On successful women and waffle consumption.

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Second only to the nerdy male underdog (and all your associated landmark teenage dream cinematic moments of the outlier hurdling the quarterback to publicly make out with Queen Bee), the most celebrated figure of modern film culture seems to be the cussing, awkward, rough and tumble, unlikely heroine who either A) against all (all) odds, gets a blowout, a tweed suit, and the rest of her sh*t together by the end of two hours, and exits stage left to revel in her newfound social status as a strong independent woman who don’t need no man definitely still needs the man she spent the whole film changing herself for, or B) credibly realises her mistake in aspiring to what society has pegged as defining a successful female, but is then seen to find peace with being seen as a weirdo.

I resent that.

(Except the tweed suit – that can stay.)

Admittedly, all of this is a cut above the damsel in distress. I’ve always found Golden Hollywood’s hopeless on-screen post-rescue-and/or-epiphany embraces (during which said damsel’s entire body has collapsed into her suitor’s red-blooded stronghold, with her neck snapped back at an unsightly 90 degree angle) exceedingly distressing. But, in the same way that generations of women have stormed away from the typecast bounds of sexual objectification and subservience, there’s no reason why today’s leading ladies should bow to the checklist of zealous self-assertion, divine recognition, material possessions, perfect offspring, and that artificial and condescending construct of a “work-life balance” (all the while, not ageing a year beyond 30) to be truly successful.

That is not to discredit what so many female trailblazers have done for gender inequality as a whole with these accolades in tow. But, there is no universal image of success.


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  • illyperez

    great stuff, like always. <3
    – illy –

  • Me encanta la historia fotográfica.
    Muy buen post.

    Saludos desde Ecuador.

  • Maggie Zhou
  • Loveeeeee the positive carefree message! Beautiful!

  • Literally Amazing work. :)

  • Fabulous and creative photography . . . Simply gorgeous! :)

    La Bijoux Bella | by mia

  • lifeopablo

    New York suits u! Some of ur best photos yet.

  • Great shoots!!!

    Don’t miss today on my blog a Chic, comfy and urban outfit where accessories play a main role…especially the sandals with transparent heel !! ;)
    Kisses from

  • Very chic, very elegant and very, very different! Great job Margaret!

  • Great photos Margaret! And I love your writing!

  • Joy

    love the chanel outfit.

  • Encore Maniar

    the dark editing only adds to the timelessness of these photos; love this set Margaret.

  • Marta Sierra Marti

    All outfits are simply amazing, just like your writing Margaret!


  • fixatedfaiyaz

    Love this story and photos so much! amazing as always!

    xx Faiyaz

  • This was so lovely to read! You definitely have a way with words. x

  • Janemenn

    How in the world do you write like this!!! UGH… – lovely lovely read btw

  • George

    Women have definitely been able to become independent in the 21st century, and your pictures are mind-blowing, just like always!

  • Lovey Fleming

    You’re the definition of a cool strong female lead. Love your thoughts and insight– yet I still love the romantic vision of Hollywood’s leading lady as well, for there is a certain power and strength to them as well. Keep rocking!

  • I love all your photos so much!!


  • Jannel

    Your writing voice is so neat! I love ShineByThree so much.

  • Malu

    Okay so these pictures are insanely good! I want this to be a real Chanel editorial so bad because you really killed it. The black and white was perfect with the backdrop, and can we talk about these looks?! First of all, that twill suit is amazing. It is so classic Chanel and very timeless. I like that Karl modernized it by adding lace tights and boots to his recent collection because It was a cool way of adding texture in a variety of ways. Plus that leather look was amazing! You just killed it!

  • viktoria

    Incredible photos! this is simply WOW!

  • Alexis

    Gorgeous shots! Epitomizes classic NYC.

  • I totally agree – We all need to embrace our success in our own ways. There’s no need to do everything perfectly, nor does my perfect have to be yours! Either way, you eat those waffles girl, eat them all and with maple syrup too!

    You look amazing, I would keep the tweed suit for sure


  • Love the vibe in these photos and that Chanel bag!


  • Check out my weekly updates at

  • Ah! I appreciate your photography and writing aesthetics so much, Margaret. Honestly my idol! Hope I can one day grow The Style Muse to the likes of Shine By Three.

  • A. Carnevale
  • Eve

    Love the black and white photos. Love your unique, quirky but still high fashion style

  • Alfredo Ciano

    Great Post , Congratulations !!!

  • Marion Raynal

    Retro and feminine. I love the Chanel outfit, probably because I’m French haha Amazing photos, as always. I wish I had this talent !

  • The black and white photos are stunning. <3

  • It’s seems like I’m reading a magazine, the photography and the writing are exemplary. You look very cute in the last photo too.

  • Anea Duratovic

    I love your writing Margaret. I always look forward to your latest posts.

  • Omg I always enjoy reading your blog and loving your photography, Margaret!

  • Love your articles as always!

    The black and white photography makes NYC look Sin City-esque.

  • p

    Oración a san Cipriano para que regrese el ser amado y tengas Éxito y abundancia y Dinero

    por los poderes de san cipriano y de las 3 almas que vigilan san cipriano_________ vendra ahora detras de mi ________________, va a venir arrastrandose y enamorado lleno de amor,de deseo para volver y pedirme perdon por mentir y para pedirme en noviazgo y mas tarde en boda lo mas rapido posible.

    san cipriano tendre ese poder que el olvide y deje de una vez cualquier mujer que pueda estar en su cabeza y vuelva a asumirme y declararse para que todos vean.

    san cipriano aleje de __________________ cualquier mujer, que el me busque en todo momento hoy y ahora,deseando estar a mi lado,que el tenga la certeza que soy la mujer perfecta para el, que_________ no pueda vivir sin mi y que ____________________ siempre tenga mi imagen en su pensamiento en todos los momentos.

    ahora donde este con quien este,el me buscara porque el pensamiento de el esta en mi.

    y al acostarse que sueñe conmigo y al despertar que piense en mi y me desee,al comer piense en mi, al pisar que piense en mi,en todos los momentos de su vida piense en mi.

    que quiera verme,sentir mi olor,tocarme con amor,que_______ quiera abrazarme,besarme,cuidarme,protegerme,amarme las 24 horas de todos sus dias haciendo asi, que el me ame mas y que sienta placer solo por oir mi voz.

    san cipriano haga a _______________________ sentir por mi un deseo fuera del normal, como nunca sintio por otra persona y nuca sentira. que haya palcer solo conmigo,que haya deseo solamente por mi y que su cuerpo solo a mi pertenezca, que solo tenga paz si esta bien conmigo.

    te agradezco a ti san cipriano por estar trabajando a mi favor y voy a divulgar tu nombre en pago de amansar a__________ y traerlo enamorado,cariñoso,devotado,dedicado,fiel y lleno de deseo a mis brazos.

    rezar 3 dias y divulgar en 3 sitios diferentes… ya veras los resultados… ten fe!!!!!

  • This is super dope. We gotta hand out some time in NYC.


  • I don’t regret following you at all! Very nice ;-)

  • Stunning photos! Love it! <3

  • You are definitely showing us how to succeed as a modern woman without conforming in any way. I love that.


  • burkerabe

    So fashionable your dress,bag.

  • Loved this write up and I second what you’ve said about success.
    Exceptional images as always Margs!

  • Catherine Xiang

    You write so beautifully and eloquently, Margaret. I have to agree with what you said about the narrow-mindedness of Hollywood regarding women’s roles and what it means to be a successful woman. Many thanks to you (amongst many others) for breaking boundaries :)

  • Sindiso Moagi

    I have just discovered your blog and your writing is one of the best I have come across.
    Enjoyed the post

  • From Luxe With Love
  • Couldn’t agree more! Love this black and white photography too!


  • Carolina Alves

    Love this so much,you have the most mesmerizing way of writing.Maybe some day my blog will be a 1/4 of what yours is,

  • Your photos are stunning! Style is impeccable <3

  • Always love you behind the camera and in front of
    ig @grace_njio

  • Katrina Fernandez

    Wow! I love it! Soo amazing!

  • You look so damn gorgeous!! Love this post!

  • Gorgeous Photos and Look! The B&W image look made it pop! It’s so true though to what you’re saying. No woman’s success is universal. Because I’ve had several unique jobs trying to find where I fit best. I fumbled and fell but, got back up and made a new path. I measure success by what I know I am continuing to accomplish in my own personal journey with myself and Jesus. Sure to some that sounds weird but for me, it’s personal and with each hour, day, month, and years and years to come I only improve that much farther spirtually, financially, physically, mentally, and more! I don’t need to buy what’s trendy or try to be cool like this girl or that girl. I just need to feel happy in my own skin <3

  • Katheryn

    Interesting thoughts on the modern ingenue! Particularly love “here is no universal image of success,” and “success is not even the pay-off of hard work – it’s just the acceptance of said hard yards.” This is a great nuanced understanding of femininity, power and modernity.

  • Love the black and white photos here! xx
    Carissa |


Margaret Zhang 章凝 is an Australian-born-Chinese filmmaker, photographer, consultant and writer based between New York and Shanghai. Since establishing her website in 2009, Zhang has gone on to work with global brands including CHANEL, 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. Zhang’s directing, photography, and styling has been employed by the likes of VOGUE, L’Officiel, Harper’s BAZAAR, NOWNESS, 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 four consecutive years. CNN has identified Zhang as a leading fashion photographer in Asia and ELLE named her the region’s most influential digital voice. 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. In 2018, co-curated the first annual FOREFRONT Summit focused on inter-industry problem-solving at all scales of business. From this king summit, Zhang developed FOREFRONT+ – a round table series of candid conversations covering subject matters of universal concern. In 2019, THE FACE Magazine engaged Zhang as Creative-Director-at-Large for Asia for its relaunch. Zhang is currently working on her first feature film.


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