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Monday 21 August 2017

Suzanne Jackson: 'Five years ago everyone wanted to be a model, now they all want to be bloggers'

So Sue Me creator Suzanne Jackson tells Joanna Kiernan about love, life and how redundancy eventually made her follow her dreams

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Suzanne Jackson pictured with Joanne Kiernan

Meeting So Sue Me aka Suzanne Jackson is a very pleasant and slightly unnerving experience for anyone who has ever watched one of her many online beauty tutorials. Suzanne's face is familiar to her blog followers, not in the same way as a TV star's might be, the connection is much more intimate, it is like meeting an old friend.

Suzanne is more than just another famous face, she is a close companion to those who tune in to avoid looking like a Las Vegas show girl on a Saturday night out, as could otherwise occur were it not for her expert words and online video tutorials. Suzanne is aware and intensely protective of her loyal following.

"It has built slowly," she tells me. "I think for anything to become successful, it has to be built organically and slowly. If you jump in head first it would either go to your head or it could feel like it is a short term thing and easy come, easy go, but if you take your time it will be a success long-term."

Companies in Ireland were, at first, slow to recognise the power of the blogosphere. But with So Sue Me attracting over 1.1 million readers a month, 147,000 Facebook fans and over 80,000 Instagram followers, Suzanne explains with a smile, that these days 'everyone wants a piece of the pie.'

Suzanne is discerning, however, about those she will deal with.

"If the company wasn't right for me or my blog I wouldn't look at them and I still today turn down loads of companies, at least five a week. I can't work with them if it doesn't fit in with my blog," Suzanne says.

"It has to be me and it has to be real, otherwise there is no point. I'm going to feel fake talking about it and readers will see that straight away because they know me now, a lot of them are following me from the beginning so they know my personality, they know who I am and they will be able to tell if I am talking crap!"

"They all want to work with So Sue Me now because they know that I have a very loyal and influential following there, but I am very protective of that."

Suzanne has come a long way since being made redundant from a job in Human Resources five years ago. Not only has she managed to carve out a career for herself as a full time blogger, but So Sue Me is now Ireland's biggest and most popular blog.

However, she is keen to point out that her work is not all glitz and glamour.

"Blogging has become the big thing now," she explains. "Four or five years ago everyone wanted to be a model, but everyone wants to be a blogger now because they think that it is easy and they think they can earn money this way and that it is a glamorous job. It is none of those things. It is hard to earn money as a blogger. Where you earn your money is in attending events after you have built up a following. You shouldn't be earning money straight away from your blog because then you are not credible, then you are in it for the money and that's when you are going to fail."

"My readers are nearly five years with me now and they know that I would turn down a million euro tomorrow, I swear to God, if the product wasn't right," Suzanne gasps.

"I think people think I shop and buy Louboutins all day long and it is actually nothing like that. Yes there are days when it is glamorous, but nine times out of ten it is hard work, sitting in my pyjamas talking to clients, blogging and looking after the business side of things," Suzanne smiles.

CELEBRITY

Rising above a sea of online hopefuls, So Sue Me has managed to stick out for all the right reasons and Suzanne is fast becoming a blogger and celebrity, with a similar reputation and following to many of the world's growing contingent of top international bloggers who are now taking over the front rows in all of the big fashion weeks.

"It's been a huge journey and very much an uphill climb," Suzanne smiles at the thought. "When I first started So Sue Me I was nobody, nobody knew who I was I had no profile, so I literally built it from nothing and now it is crazy, I am booked for all these events because they need a famous face, which is so weird. I am just a normal girl. So I think why aren't they booking Rosanna Davison? But So Sue Me has grown such a huge following."

"I went to New York Fashion week in October and I documented my whole trip. It was out of this wide world. I never thought I would be sitting front row at New York Fashion Week with the world's leading bloggers. It was insane," Suzanne adds. "Seeing Kendall Jenner on the runway for Marc Jacobs and being in a room with all of these huge celebrities and talking to them like normal was just surreal."

Suzanne is a firm believer in the power of positive thinking and the Law of Attraction.

"The book The Secret was huge for me and I read another book recently The Power of Your Subconscious Mind, which is about how your thoughts attract things to you. Everything you put out there you get back, so if you think negatively all of the time then you are going to attract negativity," Suzanne tells me.

"You can train your thoughts to be positive and work towards your goals, it sounds so corny and American, but it is so true. I have been thinking like that the last four of five years and it has worked for me."

"I always wanted to work for myself," she adds. "I always wanted to be my own boss and I always knew for some weird reason, in the back of my head it would work out and I would be happy because I wouldn't let myself stay in a job if I wasn't happy and that was kind of how I came to this path.

"If I had stayed in my job working as a beautician, then I wouldn't have gone into HR and then I wouldn't have been made redundant, ended up building my blog. So you have to listen to your gut instinct."

Suzanne is equally as interested in inner beauty as she is in outer beauty. She laughs off a recent poll which voted her as Ireland's Sexiest Woman.

"That was crazy," she giggles. "Georgia Salpa was in there and Nadia Forde and all of these gorgeous women who usually top the polls, but they voted me in! It was mental. My boyfriend says they should see you in the mornings!"

"I am a confident person, but that has only come with time," Suzanne explains. "I wouldn't have been this confident when I was 21 or 22."

Suzanne will often tell her followers about her personal experiences outside of the fashion and beauty sphere.

"People often say So Sue Me is perfect, I am not, I have cellulite on my legs, I wish I had bigger boobs and bigger lips, all of these things, but no one is perfect," she says. "I am trying to get girls at a younger age to let them know that it is okay to feel perfect."

Turning 30 has altered Suzanne's outlook on life, she is more confident, relaxed and at peace with who she is.

"It definitely has made me feel excited because I know the road I am on. I feel secure in my relationship now too. I was cheated on a lot in the past.

EMPOWERING

"I went out with a guy who told me I was everything and was ripping me off with someone else for months, but now I am with my boyfriend Dylan (pictured far left) and he wouldn't look left or right, he just sees me in a room of 100 women and that is empowering as well."

Suzanne feels privileged to be a role model to many of her younger followers.

"I wanted to let people know that it is okay that in your twenties if you don't know where you are going in life or you don't know what you are doing. I'm only finding my feet now," Suzanne says. I wanted to let people know a couple of life lessons that I have learned along the way," she adds.

Suzanne's second book, So Sue Me: What Happened Next... which she dedicates to 'anyone with a dream, an idea, or a plan to build something from nothing' is out now.

For more information: www.sosueme.ie

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