Jessica Chou runs a Youtube channel called Jessicann – aptly named, since she has proven that she can do just about anything that she sets her mind to. On her channel, she post videos intended to teach girls how to fix cars. Her goal is to make content that helps, entertains, and empowers independent girls who are eager to learn a trade that they may have never been taught before.
Chou said in an interview with Smart Girls that her knowledge about cars was born out of necessity, rather than initial interest. She said, “After college, I bought a 2003 VW Jetta off of Craigslist, without knowing anything about cars. Needless to say, within two months, it started having problems. Every time my car broke down, I went through the same process – call my dad in a panic, get it towed to a mechanic, get ripped off, feel stupid. So I decided to learn a few things about my car!”
After her own experience struggling to fix her first car, she figured that other girls might want to have the same skills, instead of constantly relying on others for help. From there she started her Youtube channel, which features lots of helpful tips and tricks about cars.
Recently, Chou even hosted her own booth at an auto show, where she was dedicated to educating women on car maintenance. She was overjoyed at the opportunity, but also, quite surprised.
“I wrote a cold email to them explaining what I was doing and asking if I could help with a booth specifically catered to women. All of a sudden, I found myself with an 1,100 square-foot space which I turned into the first-ever female-focused space at the LA Auto Show,” she said.
In that same interview, she tells Smart Girls the exact moment when she knew she wanted to start her Youtube channel. “I was outside working on my car and a man walked by. He looked at me very confused, and asked, ‘What are you doing?’ I told him I was fixing my spark plugs. He then asked, ‘By yourself?’ And I proudly replied, ‘Yes! By myself!’ I’ve never felt more empowered, and I knew I had to find a way to capture that feeling and share it with other girls.”
Although her channel is fairly new, and therefore relatively small, she has discovered an online community of people excited to learn. Chou has been pleasantly surprised by the positive feedback that she has gotten from her subscribers.
As for the question of why it is so unheard of for women to work on cars, Jessica responded, “I think we don’t see as many female mechanics because the industry is still so heavily dominated by men. When we think of a mechanic, we think of men. When we see ads or posters of mechanics, we see men. When we see shows about cars, we see men.”
Jessica believes that education is important to empowerment. The more we know and can teach others, the better off we all are. She continues, “It will take a long time to change all of this, but in the 10 short months that I’ve been on this journey, I’ve met so many incredible people who are out to change the game.”
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