Not that you asked, but in celebration of the end of Jezebel’s tenth year on the internet, the staff put out a call (to ourselves) for unretouched images (of ourselves), from 2007. Aside from getting better glasses (no offense, Julianne), easing up on the spray tans (a good decision by Ellie), and the universal ditching of “side bangs,” we look mostly the same. It’s unclear if, as a group, we’re more drunk now than we were ten years ago, or less. Are we happier now? Also unclear.
Ten years is both forever and no time at all. We’d never heard of Steve Bannon, but Bush was in the White House, and the scourge of thin eyebrows had its hold on the nation. It was a complicated time for both woman and country, and although none of us really knew what we were doing, we were definitely doing...something. Here’s what exactly that meant:
Julianne Escobedo Shepherd
I was working as an editor at VIBE, downloading thousands of dollars worth of Philadelphia rap mp3s for free off Limewire (FREE MEEK MILL), and dating a successively weirder string of dudes. I also wore a lot of bad clothing, as evidenced here; this was my contributor’s photo for the magazine (we were in print back then!!) and I received a fair amount of marriage proposals via snail mail, only a couple of which were probably due to my titties being out there on front street for some reason. Would I do it all again? Maybe 92 percent of it.
I was wrapping up my transfer program at Madison Area Technical College (alma mater to illustrious alums like Peter from last season of The Bachelorette), preparing to transfer into the University of Wisconsin, working at a fine dining restaurant and also a kitschy gift store, and living with a friend who had a really shitty boyfriend who twice punched our windows in. I was also doing some exciting traveling (PRO TIP: choosing community college and working a lot gives you many chances to save money and spend it on fun things!), going to LA (where I got hit by a car while crossing the street), San Francisco, and then doing some basic-ass but very fun backpacking in Europe. It was also—according to this 2007 photo I found—the year I began experimenting with asymmetrical bangs. Monumental.
In 2007, I was finishing up high school and heavily into spray-tanning, stick-straight hair, and forcing my boobs into some kind of cleavage formation. I had recently obtained a driver’s license, and was so bad at driving that none of my friends let me drive, which did not help me become better at driving. At this time, I was also attending a lot of Jewish youth group events.
I was working as an editor at XXL magazine and living in Astoria, being a cool, single person in general. I was also using my digital camera a lot to capture my experiences at concerts and events, as you can see from the old-timey date stamp on this photo taken at my office desk. This was also the year I interviewed Janet Jackson.
Here are the things I took seriously in 2007: keeping my nose-piercing clean, being secretary of the College Democrats, my all-girls a capella group, and convincing people my hair was blonde.
2007 was a huge—huge—year for me. I discovered drinking to get drunk, I went to Cambodia, I got Dengue fever, I had sex for the first time. I focused hard on my two extracurriculars: the Augur Bit newspaper where I was “Commentary Editor” and DanceFusion Jazz Project, a dance troupe that sounded like a Jazz music troupe. Here is a photo of me drunk in a lei and, if you can believe it, a short-sleeved hoodie sweatshirt. Wonderful.
In 2007, I worked at VH1, regularly interviewing on-air personalities like Rock of Love girls and Tiffany “New York” Pollard. It wasn’t as crazy as being on set for the filming of those shows, but it was its own kind of madness that I cherished. Because, though, that was just a job and not exactly creatively fulfilling, I had my own blog, in which I responded to pop culture that excited me—there used to be a lot more of that back then. I was in a relationship that went on way too long, but at least I also lived with two awesome cats…that I’d never see again once I moved out, to my great sadness. (One has since died.) I felt invigorated and generally aspired to nothing beyond perfecting whatever I happened to be working on at the moment. I had a lot of hope and confidence that has since been proven foolish.
In 2007, I was working as a studio manager at a famous photographer’s office, who is now being investigated for sexual assault. Time is a flat circle.
I was slogging through the second half of college in 2007, spending lots of time on a truly unhealthy sleep schedule that involved staying up until the sun rose, sleeping until it set at 4 pm, and then going to dinner at 5 pm. (I honestly don’t understand how people live in New England.) Some of that was studying; some of that was watching Doctor Who on Alluc.org. But I also took a spring break trip to New York with my sister, who took this photo of me, young and unconcerned and with no idea how much I was going to hate the state of this subway system in a decade.
2007 was a magical year, as it was the year I turned 21, and thus began to drink alcohol legally. Here I am, taking my first legal shot at a very sad sports bar in a Pennsylvania suburb, quite possibly while there was still light outside. As you can see, I really enjoyed it and definitely knew how to chase a shot.
I didn’t take much advantage of bars that summer though, as I was training to join the cross country/track team. I wasn’t very good, and almost immediately got a weird pelvic injury called osteosis pubis, but in this photo I look like I am kicking ass and that’s all that matters.
In 2007, I was still in graduate school at Florida State, overusing the word “problematic,” and devoting all of my intellectual and emotional energy to photography in late 19th-century England and France. I was also teaching some very bored undergraduates to appreciate art, but I don’t think it worked. I miss sitting in darkened lecture halls, it was very soothing.
I sat and tried to remember what and where I was in 2007, couldn’t recall, so I turned to Facebook for reference. It turns out I was living in San Francisco and pretending to enjoy hiking, camping, indoor rock climbing, and a wide variety of other mid-2000s San Francisco-specific activities. I went to a lot of costume parties—willingly. It was a dark time.
Part of my 2007 was spent living in a vegan co-op in Santa Cruz, pretending to volunteer at a needle exchange but actually working at the Gap. But the better part of my year was spent studying abroad in Budapest. This photo was taken at a rest stop in Austria, the morning after our van broke down on the way to Oktoberfest. (Oktoberfest is hell on Earth; don’t go.) The most important thing to know about me from that time is that I had three facial piercings and truly upsetting red hair.
The Jezebel staff is probably going to roast me for this but in 2007 I was living in New Jersey and was literally thirteen-years-old. So, it was my Bat Mitzvah year. Then, the weekend after I had my Bat Mitzvah and became a woman in the Jewish faith, I got my period, which is pretty fucked up when you think about it.