Gemma is both a presenter and also a fashion stylist with an extensive roster of A-list music and television clients. Whether they’re a platinum selling popstar, a talent show judge or an award winning, prime-time presenter, Gemma’s fierce, fashion-forward approach means they’re always red-carpet ready.
With experience working for luxury brands, Gemma fully understands the impact of strong branding which has led to a series of collaborations both high end and high street.
Gemma is also Fashion Editor of White Ibiza magazine and co-hosts weekly pop culture and news podcast The Lifestyle Newshound alongside friend and TV personality Emma Forbes (also interviewed here on the blog).
You can also listen to me discuss my career and life, on Gemma and Emma’s podcast HERE.
It’s a pleasure to welcome the inspirational Gemma to the blog:
Describe a typical day for you?
There is no such thing! Each day just has to happen with family as the first priority, always. I love a list and the more organised I am, the calmer my day is.
I have three kids and I learned very early on that when routines are in place, the days run more smoothly. The more routines, the better!
However, my life can be compared to a briolette diamond. It is multi-faceted. Although days can be similar, no two are ever the same. I am passionate about fashion and have a real sense of being blessed as I love what I do for a job.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
The modest part of me finds these hard to list. It is not really until I stop and reflect that I realise how much I have achieved.
A young woman once worked with me as an intern and she kept a diary in an A4 file about the work we did in our three months together. When she gave this back to me, I was shocked myself at the amount that was in it. I had been like a working machine in that time.
So of what am I most proud? I have set up my own business and had three children. I do not believe in ‘No’ and I do believe in people.
I love helping someone to look good and feel good. We have had feedback on the podcasts from people who have found comfort through listening to them and have felt empowered or enlightened by something they have heard.
I feel very proud of this and of every time my work gives pleasure to someone.
In many ways, the podcasts have brought different elements of my life together.
My career has had many parts – some contradictory! I do push myself and challenge myself constantly. When working on some of the biggest shows in commercial television such as the X-Factor, it was a really big deal for so many people.
When it got to the final and everything was ready, the whole team and the contestants would all gather by the trailers, breathe and reflect on what we had created and on what we were doing: streaming a big TV show to millions of people. These were proud moments.
I love to help others…X-Factor producer, Lee McNicholas introduced me to one of his friend’s daughters, Jess. She wanted to get into the world of styling but did not have enough experience. I mentored her for four years and helped her to become a stylist and to get a job. This opportunity to share my knowledge and experience was really rewarding. Watching her blossom and grow made me feel very proud.
My career has exceeded all of my expectations. I am so grateful for it all. I have always, and still do seize the day. I live in the moment and this has worked for me!
What’s in your handbag/satchel?
Well, I have totally impractical clutch bag which holds lip gloss, my iPhone and a few credit cards. This is carried around in a large tote bag together with my make-up; a magazine; an old-fashioned notebook; Le Labo Santal perfume; a silk scarf; a small can of Elnett hairspray; glasses; a list which gets longer not shorter; a packet of wet wipes (once you have had young kids these become a permanent must-carry item) and a small bottle of hand sanitizer.
What are your ambitions in life?
I want to experience life. Life can be as colourful as you wish to make it. I often say, ‘Life is a colouring book’ and I want mine to be vibrant.
I do not want to be too hard and I want to accept more. I have a strong alter-ego which is Sheppard Style. This is the suited, booted and styled woman. Those who know me well, can connect this with the girl behind the alter-ego.
Inside, I am more bohemian. I am deeply caring of others and sensitive.
It is all about a fusion of colours.
I am an only child and I always wanted a big family. I am now blessed with a loving family unit. My family is my rock. We are earthy and protective of one another. I have three beautiful children and their softness and presence are always there in me even when we are not physically together. My family keeps me grounded.
What do you wish you had known at the start of your career you now know?
Nothing! Age teaches you that politics are interesting in any business, even in your own. I do see confrontation as a positive thing. It has to be pro-active and a way of getting to the root of situations.
I wish companies enforced more transparency than British institutions usually allow.
I like directness and abhor the habit of sitting on the wall.
To return to my metaphorical colouring book, I do not like beige or vanilla! I am open and a good communicator. I love honesty and transparency.
A lot of people are afraid to stand up for who they are. Again ‘vanilla’ puts me off; too many people sit on the wall and I believe strongly it is much better to have transparency. So it is not about what I didn’t know, it is about what I knew with conviction: whatever you do, do it with passion.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I don’t believe in looking that far ahead. Connection with my family is the most important thing. However well my career is going and whatever possibly great opportunities come my way, my children and our family life are my top priority.
I have a son of eleven and twins. My daughter, one of the twins is severely dyslexic and this is presenting our family with new challenges. We will be prioritising her needs over everything career-wise.
The idea of making a five year plan at the moment feels almost like too much pressure.
I am lucky that the phone constantly rings and offers are there in abundance. I can cherry-pick the jobs I will really love. I love exploration.
Currently, we live abroad and we travel with our children. I would like this to continue in the future in other territories. I will look at other new business ventures in the worlds of fashion and media. I am starting to do work overseeing the architectural development and interior design of people’s house projects. I aim always to be ahead of the game!
What advice would you give a budding stylist/presenter/podcaster?
Believe in what you do. Do it to the best of your ability. Knock on doors. Do not be fearful. Don’t accept “No”. Always know that when the going gets tough, the tough gets even better. Everyone has the power to live their dream, with dedication and commitment.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
Nothing prepared me for the unbelievably, overwhelming love a mother feels. Motherhood is about magical journeys of experiences. At the moment my children are a magical age. They are still kids but little adults too. Each has a clear and individual identity with strong, specific characteristics. I am blessed to have three beautiful, healthy children who bring me an abundance of joy, more joy than I have words to express.
Finally happiness is…
Family and love