‘I made COVID my bitch’: Jaguar Jonze on finding her strength and fronting Reebok’s new brand campaign
Three Aussie artists – Jaguar Jonze, Becca Hatch and Tarah Jane Scott – feature in Reebok’s latest ‘Not Your Princess’ campaign.
The campaign coincides with the release of Jonze’s track ‘Deadalive‘, which was written when the artist was trapped in New York during COVID-19 lockdowns.
“Deadalive was written because we were stuck in our apartment and there was just so much chaos and uncertainty and anxiety, and it was just this really strange, unknown, pressure-cooker environment,” she told The Music Network.
And then Jonze made it back to Australia, and discovered she had the very disease which had caused her to be trapped in the first place.
“I don’t want to say I’m another artist that’s written about COVID-19, but for me it really was my only, one of my only avenues to get through what was a really difficult time with COVID, and it was just me expressing that uncertainty and that anxiety and that struggle with what life is and the death that’s around it.”
Jonze couldn’t sing for months and was in hospital for 40 days. For five months, she suffered from fatigue and shortness of breath. Plus, when she was ill, she craved the support, affection, closeness and touch of those close to her – a luxury not afforded to COVID-19 patients.
“I think it’s allowed me to explore different versions of creativity,” she said of emerging from the fog. “I feel like that’s what happens when you get boxed in – you find other ways to unbox yourself out of it.”
This evolution – where Jonze had to grieve for the year that could have been, and determine her success based on her own parameters, not those placed upon her – made the Reebok brand collaboration a perfect fit.
‘Not Your Princess’ “celebrates female strength and unapologetic confidence”, the brand said, and is being used to relaunch the its Princess franchise.
The campaign concept is an homage to a 2001 effort ‘It’s A Woman’s World’ which featured recording artist Missy Elliott, alongside tennis star Venus Williams and the WNBA’s Jennifer Azzi.
Arna Johnstone, brand director at Reebok Pacific, said the new iteration of the campaign pays respect to women who boldly defy convention.
“This gives Reebok the opportunity to honour a new generation of change makers whom are unapologetic in their unique identities, as they pursue excellence in their chosen industries,” Johnstone said.
“By giving a platform to these three exceptional young Australian women, Reebok hopes to continue to encourage women everywhere to make their mark in their chosen fields and speak up on topics that matter to them.”
Jonze said the campaign resonated with her, and her gradual realisation that there are fights, and conversations, which need to be had.
“I’m extremely fussy. I’d say no most of the time [to working with brands], just because I always want to have authenticity and genuineness with who I am as an artist. For me, I’m not passionate about music or art, I’m passionate about connection and storytelling, and that requires truth and honesty. And so I really have to connect and relate with the brand for me to collaborate and share conversations with them, because otherwise I don’t feel like I’m being true to myself and true to my audience,” she said.
“I think it fits [my personal brand] because it’s a campaign about fighting your own fight and pushing forward to ensure that you’re putting yourself, your genuine self, out there, your artistry, you’re making changes within yourself and your direct community. There’s a social justice [element] in there as well, and I think that just all relates to me as well.
“I never thought of myself to be an advocate or a loud fighter for anything, but life just seems to keep piling things on my lap, and it made me have no choice but to really feel like it’s necessary, and so I stopped fighting, and started fighting as well, and now I’ve started doing that, I’ve realised how important it is that these campaigns exist.”
As for what comes next for the artist who just this year has been trapped overseas, battled a pandemic on a personal level, released a song and worked with an international brand, she said it’s all about taking baby steps and finding new wins amidst the chaos and uncertainty.
“I feel like I’ve done that anyway, and I also made COVID my bitch.”