You are possibly one of the most hardworking KOLs in the industry at the moment. How do you find all that energy? Is there anything you do to prevent that dreaded creative burnout? Diversification by working across multiple disciplines definitely assists with avoiding feeling stale or ‘burnt out’ creatively. No two days will ever look the same for me, Jumping from photographing on set, to meeting a client in a consultant capacity, to retouching endless stills, to skype calling our composer about the track for an upcoming film – all of these use different parts of my brain and I find if I’m losing focus on one thing, or struggling to conceptualise, it helps to move on to something completely different and return with fresh eyes or ears or mindset. I’m lucky enough that I work across enough fields that I can do that with ease and often.

You’ve mentioned some people not wanting to listen to your pitches because of your age. Does that still happen despite your portfolio? How do you manage difficulties like that? To my knowledge and peers’ similar experiences, it’s a pretty common challenge. No matter how well-versed you are in your field, our society is necessarily built to value years of experience over quality of experience. This is not a paradigm that is about to change in a hurry. Stick to your guns, and be comfortable with the fact that those who won’t give you the time of day or choose not to respect your opinions are not the people you want to be working with anyway.

 

Is there anyone you look up to in the creative world, and why? I’ve long admired Sergei Polunin and Svetlana Zakharova’s stamina, grace, charm and ostensible passion in their craft. I aspire to be so expressive in my work.

What are some of the things you love to do outside of creative work?  I really enjoy consulting – obviously there is a creative arm to that as well, but the business strategy, e-commerce structure, market research, report and analysis involved with particular clients is so satisfying and fascinating for me.

What does love mean to you? Feeling so strongly about something that you would voluntarily allow it to overwhelm you to the point of losing sense of time and space.

PHOTOGRAPHY Margaret Zhang

HAIR Paloma Rose Garcia

MAKE UP Molly Warkentin

PHOTO ASSIST Nick Shaw

SECOND ASSIST Ana Suntay-Tañedoa

About

Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese director, photographer, stylist and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Margaret has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, UNIQLO, Swarovski, YEEZY, Bulgari, Gucci, MATCHES, Under Armour, and Louis Vuitton in a wide range of capacities both in front of and behind the camera, while completing her Bachelor of Commerce/Bachelor of Laws at The University of Sydney. Margaret’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NYLON, Marie Claire, GRAZIA and ELLE internationally. She has been listed in Forbes Asia’s 30Under30 and TimeOut’s 40Under40, and her work has been recognized as shaping the international fashion industry by the Business of Fashion BoF500 Index for the past four consecutive years. She went on to be the first Asian face to cover ELLE Australia. In 2016, she co-founded BACKGROUND, a global consultancy for which she specialises in Western-to-Chinese and Chinese-to-Western cultural bridging for a range of luxury, lifestyle, and brand initiatives. In 2017, she exhibited a series of 39 unseen photographic works as a solo show in Sydney, and premiered her first short film – a 15-minute exploration of her visceral relationship with classical music on both performance and abstract planes – to critical acclaim.

For project enquiries Tess.Stillwell@img.com
General enquiries bookings@margaretzhang.com.au