Anna James
Style Editor for LaurenConrad.com, Contributing Style Columnist for Vanity Fair. Blogger, merchandiser, brand consultant, wife, and extreme animal lover. 

Since the launch of Fash Boulevard in 2011, I have been blessed with some of the sweetest and most loyal followers a girl could ask for. It's because of all of you that so many fabulous doors have opened for me.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Below are a few answers to my most asked questions. 

Life before Fash Boulevard?
Okay, so you know those really embarrassing, unglamorous, awkward movie flashback scenes that usually lead to a lot of cringe-watching? That was pretty much how I spent the majority of my youth. Minus the braces and bangs -- why do they always have braces and bangs in flashback scenes? Growing up in a small southern town on the East Coast, I often found myself feeling restricted; financially, physically, creatively- you name it. I had a slew of dreams that I convinced myself were too big to ever bother pursuing. Like so many girls, I was bullied terribly in high school for my weight and bad skin. I dreaded lunch hour like the plague; thank goodness for bathroom stalls. Towards the middle of my junior year, the teasing escalated so rapidly, that I began homeschooling. I've always thought of myself as an outgoing introvert. Maybe it's the Scorpio in me, but I remember telling myself during those few months of homeschooling, that this would be the last time I ever let others dictate my life. And more importantly... the last time I would ever allow myself to give up. I returned to school at the beginning of my senior year, took my life into my own hands, and decided to start chasing every dream I ever had. 

When college rolled around, Justin (my then high school sweetheart, now hubby) moved to LA to be a screenwriter. In order to survive the long distance, I became as busy as possible. This included losing 70 pounds, nailing my school work, and becoming the graphic design head of a small philanthropic group that designed handbags for World Hunger. The experience was truly life changing and helped me to realize how important it is to find ways to give back through your passion. Discovering a positive way to thrive behind the scenes in the fashion world became my number one goal.

Every year, BCBG Max Azria headquarters picks two interns from thousands of applicants across the country. It's the opportunity of a lifetime and the scout was coming to Auburn my senior year. After a few embarrassing "poor me" incidents, I found myself chasing down the scout as she hurried to catch a flight. I don’t know if it was the nerves or the possibility that this might actually work, but somehow the impromptu meeting went well and two months later I found myself driving across the country to start my dream internship in LA. 
After a summer filled with highs and lows and enough youth culture references and vocal fry to fill a Devil Wears Prada sequel, the real journey began. I landed a job as a visual merchandiser for a multi-branded company, where I oversaw 26 Bloomingdale's and Macy's in Southern California. As someone who has always suffered from social anxiety and shyness, the role of boss-lady over a throng of workers twenty years my senior was a little panic-inducing. And most definitely isolating. The job was six days a week and entailed constant travel, so I was never in one store for more than a few hours. Making friends was nearly impossible. After a year of hard work, the job came crashing down unexpectedly when the company decided to let all of their out-of-state girls go just days before Christmas. I suddenly found myself jobless, broke and thousands of miles away from my friends and family. I had no idea it was the best thing that ever happened to me. At the time... I just wanted to hibernate under the covers and binge watch anything with Jennifer Aniston. Instead, I went for one of those long "what am I doing with my life" walks. You know that scene in Clueless, where Cher wanders through Beverly Hills to Celine Dion's "All By Myself"? That was quickly becoming my reality -- only way less glamorous. Think Ventura Boulevard, with homeless people. And sweatpants. 
I needed to find a job where I could be my own boss. I had so many ideas for my life. So many ventures I knew I wanted to tackle. But in order to get people to listen, you have to have a voice. At the time, there were only a few dozen fashion blogs, so the industry took notice pretty quickly. Six months after the launch of Fash Boulevard, my old employer made an offer to re-hire me. At the time, I wasn't making any money, but I knew backtracking wasn't the right choice, so I politely declined. It was the best decision I ever made. 

A few months after launching Fash Boulevard a reader reached out informing me that Lauren Conrad was holding a contest to find a guest blogger for her website for three months. I’ve never won anything before, but I'm a big believer that everything happens for a reason, so I entered at the last minute and as luck would have it, after weeks of style challenges, I ended up winning. We instantly hit it off and after three months of contributing, I was asked to join Team LC. It’s been three years and counting and I’m so thankful to get to work with such a great group of ladies.

What is your hope for Fash Boulevard?  

The biggest message I hope to give girls is that no town is too small for big dreams. In high school, I would gaze at the TV watching The Hills imagining what it would be like to live a life I never thought was possible. Now, all these years later, Lauren is one of my bosses and I'm lucky enough to work with her every week. My hope is that girls will look at Fash Boulevard as proof and inspiration that anything is possible, as long as you're willing to put in the work and believe in yourself. 

What is something people would be surprised to learn about you? 

I think people would be surprised to learn how silly and self-deprecating I am. One of my dreams is to be an SNL cast member -- all though I'd probably never have the guts to actually commit to it. I'm also an incredibly private person. If it's not Fash Boulevard related, I don't really put it out there... anywhere. Not even my personal Facebook page. I think you have to have that separation. Let's see... I was also the president of my Chorus class in high school and the Vice President of Best Buddies. I spend my nights dancing around like a fool and browsing doggy adoption sites, and I'm happiest when planning a future project. I had perfect attendance throughout college and graduated at the top of my class.  I'm obsessed with the ladies of "The Real" and Wendy Williams. My favorite TV show is Super Soul Sunday on Own and almost anything on TLC. My husband writes TV shows, so it's a constant battle between scripted and reality TV in our house. :) 

What is the hardest part about blogging?

One of the hardest things about blogging that I think a lot of ladies face is the perception of blogging. It's a lot more than just iced coffees and strolls on the beach. For a lot of us, it's just one of our jobs. I work 14 hours a day, six days a week. When I'm not working on all things LaurenConrad.com, I'm writing and editing articles, consulting with companies and usually scrambling to play catch up on  one of my husband and I's seasonal businesses. Sometimes, it's difficult to explain to people that Fash Boulevard is only 10% of what I do for a living. I understand where the confusion comes from. Fash Boulevard is the only part of my life that I share publicly.  I try very hard to keep everything else very  private. I think this is a challenge a lot of ladies that work in the digital world can relate to. 

kTo check out all my wedding post, be sure to click here.

Who takes your pictures?

My incredibly supportive husband, Justin. He's the only person I know with dreams bigger than mine and somehow he still finds time to do whatever I ask of him. I’m a very lucky girl! To give you an idea of how creative and amazing he is, just read how he proposed to me here.

What inspires you?

I thrive best in creative chaos, so working a job where the creative landscape is constantly evolving is a major necessity for me. Working in the digital realm is a dream come true for creative minds in search of an outlet. 

What's your favorite thing about blogging?

 I love discovering smaller brands with a purpose. If it wasn't for the relationships and knowledge that I've learned from working closely with up-and-coming dreamers, I don't know if I'd still be blogging today. I've never been comfortable in front of a camera. My passion has always been behind the scenes. Blogging is so much bigger than fashion to me. Nowadays, there's a bigger meaning to buying a bag or promoting a company. I love working with companies like The Little Market, Sseko Designs, and The Shine Project, who travel the world providing jobs and education to talented artisans who handcraft these amazing pieces. It's all about finding that bigger purpose. That's ultimately what drives me.

Work hard and they will notice.

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