As part of International Women’s Day 2018, London South East Colleges invited fashion blogger and digital marketing professional, Reena Rai to take part in an open conversation with students at its Greenwich Campus.
The London-based fashion and lifestyle blogger joined Assistant Principal, Lisa Stubbs and an audience of over 50 students from a diverse range of courses including performing arts, media, business, health and social care and lots more.
Lisa introduced Reena and then asked a series of questions regarding her career, her lifestyle and how she maintains a safe and thriving working relationship with clients, employers and the general public.
Reena told the students that she grew up in a semi-rural community where life was relatively barren and uninspiring.
“I wanted to leave school as soon as possible and move to London,” she said; “I wanted a career doing something I enjoyed and I wanted to travel to all corners of the world.”
After leaving school, Reena studied for a degree in marketing at the University of Hertfordshire and quickly set up her blog Fashion Daydreams. She founded the blog in 2008 as a creative outlet to explore the fashion world. She has worked in social media and e-marketing roles for a number of top companies including Harrods, Tescos Clothing, Phase Eight Fashion and Design, and will soon be starting a new position with Pinterest.
She continues: “I’m now into my 30s and I feel I have achieved so much already. I come from a family of very strong women and I have always put myself amongst positive thinking people.
“The fashion marketing industry is incredibly competitive and can be very stressful. There have been times when I have suffered depression and anxiety. It’s certainly not a weakness to ask for help during times like these. I went to see a stress counsellor who helped me put many things into perspective and make me stronger.
“I was also locked in a psychologically challenging relationship at the time and this started to hold me back in my career. To add to this, my mother was diagnosed with cancer and I decided to move back home to help care for her. I took this opportunity to break up my relationship and I haven’t looked back.”
Reena took questions during the sessions; these ranged from questions about how she remained grounded to her thoughts about feminism and gender. She replied: “It’s always sensible to keep a grip on reality when working in online media. Being a very independent woman, I believe I can do anything that men can do and I’ve travelled alone to Kenya, Cambodia and numerous other countries in pursuit of knowledge and truth.
“Everything I have bought, I have paid for myself; I would never let anyone else pay for me. Only by being like this can I feel empowered and in control of my life and destiny.”
17-year-old Performing Arts student, Hanna attended the event. She said: “I came along because I’m very interested in blogging and want to track my own career in words. I wanted to hear how someone else has gone about doing this and I’ve learnt a lot. Reena is a very inspiring woman and I can relate to many of the things she has talked about today.”
Lisa Stubbs summarised the event by saying: “It’s always comforting to be in the presence of someone who has achieved so much and willing to talk so candidly about the ups and downs of their career. Reena has shared so much with our students today and has given them much to think about as well as look forward to when they leave the College.”