Jodie Patterson

We are thrilled to spotlight our latest Marfa Muse, activist, entrepreneur, and writer Jodie Patterson to time with Pride Month.

Author of two books, The Bold World: A Memoir of Family and Transformation andBorn Ready: The True Story of a Boy Named Penelope, bothinspired by her transgender son’s experience, exploring identity, gender, race, authenticity and acceptance.Jodie is the Chair of the Human Rights Campaign Foundation Board and was also voted #1 Most Influential Mom.

A beauty entrepreneur herself, Jodie is a strong advocate for female entrepreneurship and leadership, so after discovering Marfa Stance through her friend and fellow Marfa Muse Naomi Watts, Jodie was drawn to the brands female-founded roots and shared values.

Jodie wears the Parachute Bomber in Amber / Reverse: Dark Olive in size S-M with the Aviator Collar in Paprika Shearling / Dark Olive Leather. Her second look is our Long Wool Patchwork Quilt Jacket in Navy / Dark Olive in size S, with the Aviator Collar in Sky Blue Shearling / Dark Olive Leather.


Tell us about your background

I’m a native New Yorker and a 70’s baby, raised by a beautiful southern woman and a shrewd businessman from Harlem. If any of those descriptors ring a bell for you…I probably don’t need to say much more. They’re a particular combination of culture, grit and zero fucks. The culture in my home growing up was what I like to call “actively Black”. The music we listened to, the art on the walls, the conversation at the dinner table, even the places we chose to vacation - all reinforced the long and rich history of Black people all over the globe. I grew up feeling very comfortable in my skin and in the world. We were also raised to be activists - if we spotted an injustice, we were expected to address it. My father founded the first Black brokerage firm on Wall Street to address economic inequities. My mother founded a private school in Harlem because she understood how unequal schooling was holding back our community. My uncle was the musician Gil Scott-Heron who wrote the song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised. He used his creativity to elicit social change. We grew up understanding that whether it be in music, finance, education - whatever lane we chose - we must challenge the status quo. Period. We’re not born to be pretty, or perfect - we’re born to be powerful. My family taught me that.

Talk us through your career journey so far

When I look back over my 54 years, I’m amazed at how much I stay in motion. I’ve had no less than 10 careers. I approach work the way some approach travel —tasting, listening, eyes wide open, absorbing. I’ve weaved my way through careers as if they were foreign countries, with laser focus on the experience and on the gathering of data. I’ve chosen jobs that excite me and I’ve engaged in them with vigor. A year or two later if something else grabs my attention, I follow that interest. I’m a woman on the move, for better or for worse. I’ve been a fashion publicist, book editor, co-owner of a night club, beauty entrepreneur, social activist, author, public speaker, circus acrobat, first Black chairman of our country’s largest LGBT organization, and of course a mother of 5. All of these things are me.

What advice do you have for fellow female entrepreneurs?

Vivel'indépendance! It's not easy to prioritize joy and adventure, especially as single moms. But bachelors do it all the time; why can't we? My advice to entrepreneurs is 1/ Choose the thing that excites you most. 2/ Engage in the process with full-on integrity and enthusiasm. 3/ Stay flexible and hold no expectation for a specific outcome. Flow and see where the energy takes you. Try and try again.

Side note: There have been many times when my bank account has been scarily low. Yet through creativity, integrity and the telephone (I regularly call my friends and ask them to brainstorm with me) I’ve been able to rescue my own self out of ruts. Reinvention and entrepreneurial success are possible. Trust.

Tell us about your books Born Ready and The Bold World

Life is made up of moments that can feel random and all over the place. But I crave order, so I wrote books to help stitch those moments together and make sense of it all. When I wrote The Bold World, I was trying to understand my life from zero to 50. I wanted a visual of what it meant to be this woman. And then I poked holes in everything I learned about myself - just to see how flexible I could be. When I wrote Born Ready, I was honouring my children and the role they’ve played in my newfound mental flexibility.

Things are happening all around us. We notice them when we’re ready and when fear loses its grip around the heart. My books are about the patchwork of life - and how we can become bold enough and ready enough to fully experience it.

What are you most proud of?

I’m most proud of my mindset. I’ve proven to myself that I can do really hard and mysterious things. I apply that faith every time I jump off a new cliff.

What’s next?

I want to write television shows about messy families that aren’t white.

How do you style your Marfa Stance pieces and what do you like the brand?

I spotted my first Marfa Stance jacket on my friend Naomi Watts a year ago and have been drooling ever since. It’s Marfa’s use of patchwork, strong colors and oversized collars that remind me to take risks. I wear my orange Marfa Stance collar all the way up and mantra to myself - yes you fucking can!

Photographer: Abbey Drucker