Jessica Huie went from being a teenage mother, expelled from school and living in a hostel, to having a glittering career in Public Relations, working with some of the world’s biggest stars and business people including Samuel L. Jackson, Simon Cowell, Sir Bob Geldof and Meghan Markle.
By the age of 27, she set up her first business Color blind cards, credited as the first independent multicultural greeting card line to be stocked in the UK high-street. She then went on to found the award-winning public relations boutique agency JHPR. Then received an MBE in 2014 for services to entrepreneurship and her positive influence on the community.
Though with all the success, Huie spent years struggling with depression. In 2016 a miracle shifted her lifelong belief system changing her outlook on life which she has documented in her debut book, Purpose.
We spoke to her to find out more…
1# So along with running your own creative business, you run a PR company you’re an MBE, you’re often called to speak on your expertise, where do you find the time and how do you introduce yourself?
I’m an entrepreneur and really proud to now call myself an author! My business is equipping people with the tools to embrace visibility, amplify their message and make a difference in their customer and client’s lives. I do this through group masterclasses and individual one-to-one work with select courageous, change-making clients. I love my work. I’ve got to a stage in my life where who I am has become fully congruent with how I make my living, and that’s a blessed space to be in.
2# On top of all that you’ve written a book, why now?
It was not a conscious decision to share my story. There was certainly no strategy. I began writing when my father was very ill, in the last days of his life I picked up the pen as a coping mechanism, it was cathartic. Writing in the most exposed, honest space I have ever encountered, evolved into my book ‘Purpose’. It has been liberating and challenging and a beautiful process for which I am so grateful to my publisher Hay House for their support.
3# When gathering all your stories and experiences together, how did you decide what story you wanted to tell?
I really wanted to let my writing flow rather than over processing it too much. It started in such a pure and honest space and I wanted to maintain that by keeping the process as organic as possible. I do have many stories, but I’m really proud to have written the book I was supposed to write at the time in my life I was supposed to write it. There will be other stories which can be told at other times.
4# In Purpose you revisit some not so good moments in your life, which must have been difficult?
Yes, I was grieving for my father as I wrote which intensified things, but I’ve learned that the best way to deal with our pain is to face it and feel it. Writing gave me that privilege. Nothing good comes from shying away from addressing what lurks beneath our surface.
5# Looking at your successes, it’s difficult associating young single mum, kicked out of school with you. Regardless how your journey began, do you think you would have always come to this point?
I think the values we are raised with set us up for life, so in the end, I would always have found my way back on to a path which enabled me to live in a way which was congruent with the woman I had been raised to be. That said, when I look back I can see the value and learning in all of my experiences. The dots connect, so while I think I’d always have got here, I also know there were a lot of lessons I needed to learn in order to arrive at this place within myself.
6# Not every young person in a ‘bad’ situation decides to change their direction – personally, I was kicked in the arse when I became a mother, what was your ‘arse kick’?
The realisation that mediocrity was going to be the reality for my daughter and I if I didn’t take action. The reality of being an uneducated teen mum in a tower block with no money and no prospects smacked me in the face hard.
7# When and how did you make peace with your past, overcoming that feeling of being the ‘teen-mum reject’?
Purpose gives the answer to this question through its chapters. The book is about the fact that while my life changed dramatically as I became successful, behind the scenes I was struggling with myself. My circumstances changed, but I still viewed myself as a person who was never ‘enough.’ That relationship with myself hurt me for many years and impacted my life tremendously.
8# Who are the people who have had the biggest impact on your journey?
My parents, my children and numerous people who have presented me with opportunities which have changed my life at one time or another. The health visitor who suggested I go back to college, my tutor Chris Whittome at university who refused to let me drop out when juggling single motherhood and a degree. The publicist who first offered me a job whilst I washed her hair in a salon. The carers from St Johns Hospice who helped to nurse my father in his last days. So many wonderful human beings along my path.
9# Would you describe Purpose as a self-help book, or something else; what do you want people to get from this book?
I don’t like labels because they immediately box and limit our ability to receive a person, topic or book for what it is. Purpose is my story, and a sharing of the challenges I faced both practically and personally, with insight into how I transformed those challenges to experience a life beyond my (and many other’s) expectations. My wish is that people feel heartened by my story and inspired to pursue a life which honours all that is meaningful to them.
10# What is your purpose?
Right now my purpose is using the insights from my experiences to empower others through my books, workshops and programmes. I want everyone to know we can create lives that are the truest expression of who we really are and thrive – that’s the way it’s supposed to be. Our purpose isn’t static, it evolves as we do, and we can only get in touch with it by quietening the noise, looking inward and getting acquainted with the internal guidance which sits quietly within us, waiting to be heard.
I’m also committed to doing my part to enable others to share their stories. Sharing has a power to it and we need new narratives and insights to shed light and understanding on our differences whilst simultaneously serving as a reminder of our connectivity. Ten years ago I felt called to do my part to create representative images on greeting cards.
Now I’m interested in seeing how I can support the movement which is being driven by people like Sharmaine Lovegrove, to create greater representation for authors of colour. We have stories that need to be told not just for the benefit of our communities but for the benefit of us all. My entire career has centred around communication, I believe it’s our most powerful currency.
Jessica Huie’s debut book Purpose: find your truth and embrace your calling, is out April 24th published by Hayhouse. Order your copy here.