It’s hard to miss Victoria, better known as InTheFrow (pronounced ‘fro’ – it’s short for ‘front row’) if you’re looking for fashion, beauty or lifestyle inspiration. In fact, I was blithely shopping for dresses the other day when she popped up modelling a Little Mistress number, and they’re far from the only brand desperate to borrow a bit of her sparkle. At just 25 years old, the lilac-haired beauty is about to hit 100,000 YouTube subscribers, has an army of devoted followers on her website and innumerable social platforms, and has collaborated with and modelled for brands including New Look, Primark, Illamasqua and Motel. Suffice to say, she’s in a lot of demand.
Yet there’s a whole side of Victoria that rarely meets the public gaze. As well as being disarmingly down-to-earth and infectiously funny, the Manchester-born blogger is also phenomenally intelligent. She holds a first-class degree, a PhD in Mobile App Design, and a lecturing position at a prestigious university. Naturally, then, she was top of our list for #InspiringWomenWeek, and she took time out of her packed schedule to talk to us about fashion, passion, ambition – and what’s next for this multi-talented marvel.
Hello, Victoria! We’re huge fans of your work here at shinyshiny. But since famous bloggers didn’t exist when you were little, what was your dream career back then?
Back when I was teeny tiny, I wanted to be an astronaut. I was obsessed with the size and endless possibilities of space. I still am.
We fully expect to see you on Virgin Galactic one of these days. How about now, though – do you have a vision in mind for where you’d like your life to go and what you’re hoping to accomplish?
I’m hoping to continue with my blog and YouTube for as long as I possibly can, until people get bored of seeing my face. At that point, I’m thinking of moving into PR, or I’ll go back into lecturing and teach the future generation about the possibilities of marketing and fashion PR.
Oprah Winfrey once said, ‘You can have it all. Just not all at once.’ You have a first-class degree, a PhD, a highly-respected position in a university and an enormously popular fashion blog. How do you react to people who say women should lower their expectations?
I would be stunned to hear anyone say that about women, especially in this modern time. Women are incredibly successful and work just as hard as anyone else – they have aspirations and dreams of their own, and will strive to get there if they so wish. I have never been a slacker: I had high hopes of education and a career from a very young age. I’ve stuck to that and it’s got me to where I am now. I don’t regret anything other than perhaps not pushing myself even harder. Women can have high expectations, and we’re seeing more and more women becoming the most successful people in the world.
Amen! What would you say is the biggest misconception people have about you?
I have always been perceived as a dumb blonde. Ever since college, people have thought I was pretty stupid, because I had a high pitched voice, wore lipgloss and had blonde hair. It got to the point where I cut all my hair off to try to change their opinions, but it wasn’t until I realised I no longer cared what anyone else thought about me that I dyed it purple and grew it the way I wanted to.
Ahh, the amazing hair. It’s one of the things that makes you pretty recognisable – do you ever have days where you wish you could just go out without people realising who you are or commenting on your hair?
In honesty, I only get noticed possibly once a week, it’s not a daily thing. And I love to hear from people who read my blog or watch my videos, it makes it all worth it. But I do get asked a lot about my hair and again I love the compliments, but mainly on social media, where I’m asked how I dye it every single day, it can get a little repetitive. I don’t dislike any of it though. I love where I am and I love that people enjoy what I create, so I would never say I wish I could live a life different to now.
On the flipside of that, being a high-profile woman on the internet sadly often means trolling, unwanted approaches and harassment. How do you deal with that when it happens?
It’s just nasty comments from insecure people mainly. I delete their comments, block them and move on. They deserve no more time than that. I don’t get many approaches physically, thankfully, but I have had some pretty disgusting things said to me over social media which I’m embarrassed that someone else might read, especially my mum who reads all of my comments. So I quickly delete them, block them and forget about them.
So, you already know you inspire us – but who inspires you?
I’m inspired by the women in fashion who run extremely successful businesses, maintain a family and look fabulous doing it. People like Victoria Beckham, Beyoncé, Gwen Stefani and Nicole Richie live incredible lives.
Speaking of living other lives, we know you love to read – what would you recommend?
My favourite author is Chuck Palahniuk. His work is so gritty and real with some crazy scenarios thrown in. Think ‘Fight Club’. Otherwise, my favourite book of all time is ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell. It’s a classic that I’ve read several times. It just says so much about humanity – it hits you hard.
You’ve had several papers published as an academic – have you thought about writing books too?
Absolutely! I would love to write a book, probably factual as opposed to a fictional story, though.
Put us down for 10 copies. In the meantime, what apps and gadgets do you use every day?
I can’t live without my iPhone and iMac. They’re must-haves for me. The apps I adore are obviously the big guns: Instagram and Twitter, but every day I will head over to Tumblr, Static to check my stats, and YouTube to catch up on the latest videos. Then when I fancy a chill and a shop, I love the ASOS and Zara apps.
Fashion app design is one of your specialist subjects – can you tell us a bit about your extensive studies?
For my degree, I studied Design Management for Fashion Retailing, recently rebranded to Fashion Marketing. I learnt the ins and outs of the fashion industry, including the roles of the marketing and buying teams and the garment technologists. It gave me a real insight into every step, from textiles production to CAD design. I loved it. After that I went straight into my PhD, researching the designs of mobile fashion apps to establish how different designs affect the consumer, influencing everything from purchase intentions to brand loyalty.
Compared to other industries, do you think it’s easier or harder for women to succeed in fashion?
I think it’s easier for women to thrive in fashion careers. Fashion is steered towards women – that’s a fact – and it’s been fantastic to see men’s fashion really start to get the acclaim it deserves on the catwalks. Yet a great majority of women have an affinity for fashion, and that will always help them succeed in the industry.
Young girls must approach you a lot asking how they can follow in your footsteps to success. What do you say to them?
Just that they should follow their passions and go for it. Write about what they love, and be unique.
What’s the best thing anyone’s ever told you?
My parents saying that they are just so proud of everything I’ve done. It motivates me so much to carry on making them proud. I also live by the lyric ‘You Live, You Learn,’ which I have tattooed on my back. It keeps my head in the game if I come across a stepping stone.
And what’s the one thing you wish someone had told you?
That high school would soon be over, and not to worry what other people said about me – my future was just around the corner.
I also wish someone had told me to start a blog when I was 18. It took me so long to find my passion.
Yet you’ve built an incredible following in just two years. So what’s next for you? We hear you’re planning a move!
Yes, I’m off down south in January after making the decision to go full-time as a blogger and YouTuber. A number of people have offered negative opinions on my leaving work and ‘wasting my education,’ which is absolutely ridiculous. My education got me to where I am right now and I will always fall back on the things I know for the rest of my life. I can’t wait for what’s around the corner.
Follow Victoria every step of the way at InTheFrow.com, or join her legions of followers on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook for daily inspiration from this rising star. Just don’t ask her how she dyes her hair.