Spotlight Tuesday: Victoria Eastman

Victoria Eastman is an International Business Marketing major at Bryant University, studying French and Communication as a double minor. She cares a lot about traveling the world and exploring how different people live their lives. She wants to experience all of the crazy, weird things life has to offer, and knows that these make the best of stories. Victoria is especially motivated to make the world a better place.

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“If everyone tried to be a little less sucky, then the world would be better.”

Victoria is the kind of person you could talk to for hours and not even realize it! This interview came closer to a conversation, and it really opened my eyes to how this lady sees the world: massive and unexplored, waiting to be adventured. Her sunny personality and driven mind will keep you reading this article to its end.

Victoria lives to be less sucky: she’s vegetarian, thrift shops to decrease the impact of the fashion industry on the environment, and involves herself in multicultural events to expand her horizons. Her mission in life is to explore the world and making it just a bit better than it once was. Part of that mission includes experiencing as much as she can: “I get so bored so easily; I hate doing the same things over and over again.”

She loves learning new things—even when they have nothing to do with her own path. She referred me to this TEDTalk which focused on using architecture to heal communities. Nothing about her studies even touch on architecture, and she is completely serious when she tells me that these random nuggets of knowledge fascinate her. The way she says it, how could anyone not love to learn something new?

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 “Learning is not something you’re forced to do; its something you have to do.”

She attributes this thirst for knowledge to her first eight years of education, where she attended a school where the students designed their education. “It has its good parts and its bad parts because I definitely have holes in my learning… but I’m a really good writer because I spent all my time writing!” Learning became a fun experience, and one that could go on her whole life. When students have a say in what they get to learn, they are so much more motivated to pursue it.

Part of her education included cultural exploration. “I went to London in fifth grade and before that, for a year, we had to prep.” Her class spent the year becoming knowledgeable of English history and culture. She got to do the same preceding trips to Iceland and Canada as well. During those years, Victoria memorized how to map the world.

When asked about her greatest dream, she paused. “I have lots of dreams, and I have a new dream every single day… I actually kind of like not having one big dream because sometimes I think you can limit yourself by having a concrete idea of what you want.” True to her mission to keep learning and experiencing new things, she keeps her goals fluid. She is considering diplomacy, but several other career paths call to her.

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What really got Victoria talking was her dreams for the future of marketing. “Marketing can just be a means of informing people… especially in terms of nonprofits.” Whether it’s a consumer product or a humanitarian crisis, people need to know the facts. Much of televised media, she says, simply does not talk about the important issues it needs to acknowledge. By using the power of marketing and advertising, the social sector can grow and raise awareness. But, this goes back to changing how advertising and televised media work.

Another dream is opening a boutique of sustainable women’s attire that emphasizes empowering the modern woman. Victoria explains that she would want to create a brand that encompasses real women of real sizes. She wants her depiction of this modern woman to include both homemakers and business women and anyone in between—they are underrepresented in the fashion realm. “A modern woman could care about [ethical issues], but doesn’t have any options, doesn’t know where to look, so she goes someplace that’s convenient.”

There are plenty of outdoors companies like Patagonia and L.L. Bean that she mentions are sustainable and ethical. “These companies are awesome, but they sell to your stereotypical hippie.” These companies won’t be selling slacks and blouses anytime soon—it just isn’t their market. Victoria believes that if there were more sustainable and ethical clothing options, people would be more aware of what they were buying.

“People think that its the corporations that have power, but the reason they have power is because you’re paying for that power.”

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Victoria uses the power of her dollar to make a difference, and this becomes apparent when she explains her rationale for being vegetarian. “I don’t support the meat packing industry… There’s a circle of life, I get that but it’s the way that [animals] are treated.” We are able to educate ourselves about the products we buy, and I think that Victoria is asking us to do just that. Everything we buy, from our clothes to our food, has a profound impact on what makes it to the shelves in store.

Beyond making conscious consumer decisions, Victoria talks seriously about being a woman in society. “I am a white woman from a middle class family—I have it easy, comparatively.” She has found that her experience as a woman has been wrought with constant reminders that because of her gender, she can’t be taken seriously. After some time, it is hard not to internalize such a thing. “Oh, and I’m blonde—the amount of times I get blonde jokes.”

In retaliation to this struggle, she has been keeping up the routine of faking it until she’s making it. “In college… you have to go and conduct interviews, and spend a good majority of time telling yourself that you’re awesome.” Confidence is key; Victoria observes how guys give presentations compared to girls in  her classes. As expected, the guys are full of confidence, even when they have all the information wrong. The girls, even when they know what they are talking about, are quiet by comparison.

“People expect me to be basic, because I am white and blonde and I wear certain things, and I ‘seem’ basic.”

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It is a consistent trend between the genders—men generally overestimate their abilities, while women underestimate their abilities. It goes back to how we are socialized, and those norms are really hard to break away from. She tells other young women to reinforce confidence by talking to our peers. Friends make some of the best backers you can get, so talk to them! Focus on strengths, and fake it until you make it.

Another piece of advice is picking a passion. “I feel like people go through life not caring about things.” Find something that makes you happy and pursue it. Having a purpose makes life that much more of an adventure. Get rid of the unnecessary, the social molds, and anything holding you back. “I have a limited number of hours in a day, I have a lot going on, I have a lot that I want to get accomplished… I have a lot I need to do! I don’t have time for this crap I don’t care about.”

I’d like to leave the reader with this quote from Victoria:

“They think because you’re young, you’re stupid. Really, when you’re young, you’re just stupid enough to actually do something about being unhappy.” 

 

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