For the better part of a year, I’ve side-eyed Jessica Mulroney, wife of Canadian celebrity Ben Mulroney and BFF-stylist to the Duchess of Sussex. I didn’t know much about Jessica Mulroney, having first heard her name through the articles about then-Meghan Markle. I thought Jessica was likely some bored, well-connected, socialite trophy wife who dabbled in styling. I was wrong! I know that now. Jessica is a pretty big deal in Canada, and while she might sort of be a well-connected socialite/stylist, she’s not the vapid creature I had in mind. Jessica did make a name for herself internationally because of her friendship with Meghan, and Jessica parlayed that into a gig as a correspondent on Good Morning America. I doesn’t seem like Meghan minds. Now Jessica is sitting down for a lengthy profile with Harper’s Bazaar – you can read the full piece here. I came away from this… understanding Jessica’s whole deal a bit more. Some highlights:
Whether she considers herself a stylist: Though the public sees Mulroney as Markle’s “unofficial stylist,” Mulroney doesn’t consider herself a stylist at all—nor does she want to be one. “Styling is such a small part of what I do. I have, like, 10 jobs. People don’t know that I work so much on the back end of things. They think I’m just dressing people. My business is with brands.”
Her biggest job is promoting Canadian labels: For a demonstration of her approach to travel (lots of layers and an oversize Gucci bag), Mulroney shrugged into an animal-print coat from Nonie, revealing that Markle’s July 2018 appearance in a trench dress from the Calgary-based brand saved the house from shutting down. “It’s tough to be a designer. It is really tough to be a Canadian designer,” she says later, citing the challenges of entering the U.S. market, finding retailers, and sustaining a business. “Sometimes all you need is that onetime break and it’ll change your life. If you get your item on a celebrity, that’s almost like the top of the top—a new way of creating business.” In Mulroney’s world, every bare arm and empty earlobe are opportunities. “I have a lot of friends in the entertainment business and I myself have a significant Instagram account, so I can throw them a bone and wear the earrings if I like them. Or if I know somebody’s doing a red carpet, I’ll be like, ‘Hey, you should try these.’ It’s kind of organic, but if I can do it, it usually does help.”
On the royal wedding: Thanks to Mulroney’s background in weddings and her fashion expertise, the world assumes she worked with Markle to plan her May 2018 wedding to Prince Harry. The three Mulroney children—eight-year-old twins John and Brian and five-year-old Ivy—served as page boys and bridesmaid. “This is my first interview that I’ve done since the wedding or anything,” Mulroney admits, but that’s about all she’ll say about her best friend. “Listen, every person has to have a bit of privacy in their life. There are certain things I hold very dear and secret,” she states evenly. “There are things I’ll never talk about for sure. My life is an open book, but there’s always a few secret pages in the back that nobody will be able to read.”
She isn’t required to spill the tea on Meghan on GMA: Paparazzi photos show Mulroney arriving to the Mark Hotel, where Markle’s shower took place, and a few days later, the U.K. Daily Mail published an item blasting her talent, falsely reporting that her position with GMA was in jeopardy because she declines to talk about her association with the duchess on-air. “It’s not journalism. There’s no truth to it. [If] they decide they want to ruin somebody, they just will,” Mulroney asserts quietly. “It comes with the territory. There are so many benefits to certain things, but then also a lot of negativity that you have to deal with at the same time,” she says of invasive tabloid culture. “You have to stay positive.” Two days later, Mulroney announced the continuation of her relationship with ABC on Instagram. A GMA executive tells BAZAAR.com, “Jess is incredibly talented and brings a smart eye to accessible style. She is intimately involved with each of her segments from the initial pitch to the model fittings to each of the tips and takeaways for our viewers. We love working with her.”
As I said, I get it now. I feel like I have a better handle on Jessica’s relationship with Meghan. Meghan is likely happy for her friend, and happy that Jessica has an even bigger platform now. Jessica knows there are boundaries and she’s not going to sell out Meghan in the larger sense, but of course she’s profiting from the association, with Meghan’s blessing. All that being said, I still feel like Meghan needs a full-time, UK-based stylist/dresser just as a matter of convenience. Maybe that will happen months from now, after Meghan has the Polo Baby. Because it’s a tortured process to expect Meghan to contact Jessica in Canada every time Meg needs some new looks. They should still remain friends, but separate the “styling” thing from friendship.
Photos courtesy of Instagram.