It’s been a hot minute since I’ve done a Fashionlush Spotlight on the blog, so what better way to kick off the new year with an interview featuring an entrepreneurial girl boss… who just happens to be a total babe.
Fitting it’s Women Crush Wednesday, because Jessica Versteeg is total #WCW material.
The name sound familiar? Probably. Maybe you’ve seen her on the glossy pages modeling her all of her gorgeousness, or possibly on the Amazing Race… or if you follow pageants, you may remember her as the Former Miss Iowa in 2014.
All around, killing it… & now, she is taking the Cannabis industry by storm with her amazingly cool & super genius company- The AuBox. AuBox is a monthly subscription based out of San Francisco discretely bringing it’s clients with a medical marijuana license the top notch goods… each & every month, at their doorstep. Basically, it’s bringing the class to cannabis.
Like I said, genius. Even Vogue is talking about it.
Now, if marijuana ain’t your thing, I get it… my feelings won’t be hurt if this post isn’t for you… but it is 2017 & times are a changing (what up Prop 64!). I am all for & about cannabis (but can we just be friends here & call it pot? no need for the formalities- am I right?). Yup- I am coming out & saying it, I smoke pot.
Some people have a glass of wine to wind down at night, but me… not much of a drinker, the flower is my mellow place. I was always weary to “come clean” about it, not cause I am embarrassed by any means, but because I adore you guys & the last thing I want is to make anyone uncomfortable… but I’ve promised to always be an open book when starting a blog, so that’s just what I am doing.
I am def. not recommending you go out & get “stoned”, cause that’s not what this is about… this is just what works for me. I have my medical marijuana license, because for me, it really is medicinal. Also, if you’re under 21, it’s illegal… so please don’t think this is me telling anyone it’s okay to do anything illegal. It’s a good thing my target market is between the ages of 25-30… so I think I’m in the clear.
ANYWAYS, back to the medicinal thing. I have spilled the beans on my entire anxiety story, & that is one of the main reasons I smoke weed… it has been a game changer for my anxiety. I’m not a lazy stoner, as you guys know, I am just your average girl who appreciates the calm of a good joint.
I am also really into CBD lately for pain. I have a condition called Spondylosis, which is pretty much degeneration of the spine, & just recently a friend told me about CBD to help with the almost daily pain- & main has it helped. Actually, it’s amazing. I take it daily & even have CBD for my dogs (so helpful with the seperation anxiety!!).
I shared my CBD oil with you guys on Snapchat a while back & so many of you inquired, which was awesome! Just another reason I am so stoked on this interview… cause Jessica knows her shit about CBD. Way more than I could ever tell you!
Okay, INTRO DONE! Whew… now read on & see how Jessica is breaking stoner stigmas & bringing awareness into all of the many benefits that come with cannabis (plus, a few BTS model beauty tips!).
Fashionlush: Hi Jessica- so excited to have you on the blog! First things first- please, introduce yourself.
» Jessica VerSteeg: I am the CEO of my little cannabis start up, retired model (unless a cool job like modeling for facebook comes along).
I grew up in Oklahoma with my mom and two little sisters & pent my summers and Christmas’s in Iowa with my dad. I started modeling when I was 18. I’m a Virgo, & I love dogs!
How did you get started in the modeling industry?
» JV: I started modeling right after high school, it was always a dream of mine so when I was old enough to move out I moved to Miami and split my time between London, Miami, and New York.
I think most parents, including my own, would have preferred their child to move out of state for college, but my parents have always been supportive in anything I do and once I started showing up on TV shows they watch or magazines they were subscribed to I think it became clear to them that this was a “real” job.
You’ve been in the fashion/modeling industry for many years, so I have to ask, are there any top secret beauty tips you learned in that world we should know about?
» JV: Hmm top secret/beauty hacks?… I would say the most obvious amongst models are WATER and SLEEP!
– Water: hydration was my number one beauty hack before any shoot because it flushes out any toxins and always helped keep my skin stay clear.
– Sleep: It’s the bodies way of recharging itself.
For the random beauty hack, I would say running an ice cube over my face in the morning before putting on my moisturizers. It tightens my skin, clears any puffiness under the eyes that sleep did not cure, and shrinks my pores.
In your industry, are/were you able to be open & honest about the fact you are into marijuana without judgement?
» JV: YES, it’s very common actually and definitely not frowned upon.
Tell us about your booming company, the AuBox– what’s the story behind it & what made you want to get involved in the marijuana industry.
» JV: To be honest Cannabis is new to me, but I chose to dive in because I recently lost someone very close to me. During his time in the NFL he would say, “Jess I really just need to smoke for my pain, I think I could get addicted to these painkillers.” and I would remind him that the NFL doctors knew what they are doing and marijuana is a ‘gateway’ drug. When the NFL released him for having too many concussions, little did we know he was addicted to the painkillers. He said this would happen and I still had no idea, I think while he was in the NFL he did not know he was either because the pills were given out like candy and you don’t know you are addicted until you don’t have access to them.
We found out the hard way that being out of the NFL meant he was out of pills, I kept relating his constant sleeping, the constant vomiting, the depression, and the new aggressive personality to his concussions… because that’s what the NFL and everyone around us was telling me. At some point I would tell friends/ family I think he has dementia and I (he… we) needed help, but everyone told me he was too young and it’s not possible. It became part of my daily routine to clean up his vomit and help him find small things like his car keys or his laptop, slowly it grew to things like helping him remember a password or reminding him that he told the kid down the street he would help him lift weights. Until one day I went to clean his vomit and I counted 13 undissolved pills. Then it hit me, I started to look for pill bottles and I found so many hidden all over our home. I realized he was hiding his addiction, trying to stay strong for us, hoping to get back into the NFL.
I confronted him about the addiction, I told him we can get help and I know it’s not his fault. From that point on things were different between us. Ultimately his new aggression (caused by painkillers) put me in the hospital, while I was there I kept thinking what could have been different. And I realized if I could go back in time, for the 1st time ever, I would change something in my past. I would have allowed him to smoke as a form of medication. Maybe he would have still been released for his NFL concussions and maybe he would still have what they later found to be CTE, but he would not have developed this addiction to pain killers.
After I ended up in the hospital, we broke up. One year after our break up he passed away from an accidental overdose on painkillers and it shook me to my bones. I knew I needed to change the way cannabis was perceived and I wanted to help other athletes.
There’s still the notion that marijuana is just for stoners or that there’s no real medical benefit, but research shows that’s not true. I want to change the way people see cannabis, I want to take away the “Stoner” image. Reflecting on my time with Tyler, I wish that my attitude towards medicating with cannabis vs. prescription painkillers at that time were different. Maybe changing one more person’s view on cannabis will save one more person’s life.
Who is the AuBox customer?
» JV: The AuBox customer is someone that wants quality medicine that has been lab tested and perfectly packaged with proper labeling so they know exactly what doses they are taking.
I am creating AuBox to be both a luxury experience and an avenue for patients to get their medicine without having to go inside a dispensary (as some patients physically cannot leave their home).
With AuBox, patients can sample a large variety of high end products that work best for their needs, in the privacy of their own home without pressure and without judgment. Creating a luxury cannabis brand isn’t just about the experience, but part of my mission of de-stigmatizing cannabis as an illicit drug.
On your site you talk about how the goal of the AuBox is to help get rid of those “stoner” stigmas. I would love to hear your thoughts on these way to common misconceptions.
» JV: I think many people are still stuck with the idea that smoking weed means you don’t care to have a job or that you don’t like nice things. We all know that’s not true; many people that have signed up for AuBox are teachers, doctors, lawyers, coaches, athlete’s, models, soccer moms, CEO’s, chefs all people that I would say work hard and like to eat a nice meal or splurge on a gift or two.
I think quality cannabis products from vape pens to face serums can help change the old way of thinking. I mean, at one point alcohol was illegal, then it was legal when prescribed by a doctor, and now people are part of wine subscriptions and taking tours around beer breweries. I think if we work together and act responsibly cannabis will have the same story to tell.
OKAY- so tell us a little bit about what the AuBox has to offer each month! It’s an AMAZING box of goodies.
» JV: Thank you! AuBox offers 7 types of boxes. Not everyone wants to get dog treats and not everyone wants to get bath bombs, so I’ve created a few different types of boxes that cater to what certain types of people want. We have:
– Day & Night Box: This box is for someone that wants to medicate in the morning and the evening. Our Pot-O-Coffee will definitely get you going for the day and the Kurvana indica original blueberry vape cartridge will help relax you before bed.
– Edibles Box: This box is for the person that enjoys the way edibles make them feel. We have everything from mellows marsh mellows to Tetra Labs Gold Mist.
– Intimates Box: This might not be the box you want every month, but it’s definitely cool to spice up your love life every now and then. If you get this box you will have yummy things like Golden Goddess lickable body butter and Kings of Kush candles to set the mood lighting.
– Beauty Box: This box has everything a girl needs from Cold Spring’s coconut salt scrub to Foria’s Relief Suppositories for that week mother nature pays a visit.
– Man Box: This box has everything a guy needs from Budsuds BeeWhiskered beard balm to Mary’s Nutritionals CBD patch for achy muscles.
– Pet Box: Obviously this box is for people that have pets, and those that have pets know what it’s like to have a puppy with separation anxiety or pets that have really dry skin. This box has things like Therabis that helps with calming your pup and K9 Releaf Dog Wash for dry skin.
– Sampler Box: This is one of my favorite boxes because it lets you sample everything from Shine 24k gold rolling papers to Opus chocolates.
You guys offer a lot of CBD products. Can you tell the readers more about CBD and it’s many [life changing] benefits?
» JV: OMG I would be happy to tell your readers about CBD!
Most people have heard of about the chemical THC, which is the ingredient in marijuana that gets users high. But there is another compound in marijuana called CBD and evidence of its medical benefits continue to grow. Here are a few facts about this compound:
– CBD is non-psychoactive
– CBD is a key ingredient in cannabis
– CBD is only one in over 60 compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids.
– Of these compounds, CBD and THC are usually present in the highest concentrations, therefore they are the most recognized and studied.
– CBD and THC levels tend to vary among different plants.
– Marijuana often contains more THC than CBD, however cannabis breeders have been able to create plants with high levels of CBD and close to zero levels of THC by using select breeding techniques.
What are your personal top 5 favorite products featured in the AuBox:
» JV: This is a really hard question for me. Truthfully all brands/ products in the AuBox(es) are my favorite that’s why they are in the Box. If it’s not in the Box it’s not my favorite haha.
How is your business changing (or planning to change) now that Prop 64 has passed (major win for you, I’m sure!)?
» JV: Yes Prop 64 was a major win for everyone in the cannabis space.
There are many small changes, but most will not go into effect until January 2018. Once 2018 comes my patients will not have to submit a doctor’s recommendation and I think my users will like that.
Although I will say it’s quite easy to do thanks to my amazing web developer making our website so easy to use when creating a profile and thanks to HelloMD for giving my users a virtual Doctor.
Indica or Sativa?
» JV: Oh you are making me pick! I will just have to go with Sativa because I travel nonstop and it’s nice to just unwind and not have to fight jet lag.
LASTLY- one of my favorite questions! If we dumped out your purse right this minute, what would we find?
» JV: I can do that for you! I actually have my bag here.
– Gloves & earmuffs from Neiman Marcus
– That gold thing with two vape pens is my Cypherextracs gold dab bank
– Those silver + orange and green squares are from gummies from Kushy Punch (CBD is the green and Indica is the Orange)
– The black bottle that says ‘savor’ is raw CBD cacao by Whoopie and Maya
– The black car shaped thing is my Tesla key
– The glass jar has Blue Steal flower in it
– The two tubes (one red and one red and green) are pre rolls. One is called Churros and the other is from Kurupts moon rock by Kurupt and Dr. Zodiaks