Have you ever imagined yourself running your own magazine or even your own business? If so, you’re in for a treat. I had the opportunity to interview the editor of “SLOWhat?” magazine, Asia Croson, who also happens to be a Cal Poly SLO alumna (’11). She had a lot of insightful information about the beginning stages of her career and she definitely had some real advice on life.
So, can you tell me a little bit about yourself? Also include one quirky thing about you.
A: I graduated from Poly in 2011. I got my degree in foreign languages. I lived in France right after college. That was the only thing I knew what to do with my degree. And that’s where I learned photography. Over there, I tried a little bit beforehand but that’s where I got to practice. I love dancing. I love crocheting. In the fall season, when I am not doing senior pictures, I am literally spending hours on the couch crocheting.
Did you see yourself starting a magazine when you first graduated from Cal Poly?
A: I always wanted to be a magazine editor. I though it was really cool. No. Maybe before college, but not during school. And then as soon as I started doing photography, I wanted to make a magazine because that’s such a great excuse to do great photos. I love writing and I wanted an excuse to be more involved in the community.
Why did you want to start the magazine in the first place?
A: I really had so many photos I didn’t know how to show off in like an awesome way. I’ve always wanted to be a magazine editor and then I realized that like I can literally do anything with my life and with my business.
How did you end up naming it “SLO What?”
A: “Actually my friend Paige copy named it. We wanted to do something about SLO. But we didn’t want it to be the San Luis Obispo Magazine. I wanted it to be representative of San Luis Obispo. I think we were just trying to think of funny puns with it so we came up with “SLOWhat?”
What can readers expect to see when they read through the magazine? What can they expect to see in the future?
A: They can definitely expect to see fashion trends that are going on that you can buy at local boutiques. Also you will definitely get to see people that you know in the magazine. None of our models are professional models – they’re all students. [You] definitely can expect to see other students who are starting their own businesses, which I really love. We are hoping to feature anyone on campus who does that kind of thing. We want students to feel of this as place for them to show off. And we also do coffee shop of the month so I’m hoping to show people different coffees shops. Definitely getting to know me a little better through it as we try to put in a little bit about me and my experiences in there.
Now I want to transition into a little personal topic. How did you find your passion for photography? What inspires you?
A: One of my girlfriends was graduating in December and no one was making a big deal out. And so I took all these photos and she like cried. She thought they were so amazing and I knew she struggled with self-confidence. It was just amazing that I could make her feel so good. Nothing I could say with words could make her feel the way she did when I took pictures of her. It was a profound way to make my friends feel good. Seeing how people respond to my photos is inspiring for me. I ask my clients what they are trying to say and make that part of their shoot so they can make their point.
What advice do you give to increase their self-confidence?
A: I have done things that I’ve felt like may be impossible and I don’t know why I did them. I didn’t even have the confidence to do them. When I went to Australia for example, I didn’t even think of it. I’m going to do it because that was successful. Not only does that give me confidence, it will let me know that it is going to be okay So much less of having faith in yourself and more of having confidence. And taking care of yourself and investing in yourself; always showing up and making sure you do the best you can do.
How do you recommend students to take advantage of SLO?
A: Get off campus! It’s also very important to find a place you love and invest in that place. Being a regular is so fulfilling. Taking the chance to get to know people makes you feel so tied into the community…and not being scared to do the trendy thing.
If there were one piece of advice you would tell your college-self, what would it be and why?
A: At least for my college life, getting more hands on experience and hanging out more or sitting on the couch with my friends. It would be nice to be with my friends more often. I went out a lot because this is the time to do it and I took advantage of it.
Is there anything else you would like our readers to know about you?
A: I would love if anyone wants to be featured to feel free to reach out because we are always looking for more students to feature. My favorite quote is “She designed the life she loves.” I always want to encourage people to look at their life and if they don’t like something to do something different – because you can.