Los Angeles, California (The Hollywood Times) 10/10/2020 – 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 own struggle and shedding light on the complexities of mental illness.
You have titles including Playboy’s 2019 Playmate of the Year and Miss Black America New York. Share your backstory.
Neither of these titles were ones I ever planned or thought I would get. When I started working with Playboy, it was because I had applied to be a bunny (waitress) at the club they had opened in NYC. When they asked me to pose for the magazine as Playmate of the Month and later again for Playmate of the Year, it was a complete yet pleasant surprise. As far as Miss Black America, I never considered myself a pageant girl, in truth, I still don’t, but being around so many Black amazing women who I consider family now made stepping out of my comfort zone all the more worth it.
This is Mental Illness Awareness Week. (MIAW) Share some of your struggles.
I’ve always been an anxious person, just a naturally more nervous person, but the anxiety definitely peaked into full depression after the death of my mother in 2009. Struggling with depression during my college years definitely left me isolated and feeling alone throughout my first three years of school, it wasn’t until my junior year when I finally felt up to making new friends and meeting people.
How are you using your platform to raise awareness about education and fighting the stigma of mental illness?
In the non-profit I co-founded, “Women with Voices”, we each have initiatives we focus on and one of mine is mental health awareness and coping mechanisms. It was really important to me to be able to provide a safe place for people to be open about their struggles in addition to giving them different ways to deal with everything in a way that they may not have considered before.
Where do you draw your strength from?
Ironically, I don’t think of myself as strong, I just think that I survive day to day and strive towards making every day better than the last. But I have great support from my friends and family.
What do you want people to know about mental illness?
I want people to understand that although mental illness is one that’s invisible, it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist and that people you know aren’t suffering in silence, or maybe not even silence just in ways you may not associate with as struggling. You simply never know what someone is going through so people should always be aware of that and treat people with genuine kindness and respect.
Tell us about your non-profit, “Women with Voices,” and how you are helping others.
“Women with Voices” is a women’s empowerment non-profit based in Brooklyn, NY. Our activities are broken down into our initiatives which are the Fempreneurship & Financial Literacy initiative, Immigration Initiative, The Family Initiative, and my specific focuses which are the Sexual Liberation Initiative and Mental Health Initiative. Within each of these initiatives are workshops, networking, and mentorship programs for women of all backgrounds and I think that’s what makes us unique. There aren’t any qualifying factors based on race, financial status, marital status because the focus is and should be just on the magic that happens when women come together and grow together. We love having members from all walks of life and you can find membership details on our website https://www.womenwithvoices.info/