My Digital Life: Jess Lepore
An accomplished Content, Social Media and Marketing Manager, Jess Lepore leads an equally Instagram-worthy existence away from her desk. Here, the photography enthusiast talks to Dan Flay about the importance of good lighting, her love of Dolly Alderton and what inspired her to work in digital.
DF: Let’s start with a brief career history: how did you come to be doing what you do now?
JL: I’ve been fortunate to explore a variety of roles, before 'stumbling onto the next great opportunity'. My background in content marketing led to more work in the digital marketing space and over the last few years, I’ve really found my stride. As a project manager in these fields, I have learnt to balance the big picture with the small details, which has proven invaluable.
DF: Did you always know you would work in digital?
JL: Digital wasn’t all there yet, back when I was first figuring things out! I vividly remember watching the film ‘What Women Want’ as a teenager with my mum - you know, the one where Mel Gibson can hear what women are thinking - and seeing this big New York ad agency coming up with ideas for Nike and thinking 'that’s it, I want to be the ideas person', I want to be the person behind a Nike campaign. I'm not quite there yet, but there’s still time.
DF: What is your earliest social media memory?
JL: I was part of the Bebo generation *cringe*. I remember the daily politics of teenage life, determining who would sit in your ‘Top 16’ and who you’d share your love with that day (it was the currency of the time). Years later I tried to find my old Bebo page to salvage some old pictures – in hindsight, I’m rather glad they deactivated it all.
DF: What is your favourite social media platform?
JL: Instagram, undoubtedly! I have always loved photography, so much so, I convinced my parents it was a valuable A-Level to have. I dabble in the Twitter space too, partially for the comedy, partially for the political rants. DF: Your pictures always look great! Can you share your Insta photography and editing tips?
JL: 1. Find that goddamn good lighting! 2. Don’t edit on the fly, I used to take a picture and immediately want to play with it – you need time and the right light to see things properly. Also, enjoying real life and not being anti-social and glued to a screen is important. 3. Finally - the most notable for me - if you want to stand on the seat in a restaurant for 15 minutes to get a great flat lay of the table and the perfect angled picture of your food, you bloody well do it! Trying to be discreet and quick will result in a bad picture and a lifetime of regret.
DF: Are there any podcasts that you’re loving right now?
JL: I have two go-to podcasts: The High Low Show with Dolly Alderton, with whom I have an unnatural obsession since reading Everything I Know About Love. I think I am responsible for a portion of that book’s sales - and the eloquent Pandora Sykes, whose new book is on pre-order. And Table Manners with Jessie Ware; it combines my two favourite things - food and conversation. Oh, and of course a little mother-daughter chastising and debating.
DF: Which are your favourite influencers/brands/accounts to follow?
JL: We could be here for days...I will always find time to catch up with In the Frow’s vlogs. She’s one of my favourite influencers to follow because she comes across as very relatable. I love the ‘hardworking woman earns success’ vibe that she embodies. Additionally, any woman who loves shoes as much as I do is a woman after my own heart.
I love checking in on @smythsisters for style inspiration; Marianne has an effortless look that shows off a knack for styling. I also love @huesofwhite’s feed for an injection of style and creativity. Santina brings pictures to life and always stops and grabs my attention when scrolling. I’ve discovered some beautiful brands because of her.
I also now regularly find myself on @wellness_ed’s Instagram. Amy Lane is the Digital Editor of Women’s Health and has just released a book called I Can Run. It’s due on my doorstep in the next few days. She brings a grounded and honest dose of fitness and well-being to my feed.
DF: Which apps are on the first page of your phone?
JL: My first page isn’t particularly exciting. I guess the most important is my email, which is checked regularly, mainly to see when my orders have been dispatched.
DF: Have you discovered any brands via social media? If so, which?
JL: I discovered Alighieri Jewellery on Instagram, a brand that I am besotted with. Its namesake is one of my favourite authors, the Italian poet Dante, and the creative story-telling behind the branding is beautiful. This year it won The Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design.
DF: How do you make time for being offline?
JL: I won’t lie, this isn’t something I’m good at. With the introduction of screen-time reports, I know I need to improve my efforts to social distance from my phone. If my mind is focused on a project - usually writing or reading - I can switch off for hours at a time. Equally, when I’m with my friends I’m much more focused on our colourful conversations than a screen.
Interview by Dan Flay