From left to right: Annette Mia Flores, Jenny Joslin, Kendall Watkins. Photograph by Chase McDaniel.
The friendship trio that founded the cannabis-infused television comedy, High Herstory, was built from serving tables together in small-town Texas. Throughout college, co-founders Jenny Joslin, Kendall Watkins and Annette Mia Flores used cannabis together as a creative tool while studying as theater majors at Texas State University.
Now, they’ve fused their shared passions to create High Herstory. This series features historical reenactments that induce bellyaching laughs, similarly to the show Drunk History. But more importantly, High Herstory focuses on educating viewers about influential, yet often overlooked, women in history.
Currently, season one is streaming on Social Club TV. On set, the co-founders prioritize maintaining a safe atmosphere where the team can simultaneously get high while honoring women who traditional Western history barely mentioned.
Where Are The Women?
New Orleans-based, Jenny Joslin reveals shocking statistics that she has discovered in terms of women’s historical narratives.
Joslin tells, “[…] women’s history makes up only .5% of the historical narrative. That really drove us to want to tell stories and to hear women’s perspectives on these stories because there’s so much that we just don’t know.”
Unfortunately, English Heritage, a non-profit organization, supports the findings that this drastically low percentage is accurate. Historian Dr. Bettany Hughes explains, “…often women aren’t allowed to be characters in history, they have to be stereotypes. Cleopatra was a poet and a philosopher, she was incredibly good at maths; she wasn’t that much of a looker. But when we think of her, we think: big breasted seductress bathing in milk,” she continues. “Often, even when women have made their mark and they are remembered by history, we are offered a fantasy version of their lives.”
However, the lack of empowering women’s narratives is not ancient history. Joslin notes that even in today’s industry, women are fighting to preserve their autonomy.
Joslin states, “I think we’re seeing it right now with women of the early 2000’s like Britney Spears and Monica Lewinsky. We’re reframing all of the stories that have been told and reexamining these women from a view of society that really tells us where we were at as far as our views of women.”
Furthermore, High Herstory highlights women’s historical narratives because they recognize that many of the opportunities available to modern women are largely the result of previous generations’ efforts.
“I feel kind of courted in the history of this country by the women before me who had an even harder time getting to the table,” Kendall Watkins conveys. “They got in the room and now I can potentially sit at the table.”
A Table of Women who use Cannabis
High Herstory aims to fill this metaphorical table with women who consciously consume cannabis and actively support the innovation of women’s narratives.
Joslin describes how her relationship with the series co-founders, Kendall Watkins and Annette Mia Flores, blossomed by reaching a place of vulnerability with each other while consuming cannabis.
“My first experiences ever smoking were with them. We used it all throughout our journey and we all dealt with some really difficult trauma as young people,” Joslin divulges. “Cannabis was such a part of lifting us out of that from the start.”
The three musketeers of conscious consumption augmented their nights in the dorm into a platform that welcomes all who see cannabis as a source of empowerment. Watkins expresses, “so many women are in this industry because they found healing and community.”
High Herstory unites those who benefit from cannabis and are eager to join in the conversation with others who have trail-blazed the women’s empowerment movement. For example, season one features stories of Josephine Baker, Hua Mulan, Lucy Hicks Anderson and more.
“I think that it’s been very liberating to connect with other women in a way that is authentic. Also, we’re sharing so many of the same internal feelings together. I think that being a woman can be very isolating in a lot of ways. We’re expected to live up to certain standards with our bodies, careers and minds,” Joslin reveals.
Sincerely, the sense of female empowerment that accumulates through vulnerability is inevitably bewitching. The intentional use of cannabis propagates a collective consciousness that High Herstory advocates for.
Joslin, Watkins and Flores’ love child represents a productive lifestyle that cannabis use nurtures rather than jeopardizes. Furthermore, High Herstory’s gently balances between responsible yet recreational cannabis use.
Joslin shares that she felt called to portray the identity of successful cannabis consumers who contradict fear-mongering stereotypes.
Joslin says, “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a real representation of the kind of women I know in the cannabis industry that are literally smoking weed every day and are the most productive, impressive people I’ve ever met. They just so happen to use weed to help them with various issues.”
Arguably, there’s a bumpy road ahead because many of the representations broadcasted on mainstream networks have negative connotations. Consequently, this portrayal publicizes doubt and develops a sense of suspicion. Those who either are unfamiliar with the flower or have seen people use it for self-suppression rather than self-expansion are most apprehensive.
High Herstory also experiences cases where mainstream companies won’t back cannabis-based material in fear of backlash.
“We had those meetings but ultimately it always came to them thinking it’s a little risky to portray cannabis consumption with their sponsors,” Joslin notes. “In our community it doesn’t seem like much of a revolutionary act to show women consuming weed. But it really started to feel like we were blocked, as far as the mainstream.”
Nonetheless, companies such as Social Club TV save the day and keep informed cannabis content on the map.
The discussion on representation in the cannabis industry is always evolving. Joslin reveals that comparatively, the cannabis industry had a leading number of female CEOs. However, since 2015 this number has already decreased.
Forbes writes, “back in 2015, roughly 36 percent of all C-Suite positions in the cannabis industry were occupied by women – as per Marijuana Business Daily data, well above global averages of less than 25 percent. This stat was quoted far and wide across the media, as industry insiders gloated on their progressive ways.”
However, this number continues to drop at a shocking rate and renders this statistic to be merely demonstrative. For example, a recent Arcview study finds that women currently hold just 8% of CEO positions at cannabis companies.
The study also discusses systemic discrimination and the need for representation from people of color. Not only should the cannabis industry continue to push to be more women-centric; but even more so, push to be more inclusive of diverse identities.
Joslin states, “…we also start to see the formation of the boy’s club and people who want to hire people who look and think like them. I think that’s also something that’s a big issue in our culture. We kind of have to look outside the box of our own experience and do that in a genuine way.”
The battle for equal representation will regrettably be around for a while. Be that as it may, High Herstory directors do their best to embody stories from all walks of life. Specifically, the primary focus of season two is to illustrate the perspectives of women who work in the cannabis industry.
“…You’re going to see a lot of stories about cannabis and women in cannabis. Some really incredible, influential women inside of the industry will tell their own stories within the format of the recreations and reenactments […],” Joslin announces.
She continues, “you’ll see more varied perspectives from different cultures and different narratives. We really want to present a wide view of history outside of just Western history. We’re going to see a lot of perspectives from people that shift our view of what it means to be a cannabis user and where cannabis comes from and what it’s meant to other cultures.”
Until then, Joslin, Watkins and Flores will be getting high and working diligently to produce an informative, yet hilariously satirical season two. In fact, High Herstory is holding a casting call for season two. They encourage all who appreciate comedy and find solace in their mission to try out.
Post from @highherstory on Instagram.