Michelle Denise Jackson is a writer, storyteller, and performer from Southern California. She grew up in the dusty desert valleys of the Inland Empire, where she created melodramatic soap operas with her Barbies to stifle the boredom. When she outgrew her dolls, she read a lot of books, watched a lot of TV, and played a lot of The Sims 2.
She studied theatre at California State University, Long Beach before transferring to NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. There, Michelle explored the intersections of storytelling, performance, social justice, and cultural studies in a self-designed concentration she (obnoxiously) titled, "(Re)Constructing/Imagining Reality through Narrative and Performance." During her time in New York, she also wrote and performed spoken word poetry at many of the City's most infamous venues -- such as the Nuyorican Poets' Cafe and the Bowery Poetry Club -- with NYU's top-ranked slam poetry team.
Upon receiving her degree, Michelle returned home to SoCal. She co-founded and served as executive director of ¡DUENDE! Long Beach, a grassroots arts organization that provided arts-based workshops and performance opportunities to local young people. Michelle also worked for Planned Parenthood's community education and outreach programs, teaching sex ed and facilitating leadership groups with high school students all over the Los Angeles county. During this time, she also released the poetry chapbook, THERE WILL BE NO MORE LOVE POEMS ABOUT WAR, about her experiences as a sexual assault survivor.
After three years of reproductive justice and youth empowerment work, Michelle made the decision to focus on being a writer, performer, and storyteller full-time. She co-wrote, co-produced, and co-starred in the theatrical poetry show, A NECESSARY BODY, with fellow sister-artists KasiTeYana and Nina Simone Moore. She also served as a contributing writer and editor at For Harriet, an online media space dedicated to Black women's experiences. She later co-created, co-wrote, and co-starred in the 10-episode web series, GIRL, GET YO' LIFE! -- her third collaboration with sister-artist, KasiTeYana.
In 2015, Michelle began USC's renowned MFA Writing for Screen & Television program. In 2016, she was awarded both the Annenberg Graduate Fellowship and the Edward Small Screenwriting Award.
When not writing, reading, and binging on massive amounts of television, Michelle enjoys looking at photos of kittens, laughing with her friends, and eating at some of LA's best ramen spots. She hopes to create media and stories that both center and celebrate the varied experiences of marginalized people. And more than anything, she hopes to make her Momma and Daddy proud.