Meet Marjon Carlos

Marjon Carlos Passerbuys
Marjon is a freelance journalist living in Greenpoint. Formerly the Senior Fashion Writer at and the founding Arts and Culture Editor at Saint Heron, her work explores the intersection of style and culture. Marjon’s writing has appeared on The Fader, Jezebel, Elle, Refinery29, and elsewhere.
Top, Maki Oh ;    Jeans, Vintage Levi's

Top, Maki Oh ; Jeans, Vintage Levi's


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 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.

Mina Alyeshmerni Maimoun for Passerbuys82.jpg
Self-care has taken on a whole new meaning for me recently. Months before I turned 34, I was determined to look my best, so I cleaned up my skin and joined the gym. I worked with the good ladies over at Urban Skin Rx, who after a microneedling consultation, provided me with a whole new skin regimen. It has honestly changed the way I look. I never had acne or skin problems, necessarily—I kind of look like a pre-teen, to be honest—but I don’t think my skin has been smoother or brighter than this.
— On self-care

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.


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

Jeans, Alexander Wang ;    Top, Zara    ;    Shoes, Maryam Nassir Zadeh

Jeans, Alexander Wang ; Top, Zara ; Shoes, Maryam Nassir Zadeh

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Dress, Marques Almeida

Dress, Marques Almeida

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 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,, and eventually I freelanced for the site for about a year when the Senior Fashion Writer role came about and I leapt at it.

ON Inspiration

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 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.