Photo:  Seher Sikandar

Jahan Mantin

Brooklyn | New York

Co-founder of Project Inkblot and Creator/Executive Producer of Fit the Description,

WHAT SHE DOES FOR LOVE: I love the work I do and it feels good to say that. It has taken me a long time to arrive at that point. I also love to travel; it provides a sense of freedom and adventure that I am addicted to. Yoga, cooking, reading, being silly/laughter, dancing, nourishing and ample time with my husband/friends/family for sure.

A LADY SHE ADMIRES: Nita Baum is a mentor, entrepreneur, dear friend, sister. She is one of the most generous, nonjudgemental, open, loving, wise and compassionate people I know. She is the person you can call at 4am with some bullshit you're dealing with and she'll just listen patiently and say exactly what you need to hear.

RECOMMENDATIONS IN HER CITY: Stanton Sanctuary on the Lower East Side: It's a small, down-to-earth yoga studio with great teachers and a very sweet community. I would also say Lulu Vintage clothing in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn. They have an eclectic mix, it's Black woman-owned and the owner is super friendly, helpful and bubbly.

READING RECOMMENDATIONS: Currently reading Tell Me How Long the Train Has Been Gone by James Baldwin, AFAR Magazine (great travel mag).

Photos by Seher Sikander

What did being a part of the TFTT project mean to you?

It was exciting! It meant that I, along with the other women who participated, would have an opportunity to be seen and be heard. It meant that the nuances of being a Black woman in America would be shared in a creative and inclusive way. 

What advice would you give to women who are struggling to find their seat that the table?

I think if you're struggling to find your seat at the table, it's a question of not feeling like you belong, or that your self-worth is in question. There's no quick fix to that; that's a part of the human experience. We all deal with that, on some level and in some capacity. So I would say a balance of staying in action, taking risks and doing what is uncomfortable for you is a surefire way to grow and evolve, to prove your doubts wrong. And of course, being around good people - people who energize you, people who you support and love, and who do the same for you - makes all of the difference. 

What is one thing you do every morning/night that makes your day feel complete?

My husband and I say: "I love you" before we part in the morning. It starts the day off right.

When and/or where do you feel most energized?

Traveling, exploring a new place. I feel like a kid, open and in awe of everything around me. I also feel energized working through a new idea with my dear friend and business partner; the moment we come upon a new idea for a workshop we're facilitating or a new activity to test out. It gets us amped! Summertime gives me a lot of energy as well - it's my favorite season. The energy is unmatched.

What is your favorite thing about your workspace?

Photo:  Seher Sikandar

It's chill, open, accepting and unpretentious. Kind of a "come-as-you-are" vibe.

What is one challenge in your job/day? And what is one thing you look forward to?

A challenge is the common entrepreneurial "feast or famine" mentality and constantly making sure you're maintaining a healthy flow of work and income. I look forward to the flexibility of being an entrepreneur. It's a challenging road to be on, but it's also so rewarding to create your own schedule, to choose who you work with, to create what you do, to break through obstacles.

What keeps you focused or inspired?

Balancing out technology and content overload with time without technology - be it alone or with friends and family. At the end of the day, I'm clear on what really matters in life. Those sweet moments with the people I love keep me on track.

What do you do or who do you turn to when you need creative inspiration?

I find tuning out is vital to creative inspiration, that may be writing or reading, taking a walk, people watching, getting away from the city elements and being in nature. Something that [helps] my mind begin to slow down. 

How do you build yourself up after self-doubt or adversity?

I talk to someone I trust and who I value. When I hear myself speak out what I'm feeling fearful, doubtful or insecure about, I can distance myself from it and gain some clarity.

What is a challenge you've overcome, personally or professionally, to get to where you are today?

Professionally, it's feeling like "who am I to do xyz" or "why would anyone listen to what I have to say about blah, blah, blah" just regular human feelings of insecurity and self-worth. I'm much more comfortable taking risks without being so attached to the result. I'm more confident in my abilities. I'm clear on what I bring to the table. That's come through practice and taking action and failing and trying again and again and again...and having a sense of humor about all of it!

What has been your biggest sacrifice?

Missing family or friend outings because of work commitments can sometimes cause me to feel guilty or sad. A lot of that is because I lost my father several years ago to cancer. We were very close. It brought my family even closer together and I place a lot of value on time with them. I always want more quality time with friends and family. I know that that time is sacred.

What does success mean to you?

It means being curious and joyful about the process as opposed to the end result. I used to be so focused on the goal and it's a fool's journey. It never has provided me with true fulfillment. I find that focusing on the process allows me to reach goals in a more nourishing and fulfilling way. [It's] definitely a process though - our culture is heavily focused on the allure of the end result - so I consistently fall back into that trap. I have to remind myself that there is no end, just constant evolution.

What makes 'It' "worth it"? Why do you do what you do?

'Cause I only have this life, so why not try?

Follow her on Instagram:  @shoshannarose1