Marjon Carlos Slows Down Without Disappearing

Marjon Carlos, freelance journalist & former Vogue editor, unpacks anxieties around writing, small boobs, and becoming obsolete – and how slowing down has helped her flip the narrative of never being enough.
Marjon Carlos Slows Down Without Disappearing

“I know this sounds crazy, but I get anxious about becoming obsolete. Disappearing. We value certain things in our culture now, especially in New York, that creates this feeling that if you’re not doing enough, people are going to forget you. You never, ever take stock of all that you’ve accomplished and all that you do.” 

 

MARJON WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

Marjon Carlos, freelance journalist and fashion editor, has a lot to take stock of: she’s led a robust journalism career, was the founding Arts & Culture editor at Saint Heron and most recently held a Senior Editor role at Vogue, where she explored the intersection of style & culture. The fear of becoming obsolete – something too many accomplished women in this age experience –  asks us to think about reframing success and revaluing speed. 

“I’m definitely very hard on myself. It’s a battle to make sure that I’m thinking clearly and positively. A lot of people will be surprised to know that writing is very painful for me. It’s full of anxieties. It’s really impossible sometimes. You’re up late at night, you’re on deadline, you’re thinking to yourself: maybe I’m just not good at this. Maybe this is not what I’m supposed to be doing.” 

“I’ve had to really heal some pretty bad writer-editor relationships that stuck with me. Those ideas in my head that say, ‘I’m inadequate, or not good enough, and never will be.’ When, in fact, people continue to give me opportunities because I do produce great work and I do have a voice.” 

MARJON WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“It always happens at 3 in the morning, when you’re hopped up on Red Bull and thinking, ‘Why did I do this to myself?’ I’ll get on Instagram and be like, ‘Wow, that person is just producing things? Free of anxiety and terror?’ The only way my anxiety will subside is when I’ve filed a story or accomplished something. When I can really step back and say: you’re good, you’re good, you’re good.”

A recent career change allowed Marjon to really slow down after years of late night, anxiety-ridden deadlines. In this transition, Marjon found that – given the time to get out of her head – she was able to finally step into her body. 

“I left a pretty big job at Vogue, and when I left, I focused on my fitness. I was physically frail – ten or fifteen pounds skinnier than I am now – because I was not eating right, not sleeping right, not working out at all. I was 34 years old, and my body responded to the effort: she filled out.”

“I don’t want to say I ‘bloomed,’ but my body was responding to the workouts I was doing, the sleep I was getting, the care I was giving it. It was responding to my new pace of life: much slower and much more conscious. I had more control over my time. I was getting my squats in and everything started to flow. I filled out in certain places. And I liked what I was seeing. At 34 years old, I really came into my body.” 

 

“I’m 36 now. I’m obviously in a completely different place mentally than I was at ten or eleven years old, when I started to grow boobs, but I wouldn’t say the size has changed that much,” Marjon laughs. “Maybe a little bit, but I’ve been small my whole life. A lot of women would tell me, ‘Oh my god, I wish I had small breasts like you! You can take mine.’ But, I don’t want to hear that! To me, that felt really condescending.” 

Born and raised in Texas, Marjon’s small boobs did not fit Texan size standards. As Marjon developed and grew into her body, she searched for a way to connect sexiness with the physical form. 

“As I started to mature, I was really skinny and didn’t have the curves that Texan women are considered to have. We are supposed to have big hair and big boobs. Everything is bigger in Texas. I felt like I was failing in that category, because of the physical expectation. I had to undo that. To unlearn that.” 

MARJON WEARS THE SCOOP IN BLUSH

“Today, I do love my clothes. I love getting my hair done. I love getting my nails done. All those things [that I learned while growing up in Texas] remain, but the way I put it all together is very different. My approach today speaks to more of who I am as a person: someone who is able to celebrate different forms of beauty.”  

“My confidence [in my own physical form] definitely came later in life, but that’s cool with me. The way I see it, I’m only going to get better with age. I’m only going to improve on myself – internally and externally. I like that. I don’t wish to be younger at all. I was stressed about all the wrong stuff. My one regret is wishing I knew then what I know now, but that’s how everyone feels.” 

In journalism, a precise perspective is key to powerful writing. In our personal lives, however, a willingness to change our minds gives others the permission to do the same. On top of her journalism work, Marjon leads marketing and PR for an occupational plastic surgeon in Park Slope. The experience has made her more aware of the harsh double standards we put on women who get work done as they get older. 

MARJON WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“I think we have judged women pretty harshly about getting plastic surgery, which is so funny because we just judge women generally about their looks. So when they go to do something about it, it’s damned if you do, damned if you don’t. I think we need to loosen up our weird stigmas around plastic surgery.” 

“After working with Dr. Jeanniton, an occupational plastic surgeon in Park Slope, and starting to get to know her offerings, I decided I was going to get fillers in my temple, because I always thought I had a concave temple. No one else could tell me that I didn’t, and after [the procedure], no one could tell that I got the fillers either. But I don’t even care. It was for me. And that changed my perception.” 

Marjon’s mindset around plastic surgery is rooted, not in the pursuit of uniform perfection, but an acceptance of all women (and the things they do to make themselves feel their best). The whole joy of getting older, Marjon argues, is realizing there is no perfect form, no perfect age, no perfect way to be a woman. 

MARJON WEARS THE BALC IN BLACK AND THE HIGHWAIST IN BLACK

“I’m excited to get even older. I enjoy hearing people like Gabrielle Union or Tamron Hall speak. They have accomplished so much, but they’re doing other things later in their life, like having kids and starting a family. That’s really soothing to hear. There is this great stress to already be married and moved into the perfect home with two kids. That’s not my life right now. Maybe it will be one day, but it ain’t that right now. 

“When you start to feel like you’re off track, that’s when you have to have that conversation with yourself again: ‘I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay.’ That’s a really big lesson that I want to hone in on in 2020: instead of searching for something more, starting to see that what I have right here is so important.” 


Interview by Kate Mack. Article by Molly Virostek. Photographed by Stephanie Lavaggi. Styled by Emily Newnam

Tags: bodytalk

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