire with your own energy and love.

Anyone can paint, play an instrument, or write a story. But a true artist can make people feel emotions and inspire them through their masterpieces.

Be that artist that makes people experience something amazing, and nurture it. Because that will keep them coming back for more.

And one last thing, never back down. You will encounter so many challenges and so many people telling you what you can and cannot do. But you must prevail and break through those barriers, in silence.

Never exploit your skills for the benefit of others. Embrace them, challenge them, and shape them into your own. These skills are your powers, and they can never be taken away from you. So be sure to enjoy what you have, and create magic!

In silence you shall be strengthened, and in chaos you shall inspire.

CM: Anything else people should know?

JE: I launched a Mini SelfiePro Course on my site early this year. I started to get more individuals interested in the course in the last few months. So I have decided to really focus on improving the material of the course and making some minor changes.

I will soon be launching the mini course on Udemy, and will offer the full course only through my personal website. The full course will include 1 on 1s for more intimate and private improvement plans, an end of the course surprise gift, an ongoing mentorship, and so much more.

The mini course on Udemy will be launched between October - December 2023. And the full course on my site will be launched on January 1st, 2024, with just enough time to sign up before the official class date in February. Spots will be limited and the booking time will only be available for a limited time as we prepare for the 2024 BYOV Movement!

Be Your Own Valentine <3

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Cendrine Marrouat is a writer, photographer, podcaster, blogger, anthology editor, and the co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms and A Warm Cup of Cozy. She has authored and co-authored more than 40 books, including The Train: A Short Story (2023), In Her Own Words: A Collection of Short Stories & Flashku (2022), After the Fires of Day: Haiku Inspired by Kahlil Gibran & Alphonse de Lamartine (2021), Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku (2020), Walks: A Collection of Haiku (2019-2020), and In the Silence of Words: A Three-Act Play (2018).

Cendrine's work has appeared in many publications. She is the creator of the Sixku, Flashku, Sepigram, and Reminigram; as well as the co-creator of the Kindku, Pareiku, Vardhaku, and Hemingku.

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About the Creator

Cendrine Marrouat

Writer & Author⎜Photographer⎜Artist⎜Co-founder of Auroras & Blossoms / A Warm Mug of Cozy⎜(Co-)creator of literary forms

"The Train: A Short Story" is out!



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  • Ashley Lima11 months ago

    Wonderful interview! I loved learning about dance and its relation to storytelling. The SelfiePro project is also really fascinating. Good stuff

  • Another excellent interview. Would love to see this as a Top Story as Vocal seems to be just including interviews with Vocal Creators as Top stories. This is excellent.

  • Babs Iverson11 months ago

    Another fabulous interview!!! Love Janis E's positive energy!!! Loving it!!!♥️♥️💕

  • Wow, this interview is Terrific 😉💯🎬🍿💜

  • Mariann Carroll11 months ago

    Enjoyed this interview 😊

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