Ebony-Renee Baker is a writer for ASOS and also a freelance journalist. She got her start at VICE Canada and has since written for brands like FLARE, Maclean’s Magazine, Refinery29, gal-dem, and more.
What was your first Industry job?
My first job in media was an editorial internship at VICE Canada during my third year of university. Starting my career while I was still in school was one of the best opportunities I could have had because it gave me a taste of the industry and a really useful head start.
What inspired you to start your career?
I have been a creative person since childhood, but it was during high school (and while I was trying to figure out how to turn my interests into a career) that I decided to go into journalism. Making money out of something you love was such an amazing prospect for me! So from there, I went to journalism school and have now dipped my toe into many areas of media from journalism, to lifestyle writing, to brand content, and more.
If you were not in media – what industry would you work in?
That’s a tough question because there are SO many areas of the media industry that I would still love to get involved in, but if I had to work in a different industry entirely, I’d say wellness. Fitness and self-care have gotten me through so much in my life and I’ve definitely considered becoming a fitness instructor or even working in the fitness fashion industry.
What motivates you in your work?
In my freelance career, I get to talk about matters that are important to so many people (and especially people like me) so that in itself motivates me to keep telling stories. I also really love being able to articulate things for people who might not have been able to otherwise. It’s rewarding.
What are 2 key things you have learned in your work experience?
The first thing I’ve learned is that you really do get what you give in when it comes to output vs. input. As a freelance writer, the more pitches, networking, and overall work I do not only gets me paid more, but it also opens me up to more opportunities… right down to doing interviews like these! The second thing I’ve learned is that the world is never going to be a progressive as you want it to be. You’re still going to face unconscious bias, you’re going to lose gigs and promotions because of it, and no matter how much you try to prove yourself, there are still going to be naysayers. That shouldn’t deter you though, make it make you stronger.
What has been a highlight of your career?
Definitely moving to the UK without a job prospect and landing on my feet. I got my position at ASOS a month into living in London and have built an amazing freelance network in that time, too. But I wouldn’t say the highlight was a specific job title; it’s more so that I was able to take a huge risk and have it pay off. I’m really proud of that.
What is one piece of advice you’d give someone that wants to pursue a career like yours?
Don’t have one job title or brand or company in mind. I see my own career goals only as a rough guideline because we simply have no idea what the world is going to throw at us (like a pandemic, for example). But if you want to go into media, just remember to put yourself out there at every (suitable) chance and always choose to grow.