#ImAGirlBoss: Lara Parker

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I love talking to people who work at BuzzFeed. Not only do they have, like, THEE MOST KICK ASS JOB EVER AND I WANT TO BE THEM — but also, they’re super articulate, and witty, and ridiculously cool in general. Lara Parker and I connected on instagram a few months ago, and I quickly fell in love with her amazingly hilarious sense of humor and incredibly vulnerable honesty (read this!). It quickly became clear to me that she was a #girlboss, and that I should share her #girlboss-ness with all y’all.

NAME: Lara Parker (that’s like Lara Croft)
AGE: 23
 Los Angeles
HOMETOWN: Morgantown, IN (I’ll give you $5 if you’ve heard of it)
INDUSTRY: Editorial — I’m a WrItEr
SIGN: Taurus baby
TWITTER: @laraeparker
INSTAGRAM: @laraeparker
WEBSITE: laraeparker.com

Tell us what you do!

I am a staff writer for the Los Angeles bureau of BuzzFeed. I write (mostly), tweet a lot, and blog in my free time. I write a lot of BuzzTeam (insert list joke here), but I’ve also dabbled in some personal essays.

Did you go to college? If so, where?

I graduated from the University of Indianapolis in 2013 with a degree in Communication that focused on Public Relations. Very Samantha Jones meets Indiana. Kidding. It’s a small liberal arts college on the southside of Indianapolis that has a fake Starbucks, but a ton of cool people.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I wanted to be a marine biologist mainly because I thought I would be the one to discover that mermaids are, in fact, real. This might still happen — that’s all I’m saying. It doesn’t matter that I puke on boats and don’t know how to dive. Minor details.

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How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

Like many college students, I entered my junior year of college not knowing what the hell I was going to do with my life. Everyone around me was all like, “I have this internship, and this job, and this perfect life.” And I was like, “Um, I really like watching Bravo?” One particularly low day, I was on Tumblr, and saw this quote about traveling to find yourself. I had always wanted to study abroad, and after spending a month in Greece after my sophomore year, the travel bug infected me.

That night I started researching places to study abroad — and just like that — I decided I was going to go to Australia. It sounds so cliché now, but for the first time that year, I felt like I had finally found my path. I feel like we all search for that path… and going to Australia my senior year was mine. While I was in Australia, I started a blog to keep my family updated with the things I was doing down under. I started noticing that more and more people began to read it. It was insane to me that people cared about what I had to say, but what was even more insane was how much I enjoyed it. I kept blogging, and when I returned to the states, I didn’t stop. I started writing about everything. During that time, I got diagnosed with some health issues, and that’s when I realized how important writing was. Not just for me, but for everyone to know that they’re never really alone. I kept writing and writing and then I discovered BuzzFeed, and applied for their editorial fellowship straight away.

Any obstacles along the way?

I was actually turned down by BuzzFeed. I sat on my couch and cried for a bit, then decided that I wasn’t done yet. So I applied again, this time for a Travel Intern position — and I got it. However, a month into my internship, the travel vertical was kind of becoming obsolete, and they didn’t need a travel writer as much. So I had to kick my ass into gear and really prove myself. In March of 2014, I was offered a full-time position, and I’ve been here since. Proof that you really can’t give up on your dreams, even if everyone else has.


Who is your idol?

I have too many idols, almost all of them being women that I follow on Twitter. Women are amazing, you know? Fucking amazing. And the more women I meet, the more in awe I become.

Three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are:

Courage. Adaptability. Optimism.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I want to still be writing, but also expanding my scholarship in memory of my late best friend, and helping women all over the world with healthcare. I never want another woman to have to go through what I, and so many others, have gone through to find out what’s going on with our bodies. I want to be sitting in a Starbucks, and hear someone talk about having a painful vagina, and know that it’s no longer taboo or weird in any way.

Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

Being completely yourself with absolutely no apologies and allowing everyone else to do the same.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

Forever 21 meets Buffalo Exchange meets I saw someone wearing this and googled it until I found out where they bought it.

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Favorite brand right now?

ASOS. Mostly because I’m too lazy to shop anymore, and I just looked through my browser history, and there’s a lot of that.

Go-to clothing item/accessory right now?

HATS. Never have a bad hair day again.

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

GIMME BROW by Benefit — it’s an eyebrow brush but also a life changer. Take my word for it

Go-to nail color?

Black like the emo girl I always wanted to be when I was 16.

Coffee order?

I don’t drink coffee, so I order a hot chocolate with caramel, and pretend it’s coffee because coffee sounds cooler

What makes you feel beautiful?

Making other people smile.


What makes you feel badass?

Writing openly about my struggles and being able to say, “this is hard.”

Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

OK DEEP DARK SECRET HERE … but If The Buddha Dated. It’s about finding love on a spiritual journey, which I’m not that into — but it’s also about refusing to settle and kicking bad dating habits, which I am VERY into.

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?

I eat the fuck out of Spongebob Push Pops — ORANGE BURST FLAVOR — while watching “Southern Charm.” No one is perfect, OK?

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Always, always obsessed with twenty one pilots. They just GET me.

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?

“Comeback” by Ella Eyre — girl don’t take no shit, and neither do I. HAHA, sometimes.

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

“If you don’t build your dreams, someone else will hire you to help build theirs.”

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

“Be on your own side.” -My friend, Will Schnabel

Advice to future girl bosses:

Don’t do something to prove others wrong. Do it to prove yourself wrong.



#ImAGirlBoss: Nathalie Molina Niño

Recycled-Novelty-ImAGirlBoss-Nathalie-Molina-Nino-by-Whitney-Leigh-Young[Photo via Tanya Malott

TWITTER: @nathaliemolina
INSTAGRAM: nmmnino
WEBSITE: nathaliemolina.biz

Tell us what you do!

I’m a recovering tech startup intra/entrapreneur now entirely focused on leaving the space better than I found it by supporting women entrepreneurs.

Did you go mboy college? If so, where?

All over — in the US, in Europe, and Latin America. I am a nomad in every sense of the word, always have been. Most recently, though, upon stepping down from my last project, I went to Columbia and studied playwriting. I think storytelling is critical in business. And frankly, in tech especially, we’re awful at it. So I decided to take a sabbatical, and immerse myself in the world of real storytellers to see what I could learn.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

I wanted to travel around the world, be president of something (I don’t think I put too much thought into what I’d be president of), be an astronaut, and probably be a poet — I was always a little obsessed with poetry.

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

I grew up between two worlds, and developed a love of art and language. But like any good immigrant kid, the emphasis was on math and science, so I went into engineering. I dropped out of school, started a dot com, then started four or five other ventures and helped a lot of big tech and entertainment companies figure out how to do business outside the US without completely embarrassing themselves. I became a kind of globalization fixer, and lived a high-stress, overworked lifestyle mainly out of a suitcase for many years until my body crashed. In 2011, I quite literally purged everything I owned, and moved to my happy place — Manhattan. Shortly after that, as luck would have it, I got into theatre school, and after that, I co-founded Entrepreneurs@Athena with the Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College. The aim is simple: level the playing field for women entrepreneurs. It’s both the mission of Entrepreneurs@Athena and my own personal mission as well.

Athena Nathalie_Oleru

Any obstacles along the way?

As a woman and a person of color in tech, I would say there’s not enough time to even start to answer that question. That said, I know that I came to the table with a lot of privilege and a lot of luck. It’s too easy to say that I succeeded because I worked hard and was persistent, because I know plenty of hard working, persistent folks that have not been so lucky and still struggle. The root of the problem is the obstacles — the overt ones as much as the implicit biases. The solution lies in people like me who made it past them, and in our commitment to look back and extend a hand to help others up and over them. In other words, paying it forward and trying to fix the systemic barriers that are still alive and thriving.

Who is your idol?

I have so many. And I’ve had the good fortune of getting to work with a lot of them. Probably one of the biggest ones is Kathryn Kolbert, the attorney who argued the landmark 1992 supreme course case, Planned Parenthood v Casey, and is credited with saving Row v Wade. She’s my partner and co-founder at Athena, and every day I get to work with her I say a little meditation of gratitude for my good luck.

Three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are:

1. Good luck
2. Stubborn, honey-badger-like persistence
3. Hedonism (I’ve always valued the importance of having fun)

Where would you like to be in five years?

Exactly where I am now, but maybe with fewer airplanes.

Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

The future.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

I’ve been called a “global misfit.” I like it simple, but I like it with a little edge. Like an all-black outfit and a crazy, oversized lime-green, hand-knit hat. Or maybe lime-green stilettos with a ridiculous chrome heel. I’m a big fan of the subtly absurd.

Favorite brand right now?

I’m walking the Carrie Hammer runway later this month on my new Fluevog heels, so I’d say I’m a little smitten with them right now. But I’m also very excited about a Seattle-based startup I’m advising called TomBoy, a menswear-inspired line of clothing and accessories, made for women.


Go-to clothing item/accessory right now?

I was just at Sundance and Power Mountain so I’d have to say, my 3/4 length black Patagonia jacket.

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

I can’t live without my MSteves skin products.

Go-to nail color?

Never color on hands. Brightest most obnoxious thing I can find on my toes (lime green?).

Coffee order?

I’m the only Colombian woman you’ll ever meet who can’t stand coffee. Go figure.

What makes you feel beautiful?

My body. And when I forget, meditation.

What makes you feel badass?

My mind. And when I forget, my amazing friends.

Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is one of my top two favorite business books.

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice? (i.e. Chocolate, tequila, Justin Bieber, etc.)

Ice cream. And maybe men. I just love them. And living in NYC feels like being a kid in a candy store. How can any woman possibly choose just one? Forget the ice cream. Clearly, it’s men.

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Cristina Orbe is the bomb.

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?

Orbe’s song “Winner”

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

My long time mentor, the world renowned opera singer, Awilda Verdejo, once told me when I doubted my ability to start over, “You are the source of your own supply.” It’s my mantra now.

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

My abuelita (grandmother) once told me that people were like water — if you try to grip them tight, they slip from your fingers. Instead, to have people close, you have to hold them gently, with your hands cupped open. 

Advice to future girl bosses:

Businesses, like love, require a combination of strength and openness. Don’t try to control everything, let yourself be open to being helped, and bounce back from the betrayals. You will inevitably experience both and be better for it, as will your business.

#ImAGirlBoss: Angelique Velez


TWITTER: @angeliquemakeup + @breakups2makeup
INSTAGRAM: @angeliquemakeup + @breakupstomakeup
WEBSITES: angeliquevelez.com + www.breakupstomakeup.com

Tell us what you do!

I am a freelance makeup artist, as well as the CEO & Founder of Breakups to Makeup, which is an accessory brand for beauty lovers and enthusiasts.

Did you go to college? If so, where?

Yes, I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Education from the University of Miami and a Master’s in Creative Art Therapy from Hofstra University.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”? (i.e. movie star, doctor, unicorn, etc…)

I wanted to be a dancer on In Living Color. (That was when I actually thought I could dance.)

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

It’s been a bit of a journey, but I started doing makeup right after graduating from college. I have always had a love for it, but never really applied it on anyone other than myself. After graduating from college at a time when it was difficult for just about anyone to find a job, I decided to move back home to New York, and was able to find a job at a local makeup counter. It was the only thing I could find at the time, but I instantly fell in love with makeup. There was a time while I was attaining my Master’s degree when I was literally working seven days a week, because I knew that I wanted to build a decent portfolio, and eventually, freelance. After attaining a full time job at one of the first makeup schools in New York City, I thought that I had achieved what I wanted. I was not only counseling students in a career that I loved, but I was networking and still involved in the industry. Little did I know that my artistic side would take control, and there came a time where I had to decide if I was ready to leave the comforting 9-5 world with health insurance and benefits to pursue my dreams of freelancing and becoming an entrepreneur. Through a lot of back and forth and contemplating, I decided to choose the latter, and the rest is history. I was picked up by an agency in NYC, and also began teaching at Chic Studios NYC. I was able to combine my love for makeup with my educational background and have never been happier.


Any obstacles along the way?

LOL, there were so many obstacles. But the biggest, I have to admit, is what fostered my brand Breakups to Makeup. Going through a major breakup, like many can relate to, left me feeling completely empty and lost. Makeup was the reason I kept going. It was literally the reason why I got out of bed in the morning — to make others happy. It helped me find myself again.

Who is your idol?

I have SO many idols, but my biggest is my mother. She is my hugest inspiration, and is the reason why I am the woman I am today. She taught me to never give up, and to pursue your dreams, no matter what they are. She is also one of my biggest supporters.

Three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are:

It’s hard to limit it to three, but I would have to say staying humble, believing in myself, and never stop dreaming.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I personally would still love to be freelancing as a makeup artist. As far as my brand, I want Breakups to Makeup to be a known/staple brand in, not only the beauty industry, but in the fashion world as well.

Black Mascara Clutch

Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

A “Girl Boss” is a woman who isn’t afraid of society’s stereotypes and goes for hers. She is someone who believes in herself, and chases her dreams no matter what.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

My “style” is that I wear what I like, no matter what. I have been this way since high school. If I like it, and I feel it flatters me, I’m wearing it. I’m not really into “trends.” I just like to feel good in my clothes! I like things that are flowy and comfortable. I’m also really into boots! I can shop for them all year long.

Favorite brand right now?

This one is REALLY hard, because I like so many different brands. I’ll answer it in a different way — my dream brand to work with during fashion week would have to be Betsey Johnson. Her clothes are so inspiring, and she takes risks. She is also so humble, and is in this industry because she truly loves it!

Go-to clothing item/accessory right now?

My boom box necklace — you rarely catch me without it. It reminds me of who I am, the time when I grew up, and that fashion always repeats itself.

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

It’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say my DiorShow mascara. Mascara, in general, is something that I can’t live without, but I particularly love this one.

Go-to nail color?

Essie’s “Spin the Bottle.” I wear this on my toes all winter long. As far as my hands, it’s whatever goes. I’ve been mixing colors lately and have been adding glitter.

Coffee order?

Caramel Latte with skim milk and splenda. Hot in the winter, iced in the summer.

What makes you feel beautiful?

It sounds corny, but my boyfriend. The way he looks at me—uggghhh did I just say that?! LOL. 

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What makes you feel badass?

When I close a deal on something that I didn’t even think was attainable. I make lists for myself, goals for my brand and personal life. So when I actually accomplish one of those goals, I feel real badass; especially when wearing my two-finger ring and sporting my brass knuckles phone case. 

Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

I got #GIRLBOSS for Christmas, and am about to start it. So excited! My go-to book for inspiration is Kelly Cutrone’s If You Have to Cry Go Outside.

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?

Oreo cookies and Doritos (regular or cool ranch). If either of these are in my apartment, they will literally be gone in a day!

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

The Weeknd and Drake. I don’t think I would ever be able to do a shoot with either of them — I wouldn’t be able to hold my makeup brush!

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?

“Survivor” by Destiny’s Child (don’t judge me). Oh, and for some reason, “Jenny from the Block” by Jennifer Lopez. I want all of the rocks that she’s got! Also Eve’s “Who’s that Girl.” Am I showing my age yet?

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes… the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify, or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do.” -Steve Jobs 

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

My mother always taught me to believe in myself. There will always be other brands or other makeup artists, but none of them are you [me]. I am constantly second guessing myself or what I want to create, especially for Breakups to Makeup, because I am scared people won’t like it. But she always reminds me to keep going.

Advice to future girl bosses:

YOU are the boss of YOUR life. No one else is or ever can be. Always believe in yourself, and never give up. If there is something you want to do that you can’t stop thinking about, go do it and don’t let anyone ever tell you that you can’t.

LIFE: “Me Day” on V-Day


I’ve never had a valentine.

Unless you count my mother — the yearly, sole provider of those fancy truffles I like — I’ve never had a significant other to fulfill the clichés of the holiday, and shower me with gifts/candy/giant teddy bears.

When February 14th rolls around, I am perpetually single. The closest I’ve ever gotten to having a valentine was in third grade when the boy I had a crush on dropped a Scooby Doo valentine in my treat bag that read, “You’re Groovy, Valentine!” Since then, I’ve never had anyone make me feel particularly groovy on Valentine’s Day.

Unfortunately, the days of classroom holiday celebrations are long gone. Valentine’s Day for the “grown up” is all about romance, and having a ~special someone~ to share it with. We’ve already established that I’ve always been boyfriendless, and this year is no different. As much as I’d like to have a Joe Jonas look-alike feed me Belgian chocolates, it just ain’t gonna happen. The lovey-dovey mush pushed by every company to sell V-Day-themed products is overwhelming. Do you reeeally need heart shaped pizza to share with your S/O? (Pizza is sexy enough as it is, #amirite?)


I can only think of one thing worse than being single on Valentine’s Day. It’s complaining about being single on Valentine’s Day. Wallowing in self-pity over the lack of a real-life Noah Calhoun won’t make Ryan Gosling appear on your doorstep wrapped in a silk ribbon.

If I’ve learned anything from Beyoncé, it’s that a single lady requires confidence and a certain amount of bad-assery. The strong, single woman doesn’t let the expectations of a materialistic and relationship-centric Valentine’s Day get her down. A day devoted to love goes beyond the romantic love one has for their partner.

So I say shoot down Cupid with his own arrow, and celebrate the holiday with some serious self-love. Buy yourself that new dress you’ve been eyeing. Grab a gal pal, and treat yourselves to a dinner filled with fun, tasty drinks (see below) and gossip. Stay at home with Netflix and ice cream. Whatever you do, remember that the key to a successful single Valentine’s Day lies in doing whatever makes YOU happy.


Although material things are nice, and I truly believe every lady should take a day to treat herself to whatever her heart desires, being happy with one’s singleness takes a bit more than a new pair of shoes. It’s a paradigm shift. It’s understanding and truly believing that you are in charge of your own happiness. The opinion of any man, or any person for that matter, should not devalue your own self worth. A giant box of chocolates from a cute guy with a man bun shouldn’t be the deciding factor of your self-esteem. Owning singleness and radiating confidence from the inside out makes a woman truly beautiful.

This year, I won’t have a valentine. I won’t have someone to tell me I’m pretty by buying me a necklace or some ridiculous material profession of love. Instead, I’ll be kickin’ it with my main homegirl — my beautiful and loving mother, sharing an evening of laughs and chick flicks. Let us know if you wanna go in on a pizza.

Here are some V-Day drinks for you and your galentine to make! 

2014-02-06-vday-cocktails-10-680x324Marshmallow Cake-tini Cocktail 

2014-02-06-vday-cocktails-03-680x324Red Velvet Cake Martini 

12-27-12-CottonCandyCocktail-586x322Cotton Candy Cocktail

enhanced-30575-1391023205-3The Paloma 

enhanced-25284-1391022934-11Kir Royale 


#ImAGirlBoss: Marisa Dargahi

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AGE: 29
INSTAGRAM: @marisadnyc
WEBSITE: marisavoice.com

Tell us what you do!

Actor, singer, and voiceover artist. 

Did you go to college? If so, where?

Ithaca College, B.F.A. Acting. 

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?!

I can’t think of a time when I didn’t want to become an actor. A school production of Annie that I saw when I was five sparked my love for the theatre. Still mad that I never got to play that role!

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

The three P’s — Passion, Persistence and Productivity. I also wouldn’t be anywhere without the love and support of my family. And LOTS of training. I started doing school productions at the age of six, and spent my weekends in musical theater workshops and summers at theater camp. This eventually led to me attending LaGuardia High School of Performing Arts, otherwise known as the “Fame” school. I went on to study acting and musical theater at Ithaca College where I was introduced to the idea of being a voiceover artist at a Field Studies panel my senior year. There’s an aspect of the theater/film/TV business that has nothing to do with talent, and what I love about the voiceover industry is that it has nothing to do with what you look like. It also doesn’t really have much to do with what you sound like. To be a successful voiceover artist, it’s all about what you can do with your voice, and, of course, a little bit of luck doesn’t hurt! After graduating college, I took a class with two casting directors, and for some reason, they believed in me. They started calling me in for auditions, and I got really lucky, and ended up booking a national commercial. From there, it snowballed into me signing with a great agency and booking work consistently. It didn’t happen overnight, though. It’s taken me years to get to where I am, and I’m still on this crazy and exciting journey!


Any obstacles along the way?

There are obstacles every day. As an actor and voiceover artist, you have to get used to hearing the word “No” on a daily basis. This was hard for me at first, but I’ve learned how to not take things personally. I can’t say there aren’t some “No’s” that really hurt, but over time, you learn to move on and stay positive.

Three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are:

I believe that being grateful for what you have allows you to bring in more happiness and success in your life. I don’t take “No” for an answer, and I try to put everything in perspective.

Where would you like to be in five years?!

Professionally, I just want to keep working. I would love to be able to support a family one day as a an actor working in all avenues — voiceover, film, TV, and theatre. Personally, I want to keep having adventures, traveling, enjoying life, and I hope to have a family of my own in five years. Most importantly, I want to feel happy and fulfilled.

Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

A woman that doesn’t take “No” for an answer, and keeps going despite all the obstacles that get in her way.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

I would describe my style as boho chic with a New York edge. Does that even make sense? 

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Fav clothing item/accessory right now? 

Issac Mizrahi leather bag, Chloe + Isabel honeycomb necklace, and my olive fedora hat from Top Shop. 

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?!

My latest beauty product obsessions are Arbonne mascara and the BabylissPro Miracurl. 

Go-to nail color?

Loving lavenders, greys and light blues right now. Essie’s Nice is Nice is one of my favorites.

Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?!

Turning Pro by Steven Pressfield, Spirit Junkie by Gabby Bernstein, and Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. 

No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?

Definitely chocolate! 

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?!

Blake Mills, Miss Tess and the Talkbacks, Lake Street Dive, and loving the new D’Angelo album!

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss? 

“Masterpiece” by Jessie J. 

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

“Those who are certain of the outcome can afford to wait and wait without anxiety.” – A Course in Miracles 

“The secret to finding your passion is to bring passion to everything you do.” – Marie Forleo

“In the end, only three things matter: how much you loved, how gently you lived, and how gracefully you let go of things not meant for you.” – Buddha

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you? 

Not exactly sure where I heard it, but it’s advice I live by — look at every obstacle as an opportunity. 

Advice to future girl bosses: 

You are exactly where you need to be.

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LIFE: My Story Is Still Untitled


Let me ask you something — when you were a kid, and people asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, what did you tell them?

Think back to what life was like at eight years old. You painted a picture with your words any time someone asked you about your dream job. Conjuring up a grandiose future in which you live out your wildest dreams, your ideas for the future were limitless and ever changing. Maybe you wanted to be a doctor or a lawyer. Maybe you wanted to be a fashion designer. Maybe you wanted to own an amusement park where everything is elephant-themed, and the workers ride elephants, and all the food is elephant-shaped, and you get a free elephant on the way out!!!

Okay, maybe that was just me. Regardless, it was always, “Sky’s the limit, kiddo.”

Flash forward about 10 years or so, and you’re a “grown up.” Pressures rise as you feel forced to pick career paths or colleges, and you’re pretty upset when “elephant amusement park operation” isn’t on the list of majors to choose from. When “real life” is on the horizon, the dreams of your eight-year-old self seem nostalgic, distant, and—suddenly—not so plausible. An uncomfortable dissonance arises between what you may have expected for yourself and what is actually happening, like, right now. Suddenly, you’re a college girl or a 20-something and the world is spinning faster and faster each day. People you know are getting engaged. Homegirl from high school is pregnant with baby number two. Your friends are pursuing actual careers, and you still have no idea what you want to do with your life.

And you know what? That’s okay.

I am unashamed to say that I truly have no idea what I’m doing after I graduate (and P.S., I graduate this May). I haven’t drawn up a five-year-plan, nor do I have a job waiting for me after I toss my cap in the air. It took some time to come to grips with the fact that I don’t know what the future holds, and it’s fine that I don’t.

My first three years at college were spent with little direction, taking general education credits just to get by. With my many passions and interests, I had trouble channeling them down one path. I couldn’t decide on a major, let alone a career. My undergrad years quickly dwindled to its final fractions, and I began to worry about what I was going to do with the rest of my life. While dealing with the anxieties of an uncertain future, the unsolicited opinions of others sent me into full-on ‘freak-out-mode’. Family members and friends who asked me what I wanted to do post-grad seemed absolutely appalled when I told them plainly that I didn’t know.

“You haven’t been looking for jobs or internships?!”
“What do you mean you ‘don’t know’? Aren’t you about to graduate??”
Listen, Aunt Linda. I’m just as clueless as you are.

You may find yourself in a similar situation, and you sit back and wonder, “Should I have my shit together by now?”

The short answer I have is “No”.


It’s okay to not know. It’s okay to have a heart bursting with passions that cannot be narrowed down to one category. It’s okay to be uncertain, because the night is still young, my friend. What’s not OK is sitting idly by and comparing yourself to the achievements and paths of others. Instead of worrying about what you don’t have, focus on the things you know to be true.

I know I’ll never be a pharmacist like my roommate, nor a lawyer like my pledge sister. Math and science have never been my strong suits, but I can write a poem that’ll bring you to tears. I love to write. I love to talk. I love to connect with people. It took me until my second semester of my senior year to be proactive and apply what I have learned about myself to the first steps of my future. Now I’m writing for this blog y’all are reading!

The common misconception is that people who don’t know what they want to do for a career are lazy. A lack of motivation is not the reason they haven’t found a job or applied to grad school; they simply haven’t figured it out yet. The key is to find what makes your heart sing. What drives you? What keeps you engaged and excited? What thing do you just really, really like? Take that thing—big or small—and try something new with it. As cliché as it sounds, you never know until you try. Blogging and writing never seemed like a career path I would take, but here I am, simply enjoying the process of spilling my thoughts out on to a page and connecting with people through my words. I may never write a screenplay or sell hundreds of thousands of books someday… Or, maybe I will. It’s fine that I don’t know. For now, I’ll keep exploring my options, and never set limits on myself. And I dare you to do the same.

There is no definite formula for success. No one choice will guarantee happiness and fortune. Hard work, positivity, and a willingness to try will ensure that you’ll see the metaphorical light at the end of the tunnel. When you were eight, your ideas of the future were vast and promising. Inside of all of us, that eight-year-old little girl still dreams with reckless abandon. Follow where she tells you to go and enjoy the journey. And if you open that elephant-themed amusement park you’ve always wanted, I’m expecting a lifetime membership pass.

MODEL MODE: Margaux Brooke


She’s impossibly versatile — a cross between the very best of the high fashion and commercial aesthetics; an Audrey Hepburn meets Alexa Chung meets Kate Moennig trifecta; the perfect mix of femininity and tomboy flare bottled up into one quickly up-and-coming supermodel with a look that instantly makes one ask, “Who is that?” I discovered Margaux while casually perusing the pages of Nasty Gal, though she is, perhaps, most notable for being the runner-up on the first season of Oxygen’s The Face. Margaux’s signature is her super cool hairdo, but I see more. I see an effortless cool factor; an empowered #IDFWU attitude that is very much in line with the ideals of Recycled Novelty. For that reason, I had to get to know Margaux Brooke — and share her story with you.

TWITTER: @MargauxBrooke
INSTAGRAM: @MargauxBrooke
WEBSITE: margauxbrooke.tumblr.com

How did you get into modeling? Were you discovered? 

My mom had heard an ad on the radio for an agency looking for child models, so she brought me in and I started my career at nine years old in Atlanta.

You’ve modeled for Nasty Gal(!!!). How did you get that gig?

Nasty Gal reached out to my New York agency, Wilhelmina, and asked me to be a part of their model jeans feature. Basically, they paired a specific model with a specific pair of jeans — I was paired with “The Kink” in Black Sabbath. They probably gave me the most edgy styling out of the bunch.


Who else have you modeled for?

That’s a pretty long list. As far as commercial modeling, I’ve done Target, PacSun, Forever 21, JC Penney, Virgin Mobile, and Uniqlo. I’ve done social media campaigns for Joe’s Jeans, J Brand Jeans, Urban Decay, Adidas, and Stuart Weitzman. As far as runway, I’ve walked for Marc Jacobs, Christopher Kane, Kate Spade, and Yohji Yamamoto. I’ve been in music videos, such as Britney’s Spears’ “Work B*tch”, Angel Haze’s “Echelon”, and The Maine’s “These Four Words.” I’ve also done editorial for Teen Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Marie Claire, Nylon, Grazia, and more. I’ve had a really fun and enjoyable career so far, but I know there is still a lot of unexplored territory in the modeling industry that I have yet to experience.

You were the runner-up on Oxygen’s The Face. What was that experience like?

It was an interesting and enlightening experience to say the least. I don’t think I will ever do reality TV again — at least not if it’s competition-based. It’s a very controlled environment that strips you of a lot of your natural freedoms, so I really didn’t enjoy that part. But it was amazing to work with Coco Rocha, Karolina Kurkova, and Naomi Campbell. Coco and I have remained close. She has taught me so much, and has been there for me whenever I’ve needed advice. She’s only a year older than me, but she is wise beyond her years.


Would you recommend reality shows to aspiring models? Why or why not?

I wouldn’t say “Yes” or “No.” It wasn’t my style, but it’s great for getting your face out to the public in an otherwise competitive industry where you might struggle to be seen. I know competitors on America’s Next Top Model can come out with hundreds of thousands of followers on social media regardless if they actually learn anything on the show. So reality shows can create a fan base or audience for you to show your real work to after the show ends.

We’ve got major hair envy for your edgy ‘do. Was it your idea?

It was actually a collaboration between myself and one of my past agents at Wilhelmina. It seems to have become one of my defining features for sure, but it is also somewhat restricting. It’s one of those things where I either get booked specifically for my hair, or people choose not to book me, specifically because of my hair. Bitter sweet, really.

What’s been the greatest obstacle you’ve faced in modeling?

Probably the same as any other model. Just trying to find those clients who think you look interesting and marketable. I have been told a lot of times that I’m “too edgy,” especially in the LA market. In other markets, I might be too skinny, or too short, or too tan. All clients have different tastes until someone with real fashion influence discovers you, and then, all of sudden, more people want you. But even then, your look will never make every single client happy.


Best photo shoot you’ve ever done?

I recently shot an editorial with Kristian Schuller in Venice, CA. He’s a German photographer who is visiting LA for three months, and we shot this stunning glam story near his house. His wife, Peggy, did all of the styling and set production, and it was just amazing to see how you can transform a fairly boring setting into a whimsical backdrop if you have the right team. I think when it comes out, it will be my best editorial yet.

Most awkward modeling moment?

I went to a casting for Yohji Yamamoto’s show in Paris last season, and if you know anything about him, you know he’s very quiet and methodical. You never really know what he’s thinking. So he had me and two other models line up next to each other, and then we had a “walk off” down the room with a bunch of other models watching us, and waiting for their turn. I had paid attention to the girls he had picked before me, and noticed he wanted a very tough, almost boy-ish walk. So I walked faster and harder than the other two girls, making it down the runway and back first, almost like a race. He ended up choosing me — and only me — to move on to the fitting out of the three of us. Modeling is always a competition, but that was one of the only times I’d had to model against other girls. Intense.


How do you maintain your girlish figure? Any tips?

Sadly, not really. I’m naturally skinny. I don’t really work out with the exception of a few hot yoga classes here and there. I definitely don’t eat as healthy as I should — I can always stand to be a bit more toned. For that, I really enjoy pilates. Yoga is more mental for me, where as pilates is all about endurance. I really have to push myself physically, so if I’m feeling a little out of shape, I’ll pop into a pilates class for a few weeks. I’ve also heard great things about barre classes, but have yet to try it. In general, models tend to go for cardio or exercises that tone and don’t add bulk, so no heavy weight lifting.

Who is your idol? 

My idol in modeling is Coco Rocha, because she is a mentor to me and so many other girls. She is always positive and hardworking, and doesn’t let the industry dictate her life. And I really respect that. She’s created a voice for models, and helped us all to become more important as people and not just mannequins. I also love how involved she is with social media and technology, and how she has encouraged the fashion industry to be involved as well.

In life, my idol is my mom. She got me into modeling when I was just a little kid, and drove me to all of my castings up until I was 17 years old. She was always supportive, and her helping me cope with such a tough industry at such a young age really helped me learn to be strong, independent and hard working. Without her encouragement, I never would have met Coco and learned all that I have from her, nor would I have pushed myself to be where I am today.

Are you dating?

Hah, yes. I have been dating a photographer by the name of Ben Cope for a little over two years now. It’s actually been very fulfilling to date someone in the same industry. He understands my hectic schedule and the bizarre things I have to do for photo shoots sometimes. We also shoot a lot together, which has been really fun. Sometimes, I’ll be the model or sometimes I will creative direct. Dating him has helped me to discover new avenues in the fashion industry. He’s also incredibly sweet.

If you could do a shoot with any other model, who would it be?

Hmmm, that’s a great question. I think I’d like to model with Cara Delevingne. We are of similar heights and builds so she wouldn’t tower over me like Coco, plus she’s blonde and I’m brunette, so it would be a good contrast aesthetically speaking. But most of all, she just looks like she’s a lot of fun on set and as a person. I would love to meet her.

If you could do a campaign with any brand, what would it be?

I really love Givenchy ad campaigns. I think they are edgy and always a little dark, which I like. I also really love Celine. They have the best vibe — always chill and they let the clothing speak for itself. Saint Laurent would be a dream come true, though. I’ve always wanted to walk their show and shoot with Hedi Slimane.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

I wear a lot of black. My every day is a black tee/tank paired with black leather pants/jeans and either a pair of Converse or Doc Martens. I also really enjoy dressing up, though. That’s when I’ll be a little more adventurous, but generally all black because it all goes together, which is easy when I’m traveling.


Favorite brand/line right now?

I’m obsessed with Blank NYC. I wear their vegan leather pants/shorts every single day almost. If you want the look of real leather, but don’t want the hefty price tag or don’t like wearing animal products, their line is perfect. Super chic and comfortable.

Go-to clothing item/accessory?

Sunglasses and my Saint Laurent bag. I always have those two things with me. Sunglasses — because then I don’t have to wear makeup as much, which keeps my skin healthier since I’m always putting it through the ringer at photo shoots, and my Saint Laurent bag because it’s the first nice designer piece I was able to buy myself.

Current must-have beauty product?

I like so many things! I’m a skincare freak. I really love 100% organic coconut oil. I put it on my skin every night before bed. When I’m out and about and my skin is feeling a little dry, I use Embryolisse “Lait Crème Concentrè,” which is pretty popular in the modeling community. As far as makeup, my favorite product is Benefit Cosmetics “Watt’s Up!” shine stick. I apply a little on the cheekbone everyday; it gives my overall look a healthy glow.

Go-to nail color?

Dark. Usually a dark red or blue. I also really like natural colors — “Bubble Bath” by OPI is a fav of mine.

If you could only wear one type of makeup for a shoot (mascara, foundation, lipstick, etc.), what would it be?

Mascara for sure. You have to make your eyes pop! I love natural skin, but if you can make your eyes glimmer a bit, that makes all the difference.


What can’t you live without?

My iPhone 6, sadly. I am always emailing, texting, or on social media. I also love Fruit Ninja (helps me distress). Plus, I have the kindle app so I can read books if I have downtime at photo-shoots, or am waiting at long castings.

Coffee order?

Green tea. But if coffee is a must — a soy, iced, upside-down caramel macchiato (I used to work at Starbucks, can you tell?). 

Go-to Instagram filter?

None. I use VSCO cam for all of my filter needs. They’re so much better!

What makes you feel beautiful?

The people around me in my life make me feel beautiful. I have the most amazing group of friends, and I know whenever I am around them, I don’t have to wear makeup or dress up or being anything other than myself. Because they love me just the way I am. And that makes me feel beautiful.

What makes you feel badass?

I’m extremely competitive, but mostly with myself. So getting Mosaic status on Jetblue last year was one of my biggest goals. I got a high from booking flights and counting miles, it’s stupid but it’s hard to have hobbies when you travel a lot, so why not combine the two? I also get really excited when I get a new sword or dojo on Fruit Ninja. It’s the little things.


What’s your vice?

Green tea. I crave it like crazy, specifically this brand called Yamamotoyama. It’s so good. I drink way too much.

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

I don’t really have a favorite band. I’m one of those people who makes playlists that consists of a lot of different songs by a lot of different artists. I like variety. I spend a lot of time traveling,  so I like to be able to go from electro, to hip-hop, to rap and then to rock really easily. But as far as a song I like right now, “Seconds” by Ghost Loft or “Firestone” by Kygo.

What’s the theme song to your life right now?

“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars. Every time that song comes on, it puts me in the best mood and makes me feel like life is great, because right now life is great (albeit a bit stressful at times). But I am pretty happy and excited for 2015.

What do you do besides modeling – for work, play, or hobby?

I really enjoy reading when I can find the time, whether it be a new best-seller or the latest edition of The New Yorker (I have a subscription). I also really like to write. I have an app on my computer called “Day One” that alerts me at the same time every day, and reminds me to write. I’m not always good about it, but I try to write as much as possible. I’m also a computer gaming nerd, and a part of the PC-Master Race (even though I play on a Mac). My favorite game is League of Legends, but I also like checking out the latest games on Steam occasionally.

What would you be doing career-wise if you weren’t modeling?

Something else creative for sure! But it’s hard to say. I might work at a gaming company like Riot or Blizzard, or maybe I’d be an actress — something fun, interesting and unlike any other job. I’ll never have a standard desk job, not to say that’s a bad job, it’s just not me.


Five year plan?

Move into acting or creative directing. Modeling is fun, but I don’t want to do it forever. I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years (which seems confusing since I started when I was 9 years old, but I took my middle school years off). I want to explore other avenues of the fashion or entertainment industries. Whatever I do, it will be a step forward in the right direction.

What advice would you give to aspiring models?

First of all, make sure it’s something you really want to do, because it’s not as easy or glamorous as people think. It requires a lot of hard work and dedication. A modeling career is full of long hours and a ton of rejection, but also a lot of unique experiences. You will get to travel and meet and work with incredibly talented people. It’s a truly unique job, unlike any other. Modeling is about perseverance — you just have to keep working and working, and even if you make it one day, the work only becomes harder. But the rewards also become greater. Above all else, you have to love what you do. What you have to go through to be a successful model is not worth it, if you don’t love it.