When most of us were in school reading Alive O and Tara and Ben, the oddity of working on the internet as a 9-5 was, quite simply, a notion.
Now, an entire culture revolves around something that seemed to come straight from the space age not too long ago, and Irish women and men are paving the way forward in the world of digital and social. One such woman is Galway-native and blogger-turned Teen Vogue's Social Media Producer, Michaela O'Shaughnessy. We spent some time chatting to Michaela about working at the world's most famous fashion magazine headquarters, overcoming her biggest challenges, future plans, and the women who inspire her to succeed.
How did you come to manage the social media for one of the world's leading publishers?
When I first moved to NYC, I met with a lot of recruiters and made sure I was active on all of the job seeker websites like LinkedIn and Indeed. My first job here was working as a Social Media Producer at MTV which was such an amazing experience. From there, I moved to Teen Vogue after applying for a social media position on the Cond? Nast careers website. I did several rounds of interviews and an edit test before landing the job. I've been working here for a year now and it's been such an incredible opportunity. When I moved to the States, I never imagined I would be so lucky to land jobs with two iconic brands like MTV and Teen Vogue.
Have you always had an interest in fashion and working in the media?
I've always been interested in fashion and media which is why I started my blog as a creative outlet in the midst of studying Biomedical Science. I do feel like my love for fashion has increased tremendously since I started working in the industry, I feel like it's given me a deeper appreciation for the work that designers and stylists do.
Is working for Vogue as glamourous as we expect it to be? (Oh please say yes!) What is a typical day like?
The best thing about my job is that every day is different. My day usually starts around?7 am?where I look online to see what's trending in the fashion and entertainment world and try to figure out what to put on Teen Vogue's social channels that day! I manage the brands Instagram, Snapchat and Facebook Live so there's often fun shoots with our editors or celebrities which are always fun.
What has been your biggest challenge to date?
One of the biggest challenges I've faced so far was trying to figure out how to switch fields from Biomedical Science to Business. I knew I didn't want a career in science when I graduated so deciding on the next step to take and making the jump into a totally different industry was a scary time but thankfully it paid off. Another big challenge was making the move to NYC from Ireland. I'm definitely a home bird at heart so leaving behind my friends and family was definitely challenging but worth it for the wonderful opportunities that the city has given me.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
I think my biggest professional achievement so far has been getting to work at some amazing events. At MTV, I worked at the VMAs which was such a huge production to be involved with and then just last month I got to go to The Met Gala on behalf of Teen Vogue which was quite frankly my biggest dream come true! It's such an iconic night for fashion and pop culture so it was a huge?honour?for me to be there.
How do you find comfort on the days when you miss home? What, if anything, do you miss about home?
I definitely miss home all the time! I'm very close to my family so it can be hard living so far away from them! I also really miss the Irish culture and people, there's something about the Irish that's so warm and genuine and their sense of humour is unbeatable.
On those days when I'm feeling a little homesick I try to do some of my favourite NYC activities to remind myself why I love it here! Usually, that includes a stroll around Soho, grabbing a treat in the Plaza Hotel or going for a walk in Central Park. I always tell myself how lucky I am that there are Skype and Facetime now, I would truly be lost without them.
What's your next step?
It's hard to know what my next step will be especially when you're living in a city where literally anything could happen. At the moment I'm just focused on working hard at my job and continuing to grow my blog as a side hustle and then after that, who knows! I definitely see myself moving home to Ireland in the next few years so I'm determined to make the most of the Big Apple while I'm here.
What advice would you offer someone hoping to break into fashion?
The best piece of advice I would give to anyone who wants to work in fashion is to start a blog. I don't think people realise how attractive a blog is to perspective employers and I know for me, personally, it's been a huge factor in helping me land positions at two of the biggest media brands. A blog shows people that you're consistent, you have basic writing, photography and SEO skills and so much more. People can learn more about you from reading your blog for five minutes than they ever could by looking at your resume.
Who are the women who inspire you?
I genuinely feel like any woman who is working hard to achieve her goals while supporting other women along the way, is truly inspiring to me. There are so many Irish women with an entrepreneurial spirit that amaze me like Chupi and Jennifer?Wrynne.
What do you keep on your nightstand?
I love to read a good book before falling asleep so I always have one on my nightstand along with my work phone and a picture of my Mum and Dad.
Stay up to date with Michaela's NYC fashion adventure on Instagram at @lifeofaladybear and lifeofaladybear.com.