A Chat With Nashville Instagram Influencer Jordana Nicholson
To Instagram pro Jordana Nicholson, a life well lived is one full of beauty and good company. A Montreal native raised in a “loud, expressive and loving” Italian family, Nicholson shares photos of her recipes, adventures and the serene yet cozy home she shares with her husband in Nashville, Tennessee.
With a knack for snapping a striking photo, Nicholson’s passion for food and home styling has allured an unexpected Instagram following who look to her for beauty and decor inspiration, plus recipes she labels “health(ish).” In her own words, being healthful is about “finding a good balance.”
Keep reading for Nicholson’s insights into recipe building, using Instagram as a creative outlet and Nashville foodie hot spots.
What’s your personal definition of “home?” Meaning, what does a place need to have in order for you to feel like it’s a home?
The definition of “home,” for me, is a simple one. Family and togetherness definitely come first—I value those two more than anything in life. Of course there are other things as well, like the comfort of home and how it just feels unlike any other place. It’s always a safe place to come back to. I also really value the special—things that have been collected, passed on and cherished.
How would you define your aesthetic?
Bright, happy, simple and unintimidating, I guess! I don’t ever want to overcomplicate something as simple as an Instagram photo.
Did you have goals to build a following when you first started posting to Instagram? When did your followers start growing, and what has that growth been like for you?
Oh man, not at all! I didn’t even have an iPhone when Instagram became a thing. I remember using the app on my husband’s phone and posting photos once a week for fun. I’ve always been passionate about food and home decor, so I guess people soon caught on to my little photo journal—at least that’s what it felt like to me. I just really enjoy getting to share bits and pieces of my life here in Nashville. It’s a fun little creative outlet where I can share my recipes, beauty tips, travels and maybe get real sometimes. I’ve never once thought to myself, “Man, I want to do all this so I can be Instagram-famous.” Personally, to me, I think that’s just kind of—yuck. My following (gosh, it’s even weird calling it that!) just happened organically. It’s pretty neat, and sometimes kind of weird that so many people are interested in what I have to share. Oh, Instagram.
Where did your relationship with food begin, and when did you start cooking?
Coming from an Italian/Canadian family, food has always been a huge part of my life. I was never a picky eater as a kid and loved being in the kitchen with my mom, watching her prepare meals. She’s my biggest inspiration. That woman can make the most delicious meal out of five ingredients. I’ve always loved how simple yet flavorful her cooking is. Our family has just always been about good food, new flavors and ingredients. I’m so thankful that I grew up that way.
I was always the kid that picked the Food Network over cartoons and took my home economics classes way too seriously. Cooking just transports me to another world—it’s my creative outlet and stress reliever. Nothing brings me more joy than getting to prepare a meal for friends or loved ones. It’s definitely my love language.
Where does building a new recipe begin for you?
I’m not a huge meal planner—I kind of wish I was some days—but I live for spontaneity and creating dishes from what I currently have, or with whatever is fresh and in season at the market. I love taking the ingredients I have, setting them out on the counter, and then imagining what would go best with what, which spices or flavors would marry with this ingredient or that ingredient—it’s kind of like building a puzzle, and it’s so much fun to me. I love a good challenge.
What do you like about living in Nashville, and what are some of your favorite things to do in the city?
I’ve lived in Nashville now for over six years, which is so crazy to me. Some days it feels like I just moved here, and other days it feels like I’ve been here for ages. I just adore this city so much. It may be growing at the most rapid rate, but it still feels so small. I love that I bump into people I know almost daily here, whether it’s at the grocery store, park or coffee shop.
The creativity in Nashville is so inspiring. Yes, it’s known as Music City, but there are so many incredible artists here. This city inspired me to freelance and pursue starting my own business. I originally studied early childhood development in college, but after moving to Nashville and seeing so many people pursue their dreams and passions, I knew I wanted to work in a more creative industry with food and photography. I’m so glad I took a leap of faith and am so happy to be doing what I truly love.
If there’s one thing not too many people know about Nashville, it’s that it has quickly become a foodie destination. The restaurant scene here is incredible. My husband and I love going on date nights and trying some of the new hot spots. We can’t even keep up! A few favorites include City House, Cafe Roze, Vui’s Kitchen, Franklin Juice Co. and Martin’s Bar-B-Que.
Call me old-fashioned, but I’m still used to social media being an avenue that draws readers to a “main” website or blog. Have you ever blogged? And why is Instagram your preferred medium?
I’m so torn when it comes to blogging. I’ve always just used Instagram as my ‘blog,’ but now that I’ve been sharing more on food and such, I’ve been tossing up the idea of starting one. Blogs definitely have their pros and cons, but they’re great for logging things like recipes. I’ve always loved that Instagram is kind of a one-stop shop. My photos, recipes and links are all in one place, and I don’t have to redirect people to another site for a recipe. But Instagram feels a little unpredictable some days, if I’m being honest. It’s already changed so much with that mess of an algorithm, so who knows what can happen next. Blogging definitely has a little more security, I think. So who knows, I might end up having a blog one day soon.
All photography courtesy of Jordana Nicholson.