CREATIVE HEROES: Jade Th’ng

17 04 2016

When I started this series my idea was simple; interview people who were living fully creative lives. I often say our lives make sense in hindsight. That’s especially true when you reflect back on your life as a creative journey. The interviews, so far, have been people looking back on long, adventurous journeys. This interview is someone at the beginning of their adult journey.

jade cover

Jade Th’ng is a talented, smart, beautiful woman in her mid twenties. As a child she preferred crafts to dolls and Office Depot with its endless supply of markers, pens and pencils, to Toys R Us. She would be the last one to finish when working on a group creative project, paying attention to the tiniest details. She was drawn to music. She says it has it own language; one that all musicians—around the world and throughout the centuries—understand. She also always loved the sound of applause. Her audience could be just her parents when 4-year old Jade sang the entire Sound of Music score to keep from going to bed to 17-year old Jade performing an oboe concerto in front of a full theater.

Crafts

Creative projects

As a teen she was still creating; sewing and making jewelry, painting and drawing, baking and decorating cupcakes. She started a jewelry business with her mom called Nekkid Girls Designs. I know all this, because I’m that mom. Both her father and I are graphic designers, so she grew up in a home where creativity and making things were just what we did.

Performing

Always performing

Jade entered college as a music major. She hit a roadblock her sophomore year when she recognized she was not thriving. This future of being a musician did not fill her with passion and her grades suffered. Changing majors was a hard, tear-filled decision. She meandered for a while and it took her 6 years to graduate. She ended up with a liberal arts degree with three seemingly unrelated concentrations; Italian, film, and communication. Her Nana never understood and kept asking when Jade was going to cook her an Italian meal, since she was studying Italian.

jewelry

Jade made her first pair of earrings at nine. She’s still making jewelry.

Learning Italian allowed her to be an au pair in Italy one summer for the only daughter of a pair of doctors. She polished her writing skills with a quirky and funny blog chronicling her adventures called “Twenty-One in Tuscany”. Her jewelry making skills creatively connected her to the strong Italian mother in a way that nothing else did. She also returned home with a wonderful authentic lasagna recipe and her  Bellini’s now make brunch a memorable event. So her Italian did make her a good Italian cook, which pleased her Nana.

Italy

Jade in Italy from a summer as an au pair. She brought a great lasagna and Bellini recipe home.

Student jobs included waiting tables, bartending, and working in production on TV commercial sets. Her sewing skills put her in the wardrobe department and she once made a caveman costume for a small budget commercial. Her attention to detail led her to assisting Louisiana’s top food stylist for several national commercial brands.

In her meandering she took a class that ignited a new passion—screenwriting. She discovered while her classmates were all writing dramas; she had a talent for writing comedy. She once filmed me for a mockumentary to talk about the evils of Comic Sans (my own personal nemesis).

After graduating, she knew she wanted to pursue comedy and set her sights on Chicago. She studied comedians she admired, like Amy Poehler and Tina Fey. What many of these comedians shared was learning comedy and improv in the windy city, Chicago—1000 miles away from the sleepy, southern city she grew up in. So off Jade went last summer, to what is her unofficial graduate school. She’s taking comedy classes at the renowned iO Theater, she’s honing her writing skills, she’s getting her work produced on stage, and she’s waiting tables to pay the bills. She has also found a creative tribe of friends who are creating their own art while starting their own adult lives.

I know one day all her skills will fuse together. It will make sense in hindsight. I don’t know where her journey is going to take her, but I do know that creativity will always be a part of her life. She is making her dreams happen. She is living a fully creative life. That is why Jade, my baby girl, is a creative hero. She will always have my applause.

Click here to watch an extended conversation with Jade (be sure to watch the very end—it’s the best part).

screen shot

Click here to read other CREATIVE HEROES stories

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14 responses

17 04 2016
Pat

What a beautiful tribute to your amazing daughter. She was so lucky to have you for a mom nurturing and then allowing her to pursue her creative passions. Good luck Jade. Hope they are treating you right in the Windy City. Keep those dreams alive.

17 04 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks Pat. I’m very proud of her. I am in awe of her fearlessness.

18 04 2016
Lisha Fink

Lucky, lucky girl, to have a mother who supports her journey. Looking forward to seeing what she’s got.

P.S. I LOVE the earrings on the bottom right. Any chance they’re for sale?

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks Lisha. I

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

I’ll bring what she left at home next weekend. I’m not sure of her inventory, but I’ll find out.

18 04 2016
tani

Jade sounds great! Chicago (always the second city to me) is such a great place for honing the arts!

~pia
http:courtingdestiny.com

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

She is loving Chicago.

18 04 2016
Haralee

She is a great addition to your series. She is living the hindsight factor of time right now. Her world is open and I wish her well!

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks Haralee, I’ll always remember your advice for Jade living through her first Chicago winter. That with today’s fabrics, there’s no reason to be cold.

18 04 2016
Rena McDaniel

She sounds like a truly amazing person, you must be very proud.

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

I am a very proud mama!

18 04 2016
oncealittlegirl

Yay Jade! Chicago is beautiful. She is lucky to have You.

18 04 2016
conniemcleod

Thanks! I’m the one who’s lucky.

10 05 2016
Pennie Nichols

Not sure which pics I like better. Jewelry or drinks in hand! Well done.

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