7 Life, Style, And Career Takeaways From Australian-Chinese Multi-Hyphenate Margaret Zhang
Now is the time to get on researching if the name Margaret Zhang doesn't get your heart racing.
Accessories from SM Accessories; Blouse from Smyth
She's the 25-year-old boss lady who skyrocketed to the top as a creative director, classical pianist, trained ballerina, law and business school graduate, filmmaker, consultant, cover girl, and most recently, SM Department Store's latest collaborator.
The Australian-Chinese multi-hyphenate is set to share her passions with one of the country's top lifestyle destinations as a director, stylist, model, and photographer, and in the process, give Filipinos more to love about fashion, embracing individuality, and owning boldness.
Accessories from SM Accessories; blouse from SM Woman
Margaret's partnership with SM makes her much-awaited return to Manila, this time, as an authority in all things creative. Having worked on projects with Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Swarovski, Clinique, Dior, Chanel, and Lexus as well as graced the pages of Vogue, NYLON, and Harper's Bazaar, she's bound to contribute a wealth of knowledge and insight in her newest international venture.
Taking us through her career's most shareable takeaways is Margaret herself. Check out what she has to say about being productively busy, goal-oriented, young yet successful, and pretty much just a girl who gets to live out her dream, day in and day out.
Accessories from SM Accessories; blouse from Smyth; pants from GTW by SM
You don't have to choose just one.
Like most inherently creative people, Margaret's interests span far and wide. Though her foray into her multi-faceted career was through fashion, she's now into screen writing, directing, and generally learning the ins and out of filmmaking. (Her debut short film There's No Space Left in C# Minor is most definitely worth the watch).
She says that choosing just one passion and concentrating on just one activity isn't her cup of tea; "it's like choosing a favorite child," she jokes.
Creativity has no limits, and even though an artist may have an expertise, it's very common (and encouraged) to explore other art forms to be able to learn from others, discover new possibilities, and enrich your creative process overall. Who knows? You might even discover your true calling while you're at it.
True stylishness isn't in the clothes.
Yes, she acknowledges the irony of this claim that's coming from a woman who was propelled to greatness, thanks to her work in fashion.
But that doesn't change her mind; stylishness, according to Margaret, lies in being true to yourself. If a current trend is right up your alley, own it and turn heads. If it isn't, worry not; the confidence and the trust you put in yourself and how you present yourself precedes all other things, regardless of what you have on.
The pink-maned beauty points to the multiple silver hair clips she chose to wear on this day just because, and her black, layered ensemble that she paired with lace-up boots as prime examples. Who cares if the clips invite curious looks or about Manila's humidity? Wear it, work it, be happy in it, and you'll be the most stylish person there ever was.
Accessories from SM Accessories; blouse form Smyth; skirt from SM Woman; shoes from Parisian
Proactivitiy is the secret.
Or more completely, proactivity, along with flexibility and the insatiable desire to keep learning are.
Margaret is a firm believer in being a go-getter and not expecting success to find you. In a world where tastes are constantly evolving, it' extremely important to nurture the drive to be one step ahead and pair that with continuous self-improvement and open-mindedness.
Create opportunities, rather than wait for them—not just for clients or partners in a project, but for yourself and the direction you want to steer your life towards, too.
Accessories from SM Accessories; blouse and pants from SM Woman; bag and slides from Parisian
Margaret credits her mom for teaching her valuable lessons that helped shape her work ethic, the one she never forgot is the importance of substance.
You can be a big name in your industry and maybe succeed, thanks to the flimsy "fake it till you make it" approach, but longevity, credibility, and true achievements are all anchored on having the education and skillset to back them up. Without substance as a foundation, falling from grace simply becomes a matter of time.
Earrings from SM Accessories; blouse and shirt from Smyth; belt bag and slides from Parisian
As an Asian woman working with a Filipino company, Margaret emphasizes her pride in being part of a project that uplifts Asian talent. She talks about her pet peeve of her industry peers that say they love that Asia is having a "moment" in terms of all its artistic output. It's not a moment, but a movement, she says.
What Asians in fashion and other creative fields do isn't fleeting like what "having a moment" implies. Their work has always been around and it's always been worthy of an international audience—just because the rest of the world is only picking up on what Asia has to offer recently doesn't mean it's only come into existence now.
She's certain that she'll continue to do more great things while proudly carrying her Asian heritage with her to prove her point.
Accessories from SM Accesories; blouse and track pants from Smyth; bag from Parisian
Practicality is creativity's twin.
It's definitely a ton of fun to focus all of one's energies on creative pursuits, but if and when these pursuits become full-time careers, it definitely helps to be just as well-versed in the business and legal side to things.
That's where Margaret's commerce and law degrees come in handy. She didn't go to fashion, style, or art school for college, but chose academic tracks that would be helpful to her no matter what direction life took her in.
"It's important to protect yourself and to know your worth," she shares, and we couldn't agree more.
Accessories from SM Accessories; blouse and track pants from Smyth; bag from Parisian
Life is in front of you, not on a screen.
Despite the fact that the digital revolution was the greatest factor in Margaret's ascension (it all started when she put up a blog when she was 16), she firmly states that it's a must to be able to live life in person and not online. Regardless of how much connecting digitally has become an integral part of both people's personal and professional lives, they must still find pleasure in having face-to-face interactions.
For Margaret, this doesn't just manifest in being able to take her eyes away from her screen(s); it also means maintaining her own identity, building her own preferences, and drawing from her own experiences instead of being heavily influenced or depending on what she sees online for inspiraton.
She's her own person, and it shows—so clearly that she's definitely an inspiration for others to follow suit!
Photos from @margaret__zhang