Peak Support Q&A: Jesse Elgene
Meet Jesse – one of our lovely Client Services Associates. She joined Peak Support in July of 2020 after sadly being displaced from both her tourism jobs when the pandemic began. Jesse loves living in New York City because of its energy. She also says that its residents are some of the kindest and most inclusive people she knows. The movie Lars and the Real Girl is her all-time favorite because she considers it one of the most beautifully scored films ever. She also loves how the movie’s story itself displays a community coming together to support someone on a journey they don’t fully understand. This humorous, honest, and engaging woman once performed as a backup singer for the rock band Foreigner – who‘s famous for hits such as “Jukebox Hero” and “I Want to Know What Love Is.“ Read on to get to know Jesse a little more.
Top 5 things that you always have in your purse.
- A notebook
- Disposable camera
- My go-to red lipstick
- A book (regardless of whether I’ll actually end up reading it)
What’s the best life lesson you’ve learned from a book or movie?
A very silly movie called Dinner for Schmucks taught me to see the best in people and never judge anyone too harshly (with the exception of people who negatively impact marginalized communities, of course).
Have you met any famous people?
The first time I went to LA, a friend got me into the premiere and after party of the woman-led Ghostbusters reboot. It was surreal – I met everyone from original Ghostbuster Dan Aykroyd to women in comedy whom I admire like Kristen Wiig, Cecily Strong, and Kate McKinnon.
If you could only eat at one place for an entire year, where would you go?
I’d have to go with The Cheesecake Factory simply for their absurdly expansive menu. (But also their fried macaroni and cheese balls are out of this world.)
My favorite month of the year is _____.
December. I listen to Christmas music year-round, but December is the month others will join in! I love the spirit of celebrating one another and getting sentimental over a warm cup of apple cider.
When was the last time you gave up on something/someone?
When I came out as transgender and began living authentically, there were some friends and family who weren’t very accepting. I’m very fortunate to have a support system of people who love me completely, so I’ve given up on trying to win over certain people’s tolerance – that’s an incredibly low bar. We should all find people who don’t just put up with us, but who celebrate us – especially when living authentically makes no harmful impact on anyone else.
How do you like your potatoes (fried, mashed, boiled, etc.)?
There’s really no wrong way to prepare a potato, but I love nothing more than a loaded baked potato!
Any suggestion for a future holiday that doesn’t exist yet?
Maybe something like Appreciation Day. We all hold such admiration for people in our lives and seldom share it. I’d love a holiday designed to get us talking about the things we love about the people in our lives.
Do you sleep with the lights on or off?
Off! I can’t sleep if there’s too much light.
What’s the worst piece of advice anyone’s ever given you?
A friend in college told me not to transition after I’d confided in her about my gender identity because I was doing well presenting as a man. You can’t let uncertainty dictate your life. I knew what was best for me in my heart and have never looked back. I’ve also never been happier.
If you could open up a shop, what would you call it?
I’d open up a shop as The Illiterate Palm Reader – I don’t know how to read palms but I can give it a try. Plus, I can read people well and can help them stay optimistic, which is at least half the battle.
What has become more difficult as you’ve grown older?
Meal prep. That is a full time job I took for granted as a child. Thanks, ma!
Are you easily frightened by scary movies?
I used to be terrified of scary movies, but that was all based on assumptions. Now that I watch them, I see horror as the best genre for allegories and cautionary tales. A good jump scare can definitely haunt me, though!
If you could have a lifetime supply of something, what would it be?
Tickets! Whether they’re to a comedy show, a Broadway play, or a music festival, I want to forever be consuming and participating in meaningful art.
What is something that most people take for granted?
People take connection for granted! One positive byproduct of the pandemic seems to be people realizing it’s not a given that we can all be together whenever we want. I feel like we can better appreciate human connection now than ever before, and I hope that remains true for years to come.
Check out our previous Q&As below:
Illustration by Justin Teh