In honour of International Women’s Day (8th March) this month at GG HQ we’re interviewing women that inspire us. Starting with Shannon Peter, deputy editor at Byrdie UK, we discuss how she got into the beauty industry, who inspires her and why she thinks International Women’s Day is important.
What is your current role and what does a day in your life involve?
I am currently deputy editor of Byrdie UK, a role in which I write beauty and wellbeing content covering a whole host of topics. I spent the majority of my time typing away at my laptop but my days are peppered with PR meetings to discuss collaborations, events to discover new product launches, hosting Instagram and Facebook lives, internal meetings to conceptualise ideas for our editorial and commercial content.
How did you get into your role and what would be your best piece of advice for anyone looking to break into your industry?
My entry into the beauty industry wasn’t quite the norm. Whilst at university (I studied BA(Hons) Fashion Communication and Promotion at Nottingham Trent) I entered a competition with ELLE magazine. The prize was a year’s internship in the beauty industry, across journalism, PR, marketing and product development. After a series of intensive tasks, miraculously, I won and it was that year that completely set me up. I made it my mission to get involved with every opportunity afforded to me and I think it was that devotion that helped me secure another four‐month internship at Stylist magazine. When the beauty assistant job came up, I applied and thankfully got it—it was my dream role! I then worked my way up to beauty writer and then beauty editor and was there for three and half years before joining Byrdie in September 2017.
It’s so important to really consider what you have to offer the industry. What changes would you want to make? What new message would you want to spread? What is your purpose in this industry? I think that’s the brilliant thing about my generation and below—everyone has something to say and they’re not afraid to test the status quo. Use that to your advantage.
What is something that you wish you knew five years ago?
I wish I knew what the current state of political affairs was set to be. Then maybe I could have warned everyone.
What’s your favourite thing about yourself?
Although it’s often my downfall, it’s probably my drive. I’m constantly asking myself what next? and it’s that that keeps me inspired. And tired.
What’s the most challenging thing about working in the beauty industry?
It can become somewhat of an echo chamber, a bit of a bubble and so I think it’s vital to maintain interests and relationships outside of the sector, to not only keep you sane but to also act as a litmus test, helping you gauge whether the thing you’re working on actually means something to the wider community.
Which woman has influenced you the most in life?
It goes without saying that I am the product of my fiercely independent mother. But beyond her, my soul sister Giselle La Pompe‐Moore never ceases to inspire me. So much so, I’ve started an Instagram account with her called @PaintedWomen which we see as a somewhat of a study into global beauty culture.
From The Painted Women Archive: Standard Textbook of Cosmetology, Harper Method Beauty School (1955). ~ "Science consists of the knowing, art in the doing. The science of beauty culture is systematic, whereas the beauty culture art varies with the technique employed by the beautician… Success in beauty culture depends on study, hard work and perseverance."— Foreword. #PWThen
How do you wind down when you’re not working?
I am terrible at switching off—it’s actually a really big problem for me. But I find that watching mindless television (Real Housewives, Keeping Up with The Kardashians…all those usual suspects) helps. Mindlessness is my mindfulness.
What does being a boss woman mean to you?
Letting go of things that do not serve you and taking charge of your own life, without negatively impacting the lives of others.
Do you have a beauty icon?
Why do you think International Women’s Day is important?
Because progress is only progress if we all get to benefit. And that’s what I think IWD is all about supporting all women from all walks of life.
What do you think is one of the hardest things women face today, whether that’s in the work place or in their personal lives?
I hate to compare one woman’s issues with another as the plight of every woman has weight and worth. But right now, I am really worried about the issues of hygiene and period poverty affecting shocking amounts of women in the UK, and beyond.
See more from Shannon over on Instagram!
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