Virginia Lowman on Being a Dream Chaser
Virginia Lowman is a beauty enthusiast whose success is a result of hard work and dedication. When opportunity knocked, she answered with no hesitation. Shortly after college, she moved to the big apple to chase her dream and pursue a career as a health and beauty writer and editor. And, her ambition has landed her interviews with celebs like Michael B. Jordan, Kelly Rowland, and Kourtney Kardashian at top publications such as Marie Claire, Glamour Magazine, Teen Vogue, and Essence.
Read more below as Virginia shares her childhood tales, her career goals and everything in between.
What experiences helped shape the woman you are today?
My mom is a retired military Colonel, so I spent most of my childhood and teenage years in Europe. We moved back to the U.S. when I was 16, so a vast majority of my childhood friends are international. Because my mom would always enroll me in international schools, I was forced to learn to adapt to new environments quickly and learn new languages. By the time I was 14, I'd already lived in 8 countries, been enrolled in 10 different schools and spoke 4 languages. Being a military brat and moving frequently has made me adaptable, personable and skilled at the art of conversation, all of which have been incredibly beneficial when it comes to writing.
Growing up did you experience any insecurities? If so, how did you overcome them?
I wouldn't call it an insecurity, but I was always very concerned about being liked by my peers. Having moved around so much, making friends was almost a job by default. Because I was generally uprooted to a new country every three years, I was always concerned with making friends, and making them quickly.
What steps did you take to get to where you are in your career?
I completed my undergrad in Texas at the University of Houston. Go Coogs! There weren't many publishing opportunities in terms of fashion and beauty. Upon my graduation in May 2013, I landed a job in marketing. And very quickly realized that I had no intention of staying with that company. I left that job and spent two days sending my resume out to every publishing company I could find. I sent my resume to Marie Claire magazine for a fashion internship under Project Runway Judge and Creative Director at Marie Claire, Nina Garcia's first assistant, Jenna Blaha. Surprisingly, they responded almost immediately and requested that I come in for an interview. I lived in Houston, so I did the interview via Skype. Two days later, I was offered the internship and I booked a one-way ticket to New York.
I had two suitcases and hadn't confirmed a place to stay yet, but I found a sublease apartment on Craigslist and met the girl for the keys soon after I landed. The whole experience of coming to New York on my own and finding a place to stay was really a testament of my will power. I'm thankful every day that God showed me grace and that I chose to chase my dream instead of just being fearful of it. After completing my four-month internship at Marie Claire, I landed my first full-time job as a Beauty Assistant at Glamour magazine. After Glamour, I did some work for Teen Vogue and later landed my most recent position, freelancing as the Assistant Digital Beauty Editor for Essence magazine.
Now, after three years in publishing, I've decided to focus on building my own brand, VoiciVirginie.com, which will be an amalgamation of all of the tips and tricks I've learned over the years since I moved to New York and began my career in publishing. Voici Virginie will be the digital meeting point of beauty and science, sex and psychology and important millennial conversations. Of course, we'll have all of the fun stuff like fashion and pop culture, too. But I really want it to be a hub for millennials to learn about the importance of self and personal care, and choosing to live your best life consistently.
What challenges did you face working in this industry? How did you overcome them?
So many challenges! I think the biggest challenge had less to do with the industry and more to do with the fact that making that transition from undergrad to the "real world" can be really tough. After moving to New York, I expected my Marie Claire internship to be rigorous–it was, and I'm so grateful for it. But the hardest part was actually just the loneliness of being in a new city and not having any friends.
Outside of the struggle to form friendships and have a life, there was the issue of work-life balance—I still don't think that's a real thing. I treated my internship like a job, because that's what I was hoping to turn it into. I got to the office at 9 a.m. and generally left around 7 or later. It was hard work, but the truth is, if your internship doesn't push you, and if you don't have a second or two when you think about quitting, then it may not be molding you in the way that it should. If you land an internship that works you like crazy and pushes you to become something greater, then you should consider yourself lucky because those few months are so influential in your career trajectory on your road to success.
Ultimately, I believe the only way to overcome a challenge is to choose to want the end goal more than you are afraid of it. It's equally important to listen to your gut and make yourself heard. One of my favorite quotes is "if you sit in the back, you're asking to be overlooked." Make sure you have a front seat in the adventure of your life and remember that you are a key player in the shaping of your future.
What are your overall goals?
When I first came to New York, I moved here with the intention of becoming Editor-in-Chief of a magazine, specifically Marie Claire magazine, hence my excitement about landing that internship. Over the course of three years, that dream has changed. It's important to note that it's always okay to change your mind. Now, my focus is on my personal brand, Voici Virginie. My goal is to make it a full beauty, lifestyle and wellness brand and a millennial hub for answers to questions that women are sometimes afraid to ask or speak about in public (think: below the belt questions, sex, etc.)
In addition to developing my brand, I plan to serve as a contributing editor to a variety of publications both print and digital and eventually transition into TV. Finally, I plan to get my MFA in creative writing and publish a book (or two, or ten!) When it's all said and done, I want to leave a legacy and know that I have exhausted all of my talents and know that I've helped a few people along the way.