The story of how I began writing for Style Magazines is one that not many people know, but it’s a story that I hope will encourage you in the same way it encourages me when life isn’t exactly going as I’d planned. As you’ll come to see through my brief retelling of the events, God truly works in mysterious ways and sometimes what seems like your worst nightmare is actually just a door opening towards something greater. To share this story requires winding the clock back to the spring of 2012 when I was a senior at Florida State University. My final semester of college was coming to a bittersweet close and I had just finished ordering my graduation announcements when a new email popped up from the university. I immediately clicked the notification and then read with horror that an unknowingly missed course credit meant I was still one English course away from graduating with my double major in Creative Writing and Communication Studies.
In the blink of an eye, all of my post-graduation plans came to a screeching halt and I was suddenly left with two options to receive the diploma I had worked so long and hard for: 1) Enroll in summer school and complete the missing course or 2) Substitute the missing credit with a summer editorial internship. With deadlines right around the corner, I opted for the latter and scoured the internet in search of a publication local to my hometown of Orlando that would allow me to join their summer internship program at such short notice (in spite of me having no professional writing experience). It was then, in the depth of my desperate search, that my prayers were answered in the form of an internship offer from Style Magazines.
My first article as an intern was published in the Summer Double Issue exactly five years ago. It was a Don’t Miss The Beat story about Gotye, the Grammy award-winning artist who was dominating the summer Billboard charts with “Somebody That I Used To Know.” As long as I live, I’ll never forget the moment I picked up that glossy hard copy of Orlando Style Magazine, flipped to my article, and saw my name in print for the very first time. I was filled with a sense of joy, pride and immense awe that I had never felt before. As I read and re-read over my printed words, it began to dawn on me that I was now a published writer.
From that moment on, I was instantly and irrevocably hooked to this exciting new world of editorial and luxury lifestyle journalism. As I wrote more and fine-tuned my skills, it became abundantly clear to me that despite the regrettable mistake that brought me to Style Magazines, God had me exactly where I was meant to be. Fast forward to the final day of my summer internship and I heard seven words that changed the course of my life and led me down a path of magnificent adventures and opportunities that I could’ve never imagined.
“Would you like to keep writing for us?”
As you can imagine, my response was an eager and resounding “Yes!” and it is with great pride today that I now celebrate five years of contributing to leading luxury lifestyle publications, Orlando Style Magazine and Tampa Style Magazine. I’m honored to have been published in every issue released since my inaugural Summer Double issue and this very story you’re reading marks my 160th article. In the last five years, I’ve covered every topic you could possibly think of from health, beauty and fitness to music, fine dining and celebrity gossip. I’ve met and interviewed a variety of renowned celebrities such as Imagine Dragons, Twilight’s Ashley Greene, Dan Aykroyd, Wendy Williams, Steve Madden, and many more. I’ve traveled on 15 national and international press trips including Mexico, Aruba, St. Thomas, Puerto Rico, and Curacao. I’ve even represented Style Magazines live on both local and national television and that is just the tip of the iceberg.
In the name of journalism, I’ve snorkeled with whale sharks, explored Mayan Ruins, hiked through a rainforest in a torrential downpour, slept in a teepee, hit speeds of 165 mph in a race car, driven a submersible scooter on an underwater safari, canoed across a bioluminescent bay in the middle of the night, jet skied through a Mangrove forest…the list goes on and on! Needless to say, it’s been a wild ride and an incredible five years and I can’t wait to see what other exciting adventures the future holds. In celebrating how far I’ve come as a lead Style Magazines contributor, I would be remiss not to thank my wonderful mother for her immeasurable patience in listening to me read every single article out loud before submission. Whether in person or over the phone, she has always been ready to drop what she’s doing to hear my latest story and offer her unfiltered critiques.
I laugh now as I think back on the grim email from that fateful day—the day I once dramatically called the worst of my life—and I can’t help but to thank God that something so disappointing led me to something so beautiful.