Recently I have been rewatching the 2011 Comedy tv show New Girl to pass my time at home.

For those who have never watched the show, the premise is as follows. After going through a bad breakup with a cheating long-term boyfriend, upbeat and quirky, Jess (played by Zooey Deschanel) decides to move into a loft with three single guys she met on Craigslist. Over the course of her time in the loft, Jess, along with Nick, Schmidt, Coach, Winston and Jess’s best friend Cece form a sort of dysfunctional family. 

I have always loved the show for its unique, hilarious, and endearing characters. However, the character of Jess particularly resonates with me. As an often awkward girl myself, Jess makes me feel validated in my quirks. I have always considered my awkwardness to be a detriment. However, through watching Jess’s antics and how those around her react to them, I see that what I consider to be my flaws, may actually be endearing to others. 

To provide some background on Jess, she’s an innocent, glasses-wearing, big-blued eyed teacher who often sings to herself, doesn’t know how to act around men, and has a bit of old soul energy. She is often nerdy, clumsy, and emotional. A lot of her hobbies are that of a grandma (scrapbooking, knitting, croquet) while she herself is only in her 30s. 

Jess makes me feel validated in my quirks.

Not every single personality trait of Jess’ applies to me, but enough do that I feel comforted by her character. She is relatable in the ways that count. For one, I myself also identify as hyper-emotional and empathetic. Jess cares deeply for her friends and will quite literally go to the ends of the earth for them. Only a few days after moving into the loft with the boys, Jess tells them she loves them. She has an open heart with her feelings. I am very much the same way. Watching Jess ugly cry at Dirty Dancing made me feel seen in ways I hadn’t before.

Jess is also an old soul who sometimes feels different from her peers. She’d probably rather scrapbook or craft than go to a club. I have often felt similarly out of place for my age group. I’ve never loved partying all the time. Sometimes I’m in the mood, but usually, I live for the late-night Mcdonalds after the party much more. I am also the type who enjoys a quiet night in watching a movie with friends equally if not more.

Despite her awkwardness, Jess continues to be apologetically herself.

Besides Jess’s overall personality, her behavior is also super quirky. She particularly struggles to flirt with men and frequently embarrasses herself when she attempts to. I think all awkward girls out there know how that feels and have there fair share of embarrassing romantic encounters. I myself still stand by the fact that I don’t really know how to flirt. I’ve definitely tripped over my words and myself more than a few times when talking to someone I find cute. 

What’s perhaps most relatable about Jess though is how her character never quite grew out of her awkward phase from her preteen years. Sure, she physically “glowed up,” but a lot of her personality remained the same. I resonate with that feeling deeply. Even though I look at myself in the mirror now and don’t see the glasses, braces, and acne I used to have, I still have some of the same insecurities as middle school me. Seeing Jess’s flashbacks to her early life being unapologetically herself makes me feel like I can embrace my quirky and sometimes insecure younger self.

Jess’s character shows women that they don’t have to be put together and effortlessly cool constantly to love themselves and be loved. Jess’ quirkiness and awkwardness are what makes her lovable and herself. New Girl shows all the other awkward girls out there, myself included, that it’s ok to be yourself. So sing little made-up songs to yourself, talk during movies, and wear whatever makes you happy. Your identity is unique and awesome just the way it is!       

  • Maggie Mahoney

    Maggie Mahoney is an editorial fellow based in Washington D.C. She is a soon to be graduating senior at American University studying Literature with a minor in Communications. Maggie is passionate about poetry, elementary education, blogging, and R&B music. She loves to cook and try new cuisines and considers herself a textbook Virgo.