Every Monday on the journal, we'll share a short format interview with one of our wider Gather community members. Just a handful of questions with a generous helping of everyday inspiration to tuck into over your morning cuppa. This week, meet Glynnis.
Glynnis Mapp Jacquard
"I felt that I wanted more and could create something more..."
What part(s) of the world do you call home?
So many places! I've spent a large part of my career and life travelling and have had the incredible privilege to live in a lot of these places for some time. East London is where I call home at the moment, where I live with my other half and too many houseplants in our flat near Bow Road. But, Toronto, Canada is where I was born and where I grew up – I know that city like the back of my hand. I lived and studied in New York, so the Upper West Side always gives me the feels when I walk through my old neighbourhood near Morningside Park and Columbia University.
France is also where I have spent and spend a lot of time with my extended family on my husband's side: Paris and the forest region of Sologne has a special place in my heart. Bali is also very special to me: I trained in Hatha yoga teaching there and spent nearly a month winding through its sights, smells, tastes and sounds. The sunsets alone were a trippy experience – such a magical place. What is your industry, hustle, current project or passion?
I'm a writer, a digital marketer, a yoga teacher and thought leader – I'm a hybrid of all these things. I used to feel at odds with this multifaceted career but I think it's always been my tendency to be a bit of an everywoman. For more than 10 years, I've worked on editorial and branded content for beauty brands and other FMCG companies.
At the moment, I'm working on some writing and marketing projects as well as on projects via my company, Birds of Paradise. I started Birds of Paradise after feeling a bit disconnected from the yoga scene here in London. I’ve been practicing yoga for more than a decade and then I trained with Zuna Yoga in Bali: a life-changing experience. Once I started properly teaching, I got loads of feedback from my students about how they felt about yoga too and many of them said that Instagram ideals messed with the way they saw themselves and their own practice. Some said the classes they took felt impersonal, transactional, gender binary and they rarely got to connect with other yogis and teachers in a non-competitive, safe and multicultural space. I understood this as I'm often still one of the few women of colour in the yoga studios I teach in. Hopefully I (we) can change this by creating more meaningful moments of connection with ourselves and others, so that people can see themselves in the people that are in the yoga space and inspire others. Because every body is a yoga body. Yoga is for everyone. #everyonewelcome What’s an important moment that signified a first step towards where you are today? There wasn't a defining moment per se but a lot of moments where I just felt like I was unsatisfied: I felt that I wanted more and could create something more. And so, I left Canada and travelled: I worked in different cities and I tried to create that happiness and meaning in whatever I did. I'm still working towards a lot of personal and professional ambitions, but instead of trying to tick off life goals – those things that people expect you to do – I'm listening to my gut, tuning in to my intuition and only working on projects and with people that I feel I'm really aligned with. It's such a cathartic experience to shed the old and bring in new, fresh positive energy into my relationships, my work, my yoga practice – everything. That's been the game changer for me and I guess the defining moment: when I decided to finally, really trust myself. What is a moment you are proud of? I'm really proud of all of the things I thought I couldn't do and have done. I'm proud of my yoga and meditation training: after 10 years of doing yoga in various studios, I'm on the other side of the mat and the work I do is so rewarding – I love teaching and giving back.
I also taught myself how to swim just two years ago, by practicing in the Olympic pool at the London Aquatics Centre. For years, I told myself I'd never be able to do that and was incredibly afraid of water. Now that's over with, I love swimming. I went bouldering at the Mile End Climbing Wall with a friend and was pretty OK, I also thought I'd never do that. I made proper Madeleines the other day and was absolutely shocked with how well they came out.
I lived in New York City for some time, that was definitely a benchmark. I covered New York and Paris Fashion weeks for several seasons and did loads of glamorous things in the fashion world. I once literally worked inside of the Empire State Building with a beauty company – I mean, that was pretty cool! And I know there are so many more moments that I'll be proud of. I'm learning to be proud of the simple and fancy moments, the big and the small. I'm trying to be mindful of that every day, reminding myself that every step is a part of the journey.
What advice would you give your younger self today? Be kind to yourself. Bask in the joy when you find it. Trust your gut, always. Eat more chocolate. Do even more yoga. In one word, what is the most important thing to you in life?
Happiness. For myself, for others.
Where can we find you?
Instagram: @itsmeglynnis and @wearebirdsofparadise Website: www.glynnismjacquard.com