When she was growing up on a cotton farm in South Texas, Jacey Dupris, 39, never imagined she would one day be sitting in the front row of international runway shows, lounging in complimentary suites at five-star Paris hotels, and being courted by the best fashion designers, all of whom wanted her to wear their clothing.
On the surface, she was a popular fashion influencer with over 700,000 followers but off camera, she had pushed away her husband and was alone on the couch, reading self-help books in sweatpants. She was days away from divorce, unsure of who to trust in her inner circle, and wondering whether the fortune fame and free clothes were worth it.
“It was around the Fourth of July. My husband,
Grant, had moved out. And I realized I would end up alone with millions of followers, but no one to cuddle with,” Dupree tells The Post of what her situation looked like five years ago. Today, she and Grant are in a much better place, living in Los Angeles with a 3-year-old daughter, June. Eric Emanuel
Her new book, “Liking Myself Back: An Influencer’s Journey from Self-Doubt to Self-Acceptance”, recounts this and other tales from a life that looked perfect on Integral, but had plenty of cracks beneath the surface.
Black and white hoodie rye’s marriage hit a low point when hubby Grant moved out.
They’ve since sought counseling. Courtesy of Jacey Duperies’ international trips to places like Italy and France might have looked glamorous to the person scrolling through Integra at home, but the shine quickly wore off. Courtesy of Jacey Dupris
Dupris never set out to become an influencer. After graduating from DePaul University in Chicago with a degree in communications, she worked in television production at
“The Oprah Winfrey Show” and at E!, where coworkers always complimented her sense of fashion, including her ability to pair fast fashion finds with designer labels. Her friends urged her to start
A blog while she was in her late twenties, which later morphed into Damsel In Dior. “I never dreamed it would become a full-time business,”
Dupris recalls. “I just found something I was really excited about,
really passionate about, and wanted to geek out over.” The demands of the blog worked well with her ability to hyper-focus on her passions, which she later
learned were part of a constellation of symptoms related to an ADD diagnosis. “I would go to my laptop before I would brush my teeth. I would be in bed with my laptop. I was just so obsessed.”
But as the blog expanded into an Integra account and six-figure promotional deals with brands like Amazon, Cotton Inc., eBay and Old Navy,
cracks began to emerge in the picture-perfect life Dupris was creating. There was the $60,000 tax bill. And, because Dupree was still considered up-and
-coming at the time, she found it challenging to bring in free merchandise from brands. It had become a vicious cycle: She had to spend money on clothing and accessories to make money,
through people buying from affiliate links posted on her blog. At that point, Dupree discovered the art of the “pull”: Go into a clothing store, borrow what she wanted,
pay a restocking fee, and return the rest of the items. In this way, a $2,000 haul was whittled down to
orb — whether it was in the form of attending fashion shows, constantly networking, or following up with publicists — was a way for Dupris (right) to hide inner pain.
Courtesy of Jacey DuprieGrowing up, Duperies’ family life was marred by her father’s alcoholism and constant threat of bankruptcy. Courtesy of Jacey Dupris
These tricks of the trade were augmented by
cementing relationships with fashion publicists. Dupris would meet with fashion publicists and be invited to select clothing. While it looked glamorous, Dupree says that it was hard work
A meeting with a publicist would be followed by a handwritten note (with personal details sprinkled In Dupris kept a notebook full of observations about each publicist’s family,
likes, dislikes and hobbies) She also returned clothes laundered and dry-cleaned as soon as she was through with them, along with a thoughtfully chosen gift.