Character: Jessica Estrada keeps blogging fresh

Since launching FreshJess

in 2008, I’ve written 2,500 posts. Blogging feels like a natural platform for me to share my interests in an unfiltered and genuine way.

Social media is a great way …

to learn about people and cultures you might not have access to. I like being exposed to a variety of voices and opinions from around the world.

After 10 years of blogging,

it still terrifies me to press “Publish.” I’ve written through grief, health struggles and wedding planning. But the personal posts are the most read. Well, that and the Seahawks!

I was the first in my family …

to graduate from college. My parents immigrated from the Philippines in the 1970s. As one of five siblings, I always wanted to be a good example for them. One reason I attended UW was to stay near my family.

Being a Seattle native,

I almost feel like a rarity nowadays. I think that’s one reason people value my perspective. Whether it’s a roundup of cool events or a new restaurant, I know and share things that people might not hear about elsewhere.

I am an avid reader …

and have been since I was a kid. One of my first UW memories is visiting Suzzallo. Libraries are places of community, a thread of connection.

When I was in college,

blogging and social media didn’t exist in the way we relate to and use them today. My UW degree was rooted in developing interpersonal relationships and effective communication. It was a natural evolution to apply those lessons to new platforms.

I was really shy growing up.

Being a UW student challenged me to work beyond that. I tried different classes—such as Approaches to Jazz Music—that really motivated me to open up.

Social media can become …

time-consuming to the point of being toxic. I believe in a moderated approach. Learn to unplug sometimes.

I’ve mentored a lot of students …

since graduating. My UW communication classes taught me how to better express myself as well as how to help others send their message into the world.

I’m a woman of color speaking up.

As the political climate has evolved, it’s even more important for me to highlight the stories of people of color, women or anyone who isn’t always as visible in the community.

I have experienced online bullying …

and trolls. When you’re hidden behind a screen, people sometimes develop a strange sense of power and confidence to say things they wouldn’t in person.

I can sing the UW fight song—

both the march version or the rap, hip-hop style. This year, I was a Husky alum featured in a BECU commercial. It was an example of doing something terrifying that was also an amazing experience. I had to sing the fight song in front of Drumheller Fountain during freshman orientation!

My bulldog is a doggie influencer!

My husband and I adopted Douglas this year as a rescue. He already has his own partnership with a food brand. I love writing about him and he’s a frequent figure on my blog. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship!