An interview with my gorgeous plus-size client & celebrant Jenny!
Jenny’s journey on how she built her business is almost as aspirational as her take on being plus size. At 5,10 and a size 22, I really wanted Jenny to explain why she felt she needed a Personal Stylist, what it’s like to be plus size and in the lime light and how she’s showing others just how good they can look no matter what your size.
Jenny is in the public eye, and having just grown her business she is looking to branch out in to the wonderful world of destination weddings. Talented, full-figured, and beautiful, Jenny’s journey is inspirational and she is definitely one to watch.
As a Stylist it’s important to me that all women get the chance to feel confident and happy in themselves and their clothes, so when I met Jenny a year or so ago it was a great opportunity to understand just what issues she had encountered both with her style and in business.
Here’s what she had to say…
1. How old were you when you realised you were plus size? Did you accept it straight away?
I have always been statuesque, and not being far off 6ft and with broad swimmer’s shoulders (I used to be a competitive swimmer!), I was born to stand out! I have embraced this and was always the one to walk into a room first when friends weren’t confident to do so and have never succumbed to any pressures to look a certain way.
I suppose I realised that my weight had crept up after having children (a familiar statement for many I’m sure!) but whilst I am now a size 22, I have for many years hovered around a size 16/18 (still considered plus size).
2. Name something you love about your body? Name something you dislike?
Ooh I love my height, my proportions and how strong I am (I might not be an athlete any more but I still feel very capable).
I suppose I dislike my tummy area but also see this and my scars as a reminder of how wonderful it was to carry twins!
3. What has being plus sized taught you about yourself?
That whilst there will always be prejudice about plus size people I can choose to feel bad or I can choose to embrace it and look at what I have. I would add that I am on a journey to a more healthy and active lifestyle (I have been somewhat sedentary of late!) but know that my size will almost certainly still fall into the plus size bracket . . . .as far as shops go anyway!
What are your biggest struggles with clothes?
I must admit, up until last year I was feeling quite disheartened as mainstream outlets tend to offer a fairly bland selection of baggy and unshapely clothes, but since discovering my new fave brands, it has opened up a whole new way of shopping to me!
As I am quite broad, getting shirts or tops to fit that don’t make my shoulders all squashed is an uphill struggle, especially since I have a full bust, but I have found that many dresses even out my shape so things are a tad easier!
4. What drove you to a seek a Personal Stylist? How did it help you?
I’d had my colours analysed about 10 years ago and wanted a bit of an update, so I looked into personal stylists and found you! 😊
I am experiencing perimenopause and am aware that my hair and skin have changed so I wanted to make sure that what I was doing was in keeping with this change in my appearance.
Having a bit of a style assessment was an added bonus and it was good to hear that the new colours now aligned with my skintone and the shapes suggested would enhance my figure.
5. What can designers and brands do to improve people’s attitudes?
I have seen a small shift in the way people are advertising, using ‘real people’ and more relatable themes in their marketing. While it is nice to see aspirational things (we all love to dream!) it’s much better to see things that actually fit with our lifestyles and have a place in our everyday lives.
I am always concerned about the affect that negative body image has on younger people and I worry that my girls will grow up in a World that only values people that fit a certain stereotype. Fortunately, they are headstrong like their mummy, and seek the unique and individual aspects in themselves and indeed others so let’s hope that continues and is supported in the things they are exposed to in the media.
6. What are your favourite places to go shopping?
Ooh well (sharing my secrets now!), I love:
• ASOS Curve
• Studio 8 (Phase Eight’s plus size range – did you know there was one?!)
• Joanna Hope
• Lovedrobe (and Lovedrobe Luxe for occasion wear)
7. Do you have a favourite plus size idol or model?
Not really but I love trawling Pinterest for inspiration! As far as celebs go, Kirstie Allsopp doesn’t fit into a stereotypical style or shape but she always looks fab and has her own style. I love anyone that moves to the beat of their own drum and not anyone else’s! I am inspired by ‘real’ people I meet and if I love their style, I let them know. Who doesn’t love a compliment!
8. Tell me about your past experiences. How did those experiences prepare you for building your business and selling yourself?
I think having confidence in general has always been a strong point of mine, being able to overcome challenges, and being a swimmer in my early life has helped this. I saw all shapes and sizes getting changed and all were strong and successful athletes so I have always referred to bodies as to what they can do, not what they look like.
This acceptance has meant I am more relaxed in my own skin, I have a drive and a positive outlook. I challenge everything with a “why not?!” and I love to break through barriers and to inspire others.
In the wedding industry, there is a lot of pressure on people to lose weight but I think if you are happy as you are why make yourself feel inadequate? I work with brides and grooms of all shapes and sizes, and I welcome them all. I do sometimes see prejudice and I let people know that it is not my style and I won’t be a part of it.
9. Has being plus size affected your business or client base?
Not at all, I think it makes me more relatable! There are some people that won’t want me as their wedding supplier and that’s absolutely fine, but most (and my ideal client base) find my creative flair, and my personality desirable qualities for their big day. I also have an array of fab dresses to suit any colour theme, which everyone loves on my social media feeds so that helps too!
10. I know you have recently worked with some celebrities, but who are your dream clients?
I recently ran a theme on my Instagram and Facebook pages about this and whilst I have a lot of dream clients, I think Gok Wan would be high up on my list. His whole career is dedicated to making others feel great about themselves, and when the time is right for him, I’d love to be there to help him have the best wedding celebration possible!
11. What advice would you give your daughters growing up?
Gosh this is so important. I think I have to look back at my childhood and remember the positive messages that I had through swimming, and try to relay that ‘strong not skinny’ message, and also to encourage them to be kind and inspiring to others too. Be yourself, everyone else is taken 😊
12. What advice would you give other plus sized women who are not as confident as you?
I fully appreciate that not everyone has had the influences that I have had, and not everyone is particularly happy about being plus size, but however they may have reached their current shape or size, they should be proud of themselves and the positive parts of who they are. Write them down, I bet there are far more than they realise!
Everyone has positive aspects, everyone has bits they don’t like, but at the end of the day, you’ve just got to love you. It’s that simple. Nobody else is responsible for your happiness and so by being a little kinder to yourself, well that’s a huge first step in my book.
13. And now to end with a wild-card question… What is the most beautiful sound that you’ve ever heard? The most beautiful place you’ve ever been and the most beautiful person (physically or spiritually) in your life?
Ooh how lovely! What great questions!
Well the most beautiful sound for me has to be my girls laughing, and a close second is the sound of the sea (or a cork popping!).
The most beautiful place has to be the Croatian coastline, akin to the Caribbean there are so many little islands and such beautiful views!
The most beautiful person is a tricky one as I am fortunate enough to know many that are both beautiful inside and out, so I can’t single anyone out I’m afraid! What a lovely position to be in!
What an inspiring and positive lady Jenny is, but like she said not all of us feel confident in our skin no matter what our size. At the end of the day its down to the influences we have in our life, the people we surround ourselves with and how confident we are in ourselves.
If you feel you would benefit from a Personal Styling or Wardrobe session then please get in touch, my clients come in all shapes and sizes and I would love to help you too. After all I’m known as The Real Women Stylist!
Love Natasha x