“To be honest, fashion always felt like something I ended up in by accident. My first exposure to fashion shoots was through the magazines of parents and grandparents. I would rip out the pages and stick them on my wall, covering my room with fashion images. There was Kate Moss, of course, in Balenciaga. I remember seeing that image and thinking, “This is beautiful.” I was sold on the fantasy. It just seemed like another world.
I was always crafting. There would be square holes in our tablecloths, bless my mom for putting up with it!
I’m from a very small town and growing up, there wasn’t time or money to spend on fashion. So, I was always crafting. There would be square holes in our tablecloths, bless my mom for putting up with it! She was an art teacher and recognized my creativity. I had no idea what I was doing, so when my mom suggested Central Saint Martins, I was like, OK! It wasn’t a childhood dream or anything, but then as soon as I walked into the building I thought “These are the coolest people I have ever seen in my life.”
The foundation was extremely competitive. That created a false sense of purpose. Because so many people didn’t get into fashion and I did, I drew the conclusion that it must have been the right path for me. I got rushed into that. Looking back on it, it was a very unhealthy environment. I was working all the time. There was so much pressure to uphold a standard. In the morning we would all be on the bus together, complaining how we hadn’t slept and we just spurred each other on. I don’t think anyone should work like that, especially not teenagers.
I was in a river, going wherever life took me.
That unhealthy behavior then trickles into the industry. I started working as a set designer and again I was seduced by the glamour and the fantasy. It’s such a privileged and exclusive world. To be in a room with a celebrity, someone who is having a moment in history, is something very special. It feels significant to be close to them. Working in Hollywood, New York, and all across Europe, being flown around and stepping into a different hotel each week… It’s a very bizarre experience, almost like you’re being babysat. Everywhere you go there are chauffeurs and catering services. It’s like being a rich person, but fake. You might be surrounded by luxury, but you still need to hassle to get an extra £50 on your rate. It was wild. I had never experienced anything like that before.
I had been so dedicated to fashion for so long that I lacked perspective.
I was in a river, going wherever life took me. I was very passive. It makes sense my career never progressed, I just didn’t want to do it. I was too busy drifting in the river of life to build the canoe and go where I wanted to be. That is, until I decided to be a relationship coach.
That took me a long time to accept. I had been so dedicated to fashion for so long that I lacked perspective. I had put so much into it, everything I had, that I was left feeling like… fuck. I really had to untangle this really difficult relationship I had with fashion in order to get out of it.
In fashion, there is a lot of networking, but it is very superficial. I rarely felt any loyalty. I obviously have very close friends, but I had a hunger for more meaning and purpose in my work. I love nature and set design is so fast. It just wasn’t matching up. My job didn’t align with my values. Of course, the speed of fashion is also part of its magic. Seeing something come to fruition so fast. But there was no way I could honour my body in that cycle.
In the fashion industry, you’re exposed to so many different people and energies and ways of working.
I had been doing personal work around sex and relationships for years, going to workshops and buying books. I would spend all the money I made from set design on practitioners. Looking back now, it is so obvious that that’s what I wanted to do. The shift happened gradually. After doing the workshops, I noticed that I wanted to go deeper. I had so much experience by then. I told myself, “Hang on… if this is what I spend my money and time on… and if I think about the people that inspire me most, the people I admire and look up to… this is who I want to be!”
Because of the speed and the power dynamics, there is not enough space to be yourself.
I never regret my time in fashion though. The wealth of experience behind me has enriched my life in so many ways. I’m a much better coach, because I’ve been through so many experiences myself. In the fashion industry, you’re exposed to so many different people and energies and ways of working. I learned a lot about what I wanted and what felt fulfilling to me. I wanted more depth. Not that the people I was working with weren’t deep, of course, but I wanted more connection and because of the speed and the power dynamics, there is not enough space to be yourself. I realised that I want to be as much myself as I can. I don’t want masks. I want to be me.
Now, I work as a relationship coach full time. It is all personalized, so my clients will come to me with a particular issue ‒ they might have relationship problems or maybe they want to feel more alive in their sexuality ‒ and then we will set out a plan to work together.
I learned to recognize there is always more to the person sitting in front of me than I might think. When someone comes to me in coaching, I’m always aware of the entire universe and library of experiences that person carries with them. That is incredibly beautiful, to be able to access that. That is what I love about my job now.”