All of us at Team Clifton+Leopold are firm believers in kismet. Sometimes the stars just align and the universe gives you everything you need.
That certainly was the case when we were chatting about how much we were all STANNING Carson, @thedapperzookeeper. I mean, he had "dapper" in his handle, worked with animals, AND is the son of the iconic Doug Jones! We had to know more!
And then someone said, he needs some C+L in his life. Lucky for us he thought so too.
But that is just the start of his story. He raised a family of elephants for goodness sake! And we quickly learned he is just getting started.
So if you don't know much about Carson, mix up a Ranch Water and take a seat!
Name, pronouns: Carson Jones (he/him/his)
Find him looking dapper in: Birmingham, AL
Tell us a little bit about the story you're writing in your Clifton+Leopold:
The story I’ve been writing has been a thriller filled with so many twists and turns. For the last thirteen years, I was a zookeeper. I had amazing opportunities to work with a wide variety of animals. Most recently, I worked with three male African elephants which was honestly the time of my life. However, my journey took an even more interesting turn a few years ago when my dad (Doug Jones) was elected to the United States Senate. I found myself stuck with one foot in the world of animals and one foot in the world of politics. I was incredibly lucky to have weekends where I would finish up my day job, quickly shower (elephant poop is potent y’all), and jump on a plane for 24 hours of fundraising, strategizing, or exploring the halls of Congress. To say that my world was filled with paradox is a drastic understatement. Recently, my life took another turn, and I hung up my zookeeper khaki shorts and blue t-shirts for a more slick look and dived into the world of change management consulting. Animal care taught me that the successful execution of the mission of any organization is reliant on an environment where people are empowered to do their best work, and I wanted to learn the skills necessary to make that happen at every level of organizations both big and small.
Complete this sentence: I love the C + L ___________ because _________:
I love the C+L Vodka tie because it’s a statement piece. Not for everyday, but fun and exciting when you have an event to stand out at.
It's a Saturday! What are you doing?
Frankly, I’m still figuring that out! I worked on Saturdays for years. So it’s still strange to actually have weekends off like the rest of the world. But, this time of year, I’m looking forward to Saturdays at the lake with friends who have become more like family.
Your ultimate dapper icon:
Absolutely, Richard Madden. His style is always perfect. It’s subtle with some small pops of color which is typically what I go for as well. But he pulls it together so much better than I do. Plus his hair is always incredible, major jealousy haha.
It's quitting time on any given day. What are you sipping on?
Recently, I’ve jumped on the Ranch Water train. 3 oz blanco tequila, 1.5 oz fresh lime juice, 1 packet of stevia (because why not), and topped with Topo Chico.
A dance party is not complete without (song or artist):
Rihanna. Another album would be great any day now haha!
Tell us, what makes you feel dapper?
To me, feeling dapper, is about feeling confident and exuding authenticity. Believe me, that takes practice and work. So many people aim to be the center of attention in the rooms they go into by what they own, or the job titles and salary that they throw around. That’s not being confident, authentic, or dapper. Dapper is understanding who you are, sticking true to that, and putting your most authentic foot forward each and everyday. Some days that’s tougher than others. But authenticity forms the basis of our connections with one another which is the most important part of life. I’ve always had a lot of confidence issues about how I look, how I dress, and how I interact with others. But when I’m able to step out feeling confident and dapper then the sky is the limit.
Where can we find you on the internet?
[We didn't get a chance to ask Carson this question directly, but hopefully he doesn't mind if we share this caption from his Instagram! See the post here.]
Can you share a favorite Pride memory, what you're looking forward to most this month, or what Pride means to you?
How 🏳️🌈 month starts. I’ll keep y’all posted on how it ends 🤣.
But in all seriousness, sixteen year old Carson could have never imagined how happy twenty-six year old Carson would be. Living authentically is life-changing and powerful. Everyone deserves the opportunity to love and be loved. Happy Pride y’all!
🤞🏻Doug doesn’t repost this year😬
Carson, thank you for being a light in this community. Your authentic take on what makes you feel dapper is truly inspiring to us! We are so glad to have connected with you, and we are excited to follow along with wherever your journey takes you. Oh, and we're right there with you waiting on new Rihanna!
We will be featuring LGBTQ+ members of our C+L community for a special Pride edition of #HowTheyDoDapper all month long. Check back next Saturday for our next installment!