OMNI founder Justin Gandy asked FIOREME founder Jarquita Brown questions about her childhood, writing, and how she came up with the name FIOREME. Check out our seven-question interview below.
OMNI: Would you mind shining a little light on your childhood and how your environment influenced you to become an entrepreneur and journalist?
FIOREME: Well, I didn’t really grow up around too many writers, or people who even considered writing as a profession, but my English and Theory of Knowledge teacher in high school inspired me to write more. I always knew I wanted to write and even own my own magazine. Every day, my teacher, Morgan Dean would give us a topic to write about in our TOK composition notebook and we would write for about 10 or 15 minutes each day before class began, which made my thought process a lot better and my writing a whole lot better. But I guess when I really decided I wanted to pursue writing and work in the media was at the beginning of my senior year of high school after I competed in the National American Miss Mississippi Pageant. I competed in the Spokesmodel competition and won 1st place making me Mississippi’s Spokesmodel for 2010-2011. Anyways, instead of choosing a speech that was already written, I decided to write my own, and Mr. Dean became like my pageant coach. (I’m sure he’d never pageant coached in his life!) He worked with me every single day, also helping me to get over my shyness. But back to my childhood, I was born in Cleveland, Mississippi, now known as the home of GRAMMY Museum Mississippi. I graduated college in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Broadcasting, and my professional writing career began in August 2016 when I began working as a new reporter at The Bolivar Commercial in my hometown.
OS: What is your biggest fear about writing? Have you overcome it? If not then, how do you plan to conquer this fear?
F: Starting out my biggest fear about writing was using words incorrectly and people finding errors in my work before I put it out there, which I worked on. I’ve learned to be very extra careful. Another fear was me not wanting people to read my work at all. Not even my teachers or even my boss when I became a reporter. I would think to myself, ‘What in the world have I gotten myself into?’ (Laughs). But for me as a writer, and if anyone knows me and my personality, my goal is to have them read my writing in my voice and if they don’t know me, I want them to think they know what my voice sounds like while reading. I want them to see me in my writing. You get what I’m saying? (Laughs). I have overcome that fear though, now I love for everyone to read my work. Constructive criticism is always good, even if you want to hear it or don’t.
OS: How did you develop the name FIOREME? What do flowers and plant life symbolize for you?
F: FIOREME!!! Gosh, I went through so many names before coming up with FIOREME. First I think it was like Luna, and then Joli, and something else! But I like FIOREME. It sticks now. But and so, FIORE means flower in Italian and the ME part is well, me. (Smiles). I ‘ve always loved flowers. They represent life like no other. We grow. Sometimes we wither and are at a standstill for a little while, and then with a little water and some sunshine, we began to grow again. Once we began to grow again, we bloom even more beautifully during the process. That’s what FIOREME is all about. Telling stories of one’s struggles to their success. Those make the greatest life stories. Isaiah 40:8.
OS: Who are some individuals you like to study? What do you like about their style?
F: Shonda Rhimes, Robin Roberts, Barbara Walters, Roland Martin, Tom Brokaw (who I have had the pleasure of interviewing). My degree is in broadcasting so those are some of individuals I’ve studied and fell in love with. I love reading articles from local media outlets such as The Clarion Ledger, Mississippi Today and of course The Bolivar Commercial just to see what their style of writing is like and how I can make mine stand out. Those outlets teach me what to do and what not to do. Newcomers such as Issa Rae and Michaela Coel are such an inspiration to me as well.
OS: What do you see yourself achieving in the year 2042?
F: Baby girl will be like 25 by then and I will be almost 50. I think I’m doing the math correctly. But by then, I see myself achieving everything I’ve ever prayed to achieve within that time. I see wealth and success. FIOREME issue 1000! (Laughs). I’m all about going with the flow of life.
OS: Why do you write? Also, are you interested in other creative fields such as film, visual art or music?
F: I write for my community, my generation and the ones who made a way for me to get where I am today. My only goal now is to get better and to continue to inspire people through my writing. I am most definitely interested in other creative fields. Film for sure. I learned the ends and outs of it while in college, and I plan to get back into it very soon. I’m thankful for the professors I had and even some of my classmates who I’ve learned so much from. I look at the works of John Hughes, John Singleton, Quentin Tarantino, Tyler Perry, Shonda Rhimes, Ava Duvernay and Ryan Murphy to name a few and think to myself, like ‘Yes! One day!’ One day they will be seeing my work!
OS: What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning? If you could improve three of your weaknesses right now, what would they be?
F: 3J (Smiles). 3J motivates me to get out of bed in the morning. I love 3J. I procrastinate quite a bit though. Procrastination is a weakness I would like to improve. I’m also still kind of shy. What’s another weakness? (Shrugs).
I hope FIOREME in some way inspires you to be better. A better creator. A better thinker. A better You. Enjoy.