For this week’s edition of Writer Profiles, I sat down with Samantha Barth ’21, an editor and writer for Her Campus Conn Coll. She is a Sociology major, Economics and potential American Studies minor, as well as a scholar in the Entrepreneurship, Social Innovation, Value, and Change Pathway at Conn. Samantha talks all things academics, beauty culture, and binge-worthy TV shows.
What is your animating question for the Entrepreneurship Pathway?
As of now, it’s “Is there a link between the marketing of American beauty standards, the perpetuation of racist and sexist oppression, and women’s health issues? If so, what is the nature of it? Can systemic reforms be developed at scale and if so, how?”
What is your favorite spot on campus to study or hangout?
My favorite spot to hang out would be both coffee shops! I know that some people heavily gravitate towards one or the other, but I love both Coffee Grounds and Coffee Closet. Both are often spots I frequent to study during the day, but I prefer Shain at night (I have very temperamental study spot preferences).
What organizations/clubs are you involved with on campus?
I’m the President of Hillel, the Jewish student organization on campus, as well as the Co-Founder and President of Glamour Gals. I also host a radio show “Indie-cisive” every other Friday from 12 AM-3 AM, I am a writer and Senior Editor for Her Campus Conn, and I am a member of SafetyNet, a student group out of the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy. I also have two on-campus jobs: I am an intern at the Office of Sexual Violence Prevention and Advocacy, and I am a Student Advancement Officer (we call alumni and parents to fundraise). Through the Holleran Center, I volunteer at Spark Makerspace, an art studio co-op, as a marketing intern. I am primarily in charge of overseeing the social media strategy.
Congratulations on becoming an editor for our chapter! How long have you been involved with Her Campus Conn and how have your responsibilities changed with your new title?
Thank you! I’ve been involved with Her Campus Conn since my first semester of sophomore year. As senior editor, my main responsibilities are to edit articles before they are published, but because most people’s article drafts are pretty perfect as-is in terms of structure, clarity, and grammar, I mainly just make formatting tweaks (like adding pictures and headers) so the format of our content matches that of Her Campus National. I think that often, it’s the little changes that can really take an article to the next level.
I saw (via trusty LinkedIn) that you were a Beauty Intern for Her Campus Media and are now a National Writer and Trendsetter for HC, as well. Can you speak about what you have learned (are learning) from these experiences? What is it like to be involved with the national HC, as well as a local chapter?
I’ve absolutely love being involved with Her Campus National! It’s been super cool and rewarding to have one of my on-campus extracurriculars turn into something bigger and open doors for networking and other professional opportunities. I loved being able to intern at a company that I had a prior connection to because I actually had past experience that directly translated to what I did as a beauty intern. I’ve learned that writing for an online platform is vastly different than writing an essay for school, or even print journalism. Another lesson: although social media feels pretty fast-paced, coming up with a strategy, planning, and posting content for a professional account takes a LOT longer than you’d think!
Speaking of impressive leadership positions, you started Conn’s first Glamour Girls last year. Can you explain the club’s mission and what you have learned from starting a student organization on campus?
Glamour Gals is a national nonprofit organization that aims to end elder isolation, and all of the physical and mental health issues that arise with it, through bringing students to senior homes to give the residents makeovers. The idea behind it is that makeup is merely a tool for conversation, and that people enjoy being pampered from time to time. Doing makeup and nails is just a way for the seniors to experience physical touch and human connection. This mission really resonates with me because I am really passionate about turning makeup and beauty into a force for social change, rather than just an avenue for reinforcing sexist beauty standards. Ever since I was a little kid, I bonded with my own grandmothers over makeup. Through starting a club, I’ve learned the importance of being resilient, and how to balance being goal-oriented without being too bossy. Our club got off to a slow start where we’d struggle with meeting attendance, fundraising, and event planning, but I am so proud of how far we have come! We’ve had two makeover visits already this semester and we have at least one more in the works.
I have noticed that a lot of your academic work focuses on analyzing the beauty industry in today’s society. Do you plan to pursue this field post-grad?
I’m not entirely sure… I’ve always been into makeup and watching beauty YouTubers as a casual hobby. It wasn’t until I took Body Narratives in Technology and Media my spring semester of freshman year that I realized that issues of beauty standards and embodiment could be analyzed in a scholarly way. While I don’t know whether I want to pursue a career in the beauty industry, I love the idea of turning a casual hobby into something more productive, and in my case, that would be beauty and makeup. There’s definitely a niche in the world of beauty journalism for a feminist analysis of the beauty industry that I don’t think has been entirely filled yet. Whether I want to be the one to fill that niche, I’m not sure.
Not to cause immense stress, but what are your plans post-grad? Both in an ideal world where it never rains, and what reality may hold.
In an ideal world, I would be a TV writer; I already watch and analyze sitcoms like it’s my job. But as of now, I’m aspiring to work in marketing or advertising, specifically as either a brand strategist, project manager, or copywriter.
Will you be studying abroad next summer?
I will not be studying abroad in the spring, but I might potentially look into summer abroad opportunities.
Now for some more fun questions! What is your favorite…
Drink from one of our campus coffee shops?
Either a mocha or a chai latte (with skim milk).
Place to visit off campus?
While not in the immediate vicinity, Providence is a relatively short train ride away. The Providence Place Mall is everything I need Crystal Mall to be, and there are a lot of fun restaurants as well.
My favorite movie is probably a three-way tie between Legally Blonde, Get Out, and Spiderman: Far From Home (It’s not just good for a sequel, but it’s a really solid movie in its own right. It’s just as funny and action-packed as the first Spider-Man movie, but with more Zendaya). Very interesting mix of films, I know, but I think it reveals a lot about my personality (aka basic white girl trying to be “woke”).
Once again, it’s a tie: To Kill A Mockingbird, because that was the first book I had to read for school that I actually enjoyed. My other fave is Every Day by David Levithan, which is a YA novel, but I love it for its progressive representation of multiple identities and its refreshing take on a lot of the romantic tropes we find in YA lit.
Currently, Schitt’s Creek. Of all time, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
If you could go back in time, what would be the one thing you would want to tell your freshman self?
I feel like high school me was more in need of advice than freshman me, so I’ll tell my freshman self this: while art classes in high school allot in-class time to work on your projects, this is not the case in college; you need to work on your art projects outside of class time. Had I known this, intro-level Concepts in Three Dimensions would not have tanked my freshman GPA.