Jacey Duprie aka Damsel in Dior: When Fashion Gives Back

1. Please tell us more about Damsel in Dior, how it came about and how long you’ve been doing it for?
I started Damsel in Dior in 2009 as a creative outlet from my job but it wasn’t until September 2011 that I began blogging full-time and turned my hobby into a full-time business. The name Damsel in Dior was something my husband dreamed up. I grew up in a very small town in South Texas, a farmer’s daughter, and never quite fit in. I often felt like a Damsel in Distress because people there just didn’t quite understand me. All I wanted was to be somewhere that I felt happy and that I could express myself. After moving to Los Angeles, I felt like a new person and the best version of myself revealed itself. I became a Damsel in Dior! “Dior” does not represent the brand Dior to me. Damsel in Dior represents that butterfly feeling you get if you were wearing something fabulous {such as Dior} or living your life in the way that showcases the best version of yourself.
2. How would you describe your style for us? And any fashion icons?
My style is truly all about comfort. I can wear uncomfortable heels or clothing for only so long but at the end of the day, just give me my jeans, a tee and flip flops {I guess I will always be a farmer at heart!}. I do love wearing dresses and skirts because when I grew up we rarely had things to play dress up for. I strive to dress sophisticated, with girlie touches that juxtapose my rough around the edges spirit. My fashion icons include: My mother, Anna Wintour, Olivia Palermo, Linda Rodin, Jenna Lyons, my Aunt Celeste and my dear friend Catalina Su.
3. One of the main reasons we were keen and excited to feature you was because you’re not only about the glitz and glamour about the fashion world but you also use this platform to raise awareness of the importance of giving back.Why do you think it is important for other fashion bloggers or bloggers in general to not get lost in the glitz and glamour of fashion?
That is so sweet! In my heart of hearts I hope that this message is conveyed to my readers so I am humbled that you’ve pointed this out. I think it’s supremely important not only for bloggers, but for anyone and everyone to pay it forward. That’s what life is all about. We have to help each other. When you take the glitz and glamour of fashion away, when the crowds die down and the runway empties out…what are we left with? When I go to bed each night I want to feel like I did something that wasn’t just all about me, my blog, my life. I think it was through seeing other parts of the world it opened my eyes to bigger picture issues that need addressing. Particularly with bloggers, we have a very strong connection with computers and our craft is via the internet so we have all of the necessary resources at our fingertips for outreach and furthering our knowledge on ways we can help. I’m no Mother Teresa {my late Granny certainly was}, but I do my best and that’s all we can ask of one another. I wish I could do more. I want to do more.
4.Tell us more about the New Hope Initiative and how you became involved?
Life is all about who you know. A volunteer trip to Africa was something I’d always dreamed of doing and my dear friend from high school had posted pictures on Facebook of her recent trip {this was 5 years ago}. I wrote her asking for more information and 6 months later I was on a flight to Kenya to meet up with the New Hope Initiative team. I will never forget that first trip. It was such an eye-opening experience that changed my life. Karen & Sandy Baird are the Directors of New Hope and after meeting them and their wonderful family, their spirit is contagious. I wanted to be more involved so I became a trustee of the Project Biashara team {Project Biashara means Project Business-woman in Swahili}. While I am involved with Project Biashara, the New Hope Initiative is bringing positive change to some of the poorest communities in our world. They do work in India, Botswana, Sierrea Leone and others. You can learn more at: newhopeinitiative.org
5. From your Instagram we’ve learnt that you will be going back to Kenya – how often do you go there and have you formed any bonds with the children there?
YES! I cannot WAIT to go back to Kenya! My initial plan was to go every year but I got engaged, and then the wedding {Karen was our officiant}, and then the honeymoon, and then . . . life just got in my way! Finally this year I told my husband “there is nothing that’s going to stop me from going this year!” So, I booked my flight last week and I’ll be joining the team in June {cannot wait}. This will be my third trip and I hope to continue traveling back and forth every year or two. It’s hard not to form bonds with some of the most amazingly inspiring people I’ve ever met in my life. The children and their families literally have nothing, yet give life their everything. They are passionate, driven and have a sparkle in their eye that no amount of poverty can take away. I can’t wait to see that sparkle again. {p.s. thanks for following me on Instagram, I’ll be documenting my trip too!}.
6. At what point did you decide to become a full-time blogger and make this your profession?
I jumped into blogging full time in September 2011. I had an epiphany on our honeymoon trip that I wasn’t living out my passion and felt like I was in a holding cell. With my husbands loving support and belief that I could do anything, I took the plunge and went for it. I haven’t looked back since.
7. Becoming a professional fashion blogger – is like running your own business but we only see that glamorous side and bloggers getting gifted luxe goods – tell us the challenges of being a professional blogger and how you deal with it all.
Running a full-time blog is 100% a personal business. It wasn’t until I started treated my blog as a business that it began to grow and improve. Is it fun? Yes. Do I get gifts? Yes. Are there fun events that I get to go to? Yes. Is is glamorous? I wouldn’t say so.
What you don’t see… is the fact that it is 12:35pm and I am still in my pyjamas from 2 nights ago because I’ve been hacking away on my computer. Sure it sounds nice to work from home {and you bet I don’t take that for granted}, but it’s hard not having water cooler talk or a boss to report to. What’s to stop me from quitting? Only myself. Self discipline is one of the hardest challenges bloggers can face. If you can’t force yourself to get up every morning and really work, then this isn’t the industry for you.
What you don’t see… at these fun parties and events all bloggers are thinking about is getting the perfect picture. Instagramming, Tweeting, Facebooking, Hashtags. All we literally do is spend the time on our phones so that our readers can live the experience through our images, when really we’re missing out on the reality of what’s going on. Sometimes I have to swat my wrist and really make myself enjoy the fun because 9 times out of 10 I am walking away feeling like I was at a work meeting, not a fun party.
What you don’t see… the hate that a lot of people in the fashion industry have for bloggers can be tough. The idea that blogging is easy and all we do is ride the coat tails of the industry is kind of a slap in the face. I try not to listen to all of that chatter and really focus on what I love doing.
I mean, really all of these challenges are trivial and I probably sound like a spoiled brat.
8. If one wanted to get into professional blogging what advice would you give them? What has worked for you?
My advice for anyone who wants to start a blog is this: Start a blog! Start writing, documenting, jotting down your ideas and just dive into it. The aesthetic and branding will come later. Don’t get wrapped up in the name of your blog, or the colors and font, because none of that really matters. The only thing that truly matters is quality and original content. What’s worked for me is consistent posting. Whether you post once a week or once a day, keep it consistent. Whether you write about food or fashion, keep it consistent. Slow and steady wins the race!
9. It seems more and more fashion brands are now paying recognition to bloggers – why do you think this is?
I think fashion brands are interested in collaborating with bloggers because it’s quick, cheap, easy and you can have an immediate impact to a very targeted demo. I know exactly who my readers are, where they come from and what they like so when a brand such as Old Navy comes to me with an idea, it’s a win-win! I also think brands like the idea of seeing their product being worn by real people in a real way.
10. So we already know from following your blog that you do not own any Dior items – tell us your favourite designers?
I really love a mix of high and low: Céline, Zara, J.Crew, Anthropologie, Heidi Merrick, Rails, Chanel, Charlotte Olympia, Vita Fede to name a few . . .
11. You also share some home decor/interior decor suggestions – could you tell us the theme in your home? Could you please tell us your favourite room in the house and why? (Jacey – if possible you can send us images that you’d like to share from your home)
My husband is very much into architecture and real estate so I was thrilled when we met and he lived in a modern space. Our decor is very mid-century modern. We love our case-study pieces and furniture from Modernica in Los Angeles. Our artwork is done by our friends Parvez Taj and Gray Malin . When we got married I tried to incorporate a few feminine, Anthropologie-esque, pieces to soften it up a bit. My favorite room is probably our dining room because it’s where we enjoy hosting dinner parties and share laughs with friends. I’m also obsessed with my new Juliska dinnerware {nerd alert!}.
12. We loved your California Chic wedding – very different and yet very chic! How did you come up with the theme and how was the planning?
Thank you so much! Our hope was to infuse my country background with Grant’s Los Angeles urban upbringing in an elegant, sophisticated, yet home grown way. The ever so talented, Beth Helmstetter, made our dreams come true by taking our ideas and turning them into more than we could have imagined. I’m obsessed with the juxtapose of girlish charm and raw element which is why mixing the SmogShoppe venue with Anthropologie elements was a home run in my book. You can read more about our wedding on StyleMePretty by clicking here
13. Who are some of your favourite Instagrammers?
Rules of Ladies, J.Crew, HabituallyChic, Zanna Rassi, Jaime King, Olivia Palermo … but mostly my friends because I always know what they’re doing (#stalker)
14. On a lighter note like me – you’re also a farmer’s daughter – what are your fondest memories of the farm? Where you always stylish back then?
I may say that I felt like a damsel in distress growing up in south Texas but the only thing distressful was my career and the feeling of being in a holding pattern to pursue my dreams. There isn’t a runway bright enough, or a place in this world that’s warmer than the feeling I have when running barefoot in the dirt of our family farm that’s over 150 years old. My fondest memories are a combination of riding with my Mom in her station wagon to deliver lunch to my Dad during harvest season {ahh the smell of cotton harvest}. Riding 4-wheelers from dawn ’till dust with my older brother and the feel of wide open spaces so large you could conquer anything. My Granny’s house and the readily supply of Big Red chewing gum she always had by her rotary telephone. But most of all, my fondest memories are from popping fireworks on 4th of July and stargazing on the trampoline with my parents and brother. When we were all together I felt like I was part of a special club and no one in the world could touch us. I suppose some things never change.
As for my style, ha, if you consider “stylish” barefoot with a pair of beat up jeans and a tee, then yes I was stylin’!
Editor’s Note: This interview with Jacey is one of our most insightful to date. Here is a fashion blogger not only looking at sharing the glitz and glamour of fashion but also on paying it forward. She is a full-time professional blogger and having the opportunity to interview some-one on a path you’re embarking on is always worthwhile. We would like to thank Jacey for taking time out of her busy schedule for Chaud. We hope you our readers take something from this interview because we did.
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