One of the best weddings that I went to completely cast aside the traditional sit down dinner and instead had tables full of hors d’oeuvres. I was in heaven, for I love a feast of little bite sized morsels. I recently was treated to a ballroom full of all sorts of treats and other joys at the Best of the Main Line Party. It was a fun event with music, award-winning food, drink and shopping, with the proceeds going to the Brandywine PSCA. The list of participants on hand reads like a who’s who of the region, including Chef Jose Garces, Buena Onda, Autograph Brasserie, Brick and Brew, Harvest Seasonal Grill, Lola’s Garden, Osushi, Sweet Jazmines Pastry Shop, The Bakery House, The Inn at Grace Winery, The Penns Woods Winery, Verbena BYOB, WAYVINE Winery and Vineyard, White Dog Cafe and others. The event celebrated the 2022 “Best of” winners and included top restaurants, bars, retail shops, small businesses and people of the region as voted by the people and the critics.
One of the folks that I met that that evening was a striking fellow with an easy laugh that could be heard above the crowd. I had a chance to catch up with him recently and learn about the fabulous Jeremy M. Gibson.
Tell me a little about yourself.
I’m from this area. I’m very fortunate, I pretty much grew up on the Main Line. I’ve had a very lucky life. My mother was a powerhouse and it was just the two of us. She was the assistant director of neurological sciences for Mainline Health, and her specialty was in cardiac health for a long time. She was well respected and cast a large shadow, so everyone knew who I was as I was growing up. And my uncle is a psychiatrist so I’m the only one that didn’t go into medicine! I was more into the arts.
I understand that. My older brother was a star football player and my mother had a TV show for years, so for quite some time my name was either Larry’s sister or Toni’s daughter.
Yes, exactly, it’s hard carving out your own name with a parent of such stature.
But it comes with a lot of perks as well.
Definitely. As I said, I was so fortunate, that’s why I try to give back as much as I can.
Do you have any siblings?
No, I am an only child. I love being an only child. Though sometimes it makes it harder to find autonomy, to find my own niche, so I would go out of my way to make sure people knew me. When I was in my 20’s I was out every night. I knew every bouncer and bartender by name. I tipped well and made sure everyone knew me. Over the years I’ve come to learn that the thing that I called, “Social Capital” means nothing. Though a part of me does miss those party days, or socializing at all. Life kind of stopped because of Covid. I’m a suburban boy now.
How would your mom have described you as a kid?
Street angel, house devil.
I like that.
No, I kid. I was a straight A student. I always strived for perfection, I put that on myself. I always felt that if you reach for the highest level and you fall, at least you’ll be falling in a good place.
What was your favorite game as a kid?
That’s funny, I never thought about it, but I’ve always been very competitive. I played tennis for 6 years. And I rode horses, hunter jumpers and dressage, off and on.
Then I’m sure you’re familiar with the Devon Horse Show.
Of course, it’s a benefit for Bryn Mawr Hospital where my mother was also the Director of Nursing. We volunteered at Devon at the horse show every year and it has a special place in my heart. Oh, but I thought of my favorite childhood game, I liked playing cards so it was probably something like “Go Fish.”
Who was a favorite teacher?
I had an AP teacher in European History who taught me how to write; I mean how to compose a paper and make it succinct and concise. She was tough, but I always responded well to tough women. My late grandmother was German [speaks some German], I used to speak it when I was a kid, but I have no memory anymore. [Laughing] My brain is totally fried Suzi, I can remember faces for life but that’s it. Anyway, I’ve always loved history.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be a surgeon. Following in the family medical tradition, but then I realized I’d rather marry a surgeon!
Did you attend college?
Yes, I got a BFA in interior design and art history. But soon after I got involved with an older guy who was a cosmetic dentist. I was with him for a long time and it didn’t work out. Looking back, I feel like some of the best years of my life were stolen from me, but I learned a lot.
How did you meet?
We met online, he messaged me and said, “You have a gorgeous smile.” I messaged him back for a picture because his profile was blank and he sent me one and he was tall and handsome. When I met him he was wearing a stunning double Windsor knotted tie with a red, white and blue checkered shirt and a lab coat. I have a thing for nerdy men… If you can teach me something, or I have no idea what you’re saying? Love it. He asked me to dinner and we closed down the restaurant. We had two good years before things went south but we had a good time and I learned a lot.
Let’s talk about what it is that you do now, I saw the piece that you did for Fox29.
I’m the boutique curator director for Rachelle Boutiques and Design Consignment. It’s fabulous, I love being surrounded by beauty, always have, whether it was jewelry, cars or a beautiful piece on my arm! Though of course your ideas of beauty evolve and change, what I used to think of as very attractive, I no longer do, on my self and on others. So back to work, what I do is fly out to Beverly Hills to meet with socialites and celebrities to acquire finds for our clients. It’s a great job, you’re helping people buy into a lifestyle that they love. I’ve had the blessing to live it and now I help others share in it. I truly believe that if you surround yourself with what you want, it’ll happen.
What are two of your favorite finds?
Oh, so many great things, but I’d say one of my favorite pieces was from the first year that Chanel released the mini bag. It was a little blue bag with a magenta lining and the chain was rainbow. It was really special. The other piece would have to be, well, we have some stunning, custom made gowns that come through. Unfortunately, I can’t share who they come from since I signed a 150 million dollar non-disclosure agreement, but there was this one Bob Mackie piece that came through that I loved. I mean, I grew up loving Cher. I remember my mother, who was nothing but supportive, getting us front row tickets when I was 13. So to have a Bob Mackie in the boutique was fun.
Are there things you won’t take?
I refuse to take something plain. Simple, yes, plain, no. I’ve never been plain [laughing]. You’ll always be able to pick me out by the sound of my voice or the color of my hair!
When I first moved to Radnor, I remember thinking I was sharp, wearing a beautiful flat, Zorro hat with a blue corduroy jacket that zipped sideways on my first day of school, but was met with kids who didn’t exactly embrace fashion. I had kids point at the hat and yell, “Look at the cowboy!” To which I replied, “This is not a cowboy hat. This is GAUCHO hat!”
Yeah, I’ve always called the Main Line “The Bubble” and you either escape or find a way to thrive in the bubble. I was able to carve out a niche in the bubble. I’ve been able to win over the staunchest of old school Republican women and make them smile. It makes me proud that I’ve been able to remain true to myself and provide an environment that is welcoming to everyone. And I’m sure it was a fabulous hat! I hope you hung onto it. Everything comes around.
What’s an early sign you were gay, and how was coming out?
Well, we can start with the Cher obsession! But I’m sure the whole family has known since I was little, so it was never a big thing. It was more, “By the way, I am gay.” and they were like, “Yeah, we know already. If you need anything, let us know.” It was so nonchalant. If anyone was nervous or scared it was me stuttering “Uh, okay. I guess that’s it then.” I have the most incredible mother in the world who is beyond supportive.
When did you figure it out?
I think I had the first inklings when I was about 12; the love of Cher and Celine Dion, certain mannerisms, things like that. But I think we’re all still figuring it out aren’t we? I feel like I learn about myself more each day. To be honest, I used to be a person that I didn’t like very much when I was in my early 20’s. I was not a nice person and I’ve been trying to make up for it and give back to the universe because of that. I was that alpha who ran everything, and I embraced the nickname, “The Ice Queen” that I was given. At the time I was having fun, but I probably hurt a lot of people. I was part of that clickish, snobby, catty part of the community and was a ringleader. I regret a lot of it now, I probably hurt and ostracized a lot of people though it was never my intention, just a byproduct. So I go out of my way to embrace people now. I came from a family who would give their last dollar to someone if they needed it, so part of me is disgusted by my behavior when I was younger and the other part, I can’t lie, part of me enjoyed that part of my life, jet setting to Miami every other weekend and living the high life. My best friend lived there and she and I would be partying on yachts for days without sleeping. That part was amazing, except for the Miami heat!
So I’m assuming there were some drugs and alcohol involved back then?
Of course, I mean better living through chemistry was my motto. I barely even drink now, but back then, I partied as if I was living in Studio 54.
Let’s do some random questions. Any pets?
I have my two Yorkies, Sammy and Sophie, after Sophia Loren and Samual L. Jackson. They had the names when I got them. They were already 10 years old so it was too late to change the names. All my dogs have been rescues. I got them from Francisvale Home for Smaller Animals. I just lost a dog and swore I wasn’t going to do it again, but here we are. I’ve been very fortunate and I’ve been lucky enough to give every dog I’ve had the best of everything, from quality of life to the end of life experience.
Who is the ICE (in case of emergency) on your phone?
My mother, oh that’s so cliche for a gay man! But she is.
What sign are you?
I’m a Virgo, but I hate birthdays! I’ve never really liked them; they’re a reminder that I’m racing the clock!
Did you have a piggy bank as a kid?
I’m sure I did, but it really wasn’t needed. It sounds terrible to say it out loud, but I got pretty much anything I wanted. One of the perks of being an only kid, though that too comes with a cost.
What’s an example?
It can be very lonely. There’s a term for people with dementia, it’s called sundowning, when the sun sets, their dementia gets more pronounced, but there’s what I think of as a loneliness sundowning. It’s one of the prices that you paid. I’d often come home to an empty house as kid and it could be terribly lonely. I still struggle with it.
I have a friend who suffered the same thing, I called her a SPOC, single parent, only child.
Oh my God, I love that!
What’s something that’s a pet peeve?
Modern parenting. Everyone is allergic to something. I have a friend who’s kid is allergic to grass. Why? Because they’re not exposed to anything. And forget manners. I have a copy of Emily Post on my shelf right now, but most people don’t even know what that is. I always hold the door for a lady, or anyone for that matter, it’s always Mr. or Ms. or Dr., it’s dressing properly for the occasion. Formalities are important, certain things deserve to be treated with a level of respect. But I want to stress that as much of a diva as I can be, I was always taught that you’re never above anyone. You treat the person who’s mopping the floor with the same respect as the CEO.
Any quarantine hobbies?
Yes, I have complaining down to an art form. [Laughing] I kid. I was actually able to do the boutique work through a lot of it. By the way that’s a very good color (salmon) that you’re wearing, it goes well with your skin tone and the color of your hair. It’s very pretty on you.
Thank you! Let’s wrap up with a favorite movie line or favorite motto.
I don’t know where it’s from, but it’s something like, “We’re all searching for someone whose devils play well with each other.” And it’s true, we’re all searching for someone or something and it’s all about the dance, and getting in the right amount of trouble with them. And my favorite movie line? Easy, it’s from “The First Wives Club”: “It’s the 90’s, plastic surgery is like good grooming.”