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Name: Ariel Kao 

Year: 3rd year

Major: Cognitive Science

Hometown: Chantilly, VA

Fashion, business and photography are just a few of this week’s Campus Celebrities many passions. Week after week we feature some of the most involved people in the UVA community and she is not exception. Ariel Kao is definitely one of the wisest celebrities I have interviewed, so there is no doubt that you can learn a lot for her in this weeks edition of Her Campus Campus Celebrity.

What are you involved in around grounds?

I’m very involved in entrepreneurship and business related on grounds. Two brothers from my business fraternity Alpha Kappa Psi and I founded Virginia Consulting Group. I am on the executive board for Entrepreneurship Group, am a senior producer for HackCville Media, Co-editor-in-Chief of Inkstone Magazine, and Secretary for Green Grounds. In addition, I am a campus ambassador for FirstJob.com, a TA for Global Sustainability, and a marketing strategist for a students run company called Radical Advertising.

Why are you involved with this/these organization(s)? How do they add to your experience at UVA?

I’m involved in these organizations because I’m truly passionate about those fields. Environmental organizations and literary magazines were groups I was involved in back in high school and it was just a natural continuation to continue being a part of them. Business is a new passion that I developed after coming to UVA though. I am specifically interested in a career in marketing, and possibly consulting, so getting heavily involved is a great way gain some experience, build credibility, and form connections with like-minded people. I don’t know what I would do without these organizations because they are my top priority here at college, and the most integral part of shaping me on both a personal and professional level.

What got you interested in the UVA Lookbook?

Aside from my love of business, my two other great passions are fashion and photography. In high school I wouldn’t watch a lot of TV but the two guilty pleasures I had were Project Runway and America’s Next Top Model. And of course, I never missed the Victoria Secret Fashion Show. I also started photographing at the end of my 1st year when I got my first DSLR. I love taking photos of people and have been doing so for an year. UVA Lookbook sounded like the perfect opportunity to combine both these interests and allow me to build a portfolio around fashion photography. I would say it even helped me land my internship this past summer at a fashion startup in New York City called Shoptiques, where I did graphic design, product photography editing, and street style photography blogging.

What are the top two things you want to do before you graduate? Why?

I really want to do a photoshoot or series that has a meaning or concept behind it. As much as I love portrait photography and don’t mind doing event photography, I think the next step to take to becoming a more serious photographer is to produce a body of work that you can present to other photographers.

I’m tempted to say the cliche things like fall in love or leave an impact on the school. Honestly, I think I’ve done a little of both of those already. Going into my fourth year next year I think I really want to decrease my commitment in all the organizations I’m in now and have some time to myself. I want to make more time to go on adventures and spend time with friends I might not see anymore down the road. 

What has college taught you?

The most important thing I have gained throughout college is confidence. And I think that’s the most important quality that anyone can have, because once it’s there, everything else naturally follows. Being involved and gaining skills have given me the confidence that I will find a job I love not matter what. During a truth or dare game, someone asked if I was confident in the way I looked, and I replied “100%” without a second thought. I know that I’m not the prettiest girl in the room, or the smartest, or the funniest, but I know who I am and I’m confident about it. And if I’m not confident about something, I’ll just wing it till I bring it. 


Student-athlete at the University of Virginia, that loves journalism!
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