Alexandra Jarrett knows how to stay busy not only professionally, but at home as well. Jarrett grew up in Meadow Lake, SK, but has been living in Saskatoon for the past 10 years. She is a mother to three young children and has her own corporation as a photographer/graphic designer while also pursuing a marketing degree.
Jarrett always had a desire for the visual arts, so that’s what motivated her to get into photography. In 2013, she got a Canon Rebel camera for Christmas and from there started out taking pictures of her kids.
“I started putting ads out and taking pictures of people for free just to build up a portfolio. And I did that for a good year until I started charging $50, $40, whatever people would pay me, I would take it. And then in 2014 in April, I went in as a sole proprietorship,” said Jarrett.
Recently, she incorporated and used grant monies to purchase what she needed to move forward. Her photography work also brings her to different travels, including other communities with other women.
Jarrett has worked with SheNative, Helen Oro Designs and various makeup artists to put together a “boot camp” that will teach girls how to model, walk the runway, and help them with their self-image.
“They put on a fashion show for their community. Their friends and their family come and watch them. We put on the music and we have to make sure it’s all youth friendly so sometimes I’m like, ‘Give me a playlist.’ I’m getting the kids to contribute,” said Jarrett.
“A lot of that is aimed at preventative work when it comes to just suicide prevention and just raising self esteem in a different way.”
And when it comes to students who may be thinking of leaving their community for the first time for either college or a career path, Jarrett says it’s a lot easier to get there if you just focus on getting there.
For Jarrett, it was important that wherever she was to look up resources and set up some roots.
“Whatever resources there are, whatever category you can fit in that can help you get a resource, take it,” said Jarrett.
Jarrett would look up information of food banks, would communicate with others and teachers that she was low income, and would even get help that way with whatever the schools could manage.
“Just looking up those different resources and making sure you know what your supports are. There’s a lot available, especially informal grants and scholarships and working as well.”
But even though Jarrett has had resources to help and has been doing an incredible job, she’s still had to go through some obstacles.
She says when she came to school, she had two young children at the time and says it was isolating and not everyone in her class had children, and she just thought differently than most and didn’t have anyone to “vibe” with.
“I just remember going through and just kind of feeling like nobody understood me and I was all on my own and I did struggle a bit with my mental health,” said Jarrett.
Being a parent while also having to work as well was a struggle for her, having to juggle things around and fix things. But she says since going back to school after her break she’s seen there are more resources for Indigenous students.
“They put that together so it’s just easier to find people kind of like you, and then it’s a little easier to feel at home and just to find those Indigenous resources as well,” said Jarrett.
And if there is anything she could tell her younger self, it would be to focus on the task at hand, write daily goals, and set time to be outside in nature.
Special thanks to Jasmine Kabatay for authoring this blog post.
Future Pathways Fireside Chats are a project of TakingITGlobal's Connected North Program.
Funding is generously provided by the RBC Foundation in support of RBC Future Launch, and the Government of Canada's Supports for Student Learning program.