Kelly McCarren takes the term ‘it girl’ and throws it on its head. “I find the traditional concept of fashion and fashion bloggers extremely wanky and beyond unrelatable,” says Kelly, despite having worked in fashion for the past four years. Getting the last word is her forte, hosting a triplet of incredible podcasts and lending her hand as a wordsmith to a number of leading women’s publications. Now her own self-appointed CEO, Kelly tells Caitlin Vee why she doesn’t believe in role models and how she carved her own personal brand amid an oversaturated market. Spoiler – it’s not what you think.
“I’m horribly lazy and get extremely distracted, with most of my flaws revolving around time management and motivation,” says Kelly, admitting that she’s no stranger to being sucked into
hours of game-time on her phone. Despite this, she took her career from amateur blogger to working what many women would consider as a dream role in fashion. “I absolutely never saw myself working in that industry,” Kelly reveals, which is why she steered away from high fashion in favour of more commercial brands. “That’s why I like fast-fashion, you remove the wankiness and get the fun, which is what I think fashion should be.”
Kelly may now be a content Queen, but this wasn’t always the case. From humble beginnings, Kelly reveals her early faux pas. “When I was first introduced to influencers and the concept of a ‘nice grid,’ I became overly focused on the aesthetics… so I deleted everything on my feed and uploaded arty photos with a silly amount of filter on them.” A self-confessed ‘knob move’ that many of us have been guilty of, she thanks a brutally honest friend for telling her to cut it out.
“She told me that my personality is what people love and want to see and that I needed to stop with the highly-curated pics that also, just weren’t very good. Basically, she told me to stop being a try-hard, and that will forever be a piece of advice that changed the way I thought and acted online.”
Coming into her own with a candid vulnerability became the pivotal point for Kelly, attracting an audience drawn to her uncut content. Having the confidence to bear it all online – especially with tens of thousands of eyes on you - doesn’t come easily. When asked to spill her best kept secrets,
Kelly doesn’t sugar coat it, saying “Being myself comes down to confidence I have within me, which unfortunately has only come with age… I don’t have tips.”
While we wish we could get a how-to guide on channelling her killer confidence, Kelly says there’s one thing that’s a non negotiable for her in life.
“I can’t stress how important it is to only surround yourself with people who fuel your soul and your brain. There is no place for negativity or toxicity in my life and it irks people sometimes that I'll avoid group situations or people in order to remain away from it. I’m loyal AF but I’m also not afraid to end relationships with people if they’re impacting my mental health and happiness. Selfish? Yep.
No one else is going to put you first so if there’s a person or group of people who negatively impact your energy, lessen the contact or cut them off completely, it’s not worth it!”
There’s no shortcut to this steadfast assurance and no-nonsense approach, but there are a few things Kelly wishes she could have told her younger self.
You’ll be fine, doll. Oh, and you’re not fat.
Do more internships.
Keep up the blogging.
Stop dying your hair brown, it doesn’t suit you.
Have more fun with sex and don’t worry about ‘a number’.
Own your style, if you want to wear pink shoes and a sequined blazer, go for it.
Get Omnilux and go off the pill, it will work way better at treating your acne.
Call your grandparents more, even if they can’t hear you.
Duly noted, Kel. In our next life, Afterpay is definitely on the to-do list. X