What Matters: Jessica Deseo

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Debbie Millman has started a new project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an ongoing effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer 10 identical questions, and submit a decidedly nonprofessional photograph.

Up next: Jessica Deseo, co-creative chief officer at PRINT, partner at Dieline, and faculty at ArtCenter College of Design.

What is the thing you like doing most in the world?

Hanging out with my family and friends. I love spending the day with my daughter, love hosting people in my home, having a BBQ, or just talking the day away with a close friend and wine.

What is the first memory you have of being creative?

I’ve always been creative. I’ve always loved coloring, using scented markers—it was definitely a creative outlet for me at a very young age. The first time I was recognized that I could do something creative was in the fifth grade. Each student was assigned a brand and to design an advertisement. I was assigned The Gas Company, and designed a little flame character with an earth and in outer space. I ended up getting an honorable mention, and my design was printed in the local newspaper. It was a competition with the entire school district. My parents, I remember, didn’t really fully grasp the entire concept of it all, but knew getting printed in the newspaper was pretty cool. That’s when I knew I had creative ideas but didn’t know it would lead at all to my current career.

What is your biggest regret?

My biggest regret is not managing my mental health earlier in life. Really making that a priority for myself. It’s hard to start, and I compare therapy sessions to working out; I don’t look forward to them but once I’ve completed a session with my therapist I feel so much better, similar to a good workout session. The results have also been so positive and have impacted every aspect of my life.

How have you gotten over heartbreak?

Time is the only thing that helps me get over heartbreak. And tequila. Time and tequila.

What makes you cry?

I think the question is, what doesn’t make me cry? I’m a sensitive soul and I cry at everything.

How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?

It lasts forever, just in different magnitudes. When you first accomplish something, the impact is immediate and the natural dopamine gives you that wonderful sense of joy in your accomplishment. When I look back at big career or personal accomplishments, I still get that sense of joy; it just hits different.

Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?

I don’t know, I grew up Jehovah’s Witness and it really messed my thinking on what the afterlife is. I truly don’t know. I want to believe that it is something positive.

What do you hate most about yourself?

I sometimes speak my mind too much. My opinion sometimes is said unsolicited. I am working on it though. Refer to question No. 3 and my answer on how I am trying to get that in check.

What do you love most about yourself?

I love that I don’t take myself too seriously. I can laugh at myself and really do believe that is the foundation of my personality. Being able to laugh at myself has minimized my ego, it makes me open up to admitting and not knowing it all, and there is truly nothing better than meeting someone else who also doesn’t take themselves too seriously.

What is your absolute favorite meal?

My mom, sister and aunt’s Mexican meals. Anything they make I just absolutely love. Pozole, tamales, Mexican rice, sopa de fideo, beans, salsas—anything my Mexican family makes I absolutely devour. I also just love home-cooked Mexican food.