Clinique introduces #FaceForward, a global campaign which reflects the spirit of the individual, celebrates accomplishments and most importantly ignites a movement for others to be inspired and in turn spark a dialogue.

Inspired by the millennial generation, particularly women who are trailblazers; Tavi Gevinson, Hannah Bronfman and Australia’s own Margaret Zhang are curators in distinct ways. They have accomplished great things at a young age, and are not afraid to challenge and break boundaries. They exemplify this generation’s penchant for achievement and capture Clinique’s mission to inspire and motivate women around the world.

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Couturing speaks with Margaret – Stylist, Writer, Photographer, and Creative Director, who at age 21 is the definition of the multi-tasking woman that embodies a bold, daring, entrepreneurial spirit.

It’s easy to see why Clinique was drawn to partnering with you as their global ambassador. What has it been like working with their team and brand?

As a global campaign, all the Face Forward billboards are displayed all over the world. Recently I’ve been getting lots of tweets from readers and friends and family about… It’s really crazy!

This project was initiated at the end of last year, we shot the campaign in February and we’ve been doing a little bit of print press since then.

When I first met with Clinique, they didn’t need any educating on what it is that I do and what Tavi and Hannah do. They did all of their research before they came to me. They knew exactly what I was about, they knew all about my different roles. The motivation for the campaign for all three of us is that it’s exactly what we would want in any campaign – it’s about how multi-faceted we are. Being young, we sometimes struggle to explain that to people and have them understand it’s about the years of experience and not your age and that one person can do more than one thing. The fact that Clinique really understands that is quite a revolutionary step in the right direction for a brand as old and established as Clinique. So, that’s been really different. In other circumstances, I may end up with a really great relationship with a brand but it’s definitely a good 6 month education process. Whereas with Clinique, things happened quickly because they totally got it and that’s so unusual.

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What does #faceforward mean to you?

Never reaching some saturation point and you always want to keep learning. Step back and reflect – I need to be better at that. Consider what has happened and digest and assess what you can do better next time, also making sure you’re pushing forward and looking for the next thing you could be working on and for the next angle for your work. Otherwise I think you can get quite stagnant and don’t really move forward making it difficult to grow. Reflection is a big part of moving forward as well.

I’ve been trying to stop living my life through my camera or my phone because you miss some of those really important moments. Especially like Couture Fashion Week in Paris, it’s really exceptional work and sometimes you’re really panicked and try to document as much as possible but you forget that you can write about it and explain things to people and have ‘some’ visual representation so that people can use their imagination. You just need to put everything down sometimes and really appreciate what people are doing and I think it’s really easy for people to forget because we are so addicted to our devices now. I know I am!

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Margaret at the recent Face Forward launch in Sydney

Which are your essential Clinique products for skincare and makeup?

For makeup, I love the Chubby Stick Sculpting Highlight for my cheeks and the Almost Lipstick in ‘Black Honey’. For skincare I’ve enjoyed using the Sonic System Purifying Cleansing Brush, in the past I used to only clean my face with my hands so cleansing with this gentle, vibrating brush has been more effective. Generally, I’m more into skincare than makeup.

We follow you traveling the world, what are a couple of places that are near and dear to your heart and why? 

I love New York, I’m there all the time – maybe every 6 months. In the past 2 years I’ve visited 4 times per year! It’s such a high energy city, I love that everyone in New York is from ‘somewhere’ and they’re from the best of that ‘somewhere’.

So, there’s a really high calibre of intelligence and the people are really driven which makes you want to work hard. It’s nice to be there with a great friend base and it’s comfortable to be there.

I went to Morrocco two years ago for two and a half weeks and drove all around the whole country and learnt a lot. We were doing Ramadan and it was intense and awesome. It was a really good time to travel there as everyone was more chilled and it was a great way to experience the country and take it all in.

Costa Rica is another memorable place I’ve visited, I went there when I was really young for one month and did some backpacking and community volunteering work, which stuck with me. I was 14 years old with a few girls from school and it was before any of this had started so that was the ‘original travelling’. I’d love to do more of it (travel) that’s not tied to taking pictures of everything. Actually, I only have a few pictures from that trip and there was no obligation to post anything and I didn’t feel I was committed to posting something (online). It was nice to just hang out.

While you’re travelling what are your tips for keeping your skin looking so good?

Clinique Turnaround Instant Facial Mask. It’s really good, I use it instead of a moisturiser on the plane as its sheer enough to wear (in public). It also crystallises as it dries (in the intense dehydration), so when you wash it off it has an almost exfoliating effect. I reapply a few times during a flight.

What’s in your bag whilst travelling?

All my device charges, my passport (which some say is risky but honestly I feel better having it with me), my notebook to write down editorial ideas, Clinique Moisture Surge Face Spray (to wake myself up and feel fresh), my Chubby Stick Highlighter, a big bottle of water and I always have my camera with me. Oh, and my student ID which is a good one for discounted museum tickets!

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Inspiration is so accessible and can be found in various forms, how do you absorb that energy and channel it in a meaningful way?

I always write ideas down when I think of them. It may not always be an ideal time to do a photoshoot or I may not have always come across the right model or makeup artist or the right location to execute a concept. I think it’s better (to write) than taking a picture because you can really analyse what it is about an element you like and crystallise it for a shoot.

Your hard work is evident with your growing list of achievements. What advice do you have for staying organised with a busy schedule?

Firstly, plan ahead. Even if it’s just broadly speaking, working out this is the week where you need to get something done and taking a look at a monthly calendar to see where you need to slot things in. Also, don’t be too generous with your time. For example, I’ll never start an assignment until a week out from before it’s due because that’s when I work the most efficiently. For some people that may not work, but for me, being under that time pressure means I’ll read what I need to read properly and I’ll write really succinctly and slowly to get a first draft completed almost perfectly, then just review once more. That works for me.

What’s your ultimate pull-on-and-go winter outfit that will never let you down?

Black pointed boots, I like ACNE Jensen’s. I think I’ve worn them every day for 6 months. I always wear them on the plane, they’re really beaten up and I need new ones, but I love them. A high waisted white leg trouser or leather pants or boyfriend jeans, an oversized man jacket or coat and just a t-shirt, as I find it doesn’t get too cold in Sydney. If I’m overseas (in NYC), Uniqlo heattech thermals are the only way I survive the winter!

Boyfriend jeans – for someone new to them, what are your tips for finding the right pair and how to style them? 

The fit is really important and finding the right fit for your body shape. For me, I tend to wear higher-waisted boyfriend jeans as my torso is proportionately longer than my legs, compared to most people. My favourite at the moment are by 3×1, they’re a really great fit. Citizens of Humanity do good ones too. Just try them on and see what works. I tend to go for a lighter wash so it looks like you’ve lived in them for years.

Styling wise, denim is so beautiful in that it can be so neutral and you can wear whatever with them. Generally, I pair denim with khakis, neutrals, beige, tan, black, navy…. nothing too overpowering. And then, just layer. The great thing about boyfriend denim is that you can be really boyish or really feminine on top and you can wear them with heels or flats.

Looking towards the future, what excites you the most?

I think the uncertainty excites me a lot. I like that the fact the digital space is so unmapped and there’s no rules really moving forward and it allows me to innovate. Working with clients I can really push in directions that will resonate with consumers and it forces you to think differently and how can you differentiate your publication from a traditional publication and how can you differentiate your brand from another brand that’s developing in the same space and I think that’s really exciting because you can really spear head a really different kind of digital integration which is where everything’s heading.

For more information on Clinique’s Face Forward campaign visit http://www.clinique.com.au/face-forward

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