21 Questions With…Jo Linehan
1. Tell me a bit about yourself
My full name is Josephine Ann Elle Linehan, and I’m originally from Mallow, Co Cork, though I’ve called Dublin my home for the last seven years! I would describe myself as positive, passionate and a control freak.
2. I read in an interview recently about how you were very determined to make your way into the fashion industry. Can you tell us a bit about that?
I grew up in a small town with absolutely no connection to the fashion industry (unless you count a stack of UK and US VOGUE’s?), so I knew that if I wanted to work in fashion Magazines it was going to be difficult. I worked different jobs in Dublin - nannying, in retail, music lessons - whatever it took to pay rent while I cold called and emailed all of the editors. I’m sure they were sick of me plaguing them, especially when I had no formal experience or qualifications in journalism. But I kept trying, I knew that if I could just get my foot in the door I would work my arse off to prove I was invaluable. Eventually, I got a call to come into IMAGE Magazine right before Christmas to make tea and hand out post. Four years later I was acting fashion editor, junior editor and was building the company’s social media from the ground up, interviewing designers and helping formulate the look and feel of the magazine. It was a dream come true and I credit the team at IMAGE for giving me the skills and tools I use every day in my career.
3. You’ve worked on so many shoots what has been your all-time favourite? Why?
Shoots are absolute magic, always. There are so many so can I cheat and say two? One was during my time in New York, I styled a shoot for Barney’s department store in a bar called Mother Of Pearl on the Lower East Side - that was a total “pinch me!” moment. My other favourite is a shoot I styled with a good friend of mine, Simon Walsh. I wanted to create a love letter to my neighbourhood, Phibsborough, so we took to the streets and shot all day in the launderette, the old furniture shop, the grocery stores, the chipper... it was grimy and fabulous and I think we captured Phibs really well.
4. I saw your piece with Irish Tatler and Courtney Smiths studio tour which I both loved! Tell me a bit about Gaff Interiors.How did Gaff interiors come about? What has been your favourite article to write about?
GAFF has been the most amazing thing for us (me and my business partner, pal and powerhouse Caroline Foran). We had always wanted to start something together and, as jobbing freelancers, we recognised a real gap in the market for an online space dedicated to affordable interiors. It began to grow faster than we could ever have imagined and we are nourishing and growing GAFF every day in a way that we feel is honest, true to us and our reader, responsible and inspiring. Having total creative control is the most satisfying feeling in the world. The site is our baby, and like all babies, we have our challenges but every day is exciting and the opportunities are endless. Can you tell I’m a little excited about it?!
5. Tell me something that not many people know about you?
I’m a trained musician! I play the drums, I sing, I play a little piano. I spent my teenage years playing in metal and punk rock bands. Music is one of the most important things in my life. It feeds me.
6. What can you not live without?
Coffee! I mean, I’m sure I could ... but why would anyone want to??
7. Who would you love to work with?
There are so many... I don’t know what we would work on but RAF Simons is my favourite designer.. so if we could work together on making an outfit for me that would be amazing! With GAFF we are itching to collaborate on our own line with West Elm....
8. Where is your favourite place to travel to?
I love hotels and I’m lucky that I get to stay in plenty (I write travel for the Irish Times Weekend Magazine), so I’m happy with a staycation in a cool hotel here in Dublin and Ireland. This year I’m hoping to visit my uncle in Fiji and Texas is top of my travel wish list. I think BBQ, horses and some good southern music is kind of my happy place.
9. Do you have any beauty tips?
I would say that there is beauty in the weird and imperfect, so try to see the parts of yourself that don’t necessarily please you in a new light. I always felt so self-conscious of my ears - they’re not small (thanks for that Dad), but after spending my teens trying to hide them I realised that they are what allow me to hear the world and listen to music. So I got my lobes tattooed with little hearts on them. Now they’re one of my favourite features.
10. Whats your guilty pleasure?
There are so, so many! I’m obsessed with the Kardashians, and you’ll always spot a Justin Bieber track in my Spotify playlist. Guilty! Don’t care!
11. If you could invite any three people in the world to a dinner party who would they be?
My friends, my family, my boyfriend. That’s a pathetic answer, I know, but they’re who I want to eat with, not someone famous who I’m afraid to chew in front of!
12. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Dublin. Tried NYC, it wasn’t for me. And if NYC doesn’t sway you, nowhere else will. Dublin is amazing in so many ways.
13. Night in or Night out?
I’ve had a particularly crazy week so I’m dying for a night in right now, but come back to me next week and we’ll hit The George.
14. This is probably a hard one Dublin or Cork?
Do you want me to be murdered?! Pass!
15. Whats your favourite type of food?
All food. I love to eat. Japanese food is always amazing, I love Thai.Sprout make my favourite salads, I love a good brunch dish...I’m a terrible cook though so peanut butter with a spoon is a regular occurrence at home...
16. What do you do in your spare time?
I love to work out so you’ll find me at a Flyefit running and sweating pretty much every other day.
17. What would your dream house be like?
I would love a modern, open plan gaff with heated floors and enough space for a dog or two. Super minimal too - I’m a “less is more” kinda gal.
18. What trend will you never get tired of?
Any new trend is my favourite. I’ll try anything once. I’m a sucker for anything that captures the zeitgeist.
19. Where would you like to see yourself in ten years?
I would love to be living in my own place in Dublin with my partner and my dog and maybe a mini-me (!!), I want GAFF HQ to be filled with a passionate workforce, in our own office space in the city, I want to have a couple more businesses on the go then too. Mostly I want to be happy and healthy and relaxed and content. And comfortable in my own skin, caring less about what others think of me and instead loving my best, most beautiful life.
20. One thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
I have a weird thing about cutlery. If I don’t like the look of it it can put me off my dinner. So much so that I brought my own cutlery on my J1. That got me some funny looks!
21. Have you got any advice to give to people on pursuing their career?
Yes! Forget about everyone’s eye rolls and opinions - your gut will always steer you right. Everyone thought I was a loon to move to Dublin. Then everyone told me to leave IMAGE and move to NY. Then we were told GAFF was never going to take off. If you let others limited beliefs affect you you’ll never be happy. Failing is the best way to learn. It hurts like a mother fucker but growth is always painful. Your higher power is always looking after you so work hard and trust that everything is working out the way it should. Be kind to everyone you meet in your work - having a good reputation is better than any qualification in my opinion.
Photo Credit: Nathalie Marques Courtney