How a Luxury Fashion Reporter Juggling $100,000 of Debt Survived a World of Exclusivity, Wealth, and
At age 27, Brooklyn-based freelance reporter Bethany Biron already has bylines in major media outlets like The Washington Post and USA Today. But it was her very personal story about the price women pay to maintain a “certain look and aesthetic” that made She-Compass want to connect with Biron through the power of conversation.
All that Glitters Isn't Gold
A former luxury fashion reporter, Biron published a story in VOX’s “The Goods” that epitomizes a Finding Our She-Compass mantra: That when our “sense of self is pure and strong” we are less inclined to “define ourselves through material things. We are instead an impenetrable fortress of self-esteem, daring others to be a part of our world instead of begging to be a part of everyone else’s.”
In “I Was a Luxury Fashion Reporter $100,000 in Debt,” published this past September—just in time to present an alternate view of the luxury-brand, high-fashion scenery splashed across the world’s dominant magazines—Biron describes life as a struggling New Yorker trying to navigate a world predicated on “exclusivity” and “staggeringly stark divides.” She is a young woman living in one of the most expensive cities in the world attempting to manage a mind-boggling amount of student-loan debt on a reporter’s salary. Biron was playing the game so many of us have at some point in our lives: Trying daily to put her best face forward while not breaking the bank to do it.
Freelance reporter Bethany Biron
“I never cared much about wealth or status,” Biron writes in the article, “but I could never quite shake the idea that the luxury fashion I wrote about wasn’t intended for me. I could not afford a single thing I wrote about. The paradox of eating beans and rice for dinner one night while attending a lavish fashion soiree the next turned into a tiresome charade.”
Embracing Our Personal Power Makes Us Powerful
So fully does she encapsulate the woman who has found her She-Compass that our team knew we had to have Biron on The She-Compass Show. Watch as Biron and host Helen Owens spend a fulfilling 30 minutes discussing ways to stay true to who we are and not be “seduced by the spectacle of absurd wealth.”
WATCH: Brooklyn-based freelance writer Bethany Biron talks to She-Compass about the importance of staying true to who we are and not becoming "seduced by the spectacle of absurd wealth."
Like many of us, Biron spent most her time in a world where wealth, status, and physical perfection are valued above all else. “I’ve read stories of people going into debt just to maintain a certain look,” says Biron. “It’s unfortunate a lot of that is ingrained, systemic pressure. There was this ‘keeping up with the Joneses' with insanely wealthy people—it was hard to separate the glitzy world from reality.”
Bethany Biron enjoys a relaxing day in the New York sunshine.
But Biron also stresses that the luxury fashion beat not only helped make her the extraordinary storyteller she is today but also helped teach her to embrace the idea that “I could live my best life in a $20 Urban Outfitters dress.”
“Consumer culture is challenging, “ she tells Owens. “I don’t have a ton of discretionary income, but when you look good, you feel good. There are ways to do this that are affordable.” She points to a new generation of women who consistently value meaningful connection over a designer label. “I wrote about marketing to Generation Z when I was at DigiDay—for them, name brands are less significant. Based on research, they like unique items and personal experiences. I think that will be a shifting mindset that I hope will continue on.”
Sisterhood and Self-Love are the Real Luxury
In a world where women are incessantly bombarded with fashion images designed to make us feel connected to wealth and status, so do we. In the meantime, Biron offers some valuable advice. “Be around supportive people who care about you and aren’t caught up in your luxury items or if your hair looks perfect.” She also emphasizes the importance of self care as reminder of our worth. “It’s important to find something that is soothing; it helps in these times to have one thing to enjoy.”