I’ll give you 5 minutes. Exactly 5 minutes after meeting Jacqui Stafford you will realize you adore her! Not only does the fashion editor, style expert and author want to help us dress our best, but she does it with the personality of that best friend that will lend you her favorite sweater, even if she was planning to wear it. And she has the cutest British accent.
I first met Jacqui on the set of my daily tv show, New York Live. You may have also seen her on the Today Show, The Steve Harvey Show, The…, and many more. Most recently, she’s been promoting her new book, “The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget. One day recently on set, I noticed Jacqui did not have on a wedding ring. So I asked her if she was Single. She responded with a delightful ‘yes’ and our conversation went on to include her adopted daughter. Once she told me the details of her decision to become a single mother, I knew I had to share her story with you. So here is a bit of Jacqui Stafford in 10 questions:
On this site, if you are not married you are single. What do you love about being single?
Hmm…I’ve never given it much thought about NOT being single ? I suppose one thing is that even though I’m in a long-standing, committed relationship with my boyfriend, personally speaking, not being married has never been an issue or concern.
Was not getting married a choice?
Obviously, everyone is different, but for me, marriage has never been a goal of mine. Even though I’m a serial monogamist.
How do you handle family and friends that try to pressure you into marriage?
My friends or family know me well, and know that marriage isn’t a prerequisite for me to have a completely fulfilled, happy life. My twin sister and I grew up with two very forward-thinking parents; they always encouraged us to live our own lives, and not anyone else’s.
You have a beautiful daughter. Was it a tough choice to adopt as a single woman?
It wasn’t a tough choice personally to adopt as a single woman, because for me, wanting to become a mother became “non-negotiable” and I couldn’t imagine my life without a child in it. At that particular time, I wasn’t with the right man for me, so it was actually a very easy decision. But I definitely don’t want to downplay the emotional and financial implications of adopting as a single parent; it’s not the right choice for everyone.
Did you have full support of family and friends when you decided to adopt?
No, initially they thought I was absolutely crazy because it was something we had never discussed before, and my work lifestyle was pretty hectic. Also, in England (where I’m from) adoption is much more complicated than it is in the US, so they couldn’t wrap their heads around it. Thankfully, I live in a country where adoption is available, so I was lucky enough to be able to adopt domestically. Then of course, they totally changed their minds once they realized I was serious.
Why adoption instead of giving birth or a surrogate?
Actually, it was my close friend and former boss, Valerie, who suggested I might adopt. The minute she said it, it was like a light bulb went off, and it seemed like the most natural thing in the world to me. There are so children who need loving homes.
What advice would you give to single women thinking about adoption?
Girl, the joy a child brings into your life is indescribable. My little one is the love of my life. And while it’s the same for any parent raising a child, as a single parent you face unique challenges—everything from the logistics of caring for your child without the help of a partner if you ever need to travel, or are ill etc. (That old saying, “It takes a village”? Absolutely true.) I’d say that anyone considering adoption as a single parent should be brutally honest with themselves (plus everyone else in their life) about the financial, emotional and physical implications that this life-changing decision will have.
In a society that seems to pity single women, how do you feel about being single?
Is society crazy? Single women RULE.
In your new style book, “The Wow Factor: Insider Style Secrets for Every Body and Every Budget”, you give women great advice about how to dress to flatter their figure. What advice would you give to single working moms that barely have time to iron their clothes, but want to look fashionable?
I help my working mum clients to create a sort of “uniform” that they can reach for every day and not think about much, but yet they always look really stylish. (I call it, my Lazy Girl’s Guide To Style – ha!) Try something like a butt-skimming, loose-fitting blouse over skinny jeans paired with cute flats (for comfort and running around). You can slip a great blazer or motorcycle jacket over your look at night (always invest in a blazer as you will wear it numerous ways). Throw on a long necklace and loop a summer-weight, brightly colored scarf around you neck—and you’re good to go.
What reaction do you get from people when they learn you are single?
I think everyone always assumes that I’m married because I have a daughter and I’ve been in a long-term relationship for several years. Once they find out, they’re always curious about my man and how my little one appeared. And when I tell them the story, they love it.