'What're Your Career Aspirations?' : A Justification...

By Lucy Harbron - 19:00

Despite being my passion and my industry of choice, there is something about fashion and beauty/ wellness that still terrifies me. It promises so much, everything rose-tinted and perfect, a delusion that you can still fall for so easily regardless of the change to greater transparency and inclusion. Despite all the positives, all the real beauty, the whole industry from models, to influencers, to adverts, even to blogs, can feel false, always asking for something.

There’s a near-constant discussion of how to emulate authenticity and relevancy rather than an ability to simply embody it; and that scares me.

As a writer, my strength has always been in vulnerability and honesty, never quite developing the ability to hold any feelings back, keep any experiences private. I’m all empathy all the time, longing for connection and deeply in love with the ways we can connect as humans. I love the moments of kinship between girls in club toilets, smiles between strangers, even the online interactions that take nothing more than an emoji, a symbol that might simply be saying; I agree, I understand. So working to get into an industry that needs to sit down and strategies over how to portray these emotions, or worse, how to use them against the consumer, turn human nature into cash, it leaves me arguing with myself regularly.

How do I justify using my words to sell? When so much of my identity and what I pride myself on is honesty and deep empathy,  how do I let my skills be used to somewhat delude? Purposefully choosing my words to make the most money, be the most convincing, always building a positive opinion to motivate purchase.

But more than my fear of entering the back-panel of the capitalist beast, I’ve battled with myself about how to balance being an advocate for mental health and positive inclusion and body image, with work in an industry that undoubtedly needs to take some accountability for the rise in eating disorders, poor mental health, and the sheer relatability of insecurity shared among young girls. I hate the thought of my words, sitting pretty under an image that might make someone feel at all inferior or not good enough. I worry for the security of not only my artistic, literary voice that demands vulnerability and empathy but for the legitimacy of my beliefs.

While I’m still excited and in love with the industry, the thought of entering the world of #ad, #spon, #content scares me, providing an ever-present question of how far will I go for the dream job, and what words might be put in my mouth.

‘What’re your aspirations in your career?’

I’ve been asked this question a lot lately, jumping through the hoops of job applications, and I surprised myself by struggling. Weirdly, I’ve never thought about it. I’ve only ever wanted to write, but never stopped to think where I wanted to go from there, or what I want my writing to do, for me or others.

The first time I was asked the dreaded question my head spiraled, thinking of all the things they’d want me to say about climbing ladders, making money, building a name and taking over. I heard my mouth say; ‘I want to humanise fashion content’. My only aim is to stay real, emotional, understanding, talking to the customer as a person to another person, giving advice like a friend.

I got the job. It gives me hope that something in my fear-driven passion to stay authentic connected to their plans, and I’m excited about what I could bring to the table as I’m challenged to bring my Primark-wearing self to the world of luxury. But the thought has stuck with me this week. I’ve found myself wondering about the person behind every word on anything from crisp packets to Instagram ads, did they have aspirations like me?

I think the conclusion is to say that I don’t care, they’re not me, draw my eyes back to my path.

While I want to go far, see my words on the shiniest and most impressive of by-lines, I want more-so for them to be my words. I think moving into a creative career, where your name is going to be attached to whatever you produce, brings along a whole host of pressures. There would be no way for me to truly disconnect from work I don’t believe in or agree with, so I’m vowing now to not let it get that far.  It’s probably easier said than done I know, and maybe 5 or 10 years down the line I’ll look back at this and either hate myself or laugh at my naivety. But I prefer to think of it as speaking into existence, turning fear to positive action, sending myself off down the right path.

I count myself lucky to be entering the world of work in 2019, at a time when fashion is taking morality seriously, waking up to the eyes watching. I remember at the start of my love affair with fashion content, our relationship would go up and down with the waves of my insecurity. I would read Company magazine, Glamour, Elle, and feel almost pushed around and talked down to. On one page there would be an interview with a pioneering female business owner, and on the next I’d be told to work out exactly like this to look exactly how I should, the magazine either thought I was stupid, talking down to me like a thoughtless robot with only aesthetics on the brain, or it simply didn’t care for my brain, caring only for ad sales and casting the right models to sell size 6 clothes. We broke up for a little while, I stopped following fashion weeks or bloggers just as the rise of the influencers began to take over with a storm of slimtea. I’m thankful it’s in decline, glad I get to start my career at the summit of an era of sustainability, inclusivity, and social awareness. It feels like a good time to dive in, wearing my morals as floating devices I feel I can keep hold of.

So I think maybe my aspirations are to float and then swim when I feel a big  bad wave coming. I want to join the positive movement in fashion, and then fight and fight to never let it subside. I want to work to make fashion content accessible, never insecurity inducing, never a closed door in the face of size or shape or price tag. I want to create content that acknowledges the human experience without turning it into a quirky marketing technique but actually speaks to understanding, that assures you and inspires you to do more than just purchase. I think maybe I want to perpetually be the drunk girl in the toilets, telling you that you look great, giving you recommendations and tips, crying with you, laughing with you, knowing what you’re on about even with you’re rambling garbage.

I’ll hold to my morals like an overpriced G&T. Cheers to my future.

  • Share:

You Might Also Like