Survivor Jane, perhaps the most renowned female prepper of our time. Jane was just your typical career woman going about her daily life, until everything about her entire life perspective was altered during an attempted robbery. The old saying “the straw that broke the camel’s back” may be a cliché, but it accurately describes the scenario that prompted Jane to begin focusing on a more self-reliant existence.
She already knew how to handle a gun but was not skilled in other modes of preparedness. She embarked on a journey of self-discovery and education that led to the creation of a legion of faithful online followers. Survivor Jane started a website designed to aid other novice female preppers. Jane also created a now-viral Twitter hashtag that attracts thousands of homesteading, survival, and preppers fans from around the world.
The prepper chick has written her first book, a compilation filled with natural, homemade recipes for everything from face wash to conditioner that will leave your hair feeling silky and luxurious. It’s appropriately titled Where There is No Cosmetic Counter: How not to look like a Zombie-Even After the End of the World as You Know It. Survivor Jane’s book boasts a multitude of recipes comprised of healthy and natural ingredients sure to please any prepper chick, off-grid enthusiast, or homesteading family.
You began your prepping experience after growing concerned about crime and economic civil unrest. As your website indicates, you were robbed at gunpoint during an attempted car-jacking. How did that tragic experience impact your sense of safety?
Survivor Jane – By nature, I am a trusting person. And in fact, I was doing what came natural to me at the time of this incident. I was letting two people who were running down the sidewalk, seemingly in a great hurry, cross in front of my car before pulling out of the parking garage. What I didn’t know was they had just robbed someone at gun point and were looking for a getaway vehicle. Mine. Doors locked, they began pounding on the front and back passenger door windows with theirs guns.
Luckily, a 911 call had been placed about the prior robbery, and in minutes my vehicle was surrounded by law enforcement vehicles. I was already a prisoner in my own home with security alarms and motion detector lights due to the escalating crime in my neighborhood.
I didn’t want to live in fear. I was trained in handgun use and would frequent the range for practice. But because my place of employment was in downtown, there was no escaping the threat of harm. With the burst of the housing bubble and the crash of the stock market, people were becoming desperate- even good people.
When many people conjure up an image of a prepper or survivalist, a burly man comes to mind. You have managed to retain femininity and preparedness flawlessly. What kind of reaction did you first get from friends and family when discussing prepping?
Survivor Jane – Femininity and preparedness flawlessly? Well, thank you, but in all honestly, as with anything, preparedness takes a lot of thought and effort. As for the reaction I’ve received from friends and family to my prepping, I guess I’d have to say it has probably been the same reaction that most preppers or survivalist get, “You’re doing what?” and “Why?”
I realized a while back that just because you are family or friends, does not mean that people will just jump on-board with you in prepping. So, I try to lead by example. Like for instance, if a non-prepping friend or family member comes to visit, I serve them foods I’ve made. Like fresh homemade bread made from hand-milled wheat berries from my food storage, and I serve it with homemade peach preserves made from peaches picked from my garden and canned.
This invariably opens the door to conversations ranging from “how they can’t believe I made the bread,” (After all, they are talking about the girl who used to think the kitchen was simply to hold up the rest of the house!), to “fresh foods always tastes so much better than store bought.” This allows me to ease in to other aspects of preparedness, like how a grocery store only has three days of food due to their computerized auto-replenishing system, so it’s always good to have some food storage backups or a garden “just in case.” Or use experiences, like when Hurricane Charley came through how I didn’t even think to fill my car tank up with gas and ended up sitting in traffic, lined-up on the side of the road, creeping along with less than an 1/8 tank of gas for over an hour, only to learn the station was limiting gas to $10 and it had to be cash; the pump was working off a generator.
In the past, I never carried cash. Thankfully I had an emergency $20 tucked away. What a lesson! So, by sharing experiences and seeing what I have physically done, it makes more sense to them. In fact, some family members and friends, although not actually taking the name “prepper,” have begun compiling food and putting a little emergency cash away. I love it when I receive a call to tell me what they have done. Like I say, preparedness is like eating an elephant – one bite at a time!
Preparedness or “prepping” is quickly becoming mainstream. Yes, I think girly-girls are a minority, but that too is coming around. Think about it: the manly-man prepper has always had the upper hand. Beginning with Boy Scouts at a young age and then learning to fish, hunt, use a rifle and bow – all things manly. While girly-girls-well a lot of them anyhow-focused on all things girly.
What do you hope female preppers will take away from the book?
Survivor Jane: My hope is that women will realize that prepping is not about giving up, it’s about planning ahead. And this goes for everyone not just women. With a little planning if, or when the proverbial ‘poo’ ever hits the fan we can all be more prepared for what evet comes our way.
What do you hope prepper husbands/boyfriends take away from the book?
Survivor Jane: This book represents yet another outreach to bring more preparedness awareness to women. Men, for some reason or another, have a hard time getting the women in their lives onboard with prepping. I’d like the book to represent the pink side of prepping. To show women that prepping is not all about camo, guns and underground bunkers. It’s about planning – which by the way – is what women do best.
The book has many great resources for non-preppers who are concerned with using only natural products on their skin and in their home. What would be the one or two items most readers will be surprised they could make themselves?
Survivor Jane: The book is full of surprises! But to name a few, I would say making your own hair spray and waxing gel to shave your legs. Who doesn’t want to have their hair stay in place? And, we all love silkly smooth legs! I have taken the body as a whole and tried to include head to toe remedies (literally) from shiny hair to treating nail conditions, and so much more.
What is the focus of the book and your vision for the book?
Survivor Jane: The products that most women use, cosmetics and grooming-aids, I don’t think has really be addressed by anyone. Most women at least wear lip gloss and mascara each day, others a full-face of makeup. I am a “what if” person. And wondered, what would happen when your makeup runs out and you can no longer buy it? I scoured the Internet in search of alternatives to just about everything womanly: foundations, eye shadows, lipsticks, hair spray, waxing, shampoo, facial peels, lotions, washes and I can go on and on. My focus was on how to make these products using items in our pantry and gardens. I’m not sure about most of the readers but I am not a natural beauty in the morning – and in fact I’m sure most of us look a little like a zombie. My book is to show women that there are even options to looking and feeling good – even after the end of the world as we know it. And think of the great morale booster it would make!
What advice would you give to men who want to engage their wives, daughters, girlfriends, mothers or sisters more in their preparedness plan?
Survivor Jane: I have this question come up a lot by men. What I tell them is men and women think, act and talk differently. A woman’s priorities are different than a man’s. So, it could very well be the man’s approach to how he discusses preparedness with the women in his life. For instance, if a man begins his conversation with the need to have lots of food, an underground bunker, a closet full of fatigues, and an arsenal of weapons, this sounds dark and frightening to most woman. A lot of these items are foreign to women. Men on the other hand were raised as Boy Scouts, hunters or were in the military, so they understand them better. If, the man took an approach, like say, using current events as a jumping off point and then discuss the world that we live in and specific risks to the area they live it, the conversation would be little less frightening and understandable.