I remember the first time I found out who Margaret Zhang was. I was scrolling through channels on TV and came across a show called Fashion Bloggers. It was a reality TV show that followed the lives of five Australian bloggers, Margaret was 21 at the time and was juggling many things like school, photography, and styling.
Ever since then, she’s sort of been on my radar and I’m always interested to see what she’s doing. When I found out I was going to interview her, I was excited. Before the panel began, we had a quick back and forth about how we love each other’s pink hair. Yeah, that happened.
In case you didn’t know, Margaret is only 25 years old but she has already accomplished so much. “I guess from a bio standpoint, I would say I’m a director, a photographer, a writer, stylist, [and] consultant. Those are probably the key things I guess but you know the work that I do kind of fans out on any permutation [or] combination of those.” Aside from being all those things, she also has a business and law degree, which she explains is helpful in everyday life. “It’s been really good as a young person to protect myself and protect my interests. It’s important to be in rooms with people significantly older and more experienced that I am and understand the jargon and understand the language. Obviously, it’s given me authority to consult on the business side of fashion or any creative kind of business internationally.”
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Because she started her career so young, we were all wondering how she did and if she had any advice for people who wanted to the same. Her main point was that young people should be aware of what’s going on around them. “I think it’s really important to expose yourself as much as possible. Really be proactive about self-education and self-learning be it taking courses or pushing yourself into different fields like different types of creativity.” She also stressed that what you should be educating yourself on shouldn’t just be what field you’re in. “Pay attention to what’s going on, doesn’t need to be just in the fashion industry or the creative industry, [see] what’s going on in the global economy.” Margaret also talked about getting a feel of the industry you want to pursue and do your research. “Understand what area it is you want to be a part of but it’s important to diversify.” So, if you’re looking at fashion, see where in fashion you want to put yourself in. “You’re really kind of pursuing a career in retail specific to fashion or is it a career in editorial specific to fashion. You need to kind of look at the mechanics of what it is you’re looking at.”
She isn’t the only one but Margaret does serve as representation of an Asian woman in the fashion and beauty world and she does feel some sort of responsibility. “I’m very proud to be Asian and I’m very proud to be female and I’m very proud to be young and operating in a space where perhaps there’s not a lot of young people.” She is also happy to see the work that comes out of Asian countries. “I think Asia has had a really interesting fashion space for a long time and I think the great thing about Asia is the consumer is so advanced in many ways and is always into newness. I think in the west, there’s sort of this historical pressure, particularly in Europe, to consume fashion in a particular way. In Asia, there’s a shorter history in fashion and consumer retail so there’s always this novelty element where people are looking for the next thing, which I think moves it forward a lot more quickly.”
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With everything that she does, Margaret gets burnt out just like everyone else. “I have like a crisis once a year. Every year I think I have a self-imposed crossroads where [I] assess what [I’m] doing and look at [my] direction… There’s a lot of hard work that goes into everything and it is exhausting. I think it’s also normal, I don’t think there should be a fear of burning out and I don’t think there should be a fear of being unsure or having crisis as to what you want to do in life. I think people need to remove that stigma associated with being uncertain”
Hearing Margaret talk about her different passions and her thinking behind her career, can serve as that push you might need. Maybe you’re unsure of what you’re doing or want to pursue more than just one career. If that’s the case, just go for it. Educate yourself, buckle down, and put in the work, ladies.
Photos by JP Talapian
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