QUILL’s intern, Tara, is on Zoom with me. We’re waiting for Jayla Roxx, who is currently on set of one of her many film projects.
I have made the beautiful mistake of forgetting how time zones work. Roxx has been accommodating. I fall over my tongue with apologies and words of embarrassment. “I’m on zero minutes of sleep in the past 48 hours,” I admit. (This is true – I’m fried.)
“Bless your heart. We’ve literally been triple filming – three locations for the entire day. I’m in the same place. I’ve been all over the place, so it’s all good,” she says.
The interview begins – a rushed 26-minute call, because, again, Roxx is on set – and flows naturally, as if we’re friends catching up, as if I’m not asking routine journalist questions. We end with “talk soon.”
Tara comes off mute with her camera still off. The first words out of her mouth: “She is so sweet.”
That’s only one of countless positive words to describe Jayla Roxx. Here’s why.
A brief summary of the last conversation Roxx and I had: BatMe! Cosmetics was on hold, she was taking her time to better an already amazing brand, and she was wanting someone to tell the story of its resurgence – not it’s “restart” or “new beginning.”
Now, she wants to reassure you that that isn’t happening again – BatMe! is around (though it never truly went away, simply was on hiatus) and here to stay.
“Everybody’s like, ‘this may happen again, so I’m going to buy 20 pairs, just so I can be stocked up.’ I was like, ‘thank you, but we’re here to stay for sure.’ We’re here to stay and we ain’t going nowhere.”
It’s easier now, thankfully. “I have an amazing team that helps me design,” she says. “We have a new design on our lashes. We have the newer DuraFLEX band. I know it sounds all fancy. So it ensures longer lasting wear.”
I’ll be honest: I don’t wear lashes. My tardive dyskinesia doesn’t allow for the precision required to place them. I do know, from having others apply them, that they’re… not always the sturdiest products. But I trust BatMe!, because Roxx is all about her customers.
“I listen to the people and I want to make sure that we provide something that they feel seen and heard within their products,” she states. And it’s true, she takes her community seriously; it’s why they didn’t leave when she took eight months away (went on hiatus) to create a better product.
The first time Roxx and I talked, she emphasized how important community is to her, and how important it is to listen to your consumers. And if you do that – create a space where your community is heard – they don’t leave.
“I didn’t lose any Instagram followers. They didn’t say, ‘oh, fuck this.’ They were just like, ‘okay, well, we’ll wait patiently.’ And they have, so I’m super excited for them to show their new looks.”
The collection, “Velvet,” comes in three sets. Each is customizable – you can cut and shape them, for example – so “it gives everyone a way to find themselves within those products and be able to truly stand out with everything that we have going on.”
Individuality matters to Roxx, as it’s her way of putting herself into the product. The resurgence was bigger than just redesigning and changing materials. “Not only did the products go through a resurgence, but so did I, and that’s how I feel. I use cosmetics as a way to be my personal diary and my self-expression,” she explains.
In many ways, this explains why she took so much time perfecting her brand – she needed to discover herself, too, and she didn’t want to cut that process short. I love Roxx’s sense of humor, because she hits me with a comparison of herself to Rihanna.
“She’s like, ‘leave me alone. I’m going to continue to sell my underwear and makeup until I decide to release the album.’ And that’s how I am. But she’s a Pisces too – I’m a Pisces – and we just do it when we want to.”
I jokingly tell her I’ll include what Pisces are like in the article, and she jokes right back: “I’m a little interested in it, too. So, let me know what you think.”
All I know is that my Sagittarius self and her Pisces identity form deep bonds that last. While our friendship is deeper than that, I’m glad our astrological signs confirm our compatibility.
I ask Roxx what she’s up to now, and she practically sighs; I can almost see her close her eyes to center herself. “So, I’m still in production, I’m currently producing three shows as of right now. I have one docu-series and two reality competitions that are in production.” One of these is through Remidi, her own company, while one of them is through AMC. She refuses to tell me what the third is, and I know it must be juicy if she’s zipping her lips here.
Okay, so wow, that’s a lot. How does she have time to run an entire makeup brand?
“I don’t have time to do this,” she says, and I laugh. She continues, “I will tell you that I make time for it. The time that [my consumers] take to go to the website and buy their favorite stuff, I have to give them that same energy.”
She’s giving – a quality I’ve always loved about Roxx. Nothing is solely about her – it’s also about the people who surround her and love her. She realizes she’s not a one-woman show; there are many around her who admire and perhaps, even, need her existence.
“Just when I think I’m about to quit, I put the other people in my mind,” she reveals thoughtfully. “It’s like, well, I’m robbing them of an experience. I’m robbing people of representation. I’m robbing them of messages that need to be shared. And that’s through all of my businesses, even with BatMe! So I can’t quit, because I’ll be robbing people. And I don’t rob.”
I have no words. I pretend it’s the lag, but in reality, Jayla Roxx has left me speechless. I quickly gather myself, grateful that she can’t see me in that moment, and continue on to a big topic that I always love discussing with Roxx: the LGBTQ+ community.
Roxx knows the topic is coming, because she knows QUILL, and, more importantly, she knows me.
I ask what she’s seen since our last article, six months ago, especially with the release of BatMe! She says she’s seen growth. It’s Pride Month, she says, so rainbows are all around; rainbow washing is in full swing, and many will fall for it, and buy from the companies without genuine interest in the LGBTQ+ community.
But it’s less about what she’s seeing, and more about how she’s growing. “There were people who didn’t identify as any type of [gender] or anything like that, but they didn’t have the language for it. Nor did I have the language for it,” she says, reflecting on her experience when starting BatMe! in 2017.
“As we push forward and realize there’s over – since I do casting and stuff, now – there’s over 15 different genders. So, I’m like, ‘well, shit, I have a lot of learning to do. And that’s [also] kind of why I took that break: to also learn about the people that I’m talking to.”
Part of this was changing the language she used to market her lashes. “I changed gender-less to gender-free. So, it’s a gender-free cosmetic brand now because there’s nothing ‘less’ about the gender,” she says.
She continues. “So, we have to be free with who we are regardless of how we show up. So when I say made for everybody, I can’t say LGBT, because that’s still marginalizing people. So it’s gender-free. It’s for everyone.”
I remind her of our first conversation, in which I asked why people should buy something because someone is trans and awesome. At the time, she gently but firmly explained that it’s about quality, not about identity. I mention that I almost didn’t want to include the conversation in the final article, but decided to in order to show that through our mistakes, we can all continue to learn within our community.
“I’m glad that you were able to put that in there because I was really like, oh, well she’s being vulnerable. And that’s one of the things that people really, really, really, really, really, really don’t want to be: vulnerable,” Roxx says.
“I can honestly say as a trans person, I don’t know everything. I don’t know about this stuff and I have to do it as my due diligence and to be non-ignorant as a person who is a leader of tomorrow, and a trailblazer, and all those things. I can’t do that without knowledge and without knowledge, there is no power,” she says.
I know I’m about to stress her out by my next question, and I’m almost entertained by it.
Roxx has sold out of her Velvet collection within four days – the website isn’t even finished – and I’m curious to know what the plan is.
“Oh my God, please don’t make me do it! Don’t make me do it,” she laughs loudly, though I hear the hint of stress in her voice.
“I don’t know where to go from here. Now that it’s open… I was like, well, maybe we can do this. We can do that. Then I just realized people don’t really want all that extra shit,” she says, explaining why her collection is minimal, not over-filled with products. “They just want to buy the lashes, be happy, and go about their day,” Roxx finishes, laying out her game plan: just keep listening to her audience.
“I think we’ll just go with that. Right now, I’ll just leave the lashes as they be. And then once I start to see people wanting more and expecting more, then I’ll do more,” she says. I tell her she’s basking in the release, not pushing for the “next big thing.” She elaborates, “I don’t have to do the whole, ‘let’s do this and let’s have flowers, and…” No, girl, they just want the stuff, just give it to them clean and simple, straight to the point.”
That’s why you won’t find excessive TikToks or Instagram posts to promote the lashes. You won’t find 20 different products in the store tomorrow. You won’t see the million-dollar campaigns. Roxx knows that people will buy products because they want them, and they’ll voice their opinions when they do want more.
Most of her audience consists of performers and entertainers like herself, so “we don’t need the extra brushes and lash curlers and blah, blah. We already have that shit,” she says. “I’m just like, ‘alright, let’s just keep it straight to the point.’ It’s user-accessible. Buy it on the way out.”
With that, we’re 26 minutes in, and I can hear talking in the background on her end. I tell her I’ll let her go.
This is where Roxx and I fall into our friends dynamic, not that of journalist-and-interviewee. I tell her how proud of her I am for this, tell her I’m here for her in whatever way she needs; she tells me she’s proud of me for highlighting voices and “doing the Lord’s work.” I nearly burst into tears as we hang up.
Turns out, Pisces are gentle creatures, with a softness and empathy that brings people to them; they give and rarely take. The water sign is a complete daydreamer with lofty goals; they’re creative and extremely talented. And to complete this personality, they’re laid-back and adaptable, capable of fitting into any role necessary.
I think this describes Roxx to the nth degree: She’s creative – getting her start in theater, now modeling, acting, and creating and building a makeup brand – and supremely talented. However, she’s far from rigid, instead listening to her audience and responding to their needs.
And finally, the reason she and I have bonded so much: she’s so goddamn lovable. Giving and funny, empathetic and thoughtful, Jayla Roxx is a good human. A great human.
So, when Tara calls her so sweet, I almost laugh. Because she absolutely is… and five billion more adjectives that will never fully capture the soul of this beautiful woman.