Interview of Sarah Jay
Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Makeup artist, stylist, and activist in Canada. Creative director and board member at Fashion Takes Action. Cabinet member on Canada’s Environmental Defence’s "Just Beautiful" Campaign. Originated, conceived and associate produced the documentary film, TOXIC BEAUTY.
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness
- Social MovementsEnvironmental Illness
- Biographical Note:
- Interviewed for the UCLA Center for the Study of Women’s Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness series. Lives with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS). Makeup artist, stylist, and activist in Canada. Creative director and board member at Fashion Takes Action. Cabinet member on Canada’s Environmental Defence’s "Just Beautiful" Campaign. Originated, conceived and associate produced the documentary film, TOXIC BEAUTY.
- Jay, Sarah
- Persons Present:
- Jay and Yiu
- Place Conducted:
- The interview was conducted using the Skype video conferencing platform.
- Supporting Documents:
- Records relating to the interview are located in the office of the UCLA Library’s Center for Oral History Research.
- Interviewer Background and Preparation:
- This interview was conducted by Wei Si Nic Yiu, a graduate student researcher, for the Center for the Study of Women; PhD student in Gender Studies, UCLA. Yiu’s dissertation focuses on queerness and archives of Asia.
- Processing of Interview:
- The interviewer prepared for the interview by reading a pre-interview questionnaire completed by the narrator.
- 1.75 hrs
- Regents of the University of California, UCLA Library.
- Series Statement:
- Chemical Entanglements: Oral Histories of Environmental Illness is a collection of interviews with over seventy individuals living in the U.S. and Canada whose family history, occupation, art practice, or activism have brought them into direct contact with illness experience and disability related to chronic, low-dose exposure to toxicant chemicals. The procurement of this collection (from March 2019 through September 2020) was sponsored by the UCLA Center for the Study of Women under the directorship of Rachel C. Lee, with interviews conducted by six undergraduates, five graduate students, two career staff, and two faculty members at CSW.
- Please delete PDF file size 422548; did not include table of contents.
Personal Background--Chemical exposure growing up--Histamine response--Connections between environmental exposure and sensitivity, illness--Identifying self with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity--Diet cleanse--Celiac disease--Chlorine cleanse--Discovering medical treatments and doctors--Shift towards non-toxic lifestyle--Time of diagnosis--Experiences with conventional medical doctors--Waiting for Women’s College Hospital to be seen by their environmental health team--The responses of other doctors to chemical sensitivity--Finding about chemical illness and chemical sensitivity--Advocating for herself as a patient--On the intersections of class, race, and gender on access to healthcare and the reality of living with MCS--Self-advocacy for MCS and the subsequent responses--Details about her work and how she has managed her MCS in her workspace--How she approaches her MCS to other coworkers--Relationship with family or friends following MCS diagnosis--Difficulties in accessing public space--Communities she has formed in response to her illness--Differences in non-toxic lifestyle and living with MCS--Her appreciation for the tribes she has--Dealing with the psychological impacts of MCS and cleanses
Her involvement with activism and the Environmental Defence Campaign--Experience with developing campaigns such as Just Beautiful--Personal call--Initial developments of Toxic Beauty--Her struggles with working in an environment that heavily relies on toxic beauty products--Finding her direction as a community organizer--Working on her film, Toxic Beauty, for ten years--Responses following the release of her film and its reach--What inspired her to become an activist--Detailing her current creative projects--The association she makes with scent and capitalism--Currently researching on squalene--Limitations of Toxic Beauty--Her goals moving forward--The changes needed to be made to address the issues surrounding fashion and its impact on the environment--How she approaches dating given her MCS--Answering any remaining questions not yet addressed--The products she relies on for personal care