Stunning, immaculate photography paired with a witty, flowing writing style is the perfect recipe for my ideal blog. Ever since I discovered Megan’s Blog ‘The Briar Rose Blog’ back in the summer, I have found it hard to resist checking her blog daily, with her gorgeous photography, unusual but girly styling and engaging writing style, revealing small snippets about her day. The 20 year old aspiring writer started her blog in 2011, and has since modelled for brands such as Yumi and Crown & Glory. So, I was delighted when Megan agreed to be featured on my blog, as part of my ‘favourite blogger’ interviews section, which will be updated every fortnight or so. If you haven’t yet read Megan’s blog, you can find it here.
Scarlett London: What initially inspired you to set up your blog?
Megan McMinn: I’d just finished my A Levels and had a few months to kill before moving to university. My family are based in rural Cornwall, and without some kind of creative outlet I knew I’d go stir crazy. My main interests at the time were writing, fashion and photography, and after stumbling across a few other fashion blogs it felt like a natural direction to go in. I already spent an inordinate amount of time online, lurking on writing forums and posting stories and photos on Deviantart, but I wanted something more personal. I knew next to nothing about blogging when I first started out, but I learned as I went along.
SL: Your blog and photography have a very romantic, dreamy feel to them. Is this intentional in the way you edit/shoot them or is it just how they turn out?
M: I think in the earlier days it was just how they turned out, and people seemed to like that. I’d studied photography for a couple of years at college, and it was simply the way my style had developed. Whilst it is still generally an unconscious thing, nowadays I’m more aware of the aesthetic of my blog on the whole, and I suppose to a degree everything I do is intentional. I’m turning into a bit of a perfectionist with age.
SL: A lot of blogger alternate between using self timer, or (quite often) their boyfriend to take their outfit photos for them? Do any of the two apply to you?
M: My fiance is a huge help and shoots all of my outfit photos. He’s a bit of a shutterbug, and photography has always been something we’ve bonded over. We’ve got the process figured out now, and shooting an outfit only takes a few minutes out of his day. All of the lifestyle photos on my blog are taken by myself. I’ve tried using a tripod and self timer for outfit posts, but the results are never quite the same – maybe one day I’ll figure it out!
SL: I loved reading about your engagement proposal at Disneyland Paris! I don’t think I could think of something more sweet and romantic if I tried! I can imagine your wedding will be very fairytale like too, so I can’t wait to see it! Are you still keeping your wedding blog going, and do you have any plans for the special day yet?
M: The wedding is due to take place in September 2014, so our current plans are minimal. All we know for sure at the moment is that we’re going to put my parents place in Cornwall to good use, so we’ve been researching marquees and caterers. Naturally I have loads of ideas and spend every spare moment pinning like a mad woman, however the full-blown planning won’t begin until autumn this year. I’ve put the wedding blog on hold for now. I got a little over-excited when we got our engagement shoot photos back from the photographer and rushed the launch without considering the fact that I wouldn’t have much else to write about for a while. I’ll most likely be relaunching it later on this year.
SL: You and your sister (as I saw in a recent post of yours) have the worlds most amazing hair, quite literally – it’s long and it’s healthy! Do you have any hair secrets for those wishing to grow their hair (like me!)? Or are you just blessed with good hair genes?
M: There are definitely some good hair genes in our family, and our mum has always encouraged us to keep our hair long. Naturally I rebelled when I was younger and cut it to shoulder length, but I regretted it almost instantly. My main hair tips would be resisting the urge to wash it daily, keeping heat styling to a bare minimum, investing in good hair treatments (my life saver is Lush H’Suan Wen Hua) and securing it in a loose braid at night to stop it getting tangled and frizzy.
SL: I think your hair is one of your defining features, as it can often wash people out – but on you it looks fantastic, and very natural! Would you ever go for a different colour, or are you a loyal redhead for life?
M: I first dyed my hair red when I was fourteen, and since then I’ve attempted to change it twice, once going black-brown, once chocolate brown. Both times I got bored within a month and was reaching for the red dye again. I’ve been red for the best part of six years, and I can’t see myself making a drastic change anytime in the foreseeable future. I feel so much happier and more confident as a redhead than I did with my natural dark blonde, mousy hair. It wasn’t me.
I’ve always liked the idea of modelling, but considering I’m a few sizes larger than your typical model (and I have a bust) it was never something I expected to happen!
SL: Do you have any tips for fellow redheads who want to maintain their vibrant colour?
M: Semi permanent dye mixed up with conditioner is a great way to keep your colour refreshed between dyes, and it’s far kinder to your hair than standard bottle hair. Every few weeks I mix a tube of Live Colour Ultra Brights in ‘Pillar Box Red’ with a generous dollop of Aussie Three Minute Miracle for coloured hair and a couple of tablespoons of H’Suan Wen Hua, smother it over my lengths, secure it in a topknot and watch a film before rinsing it out. It does the job nicely.
SL: In addition to running your blog, you also model for several brands. Was this something you ever wanted or thought you were going to do?
M: I’ve always liked the idea of modelling, but considering I’m a few sizes larger than your typical model (and I have a bust!) it was never something I expected to happen. Last winter I entered Company magazine’s Casting Call competition – on the basis that they were looking for ‘real women’ – and ultimately ended up doing a beauty shoot for their May 2012 issue. That was a huge confidence boost, and following it I applied for more jobs and entered more competitions. Blogging has helped me feel more at ease in front of the camera, and I ended up doing shoots for Dahlia, Yumi, Crown and Glory and Mod Dolly. I only hope my luck continues this year!
SL: You have a really unique style, but pull it off so well! Do you have any style inspirations – or do you just pick out what you like?
M: Like most girls, I have my style icons (Karen Elson, Dita Von Teese, Florence Welch), but in no way do I try to emulate them. Karen and Florence are both long and slim, and Dita is short and curvy – I’m tall and curvy, so their styles just wouldn’t work for me. I wear what I think looks nice, taking into consideration what works for my figure. I try not to over think my wardrobe – that’s when I feel my outfits start to look a bit contrived and overly put together. I just wear what I feel like wearing.
SL: What are your top 5 favourite places to shop?
M: Sales, shops with nice changing rooms, second hand shops, online and anywhere that sells pretty cakes.
SL: I understand you are a keen writer (and we can definitely see your talent shine through on your blog), will you ever post snippets of some of your short stories on your blog?
M: For the time being, no. I just don’t feel my blog is the place for that. I’m still fine tuning my story telling, and I don’t want to bore my blog readers with my half formed ideas. However, I have been talking with some illustrator and photographer friends about possibly combining our creative mediums for a collaborative project, but it’s largely in discussion for the time being. Watch this space!
SL: Is writing or becoming an author the ultimate dream for you?
M: Being a fashion writer is my aim once I’ve finished my degree, however it would be a dream if I could someday get a novel published. Young adult fantasy fiction is my favourite genre to write, however for the time being I’ve geared my writing, studies and blogging to a more journalistic angle, so fantasy doesn’t get much of a look in for these days. The great thing about writing is that you can always go back to it, and whether I get a novel published when I’m twenty five or fifty five, I’ll be happy. For now I’m keeping my writing in the real world and focusing on my blogging and journalistic writing – the ‘sensible’ thing to do.
SL: Your blog mainly covers lifestyle and fashion, however do you think you will cover beauty in the future? Or will you always stick to fashion?
M: I toyed with beauty when I first started blogging, but it wasn’t for me. I’m not a beauty buff. I only found out what primer was recently, I smear on my foundation with my fingers and I sometimes use hairspray to set my eye make up. It was only a matter of time before I turned readers away with my shocking beauty habits. I might start to post more beauty related content in the future, as my skin inevitably begins to decline and I become more dependent on beauty products, but for now it’s taking a back seat, getting a look in every now and again when mixed up with other content.
I’m aware there’s a bit of a glossed, ‘aspirational’ feel to my blog, so video blogging could be an interesting way to counteract that.
SL: You’ve recently started vlogging (and I love your first video by the way!), which seems to be the perfect accompaniment to blogging recently. Was it nerve wracking filming the first video? And what can your readers/youtube watchers expect from you in the coming weeks?
M: Oh, it was hugely nerve wracking! Video blogging is a whole new kettle of fish, and whilst it’s something I’ve been interested in for a while, there was so much holding me back. Would people be put off by the shoddy camera quality? Would loyal readers scarper the moment they heard my surprisingly deep voice? Would I be able to relinquish the control of the written word, and reveal to the world that sometimes I’m a bit of a wittering idiot? I’m glad I manned up and did it because the response to my first video was hugely encouraging. Whilst a lot of my video material will be predominantly geared towards fashion and lifestyle, I’m also interested in taking it in a somewhat different direction. I’m tempted to start talking about real life issues, to open things up for discussion. I’m aware there’s a bit of a glossed, ‘aspirational’ feel to my blog, so video blogging could be an interesting way to counteract that.
SL: What would your advice be to any aspiring fashion bloggers?
M: Have your favourite bloggers, and look to them for guidance, but don’t try to be them. Bring something new to the scene and stay true to your tastes and styles. Take pride in everything you post. If you look at your photos or writing and think, ‘I can do better’, then don’t post it. Take a similar stance with your social networking. Before posting a questionable tweet or Instagram photo, ask yourself if your favourite blogger would post an equivalent. Make all of your content the best it can be and people will take notice.
SL: What has been your ultimate highlight (or highlights) since setting up your blog?
M: The highlight has to be the friends I’ve made. I never expected it, and it’s changed the dynamic of my life entirely. The blogging community is welcoming and electric, and full to the brim with colourful, inspired individuals. At my birthday party last month 80% of those who attended were fellow bloggers who’ve gone from being online acquaintances to fully-fledged, friends for life. We’re like minded and we all appreciate the ups and downs of blogging. In particular Paige, of Paige Joanna (http://paigejoanna.blogspot.co.uk/), has become like a sister to me. A couple of months ago I asked her to be one of my bridesmaids!
SL: Have you had any blogging lowlights?
M: The inevitabilities of blogging; nastiness and content theft. I once found a forum thread dedicated to picking apart my hair, and another time I came across comments about my size. Once I was outright emailed by somebody telling me I was too fat to be modeling, and another time I was emailed by someone scolding me for losing weight! Someone will always have something bad to say. I just keep that Dita Von Teese quote in mind, “You can be the ripest, juiciest peach in the world, and there’s still going to be somebody who hates peaches.” I’ve also found my photos floating around corners of the internet where they really shouldn’t be, but I just grit my teeth and move on.
SL: Do you find balancing your blog and being a student difficult?
M: In short, yes. To some degree I’ve had to sacrifice my social life, but if that means I’m one step closer to a career in fashion writing then so be it. I don’t have as many nights out as I used to, but that doesn’t bother me hugely. I still manage to get coffee with my friends every week or so and that’s enough for me. It’s hard work, but I know I have more time to invest in blogging now than I will once I’ve graduated. Pushing my blogging over the next couple of years could make all the difference to my future.
SL: Where do you see yourself and your blog in 5 years time?
M: I’m wary to make any predictions, but I’d like to say nicely established, ticking over with a number of projects on the go. I know I’m never going to be a big name, and I’m perfectly happy with that. As long as I still have a readership, I’ll keep blogging, and we’ll see what opportunities come along as the years go by.
SL: Will blogging ever become a full-time activity for you? Or will it always remain a hobby?
M: If I could make a living from blogging, I would in a heartbeat. I’ve had the time of my life blogging, and to make a living doing what you love is the ultimate dream. I’d love to think that there’s a possibility I could someday, but until then I’ll be investigating internships and aiming for fashion magazine work.
** Please note, all the images used above belong to Megan and have been taken from her blog directly. I do not take credit for them, they are used purely for reference purposes only.