Lily Jade, the fashion icon who inspired so many people to love themselves, has been a mainstay in American pop culture since the early ’80s.
Born into a family of pop stars, the 23-year-old began her career at age 17 as a dancer, performing in the now-defunct Missy Elliott tribute act in the 1970s.
She went on to be nominated for four MTV Video Music Awards and earned a Grammy nomination for her song “I Want You to Know.”
But her breakout performance was in the 1996 musical, “I Wanna Be Yours,” which earned her a Grammy Award nomination.
She also made her name in the musical and television world, where she starred as a high school senior in the TV series “Parks and Recreation.”
She returned to the screen in 2008’s “Pilot” as the lead character, and appeared in “Mad Men” and “Modern Family” as well.
She has also written and produced numerous TV shows, including “Lost Girl,” “Shameless,” “Modern Romance,” “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” “Lilyhammer” and many more.
Today, Jade is a pop culture icon and a household name, but her life was never quite the same after her death.
What follows is a conversation with Jade’s longtime friend and colleague, the writer and director, Julia Wolovkin, about the legacy of her friendship, the impact of the fashion and film industries, and the lasting impact of “I Wanted to Play.”
What’s been your favorite thing about working with her?
She was such a powerful person.
She was a phenomenal writer and she was a great person.
So, working with someone like that was a joy.
What are the differences between being a celebrity and being a musician?
I was always a singer, but I always had a passion for writing.
I started singing at age 13.
I had a record deal when I was in my teens.
It was a lot of fun and it was my dream.
It wasn’t until the first couple of years of adulthood that I realized that I really enjoyed it.
I also learned that writing songs was really important, but also really fulfilling.
I think I really appreciated it because I was so busy with my life.
There were times when I just felt like, “Oh, I’m not really going to write anymore.”
But that’s okay because I can always come back later and write.
I was a very, very busy person.
I used to get home from school every day and be like, How can I make it more fun?
It was not really about me.
I mean, I still had my friends, and I still loved them, but it wasn’t about me, was it?
How do you remember the most memorable moment?
There was one song that I remember from a certain period of my life, and it’s about an older man.
He had a girlfriend and they lived in New York City, and he had this house in Brooklyn.
He was a really sweet, sweet, good-natured guy.
I remember that night I went to that house and it wasn´t the first time that I was like, Wow.
I didn´t expect it to be the last.
But it was very, extremely memorable.
She had a huge body and a very tall frame.
It made it hard to take her clothes off.
It just seemed like she had so much power over me.
It felt so real.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about her that you hope others learn from?
Her passion and her drive.
She knew exactly what she wanted to do and she did it, and she worked really hard at it.
She just had the talent.
What was your favorite moment in her life?
She had this really great friend, who I used as an example, called her “Bella” and she is my mom.
She would call her “mother” all the time.
She called her, “Mama” because she always called her mother, and “Mother” because it was her mother who died.
She told me that one time she called her son “dad” and he answered it.
And I said, Oh my God, it´s not a real dad.
It is a real son.
What did you think when you heard that?
She looked me straight in the eyes and said, I don´t know what to say.
I just went, Wow, wow, wow.
How did you feel about her death?
That was really sad, but she really wanted to be remembered for her talent.
I really felt like that.
What do you think about her legacy as an artist?
Well, there are a lot more famous artists who are more successful than her.
And she is still very much an artist.
What have you learned about Lily Jade about yourself?
She made a career