Jacey Duprie is a digital entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of the fashion and lifestyle brand Damsel in Dior. She has been featured in Architectural Digest, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, Forbes, Huffington Post and E! News. She has partnerships with numerous brands including Amazon and Somersault. She lives in Los Angeles, California with her family. Visit Jacey at www.damselindior.com and follow her on Instagram at @jaceyduprie.
The Gloss Book Club: As a blogger and influencer, revealing aspects of your life publicly is not necessarily new territory for you, though you have referred to it as “filtering” your life on social media; what inspired you to write your memoir and peel back some of those layers?
Jacey Duprie: After I had my daughter, June, I started to really think about the legacy that I would want to leave behind for her and the upcoming generations. I’ve been posting about my life for over 10 years online, and as I slowly venture into new career opportunities, I wanted to offer something that will stand the test of time and hopefully add true value to people’s lives. There came a moment in time where I asked myself ‘How many more mirror selfies can I post?’ and what does this all truly mean?
TGBC: When did you first think about writing the memoir? How long was it until you actually started writing? How long did it take to finish?
JD: I have always thought about writing a book since I was in college, but I never thought it would end up being a memoir. I started writing it around 6 years ago, but the timing was incredibly off. I was still very much in the midst of an unhappy marriage and couldn’t find the right themes for the book to make sense. When I started writing the second time, it took about a year and a half. The book took about two years from start to finish.
TGBC: In what ways did your experience of being an influencer and online persona prepare you for writing a memoir? In what ways did it not prepare you?
JD: It has prepared me by teaching me to set strong boundaries between my personal life and what we choose to share both online and in this book. It did not prepare me for just how vulnerable the entire experience would feel, even when I’m choosing to share it. I thought I would feel ready to share these intimate details of my life by the time publish date came around, but it still feels very raw.
TGBC: What was the most challenging part of writing? What was the most rewarding part?
JD: Making a schedule and finding time to write was by far the most challenging. Between juggling motherhood and several other businesses outside of Damsel Inc., it was hard to squeeze in pockets of quiet time to write. The most rewarding part is when someone says they read my book and that it helped them to feel less alone.
TGBC: Which particular experience or aspect of your life felt the most vulnerable to share in your memoir?
JD: There are quite a few. I think the hardest moments were stories about my dad because he didn’t 100% recall a lot of the details when he was drinking. Even though I have his complete blessing and he keeps telling me how proud he is of me, I still feel sad for writing it. There are a few moments in the book where I own up to my mistakes and take responsibility for being an awful person. It was hard to write and it’s hard to read back, but it was 100% necessary because no one is perfect.
TGBC: How did you decide what to include and exclude from this book?
JD: Obviously, I could not include every single detail of every single moment in a book. We chose stories that we felt really added value to the overall themes and messaging of the stories. There were also a lot of things kept out for privacy reasons. Even though we’re opening up a lot of our lives, there was still the need to have firm boundaries in place to protect myself and my family.
TGBC: What do you think will surprise readers most about your memoir?
JD: I hope that readers will be surprised by how honest I am in the stories I chose to tell. This isn’t just another coffee table book with pretty, filtered photos. These stories are personal, private, and very real.
TGBC: What do you hope readers will gain or take away from your memoir?
JD: My dream is that someone somewhere reading this book feels seen and less alone. I hope readers will view the world of bloggers and social media influencers a bit differently and have more compassion for people.
TGBC: Where did the title, Liking Myself Back, come from?
JD: Grant came up with the title. It’s a play on the Instagram “like” button. I’ve spent a career on working to get “likes” on social media but often didn’t really like myself in the meantime. The book is about how I learned to like myself back.
TGBC: We understand that landing on the cover for your book took a few tries; tell us about the process, how involved you were, and ultimately how you selected the photo that is featured on the final cover version.
JD: Well, I didn’t really want my face on the cover at all. While the book is very much about me, I just didn’t want people to really think of “Jacey Duprie from Damsel in Dior” when they read it. I want people to have an open mind and be able to try and picture themselves in the story. Landing on which photo we chose was also a lot of trial and error. A photo from modern day felt detached from the story. Because most of this book takes place 5+ years ago, we chose an image that reflected who I was during this time. The photo was taken at what I would consider the prime of my career when I was feeling very filtered and perfect from the outside, but unhappy on the inside. If you look in my eyes of the photo, you can see there’s a bit of emptiness behind them.
TGBC: The tagline featured on the cover of your book is: “An influencer’s journey from self-doubt to self-acceptance.” How did becoming an influencer either help or hinder your perception of self and sense of worth?
JD: It’s done both. I absolutely love what I do for a living. I don’t have a boss. So, getting “likes” or engagement on social media was a very big measure of success for me for a long time. I fell into a slippery slope of becoming very dependent on other people’s perception of me. After working on this personally and with therapy, I now value myself worth on my own terms. Social media has helped me work through this by forcing me to ask “why” and “how” I was valuing others perceptions over my own.
TGBC: Since writing your memoir and sharing the more intimate aspects of your life, has it changed how you show up online or what you share on social media now?
JD: Before I started writing my book, and once I started living a life where I show up for myself and my family offline, I was able to really set a strong boundary for what I choose to share and not share online. When I show up, I show up. Whether it’s posting a photo from a trip or not posting a photo during a trip because I’m busy being present with Grant. I give myself 100% to whatever place I’m in. But when I’m posting on social media, I do draw the line where I think my future self will be proud.