Shereen Jupp whisks gracefully up to the entrance to Elysian Cafe in Vancouver’s Mount Pleasant neighbourhood with the air of someone in control of her chaos. Her makeup is flawless, as she’s just finished a photoshoot for local clothing brand Oak + Fort; but it’s clear she would look stunning without an ounce of mascara, too.
After all, Jupp has a background modelling (she still does the odd gig these days), but her primary job now is twofold: a mother of two adorable munchkins, and editor-in-chief of the magazine she founded, called Mother Muse, which celebrates mothers and motherhood with a distinct fashion flair. After she grabs a few baked goods for her children and husband, who are waiting patiently for her to finish up, Jupp—also trained in journalism and marketing—sits down to openly and earnestly discuss the hardships and triumphs she has faced both personally and professionally.
What led you to starting Mother Muse?
I feel like I started the magazine because I came from the fashion industry and after having my daughter, it didn’t really resonate with me anymore; I didn’t feel like I could look through a magazine and feel connected to that. Which was really hard for me, actually. And there was a lack in the market; there were mom blogs, but nothing I felt that was editorial and catered to the millennial mom, and the fashion mom—and that’s why I felt like it needed to be there. I also did the magazine because I struggled with postpartum depression and I wanted to be creative. I felt like, “If I do this, I’m doing it for me”—and it just happened to work out that other people wanted it too.
Social media can so easily glamourize motherhood, whereas Mother Muse has more genuine and real conversations.
When I first started the magazine I think it made motherhood look more glamorous, so when I first released it, it was more model-esque. I was getting criticized, not a lot, but it was a learning curve to realize that social media does make motherhood look like something that could make other moms feel isolated themselves. They’re like, “Well, I don’t look like this.” So I feel like since launching the magazine, we try to find a happy medium. Because I definitely feel that fashion and editorial is what I’m catered to, I love that, my aesthetic is super picky; but it’s also downsizing it a bit and making it relatable to all of the other moms. So I feel like social media definitely does make motherhood look glamorous, but I feel that Mother Muse is a safe platform that complements both aspects of it, where moms can go and be inspired by the photos and feel confidence as opposed to questioning, “Why don’t I look like this?”
The first issue was this big expectation and it was so incredible and it did so well, and for me it’s been a learning curve because the second issue had less readable content. I do this by myself, and motherhood in itself is nuts, so I really want to focus on building the brand to have more articles and more written content. I don’t want to steer away from print and the visual diary there, but I do want to bring in more online readable content and build the online platform for women to go to.
What surprised you most about motherhood?
I feel like every story is different for women. For me, I was shook by how hard breastfeeding was; I dealt with anorexia for a really long time, so that reflected in my breast milk. Because I was anemic and had this illness, my breast milk wasn’t being created enough and after three months of breastfeeding, I had to introduce formula to my daughter. I feel like stuff like that was very surprising because I was like, “Oh, I’m going to be able to breastfeed, it’s going to be super easy.” And the number one thing I hear from so many moms is how surprised they are by how difficult breast feeding is.
But it must also be so rewarding.
Becoming a mom has actually made me a better person. I know that sounds like a lot to hold on these little people, but I can’t even look at the person I was before. Your children teach you so much every single day; they teach you to appreciate life and patience, and overall they just make you feel more confident and more in love with yourself. Kids are amazing.
You have a son now too, right?
My son is 13 months old. It’s so how different each pregnancy is. With my daughter you could tell I was pregnant at five months, and with my son I didn’t even look pregnant until I gave birth. I had to keep getting scanned to make sure he was growing normally because I had no bump.
They’re so great, they’re so unique.
It must be so fun to watch their relationship grow, too.
Now that Oliver’s getting older, Adaline can play with him. It was really cute when she met him for the first time. Little moments like that, you cherish them forever.
This interview has been edited and condensed.