It’s hard to miss her cobalt blue eyes and inviting smile. Jessica Long was made for marketing, full of good humor and radiating a confident business sense.
She is a Key West success story, moving here in her early 20s, bartending until pursuing and making it in the corporate world — all under age 35. Now, Long handles marketing for Ocean Properties, including Margaritaville Resort, Sunset Key Cottages, The Weatherstation Inn and The Laureate. She also is a part of the Chamber of Commerce Marketing Committee. And Long loves doing it all.
The Baltimore native got a head start on “going where life takes her” by attending college at 16 when recruited to play soccer. Long majored in theater and her first job was DJing, all of which seemed to prepare her for navigating the Key West business world. “Marketing is an ever-changing job; the needs are always shifting, and it forces you to be creative — a lot like bartending,” said Long.
Ready for anything, Long is also a certified rescue diver and participated in a Guinness Book of World Records event called “All Across the Ages” for “Longest Consecutive Lacrosse Game Ever Played.” Her charisma and savvy serve Key West well, along with a great sense of adventure and humor.
Full Name? Nickname? Jessica Long
Do you have a life credo or motto? “Why fit in when you were born to stand out?” –Dr. Seuss
How did you get into the hospitality industry? I moved to Key West almost 12 years ago and somehow fell into the industry. It was a big change since before my move I was DJing and acting full time in Baltimore.
What’s it like actually living and working in Margaritaville? I try to remind myself regularly how lucky I am to live in such an amazing place. The promise of no snow and a supportive community, thrown in with the occasion sandbar happy hour on the boat after work make living here unlike anywhere else!
You are a rescue diver; any rescues, or just dive? I am a certificated rescue diver, but I only dive as a hobby. My rescue training skills have come in handy twice, just being in the right place at the right time. Luckily, both situations had happy endings.
How do you stay peaceful in a crazy town like Key West? Well, my first couple years here I had my “party pants” on just about every night, but I suppose that’s to be expected when you’re 22 and living in a vacation town. As I grew up, I’ve managed to find a nice balance between life on the island and on the water without involving too much of Duval Street … but I haven’t thrown my “party pants” away. They still make an appearance every once in a while.
What’s the most illegal thing you’ve done? Hmmm … As a teenager, a few friends and I snuck over the wall of the Naval Academy in the middle of the night with the help of a few midshipmen to have a few drinks in the dorms. I think it was mainly about the thrill. Looking back, the consequences would have been pretty bad if we had all gotten caught, but thankfully the statute of limitations has run out.
What’s something you like to do the old-fashioned way? I think homemade gifts are the best gifts.
What job would you be terrible at? I could never be a professional singer since the only song I seem to be able to master without any issues is the “Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song.
What skill would you like to master? I would eventually like to get my pilot’s license. I’ve always really enjoyed flying.
If invisible in Key West, what would you do? I would listen in on people’s dramatic bar conversations that are none of my business. I may do a little of that anyway…
Who is your alter ego? Gilda Radner’s Roseanne Roseannadanna might be the best way to envision my alter ego.
Favorite guilty pleasure? A well-made Manhattan. I also can’t stop eating gummy bears.
If you could grant Key West one wish, what would it be? I think Key West has it right with our motto of “One Human Family”; if anything, my wish would be for more places in this country to adopt that mindset and that way of living.
What quirks do you have? I have a bad habit of laughing at my own terrible jokes.
Lunch with one famous person, who would you choose? Here it goes … Gilda Radner, Sir Richard Branson, Michelle Obama, Lady Gaga, Eleanor Roosevelt, Hunter S. Thompson. There are several more, but I’ve already broken the rules of naming just one.
Finish these sentences.
My friends and family would describe me … Well, that depends on who’s being asked. My Dad thinks I’m the reason for all his grey hair, but I’d like to think most people think I’m quite pleasant to be around.
My autobiography would be titled … “Mistakes Were Made”
I can never refuse … Blue crabs — Maryland girl, born and raised!
When I go, I will go … in style or down swinging.