We are so excited to share with you the next in our series of Power in Pursuit - our interview with celebrity stylist Gemma Sheppard. Gemma has had a very impressive career from TV to fashion all while raising a family & living between London & Ibiza.
Gemma shares with us everything from her career highlights to building confidence & following your dreams, we are personally inspired by Gemma for many reasons however her work ethic stood out the most to us. We are sure you will all take some inspiration from Gemma's story...
Pursuit: Tell us about your very impressive styling career, where & how did it begin for you?
Gemma: I am extremely privileged to have had such a vast career which I can genuinely say, hand on heart, I never really planned! Don’t get me wrong, when I commit to something I give it my all but it grew much bigger than I could ever have imagined!
My career started at Tiffany & Co under the realm of Rosa Monckton MBE which led the way to me taking on a director role at Boucheron. (Gucci Group)
This then enabled me to work with great icons in the world of fashion such as Lee (Alexander) McQueen, Tom Ford, Isabella Blow, Sam Taylor-Johnson and Daphne Guinness. Stella McCartney etc, This most definitely shaped me in to who I am today and how I work.
I am fortunate enough to have garnered a stealth of experience over the years; from being on set recording music videos to big stage productions and huge commercial TV shows - I’ve experienced it all!
My passion has always been in editorial work and again, I have had the privilege of working with famous photographers and the most famous faces on the other side of the lens.
I never lose sight of the fact that my world is quite fairyland-like - we’re creating magic and fantasy. It’s all about telling a story; be that via a pop video or a big, commercial tv show, the bottom line is we’re creating a fantasy land for people to get caught up in and I absolutely love it!!!
I have been recommended by so many fabulous celebrities and even in this day and age, word of mouth trumps all types of advertising, hands-down. I have never been afraid to walk through a door of opportunity if someone presents one to me, as I genuinely believe that on the other side of it there might be 20 more doors all with my name on them!
Pursuit: We absolutely love your aura, you have such a strong presence, how did you get to this stage in your life? Any words of advice to build on confidence?
Gemma: What a lovely thing to say, thank you!
I grew up an only child and suffered a huge amount of bullying. My father was in and out of mental institutions over the years and back then unfortunately, mental health wasn’t discussed; it was something that was talked about in hushed tones and had a real stigma attached to it. This in turn, made me incredibly resilient. Teachers used to call me a dreamer at school but I was thinking about the life I wanted to have and would have when I grew up.
After leaving school, I went to Drama School as my two passions have always been fashion and acting. The theatrical side of the costumes satiated my love of fashion and my confidence grew through becoming other characters. The drama queen in me still exists to this day in the form of my alter ego Sheppard Style! To build your confidence, you have to fully believe in yourself. If you do, others will too and there truly is no better outfit to wear than confidence.
Pursuit: How is it living between Ibiza & London? What do you love most about the two places & what made you chose this lifestyle for yourself & your family?
Gemma: I actually live full time in Ibiza but travel an awful lot!
Luckily, I have always loved travelling so it’s not something that bothers me.
When I started out years ago, it was never with the intention of being a business owner but I am incredibly fortunate to have become successful enough that we could make choices that would suit our family.
Ibiza gave me the opportunity to put some distance between work and family and has enabled me to create the perfect life balance. I no longer feel guilty about saying no, and as I run the risk of being a workaholic because I love my job so very much, it gives me the perfect distance.
I love the yin and yang that Ibiza gives my life. When I am in work mode, I’m Sheppard Style with the big heels, the crazy quiff and the eclectic dress sense! Ibiza instantly makes me a lot more grounded and we live an incredibly simple but fulfilling life here. I am more in touch with my spirituality and am able to be present for my family. It’s just the perfect balance for us right now!
Pursuit: Tell us about your proudest career moment?
Gemma: Oh gosh, it’s so incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just one moment as I have had the most incredible career!! I’ve experienced some real big highs with jobs I’ve done over the years and have some crazy, crazy stories and memories that will stay with me forever!!
One of my proudest moments is probably when I was having a cup of tea with Lee (Alexander) McQueen whilst I was the Vice Chair for the British Red Cross. His Novak handbag was extremely popular at the time and I wanted him to create a one-off that we could auction with the proceeds going to the British Red Cross. I suggested he used a serpent pendant from Boucheron (who are also part of the Gucci group) as a clasp, but attach it in such a way that it could be taken off and still worn. We were both very excited and Lee jumped on board straight away. He went on to create a red snakeskin version of the Novak that had the removable gold snake clasp. After the auction, a limited-edition of the bag was then created.
Another pinch me moment, has to be when I was at Wembley watching X-Factor Live. At the time it was one of the biggest shows on TV so to see it being streamed live to so many homes when you are dead on your feet, having done the full series run already, was quite spectacular! The sheer scale of the production is something that few people get to see and it was an outstanding moment to be part of.
Pursuit: What would be your top tip for people who want to pursue their passion?
Gemma: You need to really believe in yourself and just go for it! Never, ever give up!! It really is that simple. You need to dig deep and keep pushing through the face of whatever adversity arises. I’m a huge believer in writing down my goals and speaking them in to reality. If it really is your passion and you want it to be your life, you just have to keep getting up every day single day and doing what you love.
I also don’t believe in working for free. Everyone has value so follow your dreams and make them happen - no one else can do it for you!
Pursuit: If you didn’t pursue your current profession, what career path would you have taken?’
Gemma: This is so difficult because I genuinely can’t imagine doing anything else! Fashion is integral to me, it lives within me, it’s engrained in my DNA!!
I suppose I would have pursued my other passion which is acting. When I was growing up, I was always torn between the two, so I would have probably given that a go! I would love to do a musical and I adore theatre! So, treading the boards - that’s where I’d be right now!
Follow Gemma on instagram at @sheppardstyle