Everything Model & Entrepreneur Jessica Clarke Does To De-Stress

By Ashleigh Cometti
Model and Mother Made co-founder Jessica Clarke wears the brand’s new ‘Shroomie’ tee.

The New Zealand-born, UK-based co-founder of Mother Made shares how her wellness routine combats stress and anxiety, and discusses her latest supplement releases.

Jessica Clarke is living her best life in London.

It’s pretty clear from her Instagram that the Palmerston North local is thriving — securing campaigns for big-name brands, hitting the festival circuit with famous friends Poppy Delevingne and Lorena Rae, and nipping over to Europe with her sports agent partner Dave Gardner for city breaks in between.

As one of the country’s most in-demand models, Jessica was first discovered at age 15, and by age 17 had walked the runways at the international fashion month circuit — Milan, Paris, New York and London.

In the time since, she’s risen through the ranks to feature in various fashion campaigns for designers like Dolce & Gabbana, Calvin Klein, Giorgio Armani, Mulberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Elie Saab and Lanvin, star in countless magazine editorials (including the cover of Viva’s Luxury issue in 2018) and became the first New Zealand model to walk for Victoria’s Secret in 2011.

Her most recent work? Starring alongside Australian model Jessica Gomes in New Zealand jewellery designer Jessica McCormack’s new diamond campaign, Carmela, captured by legendary fashion photographer Ellen Von Unwerth.

The images, which were posted to Instagram yesterday, feature the two diamond-dipped Jess’s having a Lady and the Tramp moment before engaging in a food fight.

It’s a good life, but a demanding one, too.

So, how does one of the busiest models in the game handle the stress of her fast-paced lifestyle? Shrooms.

In 2021, Jessica co-founded Mother Made, alongside her long-time best friend and fellow entrepreneur, Emily Blanchett.

Together, the duo is pioneering the charge for medicinal mushrooms in Aotearoa through their selection of mushroom-centric wellness powders and supplements.

The benefits of mushrooms are many, with the brand heralding shrooms’ adaptogenic properties to aid the body’s ability to handle everything from injury to inflammation, and bolster against pollution, pathogens and disease. Beyond this, Mother Made positions its shroom-based elixirs as a means of boosting immunity, energy levels, physical performance and cognitive function.

Mother Made Mood: Ashwagandha Capsules are the newest innovation to be added to the range, one which Jess says she regularly stashes in her handbag.

“Stress is so prevalent within our modern-day lifestyles. If I’m on the go, I always have my Mood (Ashwagandha) or Relax (Reishi) capsules to help amid my busy schedules,” she says.

“Our range is curated — maybe somewhat selfishly — based on what we find we personally love and need. When I have a jam-packed schedule, I know it’s just as important for me to be able to switch off as it is to be able to switch on, so I love that our range covers all of these bases. I use Energy and Brain during the day, and Relax to unwind before bed.”

The ashwagandha capsules were a sell-out success, Jess says, adding she first discovered the adaptogenic shroom after visiting a nutritionist in New York.

“It was almost eight years ago now; it worked really well for me when I was nervously rushing around to castings. Fast forward to now, it’s amazing to be launching this product so it can be back in my daily rotation again,” she says. “I have different life stressors now, but I love it all the same for supporting my adrenals, which help control the cortisol levels in my body. I especially love it because it’s a natural alternative to other stress medicines.”

In an era where the word ‘anxiety’ is bandied about so easily, and with so many prescription medications said to null its effects, Mother Made is one of the wellness brands aiming to support those with stress or anxiety disorders, naturally.

Mother Made sources its ashwagandha from China, a long-lived shrub that is cultivated in dry regions and has long been revered in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

“Ashwagandha, like mushrooms, are ancient eastern medicines that have been used for thousands of years, so we take pride in getting them from their origins where they have been loved and used for much longer than the Western world,” says Jess, adding two new Mother Made products are also in the pipeline.

Rather than down umpteen coffees to keep energy levels high, Jess limits her caffeine intake. “I found caffeine was exacerbating my feeling of stress, so I now add mushrooms to my morning brew to prevent the jitters,” she says.

All supplements aside, Jess says she priorities a healthy lifestyle to keep her stress in check — eating a balanced diet and moving daily. “When I’m feeling fit and well-nourished, my body can almost always combat stress,” she says.

To aid her nightly wind-down, she’s banished screens from the bedroom — no doubt a tricky task when running a business from the other side of the world. “Before bed, I’m focusing on putting my phone down and having ‘me’ time every night. Whether that’s deep conditioning my hair or just hanging with my boyfriend, my phone is on ‘do not disturb’ mode,” she says.

Now, Jess and Emily are dispatching Mother Made merch in the form of the currently sold-out ‘Shroomie’ tees. It takes Jess back to a time when her and Emily lived together a few years ago, feeling nostalgic over what she calls “the craziest T-shirt collection”.

“Over 100 tees — vintage, new, short, long you name it. As self-confessed tee experts we decided to create the perfect Shroomie 90s cut tee that (unlike most merch) is super high-quality, made from hemp and organic cotton and cut to perfection. They literally get better the more you wear them,” she says.

“All of our products and things we do are based on authentically what we would love rather than just what we think would sell, so the tees were originally just for us to enjoy. However, at the end of the day Emily and I are the customer and do represent our target market pretty well, so it makes sense that our community wanted them too!”

When she’s not wearing her Mother Made Shroomie tee, Jessica says she has a soft spot for New Zealand designers, naming Zambesi, Nicole Van Vuuren and Oosterom as some of her favourites.

While she was unable to return to New Zealand for New Zealand Fashion Week last month, she recalls some poignant memories of her time on the runway there, including booking five shows in one day and “knocking back the Red Bulls”, joking she hadn’t hacked her health back then.

“I’d be sitting on the floor making friends and trying not to drink 1000 Red Bulls. By the way, this was before iPhones lol — I’m so old,” she jokes.

Mother Made Mood: Ashwagandha Capsules, $39, are available from Mothermade.co.nz.

Share this article: