S1:E6 - Jean Munson is In The Studio With Calamity Jane
In The Studio with Calamity Jane is a show highlighting the incredible women of Las Vegas!
Jean works with young girls to get them interested in comics, while building their self esteem. She is also the co-founder of GRRLS - Girls Reaching Radical Levels of Success. Her story will inspire you, and I absolutely loved her favorite word.
If you're an amazing woman in Las Vegas (or know one), fill out the form for a chance to be In the Studio with Calamity Jane!
Hello, welcome to another episode of In The Studio With Calamity Jane. My name is Jodi, also known as Calamity Jane.
Our purpose with this series is to highlight amazing women in our community, and give them the spotlight for a moment.
Joining me today is Jean Munson from Plot Twist Publishing. Welcome to the show, Jean.
[Jean]: Thank you so much for having me.
Why don't you tell us a little bit about Plot Twist Publishing?
Plot Twist Publishing is a small comics indie press based out of Las Vegas, and we produce comics and comic zines and comic workshops for the community by the community.
[Jodi]: That sounds really fantastic. Now you also co-founded a non-profit as well, correct?
[Jean]: Yes, so last year we founded GRRLS, which is Girls Reaching Radical Levels of Success. And we produce small workshops that are free to the community to help empower young girls.
[Jodi}: What ages would be best for your workshops?
[Jean]: So we start from nine and up, but some of our workshops like self defense we have younger 20 years old or in their mid to late 40s.
[Jodi}: That sounds amazing!
How did you come to start in this field?
So I have been reading comics my whole life and also not really paying attention in class my whole life so I was always doodling, and I was trying to be a high school teacher by the time I finished college and that didn't work out, I didn't get the job.
So instead I decided to really pursue being a cartoonist. I tried to get into art school, got rejected, took private art lessons and excelled at that and eventually just took the risk of making my own comic. Which was a slow turn into being a successful comic about depression and being a teen.
It doesn't sound like you were necessarily an overnight success, but what do you feel makes you successful?
I think what makes me really successful is the fact that I can still do things pretty confidently and genuinely in terms of talking to different populations of women, because I never wanna be so famous that it comes from an ingenuine place.
So I think as long as I kind of keep that identify of not just like humble, but real and on the surface and kind of colloquial in that sense. I think that's what makes me successful, because I'll always be able to connect with people on a real level.
[Jodi} Okay, connection is so important.
What one piece of advice would you give to maybe a young girl watching this or an upcoming entrepreneur who's maybe just getting started?
I think one piece of advice I would give is to keep practicing and to keep putting yourself out there. All of us will have critics and trolls, especially in this kind of year in 2018, but I think that's what gives you tougher skin. And to really find and carve out your special skill sets. So I think to keep going and then you'll find your real supporters and that will help you become better at your craft. But other than that, just practice and persistence.
And now, the famous questionnaire that was asked for 26 years by the great Bernard Pivot and made famous on In The Actors Studio:
What is your favorite word?
My favorite word is vagina, which is really hard for people to say.
I think throughout my entire life, and I think a lot of people have this in common, is taking ownership of that word. Even at 30 as much as I, as young as I can remember adopting the word, is that people exploit it all the time or misuse it. And as a woman I wanna take ownership and explore it and be proud of it and all these things.
So that's my favorite word, because I feel like if more of us took ownership and pride in who we are, we'll create more solidarity.
[Jodi} Power to the vagina!
What is your least favorite word?
So my least favorite word is quitting, 'cause I did it a lot as a teen. I wanted to quit my whole life and I am just so glad I didn't.
As hard as it is to say and being able to sit here and say that, but I think that's my least favorite word because it had been my favorite word as a teen thinking that that's all that I am.
So 15 years more, it's behind me and I hope it stays there because each day is just kind of like well this will resurface again and I don't want it to.
[Jodi} Well I am very glad that you didn't quit either and that you could be with us today.
What turns you on creatively, emotionally, or spiritually?
So this is something I learned this week. Also being women's history month, I think that women really inspire me in creative ways, and spiritually because I see that solidarity.
I'll be sitting somewhere and we'll easily talk about how sexism happens in our life and how people don't believe us, or how we cut down ourselves every day because of a lack of self care, and it's just like being around women or communities of women helps bring my own self esteem out of those kind of spaces that just wanna destroy me.
So I think it's women, I'm gonna say that anyone identifying as a woman, really helps me get through all, everything I do, non-profit, business, my day job. It's that entity the most.
[Jodi}: I absolutely agree, I believe that as women we are a lot stronger when we stick together and build each other up.
What turns you off?
I think what turns me off is when people exploit women, I know that's like the other end of the spectrum.
But you know, like when producing work and just seeing random lesbian scene, not to empower women who love that way, but like just basic spectacle. That really makes me mad because it's just like there are tons of women fighting every day to fight for representation or you know, to empower each other.
And I just think ingenuineness like that placed in like comic literacy that I'm tryin' to do, it just kinda really upsets me. But it's like there's always more work to do in terms of pushing that kind of agenda.
[Jodi]: Yeah, we have come a long way but we have a long way to go.
What is your favorite curse word?
So that's really tough. I don't play favorites with that because I curse like a sailor. But I definitely, I can't even think of a good one because I'm like I definitely, and then the rolodex in my mind is like no you say them all.
What sound or noise do you love?
So the sound and noise that I love the most is like the soon epiphany, right?
When I'm doing these workshops it's like ahhhhh, you know? And it just gets me pumped because it's like I said earlier, I am talking from a genuine place, all that hustle, all that suffering has made this bridge to these students, you know? And I am, that's the sound of real success for me and so that's the one that I love the most.
What sound or noise do you hate?
So the sound that I hate the most are silent farts.
Because it's just like you know, you could've come with a warning. And so it like really kills me you know, like smell wise and also it's like, it is silent but deadly.
What profession, other than your own, would you like to attempt?
I think someday I'd like to be a politician. I'd really like to run for politics. And I think that because I'm a cartoonist that I would have a campaign that would not put my mugshot on it but like you know, like a political cartoon and that would be able to get my platform out but also make people think. And I was even thinking if I had lost that at least these statements would still exist to me. So I hope someday maybe three five years or sooner, I would run for office.
[Jodi]: Well, I'd vote for you!
What profession would you not like to do, like ever?
So I don't think I'd ever be a lawyer. Which is kinda terrible because most lawyers become politicians but, and I respect what they do, but it was already really hard with the discipline in a classroom of learning, like politics, government and law. So that's almost like a terrible platform, like I don't know the law but I wanna be a politician so. But I don't think I could have the stomach to be a lawyer.
If Heaven exists what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
I think that I'd want God to fist bump me for surviving. Many times I'm just like why am I here, what am I doing, I've achieved nothing, and I think a lot of people go through that.
And I just feel like when I'm at the very end, God's like I told ya so, even though I totally hate that saying but I think like maybe last this long to really make not an impact for people but for me.
[Jodi]: Thanks for being on the show today, Jean.
[Jean]: Thank you Jodi, I feel so honored to be here.
Thank you for watching. Join us for the next edition of In the Studio with Calamity Jane, where we put another amazing woman from Las Vegas in the spotlight. Subscribe to our YouTube channel, so you don't miss an episode!