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Smells Like: Jess Tran
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Smells Like: Jess Tran

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Smells Like: is Redoux's exploration of the human experience of scent through personal stories and connections.

For our eleventh installment in the series, Scallion Pancake founder Jess Tran shares her travel stories, passion for rethinking our world's systems, and the beauty of being outside.

Tell me about yourself and your work:

I make money through a brand marketing consultancy I run called Scallion Pancake (we work with purpose-driven brands and organizations). I also model, and make money creating content for TikTok and IG.

When I'm not making money, I am usually climbing, hanging with my dog, vintage shopping, taking photos, writing more, dancing, biking, lying in the sun like a lizard and trying to gather people more. There are some side projects that have been sitting on the wayside since a long-term relationship of mine ended in December—things that are around sustainability and vintage and the secondhand consumer ecosystem that I'm really passionate about but haven't had the time to work on as much.

What scents are you encountering today?

I am recovering from food poisoning after my trip to Mexico, so I'm mostly smelling rice cooking, which reminds me of being home which is nice to have around while being vulnerable and sick. It's been a dream to come back to New York and to the smell of spring—just slightly less like trash and more like leaves and grass.

Do you have a signature scent?

I switch between Debaser by D.S. & Durga and Byredo's X.

A memory you have of this scent:

A montage of me spraying it on in some outfit that probably took me way too long to put together, standing in my dressing room, about to dash out the door because I'm late somewhere comes to mind.

Describe yourself as a place:

I think we adapt parts of ourselves to each new place, so I think there are so many versions of myself that could suit so many different places.

Right now, I just came off a month long trip away, half of that time spent on beaches, so I would say I currently feel like a stretch of beach in Puerto Escondido with not many people on it, a bunch of stray beach dogs and steady and consistent but super intense, powerful big waves. You can hear cicadas and there's probably a rock pool with lots of random creatures. There was just a really big storm, so everything is still a little damp and overcast.

As a taste:

Mango Green Tea with Boba, 1/4 sweetness.

As a color:

I'm probably a really deep green you see in forests that looks different depending on how you're looking at it, the angle of light hitting it etc.

As a feeling:

When you're trying to have a serious conversation with a lot of depth and/or emotion, the moment feels so pregnant with importance, but then you're also just way too high and the wrong word comes out and ruins the mood completely, and so you end up giggling talking nonsense.

What's the last thing that brought you joy?

1. My dog Ghost recently had to remove three teeth and came home after being put under anesthetic, and two of those teeth were her front bottom ones, which combined with her being half stoned off pain medication, made her look truly deranged. It was also really nice to be able to take care of her.

2. Waking up naturally on our last few mornings in Puerto Escondido just as the sun was coming up for the day and staining the sky purple and pink and red.

3. Coming home from a month away and being greeted by one of my best friends and neighbors Levina, whose moving in two doors down to me on the same floor, was one of the best things to ever happen to me.

Explore more of Jessica and her work at @jessglistening and @scallionpancakenyc.