Meet Marjon Carlos
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ON HER MORNING ROUTINE
I’m the definition of a night owl: the creative who literally comes alive around three a.m., who finds their second wind close to dawn. But what’s been interesting about diving back into the freelance world is that I’m still up early, nevertheless. I rouse around seven or eight, check my phone for messages, pertinent emails, and then begin reading. I just read for an hour in bed and it’s such a luxurious indulgence...I almost feel criminal admitting that. I mean, working at Vogue.com of course meant that I absorbed a copious amount of news, culture, and content at an incredible pace, but this is a different type of reading. It reminds me of graduate school: just holing up in the stacks. I love it. I then head to my local coffee shop, Upright Coffee, grab a latte or I head to the bodega for a yerba mate. Both offer an incredible jolt. I then head back to my house, shower, and get to sending emails, setting up meetings, writing, taking phone calls, and my new personal favorite: developing pitch decks for the brands I’m working with.
ON HER favorite books
When I first arrived to the city in my early twenties, I had no idea what I wanted to do and what I would make of myself. That haplessness sent me spiraling, but I soon found comfort in the autobiographies of incredible, strong, influential black women. Assata Shakur, Audre Lorde...these women floundered too at my age and their stories made me realize that I wasn’t alone; that there was plenty of time to get my shit together and make a difference. Margo Jefferson’s Negroland touched me because I really saw myself in that book. It’s rare that happens, but she and I had a very similar upbringing. I loved how she unpacked the traditions and challenges of black upward mobility in America. And Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie may be best known for her feminism, but for me, her history of Nigeria—a country that holds a special place in my heart—is really how I came to love her work.
On Personal Style
I would describe my style as a bit of a hodgepodge—it’s tomboyish but feminine, relying on pieces that are easy but textured and sexy. If I can get away with not wearing a bra, it’s even better… But for real, I gravitate towards printed pieces and conceptual designs for big red carpet moments, and my everyday really revolves around great jeans, effortless dresses, and a seemingly endless array of white shoes. In fact, I have been contemplating an all-white uniform for the summer...honestly I can’t think of anything chicer than a crisp white tee and white pants when it’s 90-degrees out.
On Her favorite record
My dear, dear former colleague at Vogue was the Archives Editor. We sat next to each other for two years and she could always sense when I was going through a stressful moment; I never even had to say anything. One day I arrived at work, crazed with a deadline, and she had placed this Donna Summers record on my desk. Donna, smiling up at me, like a vision. The album’s title, “Once Upon A Time” made me immediately smile and realize why I did what I did: it’s all about dreams and achieving them. Is that cheesy to say? I don’t really care, because it’s true.
On HER FAVORITE SKINCARE PRODUCTS
I met Dr. Barbara Sturm recently and she put me onto her Darker Skin Tones line–a collaboration with Angela Bassett. I love all of the products, especially her Hyaluronic Serum. I’ll use that in tandem with Urban Skin Rx’s Cleansing Bar and Aloe Cort Calming Cream. I also use Glossier’s Milky Jelly Cleanser every morning to wake my skin up and I love Nuori’s Facial Cream, too—the packaging is fab and the consistency is wonderful. Chanel’s Sublimage Cream is great for my under eye circles and I love By Terry’s rose hand cream. I use it all the time. For skin detox, I use Aesop’s Primrose Mud Mask once a week. For lotion, I really rely upon oil: Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Oil and Herbivore Botanicals’ Jasmine Body Oil. My fragrance of choice is Balenciaga’s B. fragrance—it’s more feminine than I usually go for, but I get lots of compliments.
ON HER Makeup Routine
When it comes to makeup, it’s minimal—I like to glow, but I am not out here contouring and using lip kits. I swear by Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer in “Tan” and a dusting of MAC Bronze powder. I like MAKE’s Blot Pot for blush and Diorshow Mascara really does wonders. MAC’s “Verve” lipstick is a mainstay, but I also love “Russian Red”, “Diva”, and NARS’s “Viper” for something super dramatic. If I’m really “doing something”, I’ll put on Dior’s AirFlash Foundation, as well. I am also on the hunt for a better eyebrow “plug”, so if you have any suggestions...leave them in the comments section below. Until then, I fill them in with Anastasia Beverly Hills’ Brow Duo.
On Fusing Fashion and academia
My career is nonlinear and I like that. I always balanced these two interests of fashion and academia, so when I moved to New York after graduating from Brown I tried to find a way into the fashion world. I was a PR intern at Zac Posen and then worked in retail. But it wasn’t fulfilling to me, and I found my interests were wandering back to the classroom and identity politics, so I went to Columbia for my masters in African American Studies. I worked with an incredible mentor—Dr. Manning Marable—who told me I should be a cultural critic, but as I left grad school I found myself back in fashion, working first at Net-A-Porter as a Personal Shopper, then Moda Operandi, and Saks.com. I was writing, though—first for Huffington Post and soon I was interviewing Solange Knowles for Lurve Magazine. That encounter led me to being tapped as Saint Heron’s founding Arts and Culture Editor. From there, I went on to launch my freelance writing career and began contributing to a host of publications from The Fader, ELLE.com, and eventually Vogue.com. I freelanced for the site for about a year when the Senior Fashion Writer role came about and I leapt at it.
I am inspired by people’s stories. I love fashion—no doubt about it—but I think my background in gender and race studies has always had me approach the subject from a different angle. I’m interested in the intersection of style and culture; how the implications of race, class, gender inform a trend, designer, or influencer. My work has also been fundamentally based upon underscoring the voices and impact of POC. I loved bringing unusual suspects to Vogue.com and broadening the idea of who we believe to be trendsetters.
On What's Next for her
For me, this next stage in my career is about interfacing directly with my audience, creating special moments with brands I respect, and using my platform to become more of a respected voice on the subjects of race, culture, and fashion.
Marjon's Favorite Books
Marjon's Favorite Records
Marjon's favorite places
Best Brunch: Sauvage
Best Bar: Achilles Heel
Best Coffee Shop: Upright Coffee
Best Gallery/Museum: Jack Shainman Gallery
Best Park: Central Park North 110th
Marjon's favorite movies