Meet the It Girl Who’s Totally Changing the Career Game

Around the Who What Wear offices, there’s no shortage of inspiration. Whether there’s a new street style It girl, Instagram star, or #girlboss on the rise, every day there’s someone new to be inspired by. But breaking into an industry—whether fashion or anything creative—is no easy feat. You need a lot of fight in you, thick skin is a must, and a witty personality always helps. Case in point: Malia James, a self-made photographer, director, and bass player who knew she would be an image-maker from a very young age. “I’ve been on a mission since before puberty,” she says. “In a way, knowing your path so young is a blessing and a curse because I’ve never had a period where I was just hanging out living.” Here, James shares her advice on what it really takes to make it in any industry.

 Scroll down for James’s five fresh tips for career success.


“So many things I’ve done in life came out of facing fears. I was terrified to sing, so I sang in a band. I was scared to talk to strangers, so I hosted a show where I interviewed bands,” explains James.


“Getting paid to do what you love is a total gift, miracle, and dream come true, but it can be very competitive. Be prepared to work hard and get knocked on your ass a lot. Failure and rejection are all a part of the journey, so get up and try again,” says James.


“Our escalating dependence to media is absolutely terrifying. Don’t get me wrong, technology is magical, but it’s so important to enjoy the moment and the place you’re in. By checking a watch for the time, I’m still able to be where I am and not answer an email or go down some rabbit hole on Instagram,” says James.


“Meditation is now a big part of my life because it helps me to slow down and work smarter instead of working harder. My goal for 2016 is to remember to take more breaks to enjoy the ride. That was also my goal for 1995 through 2015,” says James.


“I realized some time ago that whatever you’re attracted to in others is actually what you want for yourself. A few years ago, I began to find it really sexy if a man wore a watch, so that’s when I knew it was time to add one to my uniform. I love the simple, classic design of a Nixon, especially the small Kensington and the Kensington leather,” says James.


What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received? Share it in the comments below!