beauty

Margaret Zhang on trying to please everyone, and her parents not understanding "fashion blogging".

Image via iStock.

You might not instantly recognise Margaret Zhang’s face, but chances are you’ve seen the 21-year-old law/commerce student around – probably on Instagram’s popular page. She’s a fashion blogger, stylist, photographer and ambassador for Clinique’s global Face Forward campaign, who has 493,000+ followers on Instagram.

She doesn’t own trackpants. She embraces Mt Everest-sized pimples. And her dad thinks that being a fashion blogger means she runs a clothing shop. We caught up with her to talk life, beauty and success.

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What’s the one makeup look you’ll never be able to master?

“A smokey eye. The thing with Asian eyelids is that the crease doesn’t start where your eyeball starts, if that makes sense. So that’s a really big mistake I made when I was younger, I couldn’t figure out the smokey eye situation from YouTube tutorials. Normally don’t do eye make-up under my eyes. As you can probably see now from smiling so much it kind of smudges under my eyes.”

Image via Instagram.

Being a fashion blogger, photographer and creative director, I can imagine what you do can be confusing to people who don’t quite get what you do.

“Well my dad thinks I have a shop. So that doesn’t work out because I don’t. I have so many samples coming in and out for the shoots and all the styling work I do and dad will say, ‘How’s the stock moving?’, and I’m like ‘Five years dad, five years.’ He tells all his friends that I have a shop and it’s really disappointing for them when they come to my website and it’s not a shop.”

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You’ve mentioned that in life, people want you to fit into a “life formula” to achieve success, what’s been your experience of this?

“You want to please people; me more than anybody. I just wanted to make my parents proud. That’s all I wanted. But after a while you realise what they want for you is for you not to struggle. They don’t really care at the end of the day what you do, they just want you to be happy.

Image via Instagram.

“And as much as the fashion thing freaks out my parents all the time, they are like ‘OK, well Margaret is kind of looking after herself, she flew her brother to Paris for his birthday, and that’s not normal for people her age, so she must be OK.’ One of the things that I stress to my agency and to all the people that I work with is, ‘Look, I don’t want a million dollars, I’m not in it to make a million dollars right now’.”

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You’re an ambassador for the Clinique’s face forward campaign, which is all about making a positive promise to your future, tell me about that.

“It’s awesome, I’m super excited. They came to me end of last year with this campaign idea of collaborating with people who’s work they really believe in and who have an outlook of communicating with a younger generation and having a real voice and responsibility for educating this people about all the facets of their work. Clinique is really interested in what it is I do rather than what I look like, which I think is really awesome.”

Image via Instagram.

I’ve got to ask, how do you get your skin so glowy and dewy?

“I drink a lot of water. I know it’s a really boring answer. It’s like when they ask celebrities, ‘How do you keep fit?’ and they’re like, ‘ I just do yoga’. But you actually just have to drink a lot of water. Like three litres of water a day. People often say, ‘Asian girls just have great skin genetically’, but it’s also to do with the diet that you’re raised on. Rather than having a meal like a steak or like a pie, or something where it’s kind of one food group look at Japanese Bento Boxes for example, they have a little bit of everything. A balanced diet that really helps your skin as well.”

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Does travelling affect your health routine?

“When you’ve just been flying a lot you’re really dehydrated and your organs aren’t operating properly. And it’s one of those things, once you get into one of those routines, as soon as you do something wrong or you eat something bad, your skin really notices. It’s like, ‘What’s up, Everest Pimple!’

What do you do when you get an Everest Pimple?

You’ve just got to roll with it. Just got to roll with it. Like everyone gets it. It happens. And it’s always in a time of stress, like when I’ve got exams. It’s nothing to be embarrassed about. Just don’t touch it!”

Image via Instagram.

You have 296 000+ Instagram followers. You share so much with them but is there anything you wouldn’t share?

“Where I live. As a general rule I generally don’t Instagram something until I have left the location. Just for a security precaution. 99 out of 100 followers are just wonderful, adoring people, and then there is one who is a total fruit loop… So that as a general rule I try and just have that slight lag.”

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What do you wear while studying for your law/commerce degree?

“Generally boyfriend jeans, large stretchy, wide pants, bodysuits, T-shirts or big man shirts. Man clothing.

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Can you ever been found in trackies and uggies?

“I don’t actually own trackies. I don’t own ugg boots, because I don’t believe in wearing them outside the house. I’m not down with it when I go to Asia, and they do those star-studded, sparkly ones. It is really stressful to view. I don’t think I own track pants. I have leather track pants actually, which is kind of fun. But, they are comfy. They are kind of the same as track pants.” 

Image via Instagram.

Clinique has so many lovely products, what are your favourites?

“When they discontinued Black Honey a while ago for a bit I was devastated. That was my go to and lip stain was my whole situation, and they brought it back so I was very happy with that. The Clinique highlighter chubby stick is great because I really suck at makeup, if I’m honest. It’s so good because you just have to paint it on your face. It’s nice and glowy and not too overpowering.”

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Recently Alexa Chung came out and said her life is definitely not as glamorous as her Instagram makes out. Your life looks damn glamorous on Instagram, is it always like that?

“No! I mean, I’m a full time student and full time student-ing is not glamorous at all. I spend a lot of time with my face in a book, doing a lot of emails, being really tired and just usual student stuff and usual student stresses. No one is going to post a selfie of themselves pulling an all nighter to get an assignment in. I don’t know why anyone would think it is an accurate representation of our lives, particularly because we don’t post every minute. But people do think that, there have been times when I’ve posted a picture of my meal on a table with my friends’ meals and people comment saying, ‘Oh my god how do you stay so skinny, when you eat all that food?’”