June / Jade
Name: Jade Merritt
Lives in: Atlanta, GA
Alma mater: Ohio University
Studied: Media Arts and Studies
Takes her coffee: Black
Last books read: N0S4A2 by Joe Hill
Works at: The Weather Channel as a Producer
Responsible for: At work, managing field teams, booking guests, and social media accounts. In life, her dog Maggie and her own sanity.
SIB: Most people credit the director for the creation of a project, yet it’s the producer that orchestrates everything! What is your favorite part of producing?
JM: I love the control of it honestly! I like coordinating multiple parties and bringing them all together into a project. Especially a content package. It’s creative and logical which plays to both aspects of my personality.
SIB: Fickle weather means you have to be ready at any time to cover a story - or jump in a plane! What helps you stay prepared?
JM: A good attitude honestly. Sometimes it’s super frustrating that I have to drop plans at the drop of a hat, but I get to see the world in such a weird way. I always see communities at their most resilient. I get to see people helping other people and am welcomed into these communities in a way that outsiders typically aren’t. We’re there to help and we’re there to spread the word. I have met some of the best people in these towns. I also always keep a bag packed under my bed. It’s filled with the season’s clothes and gear, plus plastic ziplock baggies and batteries.
JM: It was a total dream! One, I am a huge space geek. One of my favorite things about working at the Weather Channel is that we also explore space weather. I even got to chase the Aurora Borealis for five days in 2018! Alaska is amazing, by the way.
^chasing the northern lights in alaska
^soaking it all in at Chena Hot Springs
Getting to be at Kennedy Space Center for NASA’s birthday and for the First Man Media Junket was incredible. Ryan Gosling is a very good cast for Neil Armstrong. Damien Chazelle (First Man director) was also incredible! I tried to get Ryan to trade jackets with me, but TWC logos are clearly not as cool as NASA ones.
SIB: The media field is home to many gifted, hardworking men and women! What do you bring to the table as a woman, and also as an individual?
JM: I am well-rounded and have worked hard to be that way. I can shoot, edit, produce and design sound. It makes my job incredibly easy for me. I can fill in for any task in the field when needed and also make a good one-woman band.
SIB: You and your friends love to bar hop! What’s your secret to doing so without getting smashfaced? Also, what's your drink of choice?
JM: Girl, take an UBER. Haha!! I typically only have one or two out at the bar because I prefer to spend money on other things rather than expensive drinks, so I’m also willing to be the designated driver. My favorite drink is definitely an Old Fashioned, or just some bourbon neat!
SIB: Atlanta offers an endless selection of concerts. What’s the best show you’ve seen so far? Any tips for getting great deals on tickets?
JM: Oooh, this is a tough one. The one that sticks out for me is The Shins at the Roxy last year. It was just an incredible show and I’ve loved The Shins since I was in high school. I actually buy tickets really really close to the show date! Venues will release more tickets typically discounted to try to fill the house!
^from jade's seat at the shins' concert
SIB: You and your roommates are super close, but you all have different schedules. How do you stay connected despite passing each other in the hall every day?
JM: I feel like our relationships work really well that way! We don’t see each other so often that we get on each others' nerves, haha! Brian and I typically try to catch movies or get midnight coffee and cheesecake when we can. Jen and I have nights when we just hang out in the living room and watch re-runs of Parks and Rec or Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
SIB: You met your furry person in unusual circumstances! How Maggie come into your life?
JM: I got Maggie from one of our meteorologists at The Weather Channel. He sent an email out explaining her situation and the photo literally made me cry. It wasn’t a great time to get a dog, but at that moment it felt like now or never. She was four years-old, house trained, and already so loving. Now she’s eight and I feel like she’s always been a part of my life!
^ jade and her adopted pupper, maggie
SIB: You eat 5ks for breakfast. What’s your favorite cause you’ve run for?
SIB: In season four of The Office (USA), Michael Scott hits his employee, Meredith, with his car, leading to the discovery that she has rabies and prompting Michael to launch a 5k for rabies awareness. If the "Michael Scott's Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure" was real, would you participate?
JM: UM YES OF COURSE. Sign me up, I want that T-shirt. I’d definitely beat Toby.
SIB: When did you discover you were hypothyroid? How have you learned to work with that to care for your body?
JM: Five years ago this month actually! I watch what I eat constantly and exercise as much as I can. Running and kickboxing are my favorite activities and I recently just started rock climbing a little. It’s hard and kicks my butt. It has been a learning curve and interesting to discover all of the things that actually affect your thyroid.
SIB: Short hair can be mistaken for a tough heart. Have people misjudged you because of your cool girl look?
JM: Some people have told me that they think I’m intimidating and then when they get to know me I’m so sweet! I think it’s my face honestly, haha! I love my short hair! It’s easy, so soft, and so healthy! I also like to dye it wayyy too much, so it’s been nice having my natural hair color recently.
SIB: Like many offscreen women in media, the long hours and fluctuating schedule mean you rarely wear makeup to work. How has that affected your self-confidence - and your complexion??
JM: It has been so good for it! I wear foundation pretty regularly and I’ve finally found one that doesn’t clog my pores. When I do wear make-up, people always comment on it and man, that’s a fun confidence boost! I like not wearing heavy make-up though. Brings out my natural beauty.
SIB: You have many glorious tattoos! What stories do they tell?
JM: I have ten now! I actually got one AFTER our photoshoot. Each one has a great story, but I’ll give you my favorites.
My cross tattoo is very special to me. I am not religious. I love everyone and think that religion is so important, it’s just not something that I ever found naturally. But my aunt was. The day she died, my brother was an emotional mess, because she had wanted him to give her a tattoo, but he was so worried about her health that he was nervous. So I agreed to let him tattoo me in my old bedroom at home after the funeral. I got the cross for her.
I just recently got the words Be Here Now on my wrist. I’ve been reading a lot about anxiety and what’s really causing it. Typically it’s this constant stress about not knowing what the future holds for me, whether that be relationships or work. So I’ve been embracing this “live in the moment” attitude and Be Here Now is how philosopher Ram Dass describes his mantra. I want to embrace the awareness that inhabits my body and treat it with respect and just be.
Then we have the terrarium. I got the lightbulb to signify ideas and turned it into a terrarium to show that creativity is sometimes wild and doesn’t fit neatly into a box. I added a bee, because pollinators are so cool. You can thank every third bite of food to a pollinator! I also got this one to cover some scars I had. It’s rare, but sometimes my anxiety attacks get a bit out of control and I’ve self-harmed. It’s been a while, but this tattoo was a good way for me to move past past experiences and harness creativity to create new, healthy ones.
SIB: While some young women struggle to grow into healthy relationships with their parents, you’ve maintained a strong bond with yours over the years. What’s the best advice they’ve given you?
JM: Ah, I love my parents. My parents were very, very young when I came into this world and ya know, sometimes growing up they weren’t very good at it. But they have really grown into incredible people and I am who I am because of how they raised me. Because they’re young, we kind of get each other. There isn’t a big generational gap with us. Their best advice I think is, “You can always come home.” They fully support me taking chances and jumping when I need to jump. When I moved to Atlanta my mom told me to go for it, that no matter what, I could always move back home, so why not at least try.
SIB: True or false - what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
JM: True. There has been a lot of stuff that I’ve done, that for sure would have killed me and I am so much stronger for it. You gotta get uncomfortable to grow. Just like sea snails. They get too big for their shells and they get uncomfortable. That makes them go out and find a bigger shell, even though that means being exposed or moving to new environments.
SIB: There’s been a lot of talk about the heartbeat bill that Georgia recently enacted. Political ideals aside, how do you think women can aid their pregnant sisters in crisis?
JM: I think it’s all about not being alone in a scary situation. So many women face this situation alone. Whether you're pro-choice or pro-life, we have to raise each other up and stand beside each other in the face of adversity. We all deserve proper healthcare and love in difficult situations, no matter what we choose or how we act. We’re stronger in numbers and I hope to be there for any of my friends in need in any situation.
SIB: In Chinese culture, the jade stone represents goodness, preciousness, and beauty. What things do you see as being good, precious, or beautiful?
JM: My dog comes to mind first. She is all of those things embodied. I’d move mountains for her. I think the world is also good, precious, and beautiful. We have to love what we have. Stop and smell the roses and respect this place we call home. Working at the Weather Channel means that I see the effects of climate change firsthand and it’s hard to sit idly by and watch the world literally set aflame.
SIB: What does balance mean to you?
JM: This is a question I ask myself a lot. I constantly play the work-life balance game. I have to remind myself to take the time to eat food at work, I have to remind myself to go out and experience concerts and 5ks when I am home. I travel so much that I sometimes lose the space between work and life. I ultimately do not want work to be the definition of me. I don’t want people to associate me with just my career. I am so much more than that. I am a writer, a runner, a girlfriend, a friend, a concert junkie, an artist, a film buff, a documentarian, a moron sometimes. I’m just a girl standing in front of a...wait.
Balance to me means going to the show, calling a friend from the hotel, staying up late to watch a scary movie. It’s doing all of the things you need to do and want to do without sacrificing your sanity. Sometimes I just want to sleep. So I sleep. Sometimes I want cheesecake at midnight with my best friend. So I eat the cheesecake. Sometimes I really gotta finish this project and get it together, so I work through the night. It’s just being in the now.
Be. Here. Now.