Imagine being deemed a beauty guru by thousands, but feeling ugly on the inside. 

For years, that’s what social media sensation Jaz Jackson said she grappled with while creating content for her YouTube channel, initially dedicated to hairstyling guidance, makeup tips, and OOTDs (outfits of the day). Nearly a decade after uploading her first video, she’d managed to amass more than 100 thousand followers on the platform. 

Despite the online success, Jackson said she was deeply depressed, which dovetailed into weight gain. 

“The storyline that goes along with being that type of influencer, whether it is true or not, is that this individual lives a perfect life,” Jackson explained. “The hair is perfect, the makeup is ideal, and all these things. And for me, that was who I was representing in front of the camera. But it was a very different story when the camera was off. I was actually battling a bout of depression toward the end of my YouTube career in 2017 and it was very difficult for me to create beauty content because quite frankly, I didn’t feel very beautiful at that time.”

She shared that although she was formally diagnosed with depression in 2012 at the start of her influencer career, it wasn’t until 2016 that it became crippling. 

“I was told by my doctor that I could take medication for the depression, but I didn’t like the way they made me feel,” she shared. “So when she suggested a holistic approach, I dove in headfirst.” 

She said shortly after that conversation with her physician, she began focusing more attention on consuming a well-rounded diet, creating a fitness regimen, intentional meditation, and daily journaling.  

While on the fitness journey, she decided to take a step back from YouTube, which was a huge hit to her finances. 

“While working on wellness, the YouTube side of things was slowing down, and I no longer had the same desire to be in front of the camera in that way anymore,” she explained. “But obviously, I knew I needed to pay my bills. I needed to find a way to earn money to continue doing the things that were helping me. Simultaneously, while thinking about this, I’m working out religiously now and wearing these workout belts in the gym–and I liked some of them. They’re not all bad, of course, but there were some things about them I wanted to change. And quite honestly, it was just a design shift to ensure the waist trainer was something I  could comfortably wear in the gym,” she said, pointing out that the workout belts she desired would cover the entire midsection while staying in place during high physical activity. 

“That is really how this brand was birthed,” she said.  

She launched the company in 2017 with the goal of making just $5,000 per month to replace the income she made on YouTube. 

To date, the company’s revenue is in the 7 figure range.  

“Right before J Sculpt, there was a certain point I had to pawn some of my living room furniture to cover living expenses for my son and me,” she shared with Essence. 

Oh, how far she’s come. 

The waist trainers have been so successful that Jackson recently expanded the brand to offer size-inclusive apparel that caters to bodies of all shapes. Inspired by her Chicago roots, each clothing item is named after an iconic neighborhood in the Windy City. 

“Initially my goal was to just survive, not live,” she said. “Now I’m living beyond my wildest dreams and it feels really good.”