SRG: We think you are a pretty cool, person - tell us about your path and what makes you the woman you are today.
GP:Growing up, I was the type of person that always had a plan. I was the girl who mapped out her life & had answers to everything; I was going to graduate high school, attend a reputable college, enroll in medical school, and eventually become a pediatrician or neonatologist. (All while being the quintessential wife, daughter, and mother.)
Reality hit my junior year of college, when I realized I didn’t like medicine all that much—so I quit. For the first time, I felt lost; I didn’t know who I was, or what I wanted, outside the fabricated, fantasy version of myself. At the same time, I felt an immense amount of freedom, like the world had just opened its doors to me. Confusing right? That confusion sparked a 5 year journey into figuring out the type of woman I aspire to be.
During this time, I reconnected with my love for fashion and relaunched my blog, Gessflyy, that I started in college. Although I enjoyed working in the corporate world, I missed having a creative outlet; I had this deep feeling that I wasn’t fulfilling my calling. As I immersed myself into blogging, opportunities arose that were almost too good to be true. I was lucky enough to work alongside AMAZING brands, like See Rose Go, and even walk in a NYFW show at The Curvy Con!
I was, and still am, in disbelief at the connections I've made, and platforms I was given to share my story. 5 years later, and I FINALLY, have started to understand what I’m called to do: to make all women feel beautiful regardless of size; to invite them on a journey of wholehearted living through fashion.
All of the above is a SUPER long-winded way to say, that following my intuition has been crucial. At almost every turn in my journey, I’ve listened to the voice in my head that tells me to dream bigger, even when I’m afraid. I’ve learned to tune out the naysayers and reject societal expectations of who I should be, allowing me to create a version of me that is fulfilled and at peace.
I still don’t have the answers, in fact, I’m winging life again, confused about what life in NYC will bring— but the best part is, I couldn’t be happier.
SRG: An amazing outlook that is well worth the journey Gess! Welcome to NY! What was your motivation to make several life changes at the same time?
GP: I didn’t want to go through life wondering, ‘What If?”
Moving to NYC was a dream of mine for a few years, but I would talk myself out of it every time. There was always something that convinced me it wasn’t time. I couldn’t leave my job, I bought a house, I finally felt settled in ATL, etc. All of it was fear based, I was afraid of change & even more, I was afraid of failing. I knew I wanted more out of life, but I was terrified of doing the work.
It wasn’t until I spoke to someone who told me, “When you know it’s time for a change, you know.” Sounds super basic, and I absolutely rolled my eyes when I heard it, but it was true. One morning I woke up & knew that it was time for me to move on; (there’s that intuition again). The next day, I quit my job and started planning my move to NYC.
SRG: Father’s day is coming up, what have you learned from your Dad? Any lessons resonating daily with you?
Oh man, my Dad has taught me so much! I think the biggest lesson that I learned from him is the notion of delayed gratification. I used to hate it, because well…. I want things when I want them, and my Dad is the king of making me wait. The idea of, “Doing what you must today, so you can do what you want tomorrow,” is how I stay focused on my goals.
There have been many gatherings, vacations, and designer bags I’ve had to miss out on so I could invest in my blog, with hopes that there will be a payoff in the future. It’s also taught me to practice gratitude more often; being thankful for what you have now makes it easier to wait on what’s to come.
SRG: Bravest moment when you were scared, but did it anyway?
GP: This is a tough one! It’s probably a split between deciding to quit my job to move to NYC & going to the model casting for the NYFW show! Both put me outside of my comfort zone & made me grow tremendously!
SRG: What is your earliest memory of style?
GP: My grandmother, for sure. She was the most stylish woman I knew, and she had the best eye. I was amazed with her ability to create outfits and find pieces that were unique, chic, and inexpensive. She is a huge influence in my fashion journey and I hope to be as creative as she was, one day.
SRG: In your opinion, what makes a person “cool,”
GP: To me, the coolest people are effortless and down-to-Earth. They have this je ne sais quoi about them that comes with knowing who they are, accepting it, and creating their own rules. There is a sense of freedom in how they move through the world, foster relationships, & even in how they choose their clothes.
SRG: We know you just achieved a huge goal. But knowing you, you’re always driving. Soooo… Now what? What’s next for you? Wildest dream scenarios encouraged!
GP: I would absolutely LOVE to model more and possibly work on a national campaign. I know it’s super cheesy, but one day I’d love to see my face on a billboard in Times Square or even in a retail store. *Fingers crossed!*