Interview with… Jess Lawrence

Jess Lawrence is London based Social Media Manager at Vogue Business and a content creator, writer and model, with a passion for sneakers, vintage streetwear and luxury signature pieces.

What inspired you to start your influencing career?
I’ve been quite fortunate in the sense that becoming an influencer happened so organically for me. I never sought out to become one, I just leant into it and worked harder on it as opportunities started coming in. I try to keep it as authentic as possible, as it started with me just posting my outfit images to Instagram (years ago before it was anything like it is now!). Back then, there wasn’t really knowledge of content creating, or influencers, it was very innocent and based on my passion for the fashion industry and creating looks. I’ve always been super into fashion, even as a child, so creating content around my style and outfit choices is something I really enjoy and take pride in. I am also very fortunate to have it as a hobby, which has become monetised, as I do work full time for Vogue Business. I find this takes the pressure off completely from a financial point of view, and I can just enjoy it.

Have you had any ‘pinch me’ moments during your career?
I’ve definitely had a lot of those moments! Firstly, it was getting my pictures reposted on large accounts of the brands I adore. But then as it grew and grew, the pinch me moments grew also! The biggest ‘pinch me’ moment for me and my family, was a campaign with Bershka which included a shoot in Barcelona and an international in-store display. Seeing my face in the window of Berksha’s all over the world was amazing!! As much as these moments blow me away, I do know that I work very hard and have done consistently for years, striving to be the best I can be (where possible), so I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved so far.

Has it been difficult to manage working, the gram and modelling? What drives you to succeed?
It definitely has been a challenge juggling basically three jobs that could all individually take my full attention, but I make sure that I prioritise my day job over everything, as that’s a commitment to a business and team outside of myself. But it does mean I work 7 days a week, often very late too, even if it’s shooting pictures on the weekend, answering emails and planning, it’s an ‘always switched on’ lifestyle. I thrive on being busy and achieving things though, so it does suit my personality. Not to say it’s not difficult at times, especially during the pandemic where my mental health has been very turbulent, it’s been hard to stay motivated. But I’m trying my best every day with the tools I have and situations I’m in, which is the best myself or anyone can do!

Any tips for ladies to believe in themselves?
I think becoming more confident in yourself and believing in your abilities is something that doesn’t always come naturally to everyone. It’s an individual process that requires time and patience. I’d say the most important thing is to work to eliminate negative thoughts, take yourself out of negative environments, and make sure the company you keep are those who love and respect you, push you to be better, and care about you on a fundamental human level. I believe we are a product of our surroundings, so making sure those around you are the best types of people is so important. Practising daily mantras can also help, I wake up every morning and try and practice gratitude saying 5 things in my head I’m happy about, or proud of. Sometimes it can be as simple as ‘I got an early night last night and feel good about it’, but finding the little things that make you feel proud of yourself can boost your self-esteem. Talk nicely to yourself and be patient with your journey and progress would be my best advice.

Who are your favourite women to follow?
This is a really tricky question as I follow so many amazing women, some who I know, some who I know only online, and some that I simply fangirl over! I’ll speak about the ladies who I have met IRL though, such as stylist Coco Mell, designer Maria Gulina (who is one of my best friends) and DJ Tara Stewart. All three of these women are killing it in their specific fields, are SO authentically themselves and following them and their journey in their careers and personal life is a joy. Shout out to ALL the women though who are making moves and finding their voice, so proud of so many amazing women in my life!

Any fun plans for 2021?
I’m actually going to buy a flat this year, which is really exciting, I’ve been saving up for an unknown future endeavour, so I’m glad to now have decided to put my money into property and get on the ladder. I’m also dying to get back abroad and learn about some new cultures and meet new people. My whole family are huge on holidays and travelling so we are all very keen to get back out into the world and see our American family also (My dad is from South Carolina). We’ve had a trip to Barbados postponed, but I also would love to go back to Japan and visit South Korea, as soon as it’s safe, as my next travel priorities! And of course, a beach holiday with the girls and festivals are complete necessities!!

What’s your favourite TGF piece?
I’m really into silver jewellery, exclusively actually, so there are so many sick pieces from The Great Frog. At the moment though, I’m really liking the Heart & Dagger Ring, as it’s classic silver but also has a pop of colour which is super cool. I also like my rings to be chunky and heavy so they work as statement pieces.

Favourite Record?
I have quite an eclectic music taste, which is more easily defined by the things I don’t like rather than what I do! As good music to me is good music, regardless of genre. My favourite album of all time though has to be La Dispute’s ‘Wildlife’ (I love all their music) as this came out at a really coming of age time in my life and it resonated with me immensely and still does. I love anything poetic and beautiful, and the raw vocals and storytelling that La Dispute are known for is exactly what I love in music. I also really love J Cole’s Born Sinner.

Favourite Book?
To call a book my favourite is like asking what my favourite pair of sneakers is, an impossible task! I’m an avid reader, studied English Literature at University and have always been a massive book worm. My favourite genre is post-colonialism and magic realism, but the two recent books I’ve really enjoyed are ‘Black and British’ by David Olusoga and ‘Shoe Dog’ by Phil Knight.

Favourite Podcast?
I’ve been absolutely obsessed with ‘My Favourite Murder‘ since it came out, and have listened to every episode religiously for years now. Not only does it satisfy my curiosity about true crime and scandalous acts of humanity, the amazing women who present it, Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark, are hilarious, so inspiring, and have created this incredible uplifting community of people ‘murderinos’ which is all about inclusivity, learning and doing better, and just navigating the hardships of life with comedy.