Margaret Zhang Proves You Really Can Do It All

Phot: Courtesy of Dan Jackson/Clinique
Margaret Zhang, founder of ShineByThree.com, is fervently dedicated to the hustle. The 22-year-old Australian is not only a fashion blogger, but a photographer, stylist, writer, and creative consultant for brands like Uniqlo, Nike, and Louis Vuitton. And if that weren't enough to keep anyone busy, she's also a law student at the University of Sydney. Yes, she's a true multi-hyphenate.

Now Zhang is adding yet another achievement to her long list of accolades: ambassador for Clinique's latest #FaceForward campaign alongside Tavi Gevinson and Hannah Bronfman. We couldn't think of a better group to represent our generation of hard-working and adventurous women.

Zhang started Shine by Three when she was just 16 years old, and has since garnered over 488K followers on Instagram — an incredible reach for someone whom many in the industry might consider “too young” to enjoy such success. But not letting age limit you is something that Zhang is very passionate about — she feels a responsibility to communicate to people her age and younger that they don't have to follow a formula when it comes to their careers.

“I think the paradigm has to change,” she says. “So many people are told by their parents, or society, or their school career advisors, that this is how you [succeed]: You do well in high school, then you get into college, then you get an internship, and then you get a 9-to-5 job. It's impossible to apply that same model now, and it's important not to be restricted by age.” While Zhang's success story may be an atypical one, her sentiment rings true for many of the self-starters in our generation. And as we chatted, she was quick to point out that she is so much more than the clothes on her back. “I pride myself so much in my brand and work, rather than what I look like,” she says.

Zhang is one of the first ambassadors of Asian descent (she is Chinese-Australian) to be part of a major American beauty campaign. She believes the industry is making strides when it comes to embracing minorities. “I think America has such a huge pop culture influence on the rest of the world. The celebrity and spokesmodel scene hasn't fully embraced Asians and other ethnicities just yet, but it's getting there," she says. “There are so many Asians who are succeeding and really pushing boundaries.” In fact, Zhang wrote a blog post on the topic, saying that “Asians are killing it in fashion. There is nothing 'token' about them.”

When it comes to beauty, Zhang stresses the importance of staying healthy from the inside out. "I think diet is actually a huge part of Asian beauty," she says. "Everyone says Asians have such great skin...they eat a little bit of everything; there's always protein, some healthy fats, carbohydrates, vegetables, and fish. That's an important part that has influenced me, to [have] everything in your diet and not just focus on one thing."

Skin care is another major part of maintaining a healthy lifestyle for her. “It's not even an anti-aging thing, it's a well-being thing,” she says. “If you can feel confident with no makeup on, then you're pretty much set. Then, with a bit of makeup, you can feel more awesome!” Zhang emphasizes that although many millennials may think that investing in skin care is unnecessary, it's important to start now and take some "early action:" Coconut oil and Clinique's Moisture Surge Face Spray are among her favorite products.

Though she has already accomplished a lot, it's safe to say that it's just the beginning for Zhang. She plans to continue taking on new projects and inspiring her followers to strive for their best selves and stick to their goals. “It can be really easy to be [distracted and] swept up in the storm. It's hard to [find] balance, but we get there in the end, and it's always fine,” she says. Amen, Margaret, amen.
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