By day she takes care of the wonderful pupils of Rathore School in Newry – but in her spare time school principal Caroline Currie is an online fashionista with a growing Instagram following.
If grades were given out for sense of style, school principal Caroline Currie would be top of the class.
The Portadown woman, who has worked at Rathore in Newry for three years, is enthusiastic about education, but she also has a long standing passion for fashion that has seen her become something of an Instagram sensation.
When she’s not looking after the day to day running of Rathore, Caroline can be seen out and about around Co Down’s favourite haunts, posing for photographs for her Instagram blog, A Principal of Fashion.
And with her pink hair, nail extensions and funky fashion sense, she’s not hard to spot.
“I’ve always loved fashion, for as long as I can remember,” she says. “I love picking up high street bargains and putting outfits together.
“People don’t expect a school principal to look or dress like me, I suppose, but I like to challenge the preconception about the job and how others see women in leadership roles.
“It’s my way of expressing myself.”
Caroline, who lives with her partner, their four rescue dogs and a hedgehog, takes her role as school principal seriously and likes to ensure that the well-being of children and staff alike is a priority. To this end, she invited a clinical psychologist from Monaghan, Shane Martin, to the school to discuss the importance of work/life balance.
“Shane talked about coping mechanisms and resilience building and I took from that that we should spend time doing things we want to do as well as the things we need to do if we’re to strike the right work/life balance,” she explains.
People don’t expect a school principal to look or dress like me, I suppose, but I like to challenge the preconception about the job and how others see women in leadership roles.
“For me work had taken over my life and I knew that something had to give. When he came back again he talked about doing things we enjoy to help us unwind from the pressures of work. I’d been using Instagram for a while but then on a whim, I booked a master class for beginners on Instagram blogging and loved it. The class was held at the Perch in Belfast and we looked at things like editing photographs, creating the right content, looking at the style of our Instagram feed.
“I love learning new skills so I was pretty much in heaven and decided to put what I learned to good use.”
Caroline changed the name of her blog to A Principal of Fashion and began to pay closer attention to the content she was posting. It’s a light-hearted, colourful blog that combines both her love for all things fashion as well as daily observations on life.
“I feature all high street fashion but mainly Primark,” she says. “I love picking up items and putting different looks together. I sometimes get idea from mannequins I see in other shops, then head off to Primark to do my ‘Primark hauls’. “I absolutely love Primark. The girls in the Newry store are on first name terms with me now because I’m always in there. I was gutted when I heard that the Belfast store had burned down.
“Then I go out around the local area to take photos. Whoever happens to be with me ends up taking the pictures while I model the clothes.”
Since launching A Principal of Fashion just a matter of weeks ago, Caroline has seen her following jump from just over 100 to over 700 and the numbers are steadily climbing. For her, it’s the perfect way to indulge her passion but also provides her with an opportunity to engage with like-minded fashionistas.
“I post every day and it’s lovely to connect with other women who love high street styles,” she says. “There is a real community of them out there.
“The staff at the school have embraced it and the parents have given me positive feedback. In fact some of the parents now follow the blog.
“I think it’s important, when you do a stressful job, to take time out for yourself and do whatever you enjoy doing.”
Caroline says she doesn’t have any big plans for the blog and is just happy to keep sharing her stylish ideas.
But the education of the children is still first and foremost. “The blog is just a sideline for me that allows me to be creative and express myself but I have absolutely no intention of giving up my job as a principal. At the end of the day, my heart is in education and always will be.”
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