Jenn Harper lives each day with intention and compassion, with the understanding that because she lives in integrity with her personal wellness, she now inspires thousands of young Indigenous women to do the same. As you will soon learn, Jenn doesn’t take this lightly. In any way. Today’s interview with Jenn begins and ends with one question: What does being a changemaker mean to you?
Jenn Harper: I got sober from alcoholism at 38 years old because I started to love myself. For real.
It all stemmed from generational trauma. My grandparents didn’t have a foundation of love, and they passed their trauma on to my father, who passed it on to me. Shame causes anger. And anger controlled my life in my 20s and early 30s. In my mid 30s I started to think about all of this. About how I didn’t start with a solid foundation of love, so I’d have to create one. So I spent the next six years looking internally, battling alcoholism and creating a new narrative for my family.
Changemaking starts within each of us.
Young Indigenous women want to be successful. Becoming a changemaker happens individually. To be an example, you must live it. It’s like — we have to change the way we think about ourselves. We have to really love ourselves. Then just let go and realize it’s a process. Some of us figure it out at 20 (years old). Others at 40. It’s a different time frame for all of us.
It’s so important to stop and notice. When you’re having a bad day, or something is bugging you, ask: Why is this bothering me?
Go a little deeper.
Jenn Harper’s beauty brand, Cheekbone Beauty, can be found at Cheekbone Beauty.
Contributed by Rosie Paulyk
“You don’t have to do everything alone. In fact, you’re not alone. There are a bunch of people who care about you deeply; you might not even know who they are yet. But they’re there, accessible, and want to see you thrive in the world. You are a contribution and you’ll continue to be a contribution. Just be patient.”
These are the words Indigenous law school graduate Harpreet Ahuja would tell her 12 year old self. Years later, she’s moments away from becoming a lawyer and a challenger. I could share more about this fearless Indigenous woman changemaker (talking with her on Zoom was a joy -- highly recommend!), but her words hold great wisdom -- colouring these pages with resilience and courage. And so, without further delay, here is our first interview together!