This is Her: Jessica Kirby

May 2, 2018

“I try to say this all the time, but Instagram is not real.”

This is just one of the refreshing truths dealt out by blogger, dog mom, and all-around straight-shooter Jessica Kirby (@jessannkirby), who recently visited our Home Office in Philadelphia.

A little about Miss Kirby: A former HR consultant in New York City, she began fashion blogging as a creative outlet. But her one-time hobby quickly transformed into a thriving personal brand, thanks to her inspiring yet approachable styling advice, pet-centric Instagram Stories, and, most recently, a lifestyle podcast.

“I actually always wanted to work at a fashion magazine, but I couldn’t afford to live in New York on a fashion magazine salary. So I took the first job that I could survive off of because I wanted to be in New York, I wanted to experience that,” says Jessica, who originally hails from Rhode Island. “They always say, ‘if you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere,’ and I really wanted to prove that to myself. Moving there was sort of a challenge to me to see if I could do it, and then I ended up falling in love with it.”

While she’ll always have a place in her heart for NYC, these days, 33-year-old Jessica is back in her home state and loving the quieter life and sense of community. Affectionately nicknamed “The Cozy Ranch,” her home on Aquidneck Island with boyfriend and man-behind-the-lens Craig Mackay is quite a change of pace from city living.

“We knew we wanted to move back, but it was just a matter of how and when,” she says. “We have nature trails outside our back door, we can ride our bikes to the beach. That’s what I grew up doing. To be able to take our dogs to the beach on a Friday morning and there’s no one else there, where else can you do that?”

When it comes to Jessica’s favorite thing about blogging, her answer comes swiftly: the community. “Talking about just outfits isn’t sustainable,” she explains. “People want to connect with you on a personal level. I’ve always been a very private person, but the more I shared about myself the more I connected with people that were following me. It’s terrifying, but also so rewarding.”

And the most challenging? “To always try and come up with new ways to create content that’s different, that people haven’t seen before,” she says. “And you need someone to check you sometimes. I can get wrapped up in looking at what other people are doing.”

Whether you’re in the business or not, Jessica’s last bit of wisdom is helpful for everyone living in the age of social media. Despite her picture-perfect feed, she’s the first to admit that behind the scenes, things are quite a bit different. “I don’t want people to look at my stuff and feel bad about their own life, because trust me, my life is not any different from theirs,” she says. “It’s just that I have someone who takes really great pictures, and they’re edited and curated. For every photo that I’m posting on my Instagram feed, there are 379 that are horrible. In reality, a photo of my living room is covered in dog hair if you look closely.”