When Girls first debuted years ago I was as captivated as many other 20-somethings by the relate-ability of their shenanigans in the first season. By season two, the show went in a direction that made me uncomfortable. Or maybe I had my shit together and was more emotionally stable in my new New York life and the story lines felt irresponsible and gratuitous. But despite the girls’ flaws I was always drawn to Jessa, or Jemima Kirke, the real Jessa.
In the season 5 finale, Jessa and Adam have a huge fight (we knew it was coming), and in the midst of her monologue of why she is such a hateable human, she says, “maybe it’s because I have a big ass and good hair…” and while these powerful words were not the point of her and Adam’s interaction, something about it connected with me. I have long loved Jessa’s unapologetic approach to life even as reckless as it was at times, and because of this character tried to discover as much about Jemima Kirke as possible. (She lives in Brooklyn, is married with two kids, and is a painter.) I don’t want to sound too superficial or silly but I do love Jemima Kirke partly because of her big ass and good hair. Let me explain. In a sea of celebrity same-ness she stands out. Even though she is rarely photographed I’m convinced it’s not because she isn’t around. She’s the inherently cool girl wandering around in a vintage slip dress not seeking the spotlight, but basking in her success as a person with depth and failures and resilience. She appears confident in a way not many women are. She wears and says what she wants (have you read her twitter?) and has this authentic person-ness about her even fewer people in the industry have despite her family history. Her father is Simon Kirke, the former drummer of rock bands Bad Company and Free, and her mom, Lorraine, is a sought after interior designer who also owns Geminola, a vintage boutique in the West Village which is unfortunately soon closing. She could have been someone so completely different given her access to the celebrity, off-spring lifestyle.
While I could fan-girl on and on about my love of this woman, I will confess something more personal. I am in a constant mindset of if I lose ten pounds I will be this or that or a more fully formed person (ironically if there is less of me). I too, have fallen victim to the media’s mind trap of sample size and conventional beauty goals – but Jemima’s realness even if it came from her Girls character spoke to me. Sure, it was otherwise out of context and possibly the only thing ever muttered in the show I have ever related to…but nonetheless it has stuck with me for the last two weeks. I say this because confidence radiates off of her, and who knows if she has ever acknowledged this in her real life, but we’ve seen enough of her body on the show that she isn’t a “Marnie.” And I don’t mean this in a bitchy way, quite the opposite.
Maybe it’s my demographic or blogger life-existence, but I am the target audience for every cleanse, diet, anti-aging product out there promising to make my life as Sakara-glamorous if I eat or don’t eat this superfood or hard-to-pronounce substitute so I can look the way I’ve supposedly always wanted. Don’t get me wrong I fully support a healthy lifestyle and working out, but it’s this persistent myth that somehow my life will be better if I do so. Before this turns into a full-on body image post I will just say this is not about how we look, it’s about how we feel. This is why I find women like Jemima so refreshing. Whether she intended to or not, she has inspired me to embrace exactly who I am at this moment. Obviously there is more to Jessa and Jemima than her body type, and who knows how Jemima struggles in her own life, but from the small glimpses she has given the world through interviews and appearances: how seriously she takes her artist life, her unique process into living a sober life, her reflections on being a mother, how she prefers her very own personal style, her thoughts on feminism, and her general sense of groundedness – she’s flawed and real. And to me nothing is more beautiful.