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Meet Calynn M Lawrence of The Fresh Faces Project

Today we’d like to introduce you to Calynn M Lawrence.

Calynn M, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I began my career as a 15-year-old fashion intern at Nordstrom downtown, where I stayed for the rest of high school. I will forever be grateful for that opportunity because it allowed me to build up a resume at a young age. It also taught me so much about the fashion industry seeing as how it gave me a well-rounded education on the retail aspect from sales, customer service and merchandising, as well as the fashion aspect of design, marketing, blogging and buying! It also opened up doors for me to also intern throughout high school at a couple of small fashion PR firms which gave me the push I needed to eventually branch out into Public Relations.

Once I graduated high school and had completed my internships, as well as a fashion position at H&M, I realized that I had grown tired of fashion retail. There were too many factors that just no longer lined up with my goals or needs as a soon to be full time, dual enrolled college student. So, I resigned from those companies and launched my own brand. I started off doing fashion/beauty/entertainment PR with a high concentration on editorial content for clients I’d gained through agency affiliation. That allowed me to pay my bills and have the financial freedom to REALLY launch The Fresh Faces Project, my nonprofit campaign that provides free and discounted PR services to underrepresented talents and small businesses.

Before I knew it, I was writing for some of the best fashion publications in the US and internationally, doing PR work with both Indie and large brands, hosting cable television for 2 years, as well as attending several red carpet events a year as a VIP media guest because of the reputation I had built in the industry. I used all of that experience to really further my reach and thus produce and release The Fresh Faces Project documentary which gained over 30,000 views in the first month. Now, I am producing Chicago Talent, my reality show focusing on underrepresented talents and businesses in Chicago, which has gained over 10,000 views within its first week of release!

Has it been a smooth road?
Most definitely not. I have had several road blocks in the path to where I am now. From being overwhelmed but extremely determined throughout college taking 7 classes a semester while trying to build businesses, dealing with the loss of loved ones and various devastating heartbreaks to now being stretched in 100 different directions trying to balance producing a reality show with my nonprofit ventures and doing PR work for various clients. It is a life that often leaves you very exhausted. I actually had to take about a month to recharge earlier this year when I’d gotten very sick and it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done but it was very needed. Even with all of that, I am glad that I chose the path I did in my career because I feel fulfilled, and my main goal in life is to feel like I did something to help better myself and others.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am primarily a publicist, which is what I am known for mostly because everything I do ties back to my skills in PR. Whether it’s my nonprofit work through The Fresh Faces Project, executive producing Chicago Talent or doing my work for my clients, it always goes back to my marketing. I specialize in editorial marketing as writing has always been a passion of mine and one of my greatest talents. So, that means that getting articles or content published is my strength in terms of PR tactics.

I think that I am most proud of the fact that I have been able to make a difference in the lives of so many talents and small businesses by offering my help to them. I think that will always overtake any accomplishments that I gain outside of that. I feel this way because I know that it’s what I am supposed to do not only as a business woman…but as a person.

I think one thing that sets me apart is my age. I’m 22 years old and I’ve been busting my tail since I was a kid to get what I need done. Many people are so shocked by that when they hear my story but I know that it’s a good thing! I just hope to continue to progress and expand in my work.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
YES! Chicago is a very great place for fashion and entertainment work. There are only a few other cities that might benefit you more, and that’s a strong MIGHT. For instance, NYC and LA may have more power in the industry but they also have a much higher competition rate. Thus, your chances of succeeding to the level you would like are a lot smaller because there are so many others fighting for that same spot. Whereas Chicago has a much lower number of people trying to go into fashion and the arts, although still many. The closest analogy I could think of is being a “big fish, smaller pond (Chicago)” or “smaller fish, bigger pond (NYC/LA).” It just all depends on what you want in a career.


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Image Credit:
Some Photos by Masterpiece Chicago

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