Jess Mendes grew up in Boston, Massachusetts. She did her undergrad at Fairfield University, earning her Bachelor of Arts in Communications and Black Studies. In 2014, she moved to New York City to pursue a career in creative development, production and marketing. She worked at Buzzfeed in the creative department, executing social and editorial branded content campaigns. In 2016, she moved on to accept a position at Complex where she elevated brand partnerships and pioneered experiential activations, including ComplexCon. For the last five years, she worked independently, with artists and brands such as OVO Sound, 300 Entertainment, Highsnobiety and Air Company.
In 2021, Jess became an Allen Crocker Fellows and dedicated her year of research to exploring the experience and intersectionality of adult siblings affected by disability. This project was inspired by her youngest brother, Jason -- a high-support need individual who turned 22 during the pandemic. She speaks Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese, Spanish and English.