Features

Shine by Three blogger Margaret Zhang on beauty, travel and creativity

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She’s one of the global faces of Clinique’s new #FaceForward campaign. We find out what makes Shine by Three blogger, law student and all-round stylish lady, Margaret Zhang tick:

1. How has your skin care routine changed?
I used to be a ballerina and was used to tons of stage makeup. Now, I wear a lot less makeup and take care of my skin. Taking care of my skin is extremely important to me since I travel so much. I always make sure my skin is clean and hydrated.

2. When does your skin feel its best?
My skin feels the best when I’ve been drinking a lot of water, exercising at least once a day, and when I’m just out of the shower and feeling squeaky clean. In general I think that is when I feel the best, and when I’m relaxed and thinking about too much. My skin reflects when my life is hectic. If I’m travelling too much, dehydrated, working too hard, and staying up late it really shows. My number one rule is to stay hydrated!

3. Has anyone in particular shaped the way you look at beauty?
I do not feel that one person in particular has changed my perception of beauty. However, working in the fashion industry and internationally has allowed me to meet so many people of different ethnicities and see that every single country that you work in has a different definition or a pop culture definition of what is most beautiful. It’s been interesting to observe each from the outside for the past five years and see how each culture has shaped and matured me.

4. How has your style evolved?
I’ve become much more boyish. I used to be more girly and into a lot of prints. Now, my style is more tomboyish, tailored, and super easy with one feminine element like heels or my hair down and loose.

5. What inspires you?
I’m constantly inspired because I work across so many fields within a creative industry. Working with photographers, stylists, models, assistants, etc. helps drive my creativity and inspiration. I’ve learned to watch each person on set and how they utilize their skillsets to better enhance my own. There is always something you can learn from someone else and that is what inspires me and keeps me going in this creative field.

6. When are you the most creative?
I think I feel the most creative when I’ve taken on as many roles as possible. I’ve done shoots where I’ve been modelling, styling, shooting, and creative directing, which is super invigorating because I’m on a time limit and taking on so many roles. I’m in complete control and able to make my vision a reality. These instances are truly when I feel the most creative and inspired.

7. What keeps you motivated in your career?
I stay motivated by never becoming complacent or feeling like I’ve made it. Working with vast talents helps me stay on my toes and allows me to continuously learn. You can always challenge yourself and push yourself to learn something new within your field. There’s nothing better than experience and learning from each and every endeavour.

8. What is your advice for young women hoping to become an entrepreneur?
I think the most important thing that I try and get people to remember is that it’s never too early or late to try something. We live in a world where anything is possible. Things are no longer formulaic – what you study in school does not end up being your career. Look at me, I’m in law school and I’m working in the fashion industry. However, my experiences have helped me build my skillset and utilize them in achieving my goals no matter that career path that I end up going towards.

9. What do you suggest they strive for to achieve their goals?
I think it’s important to have a plan and goal. Think about where you want to be in ten years and put together your vision. You do not need to have everything down to the minute, but have a broad vision and ensure you are going along the right path and that what you are doing is contributing to your end goal.

10. What is your favourite city?
I’m so lucky in that I get to travel a lot with work and I love so many different places for various reasons. New York is one of my favourite cities in the world, and I always feel motivated to work harder when I’m in NYC. In Asia, I find the cultural differences to be so interesting. I spend a lot of time in Bangkok and all the contrasts truly amaze me. You could be in a hotel that’s gold leafed and so opulent with incredible crazy fancy fusion food, and then walk out on the street and it’s still dirt everywhere with people shouting with so much noise on the streets. I love that contrast in a country. Although Sydney is my home, I love it and feel honoured to live here. You are able to have a career in the city, but then take a little drive out of the city and be on a remotely isolated beach, then drive a little further and end up in the mountains. Australia gives off a laid back vibe and even when I travel, I always gravitate towards Aussies as we all have an “it’s all good” personality and vibe.

11. Does your style adapt when you are in a different city?
I’ve noticed that as I travel my style subconsciously adapts to where I am. When I’m in Morocco I’m shopping for burnished silver and wearing crazy batik prints. Then when I’m in Bali or Thailand, I’m all about resort wear and wearing a caftan. When I’m in New York my style adapts once again and I’m mainly in all black. I don’t necessarily plan to change my style, but it innately happens.

12. Do you think women in certain cities have a particular look?
Beauty is less and less about how a woman’s face looks, but more about a vibe that is exuded. I feel that each city has a particular look and most women naturally gravitate towards it. In France it’s an effortless chic. London women have a quirky attribute to their style. In New York women are super tailored, super sharp and mostly all in black. While in Australia it’s a beach atmosphere with bikinis and board shorts.

13. Who inspires you when you are styling/shooting?
When I am styling/shooting I look to photographers like Helmut Newton and others of his calibre for inspiration. I look at this beautiful, over-the-top, very sculptural time in photography which I think inspires not only my personal style but also just the way that I look at shoots. Rather than looking in a tunnel and saying “I have to get this shot in this certain way” I create reference boards and mood boards for clients. I’m always pulling from pictures of architecture and flowers and things like that to create more of a mood as it should be rather than replicating what’s currently in the editorial space.

14. Do you have any photographers in particular that inspire you?
All the greats have inspired me. Peter Lindbergh, Craig McDean, Mario Testino, Steven Chee, Pierre Toussaint and Darren McDonald are among the list of visionaries. I’ve had the honour to shoot with a couple and it has been incredible.

15. How do you see Shine by Three’s editorial voice progressing?
Shine by Three is super editorial and very independent in its voice. It’s me having an engaging conversation with my readers, encouraging the demographic to think more about issues than they usually would. I’m looking to create bigger and more stylized stories with an in-depth story so that people can really relate to something. Shine by Three allows users to browse at their own pace, read what they want, and read whatever category interests them.

16. Who is your favourite music artist?
I like this new artist, Lo-Fang, although he has probably been smashing away for years and years. He is LA based and is classically trained in violin, piano, and cello and creates beautiful atmospheric music. I’m into Lorde right now. She’s cool and it would be interesting to do a film with her one day or shoot her for something. I’d love to slick her hair back because I feel like everyone shoots her with her big mane of hair. It’s so iconic, but it’d be cool to put her in a skull cap.

17. What do you like to do to unwind?
I’m a workaholic so I rarely get time to relax. In Australia we’re so lucky that we have sunshine year-round and beautiful beaches. I love going for a swim in the ocean. It’s my zen, happy place. Also the saltwater and sand gives your skin that Aussie glow, which I love.

What’s Margaret’s mantra? Check out the video below:

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