Preparing for her next photo shoot for her blog “bylaureng,” Lauren Genender ’17 carefully chooses outfits for each of her friends who will be modeling for her that day. Genender picks an interesting location by her house to set the mood that she is trying to create. Named after the hair-tie business that she started in fifth grade, Genender’s blog focuses on seasonal fashion, photography, food and fitness for teenagers.
“I want to be able to relate to teenagers in and outside of Los Angeles,” Genender said. “I want my message to everyone who reads the blog to be that there are so many amazing things to do and see, and many, many ways to express themselves, whether it be through what they chose to wear one day, make for breakfast or photograph.”
Genender is one of the 17 percent of Harvard-Westlake students who blog to share their interests or thoughts.
Mady Schapiro ’16 started her blog “Call Me the Sweater Lady” in October because she wanted to share her collection of sweaters with others. Schapiro started her collection of sweaters in eighth grade, when she began thrift shopping frequently. With more than 100 sweaters, she now has to store them in plastic bins in her closet.
“I had more time on my hands, and I do love my sweaters, so why not share them with everyone?” Schapiro said.
Kelly Morrison ’16 launched her healthy living blog, Foodie Fiasco, in June 2011 to share her experiences with others after losing “significant weight for health reasons.” She develops healthy versions of recipes for her blog, which has reached 7 million visitors and has 700 thousand page views per month. According to Morrison, Foodie Fiasco reaches 203 countries, and she now has people working for her so that she has more time for other obligations, such as schoolwork.
Morrison manages her own payroll and has worked for companies such as Silk and Fresh and Easy. She either mentions the companies in her posts or develops recipes with their products, which she then posts on her blog. Morrison is also represented by a blogging agency called Sway Group LLC, which connects companies to female bloggers.
The time bloggers spend posting on their blogs varies. Morrison, for example, spends about 15-20 hours a week working on her posts.
“Prioritizing is key,” she said. “Sometimes, you have to make an executive decision, like the editorial calendar takes precedence today. I hired other people, so I have to manage that into the budget now, like how I can pay their salaries out of my payroll, but also that really helps minimize my workload.”
Genender also spends a lot of time over the weekend developing her blog but only a couple of hours during the school week, as to better manage her time.
“I have to consistently keep up with other blogs to see what is up and coming. Basically, during the week I do my research and come up with ideas so then on the weekends I execute it into a photo shoot or story,” Genender said.
Other bloggers, such as Rebecca Katz ’15, post more sporadically.
“When I get inspired I’ll sit down and write something, which usually takes anywhere from 25 minutes to an hour, and then posting it is very easy,” she said.
Her blog, “The Art of Blogging,” is a personal blog in which she addresses everyday topics such as feeling nervous, enjoying the little things and being awkward.
Katz and others promote their blogs on various social media sites such as Facebook to gain more recognition. They also feature guest columns or posts. Schapiro features a guest on her blog every Sunday by posting a picture of the person in a sweater and describing how he or she came to own it.
Blogging can also be a stepping stone for students hoping to write professionally.
“I do hope to keep writing professionally, as I want to be an editor when I’m older, so writing on my blog is what I hope will give me the experience I need,” Genender said.
“Writing professionally is the dream, so I’ll see where this blog takes me, but for now, it’s mostly for fun and to get people thinking a little bit,” Katz adds.