While my job as founder & CEO to UK's fastest growing fashion rental app can be rather intense, I jumped at the opportunity to spend my Saturday afternoon with actress Saoirse-Monica Jackson at our Marylebone studio. Saoirse plays the lead Erin Quinn in Channel 4's "Derry Girls", a comedy that I binge-watched in 2018 when avoiding studying for my investment management exams. Yes, I did fan girl - hard!
Tell me about yourself. How similar are you to Erin?
Hmm maybe I’m more similar to Erin than what I would like to think, I think as a teenager I was a lot more like her & developing the character it was definitely something I drew from after long conversations with my mum & friends I grew up with (who are still very much my best friends today!). I call them now my original Derry Girls. They happily remind me of how dramatic I was when I was at 15. I also really lived like anything was possible and was very determined, I was never scared to put myself out there and I had no real fear of failure. That’s definitely something that’s shifted slightly as I’ve gotten older & I love that in Erin. Erin very much lives in the “well if they can do it, why can’t I?"
Which women inspire you?
Which women inspire me? JESUS, here we go, where to begin! I always think how lucky I am to have always been surrounded by such amazing women my whole life. There are so many female leaders gone and present that I really look up to but really most of all it’s the women I know & who are close to me. I know most people think their mother is the best person in the world but mine really is. She treats people with such compassion always, she’s resilient and to be honest she’s just class all-round!
Social media has a bit of a bad rep in terms of mental health, but equally has helped so many of us build our personal brand or business, what is your approach to it?
I don’t think doing too much of anything is good for anyone. If I was to sit on the sofa and watch TV for hours everyday I know myself personally that would have an effect on my mental health. I think the same with social media, we all just need to monitor ourselves more with how often we are on it. Obviously a lot of focus has been put on appearance with things like Instagram. It’s hard not to compare yourself to others constantly. I think we all have a responsibility to be more honest when using platforms like that maybe.
If you were to write a tweet to your younger self what would you say?
If I’m being completely honest I would tell my younger self not to pick that cigarette up. I would also tell myself to enjoy the start of my career more, I think that first year I was in such a state of shock and worried it would stop as I’m sure I always will be but I think I forgot to really enjoy the time properly.
What's your relationship with your clothes and fashion in general?
I absolutely love fashion and I know it’s definitely something that can burn holes in all of our pockets at times. I often have to check in with myself and stop myself from purchasing that thing that I really really want…! By Rotation gives you the opportunity to use clothes that are already out there, made of a high standard, often with more sustainable practices and good ethics.
It allows you to create outfits/looks without mass buying and things that you don’t necessarily need. I certainly have realised in the last year that I don’t need 6-7 bold evening gowns in my wardrobe and borrowing has worked out better from me.
I think we all need to be more conscious of what we’re buying, where we’re buying from, how much do we really need? This gives us the opportunity to be more creative with the clothes we already have. If we Marie Kondo’d it all and stripped it all back, how many different outfits could you make with the clothes at the back of your wardrobe?
And that’s why I’m in love with By Rotation. I think it’s so amazing that everyone gets the opportunity to wear something they really want and sometimes necessarily can’t afford and for me, growing up without a sister I used to always feel like I was lacking out on a wardrobe the way some of my friends would have had. I mean I always wore my mom and auntie’s clothes but By Rotation is just so fantastic that you can get clothes from anyone across the country and community and really express yourself the way you want to!
Can you tell us more about your relationship with your mom and if that's shaped the person you are today?
Growing up my mom and I were at each other’s throats a lot. Looking back at it now, I was a strong headed teenager and she was a strict strong headed mom - which is completely fair enough and I’m sure one day when I have kids I’ll fully realise why!
But even from the way I dressed when I was younger, if I was following a trend for example dressing like all of my friends - she would tell me not to be a shape, she just always wanted me to paddle my own canoe, be independent and be comfortable and happy with who I am. She really instilled in me that I had the right and deserved to follow whatever path as long as it made me happy. I really needed to have that belief in myself because nobody else would.
So she’s been incredible really, and she’s been supportive the whole way and she’s great at looking at it from every angle. I could get a phone call for a new job and be sent off for 2 months, and my mom always has a positive way of looking at everything. It really lets me enjoy everything that comes my way in life. As a young woman she just set me up really well and I’m very grateful for that.
Favourite item(s) on the By Rotation app?
A Jacquemus blazer and Gabriela Hearst boots!
Favourite fashion brands?
As you may already know, I love Rixo: I’m really into 60’s &70’s fashion and I really feel Rixo encapsulates that! Also I hear one of the founders is a Derry girl so you know, support your own and all!
Celebrity crush? (Male and Female)
I know it’s really weird and he’s too old for me but Mark Ruffalo - he’s just got such a warm lovely face. He seems like a lovely person! And the rest of my Derry Girls because they’re the most gorgeous girls ever!
If you could bring one TV series and one movie with you on a deserted island, which ones would they be?
Film: It would be 100% be Booksmart. Omg it’s the funniest film ever, if you haven’t seen it - watch it now I’ve literally seen it 4 or 5 times!
TV Series: That’s hard, it’s not often that I get the time to rewatch stuff! But I’ve just watched Aisling Bea’s new series This Way Up and it’s so funny! Also Sharon Horgan’s “Catastrophe” - I can just easily watch that, it’s such funny comedy and it’s heartwarming as well. Probably the both of them, I can have that, can’t I?
Rent from Saoirse's wardrobe and her top picks on the app.
Photography: Wiktoria Slowikowska
Hair & Make-Up: Ruuby
Want to read more interviews with women that inspire us? Read more about our chat with Marine Tanguy and Abisola Omole.