How I #MadeIt: Laura Jackson

Very few of us get to do a job that encompasses more than one of our passions but presenter and professional foodie Laura Jackson's multifaceted career centres on three of her favourite things – music, fashion and food. And it's no wonder the 29-year-old presenter, who hails from Huddersfield, has already had great success in terms of her burgeoning TV career and the popular supper clubs and food and lifestyle brand she set up with fellow foodie, Alice Levine. When we popped over to her house in east London – which is just as colourful and chic as she is – Laura immediately had us in fits of laughter due to her infectiously effervescent personality, lack of pretension and openness.

February is a particularly busy month for Jackson, who will be co-hosting London Fashion Week Festival, which has been revamped for 2017 and will directly follow LFW (where Laura will undoubtedly be a regular fixture in the frow) in the same venue of The Store Studios, 180 Strand. Offering unparalleled access to the industry via shows, panel talks and designer shopping, this is an opportunity not to be missed for any fashion enthusiast. In the same week, Jackson will also host the Brit Awards red carpet and backstage with Alice Levine and Clara Amfo.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
We caught up with Laura, who had just returned from Copenhagen Fashion Week, to discuss juggling her diverse career, her style evolution and her love affair with food.

You've recently become a food columnist, have run supper clubs for a couple of years and have a debut book coming out soon. How did the food part of your career develop?
I've always loved food and cooking, but Jackson and Levine started when I met Alice at a jumble sale for Oxfam! We had rival stalls and ended up buying items from each other. We had our lunch break together, went to get some chilli and ended up talking about all things food. We started to hang out as friends, dining in new restaurants or places that had lunchtime specials – we basically had a lunch club, with only two members. After lots of lunches out and cooking for each other at our retrospective flats we decided that it could be great to start a little food project based on our 'lunch club'. We wanted to extend cooking for each other to cooking for other people, and that's where the idea of a supper club came from.
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Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
When did it really feel like presenting was something you could commit to wholeheartedly? Was it something you've wanted to do from a young age?
I would say maybe five years ago was when I stopped having a part-time job to supplement my income, it was then that I was a 'fully fledged presenter'. I think I've always wanted to work in TV, I watched so much of it (and still do), I couldn't think about working in any other industry.

How has your style evolved since you first started out?
It still is evolving! One night I can be in a glitzy dress on the red carpet, but the next I can be at home cooking in a tracksuit. I'll never lose my northern roots...

How do you juggle the different aspects of your career?
That's a tough one, it's hard to juggle everything especially with boyfriend, family and friends. However, I think I have an addiction to being busy, I like the plate-spinning fun of it all.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Are there other ways you'd like to expand your career? What else is coming up for you in 2017?
Yes, I think everyone is always looking to expand and grow. I love food, textiles and homeware. The dream would be to have a clothing, homeware and lifestyle brand, and I would love a prime-time TV show, too – dream big, they said! 2017 is a great year, Jackson & Levine have a cookbook out in May and have some amazing things lined up for launch, we have also created a textile range with Habitat, out in June. TV-wise, Take Me Out: The Gossip is back in April and I'm co-hosting the Brits on ITV2 in Feb.

You're a rising style star in the London fashion scene. When did you first become interested in fashion and do you enjoy mixing that aspect with your job?
Really?! I'm not sure about style star but I do love fashion. We have the most vibrant fashion scene here in London, it's so eclectic and anything-goes. I think I've always enjoyed fashion and I hope I've never taken it too seriously, I think it's a great way to express your personality. I love the part of my job when I get to dress up, it's so great when you get a TV job and you get to shop for a wardrobe!
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Photographed by Jonny Cochrane & Morgane Lay.
Which women do you admire most professionally and who are your personal heroes?
I love Victoria Beckham, who else can you name who has totally reinvented herself, changed public perception and been more successful in her second career than her first...when her first career was a Spice Girl?!

I know a really amazing group of women in my industry who are strong, independent and forward-thinking, they inspire me every day. This sounds really cheesy, though, but in this current climate, all women who work, are trying to succeed while running a home, having a life and trying to do the best they can, inspire me.

What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs who want to set up their own business, be it a supper club or something similar?
Just go for it!

Follow Laura on Instagram @iamlaurajackson

London Fashion Week Festival
takes place from 23rd-26th February at The Store Studios, 180 Strand. Tickets are available here.

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