Margaret Zhang

Behind the scenes of The Collective Cover issue 16


Blog: Shine By Three

Location: Sydney


Instagram: 295,491

Facebook: 24,142

Twitter: 16,500

How did you get started?

I’d just decided to step back a little from a full-time ballet career, and wasn’t really getting the same creative fulfillment from maths, economics and chemistry at school. Through ballet, I’d dabbled in costume design and looked to Viktor & Rolf, Raf Simons and Jean Paul Gaultier for inspiration on a couture front. I also took film photography after class for about a year, mostly shooting still life and finding odd ways to develop prints in the darkroom. So, when Shine By Three began as a 2am frustration, it was very much about art and design, and a bank of inspiring imagery that I’d filled my hard drive with.


What’s a typical day like for you?

Exercise before class, meetings and shoots between classes, emails, my man, readings, admin and family after class. Sleep (not enough), eat, repeat (forever).

How do you balance clients while also remaining true to your own voice on the blog?

My blog, in essence, is authentic. I don’t offer advertising. I don’t offer sponsored posts. If I work on a project with a client, I’m either entirely behind the scenes as an ideas person or they are utilising my skills as a photographer, stylist, writer, model, whatever we feel is the most beneficial to the marketing objective (both for my brand and theirs). Sure, I might share the results on Shine By Three, as my readers are interested to see what I’ve been working on as a part of a journey that many of them have been following for years, but the blog itself is not a money game. It’s more valuable to me to have long-term working relationships with clients that aren’t skin-deep. My parents taught me that, not business school.


How has your blog changed since you started out?

The digital space has changed so much since I started my website, so I’ve evolved my content to capitalise on that as much as possible. My website is now more stylised, more considered and with more writing and imagery, but posting less frequently – the constant updates only need to happen on Instagram and Twitter, where the process of producing all of this editorial content can be shared, too.


What was the weirdest thing about filming Fashion Bloggers?

Tiny interruptions like: “Hold up – Margaret, could you put that almond back in the packet and eat it again?”, which are more hilarious than anything else. I’m not a terribly dramatic person, so in that sense I wasn’t worried at all (at the end of the day, I’m just a massive nerd who likes to shoot pictures and make things look nice). My main concern was that editors and producers wouldn’t fully understand every facet of how I work and leave things out – so we’ll see what they’ve learned about me over the past couple of months!


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