Written by Isabella Margot
Conversing with Jessica Henderson is nothing short of magical. Her contagious laughter and the modulation of her silvery voice make me wonder if this is what it would feel like to sit across the table from a young Terry Gross as she recounts artfully hacking through the jungles of Belize. This is Henderson in Belize we're talking about, by the way, not Gross. That’s right. Before this graceful and controlled lawyer worked at Sony ATV—one of the world’s top music publishing companies—she received her undergraduate degree from Boston University’s top ranked School of Archeology. This is an achievement she owes to a fascination with Atlantis that never quite left her as a child.
It’s stories like these, with antidotes about her machete wielding abilities, that lend credence to the thought-provoking and soul-shaking words of wisdom Henderson drops as if they were every-day tidbits about the weather. But perhaps that is just a part of the enchantment that is Henderson. She is, after all, a witness to her own counsel. Somewhere between mentions of her achievements—starring in music videos, singing in a cover band, attending seminary part-time—and insights into her own personal trials—she lost her youngest brother this year, was robbed at gunpoint, and has struggled to remain in Nashville, Henderson’s inspirational advice takes on an air of achievability.
“Seventeen year old me wouldn’t have the capacity to realize you can push through those terrible things that happen to you; but seeing me now she would know it is possible.”
This young woman has an aptitude for articulation and a wealth of experience that belies her years. There’s an approachability about her eyes and her smile which draws you in and makes you believe her without needing to understand why. And here-in lies the heart of the matter: just hearing what Jessica Henderson has to say will shoot a flaming arrow straight at that small spark inside of you that believes you really do have what it takes to achieve your most impossible dreams.
“I think, sometimes, you do have to mourn dreams that are lost and you do have to take time to despair; but I think [you should be] persistent and [get] back up if you have a vision or a goal that hasn’t changed. [If you have a vision or a goal that hasn’t changed,] then I think you’re supposed to go for that and to push through any obstacles or any fall backs that you have and keep being persistent.”
Even after just a short meeting, one thing is clear: persistence and intentionality are why Henderson is in Nashville both living and pursuing her dreams. Every move she makes has meaning behind it. From her education and employment choices all the way down to her hand gestures this woman has ‘on purpose’ written all over her. All roads lead to the common goal. She is beautiful in her mastery of who she is. Here is a woman who knows herself, and knows herself well.
“Beauty to me is when someone or something becomes fully what they’re intended to be. I think we’ve all seen people in our lives who are in their pocket: [people] doing what they’re gifted at or what they love and out of that comes an internal brilliance and radiance that comes to the surface. And you see [that brilliance] because they’re loving it and they’re enjoying it. A part of that is knowing who you truly are.”
But even if she seems like she’s in her pocket to you, just wait—this woman isn’t finished dreaming just yet. I get the impression Henderson’s wheels are always turning, always finding ways to link more roads together to build the future of her dreams.
“You just never know what seed is going to take, so keep sowing into relationships. [...] Two or three or ten years down the line that seed that you sowed could blossom.”
Stylist: Elliott Sikes Taylor
Photographer: Ashtin Paige
Written by: Isabella Margot
Makeup Artist + Hairstylist: Hayley Bidez
Location: Nashville, Tennessee