One Teen’s Mission to Change the World
Saturday, September 4th, 2010:
“Well, here’s my first blog. It’s pretty late at night, but I feel like there’s always a time to talk about fashion. No matter if you’re walking the streets at 5 am, or shopping (of course), no matter what, fashion is always surrounding you. It’s pretty amazing.”
I wrote my first blog post when I was 12. I didn’t know what a blog was, but it all started with this idea that I could help other young girls overcome insecurities through voicing my relatable life experiences. If my blog enabled one or two girls to feel more confident, I would have succeeded. I never anticipated being able to reach thousands.
I typed in blogger.com, and up came a platform to create your own website. “A Life in the Fashion Lane” came to me, and I decided to name the site alifeinthefashionlane.blogspot.com. I wrote for about an hour and eventually clicked publish. As easy as it would’ve been for my blog to turn into a one-day fad, I woke up with a burning desire every day to write a new post.
If you ask me whether I grew up wealthy or poor, I’d lean more towards poor than wealthy. My parents work hard: My mom is a nurse and my dad is a sales rep. They’re average parents. I didn’t want to grow up bored, or be someone who would come home and resent his or her career. How many people have you met in your life so far that simply aren’t happy? Rarely do we meet people who aren’t waking up every day thinking of how they’re going to afford the groceries tomorrow or pay the rent.
I started blogging daily, trying to write and pass the classes I was doomed to fail. The first seven followers of my blog were the most exciting moment of my life. For a full year, I kept photographing and writing, because I knew this blog was my only outlet. The bullying I endured through school was rough. If I wasn’t being called a freak (I had an outgoing sense of fashion), I was being called a nerd (which was nowhere near true because I spent most of my day trying to not fail out)!
When I turned 14, I came across the word “PR” and realized publicists were the people I needed to get in touch with. On a snowy winter day when I was stuck home with the flu (and just looking for an excuse to skip school), I looked up “PR BCBG” and came across a woman named Lalena. Lalena was the woman who put on the BCBG runway show. I sent her an email, explaining my desire to attend Fashion Week. Known for being one of the most exclusive events in the fashion industry, it was something I knew I had to go to. But how would I attend a show when I knew absolutely no one?
I brought up attending Fashion Week to my parents, and they were against the idea. My mom despises the fashion industry, since all she sees are the anorexic models that grace the covers of Vogue and W. They said no. I cried. I ran upstairs, slammed my door, and bought a bus ticket on a prepaid gift card my uncle sent me for Christmas. That’s right, Mom and Dad, I’m not the girl who accepts no as an answer. When they found out I went (and hitched a ride to the bus stop), they weren’t exactly smiling with glee.
Fashion Week gave my blog some needed publicity. I began to grow my LinkedIn profile, accepting each connection as it came. Managing social media wasn’t an area I thought I was interested in, until a woman with a small glove-wear company out of Los Angeles messaged me. She asked me if I wanted to take over social media for her company. She would pay me $50 per week for about four hours of work. I began working for her one week later, researching how to build a brand around Twitter and Facebook. I slowly taught myself how to use platforms like Hootsuite, so I could have posts scheduled during the school day, or if I wanted time off on the weekend to catch up on homework. When media didn’t reply within two days, I would follow up until I got a reply. Frequently, the reply was a “No, we aren’t interested, but keep in touch!” which lit up my face. Most people wouldn’t take no as a gateway to a yes, but knowing that the editor of Teen Vogue had seen my name in their mailbox forced me to keep pushing. I was hooked.
Over the past five years, I have built a brand based on the platform of a dream. At 14, I was managing ten social-media clients, as well as my own website. I was forced to ignore the bullying and my sinking grades. I wanted to give young girls a reason to wake up each day and fall in love with who they are, something I struggled with daily.
I’ve been asked how I’ve come from nothing and made myself something. Over a year ago, I moved out of my small Connecticut condo, away from my family and friends, to Manhattan. I didn’t even have $500 in my bank account, and I hadn’t finished high school.
Fast-forward to today: I recently turned 19 and my company is an LLC, with an intern and an assistant following me around.
It was during these moments that I realized an insecure, sheltered teenage girl could take over the world.