Today we are so thrilled to introduce you to our dear friend, Jocquillin Shaunté! Jocquillin is a mother of four, an incredible fashion illustrator and a business owner, who is passionate about using her many gifts and talents to serve and empower other women. We used this post as an opportunity to ask her some of our most pressing questions and needless to say, we could not be more excited for you to read her inspiring answers! Enjoy!
- What inspired you to pursue fashion illustration?
I am naturally inspired by color, shapes, lines and patterns, all revolving around a feminine silhouette. I can’t help but think that this stems from my childhood, being that I first began drawing as a small child and completely fell in love with the strong female heroin after seeing Disney’s The Little Mermaid. At one point, I believed that I would pursue a career in feature film animation but became discouraged when most studios closed their doors to traditional (2D) animation and continued on with computer animation. At the time, my mentor who was working on Disney’s Tangled, would happily tell me about life inside the studio as a computer animator and I slowly began to realize that I was more passionate about drawing and less passionate about pursuing animation in that way. In 2012 I began painting and was inspired by the colorful female subjects of Irene Sheri’s contemporary work. My childhood love for the female figure was rekindled and I began to make it the focus of all of my paintings. I eventually discovered the work of Izak Zenou and was introduced to the world of fashion illustration! I had purchased a notebook. The cover was graced by one of Izak’s illustrations of a chic woman smiling, while walking her dogs though a lively New York neighborhood. Just looking at it made me smile! After pouring over his work and he how effortlessly captured the beauty and confidence of a woman, I was inspired and knew that fashion illustration is something that I was meant to explore
- Tell us a little bit about the heart and vision behind your business.
The heart of my business is joy. I want women to feel happy and excited when they see my work! I want to take all of these beautiful things that inspire me and translate them into something amazing that inspires women to embrace and celebrate their own beauty!
- What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a female entrepreneur?
By far, my biggest challenge has been balancing my roles as mother and business owner. I am a mother of four and I’m very passionate about my children. Success to me means being able to homeschool them, cook for them and maintain a clean house all while running my business. This is something that I struggle with daily because having a new business is like having a newborn baby. Well, maybe my business is more in the toddler stage now but it takes up so much of my time and brain power. I find that I can only handle so much in one day and in the past ended up feeling like I had to choose one or the other, my kids or my business. I also found that I hardly had time to work on any of my personal projects. Recently, I’ve designated one full day out of the week to work on my personal projects and two hours at the end of each day to work on my business. I also am only available to sketch for, at the most, four events or parties each month. All other days and times are focused on my family. So far, setting these boundaries has been helpful, however, every day is different and I’m sure that this is something that will continue to be a challenge for me.
- Why are you passionate about empowering other women through The Her Initiative?
I think that The Her Initiative is truly special. It’s beautiful to see so many incredible women coming together to support each other and a cause that educates and empowers women in need! As a mother and illustrator who hopes to use my art to empower and inspire women everywhere, this is a community that I am truly proud to be a part of.
- What is the one thing you wish you could tell women everywhere?
I love fashion and dressing up, trying out a new shade of blush or nail polish, splurging on the latest floral fragrance or getting a chic new haircut. I enjoy all of these things but they are not what makes me beautiful. “Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” 1 Peter 3:3-4.
The one thing that I wish I could tell women everywhere is to make it a priority to work on being beautiful on the inside (exercising kindness, patience, forgiveness, etc.). When you feel beautiful on the inside, you will see that you are beautiful on the outside as well. Audrey Hepburn once said, “Happy girls are the prettiest.” I’d even venture to say that kind girls are the prettiest!
Photo Credit: Bulloss Photography