It has been an extraordinary time to be living and writing in Myanmar; I’ve seen a country’s predicted rise end in a catastrophic fall and watched as a local hero became a global villain. After two surreal years living in the heat, commotion and faded beauty of Yangon, it’s time to pack up my life to return to London. I began my career at Cedar Communications, working on the British Airways inflight magazine High Life. I started as an Editorial Intern in 2013 and gradually built my way up to become Features Editor over five years. It was a small team, a demanding role and I was taught well. I pitched ideas that became cover stories, I organised far-flung fashion shoots on a shoestring budget and I travelled around the world to write about the next new thing, be it food, adventure or luxury. While at High Life I also learnt about the inner-workings of the content creation industry, looking at the bigger picture of what makes a magazine successful. I became involved in the digital aspect of the title, generating quick copy with eye-catching titles to entice online readers. I was also taught the nuances of content marketing and how it’s possible to create extraordinary content whilst subtly inspiring readers to book future travels. I learnt to recognise the editorial content that globally renowned brands will vie to advertise next to, and how to write advertorials for paying clients. But five years of writing about travel made me hungry for adventure of my own and I arrived in Myanmar in 2017. I chose my destination with care; at the start of 2017 Myanmar wasn’t the country that it is today. The news of the Rohingya genocide hadn’t yet breached Myanmar’s boarders and it was seemingly a place of newfound optimism and opportunity. Soon after arriving I became Editor-in-Chief of Balance, Myanmar’s first glossy magazine and the lifestyle accompaniment to Balance Fitness. There, I was introduced to the glamorous world of the Myanmar elite, from the beautiful actresses to the business oligarchs. I wrote features on CEOs, athletes, models and designers. I reviewed new restaurants and hotels, and wrote stories on city breaks to neighbouring Asian countries. My experiences gave me the ability to organise every aspect of a magazine, from curating an intriguing story list to managing a string of freelancers and working within tight budget constraints. Next, I became Managing Editor of Myanmore, a role which comprised of creating a monthly magazine, a weekly flyer as well as daily news stories for the website. Aimed at ex-pats, re-pats and international travellers, Myanmore gave me the platform to dive deeper into Yangon’s contemporary culture, with all its charms and contradictions. Two articles that I particularly loved writing was a piece on restoration projects on three of Yangon’s heritage buildings, as well as a feature on Soe Yu Nwe, the artist whose ceramic serpent sculptures earned her a place on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 for 2019. I left Myanmore in February to begin working on a long-held dream; writing a novel. It’s a sum of everything I’ve seen and felt over these past two years, the rubies and the ruins. To support myself I’ve worked as a freelance writer for Touring Bird, Google’s new travel tool, and METRO Wholesale Myanmar, the German food wholesale business that recently opened in Yangon. Though I know that I will always have urge to travel to the wilder corners of the world (the stamps in my passport range from Mexico to Mongolia), I’m looking forward to returning to life in London. It’s not just the comparative cleanliness, the way the cars will actually stop before you cross the road, or the simple joy of eating a sandwich at lunchtime, but it’s the life in London that I want to be a part of again. I love the fact that touring exhibitions from around the globe come to visit us, the fact that there’s always a new play I want to see or a new restaurant I want to try. I love the drama of the architecture, the secret corners of the parks and that moment when you walk across Waterloo Bridge to see the vast, murky Thames flowing through centuries of London life. My experiences at High Life and in Myanmar have given me a wealth of experience, a global network of contacts as well as a fresh perspective for both print and digital content. Though I’ll miss my Yangon years, I’ll return with the knowledge that the real adventure begins exactly where it started.
- Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Full Time
Reporting on topical stories in Myanmar regarding culture, lifestyle, politics and travel for a monthly magazine, a weekly flyer, a website and social media. I generated ideas for features, wrote and edited content, organized photo and film shoots with interesting public figures, from film directors to fashion designers. I met with potential advertisers, fulfilled advertorial briefs and led a team of 10 people. I also refreshed the website design and restructured the social media strategy.
- Yangon, Myanmar (Burma)Full Time
Content marketing for Myanmar’s first luxury brand, Balance Fitness gyms. With Balance magazine I tapped into Myanmar’s new-found love for celebrity culture, organizing elaborate cover shoots featuring a new star for each issue. Covering the topics of fashion, lifestyle and fitness, I worked towards subtly relating the narrative to the brand.
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