Alumna Grace discusses her role as a Beauty Editor and Content Manager
Since completing her MA in History, Grace now works as a Beauty Editor and Content Manager for BEAUTY BAY. Whilst studying for her BA and MA, she worked in beauty retail and had a blog that reviewed beauty products. Towards the end of her studies, this led into freelance beauty writing opportunities and shortly before graduating, she was offered a salaried writing position at BEAUTY BAY, a Manchester-based beauty e-commerce site. After working her way up over the years, she now manages her own team of copywriters.
Why did you originally choose to study your course at Manchester?
“After graduating with my BA in History, I knew I wanted to continue my studies further and hone my interest in on the Victorian era. Aside from offering a number of modules specific to this era, Manchester itself is so rich in Victorian history and I really wanted to immerse myself. I knew I’d be well-served by the wealth of archival history up here – and after three years in Oxford I missed being up north!”
Did you always know you wanted to do the career you’re in?
“My aim upon enrolling on the MA programme was to pursue a career in academia (I was particularly interested in Victorian architectural history!), however during my two years at Manchester (I studied part-time), my freelance writing career really took off and ended up leading me in a completely different direction. The UK beauty industry is very London-centric and can be hard to break into if you’re not based in the capital but I did everything I could to strengthen my skillset so that this wouldn’t be an issue. Studying part-time gave me the flexibility I needed to do freelance writing, build up a social media following, and work in beauty retail, but it also gave me time to figure out my options and decide which route I wanted my career to go down.”
How did your course set you up for your career path?
“Once I knew I wanted to pursue a career in the beauty industry, I tried to find areas within each of my modules where I could bring in subjects like beauty, cosmetics, and femininity. The element of freedom in an MA course (compared to BA) allowed me to do this and my tutors were incredibly supportive. In fact, I ended up writing my dissertation on attitudes towards makeup at the turn of the twentieth century. In addition, the research, writing, editing, and presentation skills I acquired during my studies perfectly set me up for a career in writing and editing – working in an industry that’s so highly regulated requires incredibly thorough attention to detail.”
What was the most surprising takeaway from your course that’s helped you in later life?
“A lot of people are surprised that I landed in the beauty industry after studying history, but to me it makes perfect sense. You learn so much about people, behaviour, and attitudes (and how these change over time) when you study history, which is essential in understanding how and why society is where it’s at now and why consumers behave as they do. For every seemingly new beauty trend that comes round, I can point out exactly where it originated from!”
What advice would you give to a student looking to start your course and/or join the University?
“Find your niche! History at undergraduate is a broad education, and that’s great because as an aspiring historian it’s where you need to start. But if you’re considering an MA, you’ll get so much more from it (and you’ll enjoy it much more!) by approaching it from a very specific and personal angle. No matter how niche and weird a subject area might seem, there’ll always be one more so – and your tutors will appreciate your originality and passion.
Also, make the most of still being a student and cling onto the student lifestyle for as long as you can! Postgrad feels different to undergrad in many ways, but it’s still such a good opportunity to meet people, explore a city, and have fun in ways you don’t always have the opportunity to once you enter the world of work.”