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By Marthe Seydel

Sitting in the international train-tired from working an art fair in Knokke, Belgium-a pretty brown haired girl walks into the wagon. “The battery of my cell phone died. May I use your phone to call my mother?”, This was my first encounter with Jill, a charismatic young and ambitious girl. Jill is twenty years old and has already published three books and five school diaries.  Furthermore, she is currently working on a complete line of products, all in the style of ‘My Life is Sweet’.  I was triggered by what was moving her. However, time was too short, so we made an appointment in Amsterdam.

While her classmates where busy with typical high school matters, Jill was focused on writing short stories accompanied with girly illustrations  and glamorous themes. They were a big hit at her school. Jill was determined to follow her dream: writing and illustrating her own books. She was lucky, her father, a photographer, and mother, a fashion stylist, always supported her. When Jill first told her mother she planned to pursue her passion versus going to college, her mother was definitly worried about her future, however she encouraged Jill to try to publish her work. Jill contacted a publishing agency for school diaries. A panel from ELLE girl magazine chose Jill to design her very own ‘My Life is Sweet’ school diary.

When asking her if she focuses on a special type of girl-for example the typical cheerleader featuring nerdy girls in high schools-Jill tells me that she did not want to confirm prejudices, as her key focus has always been authenticity.  Her goal is to give advice for a meaningful life through the role of a good friend. She wants the girls to be creative, and create their own world. Whether you are a fashion queen or a tomboy, girls shouldn’t take themselves too serious. The key is to have fun!

Jill focuses on simple recipes with an even greater result in her cookbooks. The book is composed of fabulous recipes topped with fashionable illustrations and handy girl-to-girl advice. Her most recent book, “A Gift Guide for Girls” is an inventive and glamorous book with ideas for handmade gifts personalized to the receiver. 

By coincidence she got in contact with Wolfgang Hölker, a famous and successful German publisher of cooking and children’s books. Hölker is now helping Jill start up a complete line of ‘My Life is Sweet’ products. Jill is very down to earth and mature about her business, given that she is only twenty years old!. She has an enthusiastic yet eloquent way of speaking. Her advice to ambitious youngsters: stay on your own track, buy a compass, don’t listen too much to others, and stay focused on what you want.

Publishing three books, five school diaries, and lifestyle products, it sounds like she has nothing more to wish for. But even this multitalented ambitious girl has a dream. “It would be great to set up a place for children, where they can express their creativity, and make whatever they want, help them create their own world.” Listening to Jill, talking about her life and everything she has achieved almost prompts me to call her the next Martha Stewart, with a younger and more glamorous edge. Just wait and see, because a star is rising!

Exclusive Recipe from Jill's new cookbook

Marthe Seydel, age 27, is based in Amsterdam. She studied Communication and Information Science at the University of Groningen, and currently works as an art consultant at a contemporary art gallery in The Netherlands. She has a great passion for art, fashion and cooking.

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