Writer, director, and producer Janet Mock takes our career questionnaire

The ‘Pose’ director and producer and ‘Surpassing Certainty’ author takes our career questionnaire.

Writer, director, and producer Janet Mock takes our career questionnaire
[Illustration: CranioDsgn; source image:Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images (Mock)]

Fast Company: What is your best habit, and what is your worst?


Janet Mock: I write incisive emails, and I bite my cuticles when I’m stressed.

FC: Do you have a mantra?

JM: “Always tell the truth.”


FC: What do you do when you’re creatively stuck?

JM: I open a beloved novel from my shelf—Sula, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Giovanni’s Room—and read from any page.

FC: Is there a businessperson you admire?


JM: Ava DuVernay and Ryan Murphy. They are so purpose-driven and unafraid to take center stage as creative forces.

FC: What’s the best mistake you ever made?

JM: Telling a then close friend that I was trans. She ended up sharing that information with another woman who happened to be the journalist who wrote the first feature on me in Marie Claire, which changed my life and career.


FC: Is there a book you recommend to everyone?

JM: The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron. It’s a workbook that helps you unleash your inner creative and unapologetically live an artist’s life.

FC: What was your career fork in the road?


JM: As I was starting to write a novel, Ryan Murphy offered me a job in the writers’ room of Pose. I almost didn’t take it because I felt safe in the world of books—TV felt fickle, uncertain.

FC: Do you have a work uniform?

JM: All-black everything when I’m directing: L’Agence jeans, Valentino Chelsea boots, cotton bodysuit, and St. Laurent bomber jacket.


FC: What’s always in your bag?

JM: Fenty Glow Gloss Bomb, Chanel La Crème, Mophie Powerstation Plus, and a notepad and pen.

FC: Do you have a favorite object in your office?


JM: My first-edition copy of Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston.

FC: What’s your favorite form of exercise?

JM: My trainer makes me do a series of lunges and squats with resistance bands that I equally loathe and look forward to.


FC: Is there a TV show you’re mid-binge on?

JM: Love Island U.K. It’s a sudsy meditation on group dynamics.

FC: What is your favorite podcast?


JM: The Read, with Kid Fury and Crissle. They’re smart, incisive, and black as hell.

FC: Do you have a go-to food for fast fuel?

JM: A Fab Four green smoothie by Kelly LeVeque.


FC: What’s your “get pumped” song?

JM: “The Cure,” by Lady Gaga.

FC: What are your five favorite social media accounts?


[Photo: stchin4/Stockimo/Alamy Stock Photo]
Follows demonstrations on the Big Island where Hawaiians resist construction on sacred native land.

[Photo: Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Coachella]
The professional fan site for all things Beyoncé.

[Photo: Alex Ashe]
A cultural critic and writer at The New Yorker. Doreen is easily the smartest woman I know.


[Photo: Lia Clay/Them]
Gives the best commentary on all things LGBTQ in culture and politics.

[Photo: Tyler Golden/Netflix]
Tells me what to watch with/by black talent on Netflix. They support all things for the culture.

A version of this article appeared in the November 2019 issue of Fast Company magazine.