Far From Home But Closer To Her Goal, Candace Stewart Forges A Fashionable Path In Media
Perhaps more important than achieving a successful career are the steps you take to build one. Candace Marie Stewart is stepping lively, in pumps, which you can find her wearing with a refreshingly attainable mix of mass market, vintage, indie, and designer labels on her blog MarieMAG.
With each styled ensemble and attendant affirmation, Stewart champions the “every girl” with an eye for Fendi on a Forever 21 budget.
The 26-year-old blogger, whose style has caught the eyes of street style photogs from Glamour to Face Hunter, is well cast as a fashion heroine. At 22, the Central University of Arkansas finance major left home for New York, though her parents wanted her to stay local. She snagged an internship in Vogue’s accessories department, and put in 13-hour days at the magazine while working towards her Marketing MBA at Seton Hall University. Today, she serves as executive assistant to the publisher of People magazine and Essence.com’s Fashion Closet editor.
“My message is simple,” she writes in the description of a video teaser about her continuing climb. “If you have a dream, goal or ambition, strive for it… I moved to New York because I have a goal. Have I fully accomplished that goal? Not at all, but I am definitely a lot closer.”
We asked the enterprising fashionphile what it took to follow her passions more than a thousand miles from home, and got her thoughts on what Lupita Nyong’o could mean for diversity in fashion and mainstream media.
MadameNoire: Your family wasn’t keen on you leaving Arkansas to pursue a fashion career in New York. What path did they want you to take?
Candace Stewart: My parents started a church, Agape, when I was two years old and have been working there ever since. My parents would have preferred me to work in the church and help with the ministry. I personally felt that working in the church was their mission in life and not necessarily mine.
MN: What were your parents wrong — and right — about as far as you starting a new life in New York?
CS: My parents were right about the fashion industry being hard and that I did not know anyone when I moved here. However, they were wrong in saying that I eventually would come back home. What they didn’t see was that I had tenacity and faith that would help me when times got tough, and to pursue my dreams no matter the cost.
MN: Speaking of dreams, how did you get the internship at Vogue?
CS: I got the gig by simply applying through the website, but I made sure to check the website every day so that I would be one of the first to apply.
MN: What’s the biggest misconception about Vogue and Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour?
CS: I had several interactions with Anna Wintour throughout the hallways and even [ran] a couple of errands for her. …People portray her as the “devil,” but I just view it as sexism. If she [were] a man, no one would have anything to say, and would have nothing but admiration and praise for her. However, as a society we still struggle with women in power.
MN: You had a non-stop schedule working at Vogue and getting your MBA. What’s your advice for maintaining balance while building a career?
CS: Make time for yourself and make sure to rest. It’s really easy to get caught up with getting ahead and thinking about the next thing, but that will drive you crazy. Whether you have to take out an hour to go for a walk or do something as simple as treating yourself to a manicure, taking that time out for yourself will give you time to breathe. My most creative moments come after I’m well rested.