With over 400K subscribers on YouTube, 600K on Instagram and 1.5 million views a month, Victoria Magrath A.K.A In The Frow is steadily becoming a huge influential figure in the world of social talent. Represented by the leading social talent agency Gleam Futures, her blog In The Frow draws in over 378K readers a month. As a fashion doctorate graduate Victoria definitely knows what she’s talking and writing about when it comes to fashion. She sits down with Olivia Bossert, editor of the independent magazine Atlas to chat about her background in fashion and how she’s created and raised her voice amongst all the noise within the vlogging and blogging community.
Photographed and creatively directed by Kyle Galvin and styled by Sylvester Yiu, Victoria is posed and styled in both elegant and high fashion looks, wearing a mix of high fashion and emerging brands and designers. With her trademark ombre lilac hair, combined with nude and colourful makeup looks by Jade Dixon, Victoria is a captivating vision for Atlas’s Enchantment issue.
Famous for her long, purple, luscious locks (recently ombré-d to perfection in vibrant shades of gray), Victoria Magrath is a YouTube star and a blogging sensation involved in a brand new trend in publishing. I absolutely love watching YouTube and reading blogs, so I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to interview Victoria. After researching her previous interviews, I wondered why nobody had really delved into her considerable achievements. I knew she had a PHD, and had become super successful, so why was nobody asking her about more than just eye-shadow and lip-gloss? When I met Victoria in a café in Selfridges, I was struck not only by how beautiful she is in person, but also by how normal she is. I tend to put Internet personalities on a pedestal, so when I meet someone I admire and realise that they’re just like you and me, it’s always both surprising and reassuring. We hugged and made our way to our table where she promptly ordered smashed avocado on toast, whereupon I immediately regretted having had breakfast at home beforehand. Victoria spoke to me about her childhood. “ I grew up in Wigan, in the North West of the UK. It’s just above Manchester. I had a really great childhood! I went to a great primary school where I felt really inspired. So much so that I’d love to go back there now and tell all my teachers how much I appreciated them. I was such a geek, always super studious, never wanting to be told off, always doing my best, on my best behaviour. I was brought up by my parents to be very polite and patient. However, high school wasn’t much fun.” Like most young teenagers, Victoria told me about how she had struggled at school, even going on to describe those years as the worst of her life. But high school ended and college began. “I truly became my own person at college. I got my first boyfriend. I had fun studying subjects that interested me, I got my first job, and I gained a lot of confidence.” Victoria chose a university close to home, doing a “Design Management and Fashion Retailing” degree at Manchester with two of her closest friends. “Having my friends there was great! We stuck together. I worked at Roxy — I was such a surfer chick, and really immersed myself into the university lifestyle.” As she neared the end of her degree, Victoria wasn’t too sure what she wanted to do next, but when one of her lecturers asked if anyone would be interested in doing a government sponsored PHD in Fashion, she knew it would be a good fit for her; something she’d truly enjoy. She loved learning, and wasn’t ready to leave Manchester for London, so spent a further three years earning her PHD and lecturing students. “It was in the middle of my PHD that I became obsessed with YouTube. I was looking up how to stud a pair of denim shorts, and Samantha from Beauty Crush had done a tutorial. A whole world opened up before my eyes, and I was hooked. Pretty soon I was spending all my evenings relaxing in front of YouTube. Then I discovered YouTubers’ blogs, and it occurred to me that this was something that I might also enjoy. Thanks to my degree, I had the advantage of knowing a lot about Search Engine Optimisation, so I set out to make my blog the best it could be. Initially I posted two or three articles a day, just so that people would be able to find me! I set up social media channels, and within six months I won Company Magazine’s “Newcomer Of The Year” award.” I asked Victoria why she started making YouTube videos. “Well, before I’d even discovered blogs, I found YouTube. And when I read blogs, I always wished they all had matching YouTube channels. Blogs are so 2D, and sometimes you just want to see what someone is like. I felt like people could engage more when they could actually see and hear them. That was my reasoning, so I just went ahead and did it! My first video was a sped up make up tutorial with no sound. I hate my voice! I have a weird northern accent that’s not actually that northern. My first videos were awful, and a lot of them have since been removed. Even my best friend told me that she thought they were bad. She couldn’t watch them for ages, but she can now. When you first start a YouTube channel, it’s hard to film and talk to a camera as if loads of people are watching, when you know that, in reality, not many people will see your video. It’s like, why am I bothering? But the following grows, and I’ve got used to doing it, and have become far more confident in front of the camera.” Victoria never planned on becoming a full-time blogger.
Originally, her dream career was to go and work in fashion marketing. “I would have described my dream job as a luxury brand fashion marketing manager. Yep, that’s what I wanted to do! For Burberry, ideally,” she giggles. With plans to move to London and get a job for a big brand, she worked hard and enjoyed her lecturing job, but knew it wouldn’t satisfy her forever. Working crazy hours to build up her blog and YouTube channel, Victoria would sit in her university office writing blog posts, and then write her lectures at night. Bedtime was rarely before 2am, and she would get up at 7am to go and teach. “It was intense. I was trying to finish my PHD, teach my students, and write my blog. But I just felt like I had to do it. I was exhausted and felt slightly sick all the time, but it made me so happy!” Eighteen months after she embarked on her blogging/YouTube journey, media management company Gleam contacted her, proposing representation. Victoria accepted, and in December 2014 she handed in her notice for her lecturing job and moved to London to become a full-time blogger and YouTuber. “My parting gift from the university was hilarious,” she chuckles, flicking back her long gray hair. “They said that it was fine if I wanted to leave halfway through the year, but in exchange I had to mark two hundred and twenty papers. Well, I spent most of the Christmas festivities marking those papers!” I’m always curious to know how people think certain platforms differ from each other, so I asked Victoria how she felt about YouTube and blogging. “To be honest, I prefer blogging at the moment,” she replies. “I just got my blog redesigned and I’m so happy with it. I’m really getting my mojo back. I’m working hard to make everything more polished, working alongside a photographer who helps me with my outdoor photos or I get my boyfriend Alex to take them for me. YouTube though, is far more “real”, if that makes sense? I mean, YouTube is just people like you and me, in their rooms, editing on their computers. Some people are starting to produce far more crisp, far more polished videos, and I love those as well, but I also love it when someone is just sitting on their sofa chatting to their audience. It’s so nice! I think blogs are definitely becoming more editorial, far more like magazines, which is funny because the reason blogs became so popular in the first place was because they were raw, unedited, real. Now bloggers have more money, so they can put more time into their production and really make their work amazing, just like magazines!” We chatted away for ages, Victoria nibbling on her toast while I asked her every question under the sun about her career. Our meeting took place just after the Essena O’Neil blow out had occurred online, and it got us both thinking about the future of the Internet. “I really wish I knew what is going to happen. Things like the Essena O’Neil’s story scare me. I think people are going to be doing a lot more elaborate stories like that, and I’ve a feeling people might turn away from the internet. I can see it happening more and more frequently with sponsored posts; nowadays, I always include the word “Ad” when I’ve been paid to talk about something, and a lot of people simply don’t watch those videos anymore. It’s a shame, because I genuinely love all the products I talk about. Nothing is ever a lie. I don’t have time to create content about things I don’t like. I really don’t! And if I can get paid to talk about a product that I love, then why wouldn’t I? I turn down far more than I take on. For example, I’ve recently worked with Adidas X Stella Sports, a brand I really love. They pay me so that I can create awesome content with their product, so it’s a winning situation for everyone. I also feel like there will probably be a shift soon, kind of like the way Facebook has now become a bit boring, a bit passé. Something new will come along. It scares me how fast things move, but at the same time change is what makes it all so exciting. You can’t ever get bored. It’s just impossible.” Victoria is certainly one of the smartest people I’ve met, as well as one of the most vibrant and bubbly. Like everyone else, she has no idea what the Internet will come up with next. For the moment she’s genuinely happy producing great content for her readers and viewers, and having fun changing up her hair. Personally, I’m dying to see what colour she’ll go for next!