Working for Vogue, travelling the world and a life surrounded by fashion, Lorna McGee has a career many would give their back teeth for.
But you can’t begrudge the Derry native her role, for she’s worked hard for it, although she does admit that the Irish ‘charm and wit’, as well as our reputation as ‘grafters’ has helped.
Leaving Thornhill to study Accountancy, Lorna spent three years at university with an overwhelming sense that she wasn’t doing what she wanted.
“I came home and decided I had to take a different route and enrolled to do a six week course in Fashion Journalism at the London College of Fashion.
“Once I started I realised I was never going back and I secured an unpaid internship at Glamour magazine.
“It just spiralled from there and I worked briefly in PR for Yves Saint Laurent. But I could see that I wanted to be at the heart of magazines.
“I was lucky in that it was the time when the emerging markets were coming to the fore; Turkey, Greece, India. And I secured a role working as an assistant at Vogue Russia.
“It was such an amazing way to see the world, and it was great to be able to travel while getting paid.”
Then Lorna was spied by one of the fashion world’s most respected names, Anna Harvey. The Editorial Director of Conde Nast’s New Markets, she is well known as Princess Diana’s stylist, and she took Lorna under her wing.
“It was incredible to be noticed by such an esteemed fashion ‘name’, and she asked me to help with the launch of Vogue India.”
Lorna has been there ever since and her life is now a whirlwind of fashion shoots and styling.
“I’ve been all over the world, organising shoots including Patrick Demarchelier photographed Gisele in New York, a shoot with Victoria Beckham and a session in Malibu at Cindy Crawford’s home.
“It’s my dream job; I have been in some incredible locations, working in a creative background, meeting new people all the time.”
But Lorna concedes that the industry is tough. “I started at the bottom, carrying cups of coffee down Bond Street, and you constantly have to prove yourself. It’s hard work and I’ve worked many weekends and been up at 5am countless times, but it’s worth it when you see the results.
“You have to be dedicated and be prepared to earn next to nothing at the start, but there is no job like it and I find it very rewarding.”
Lorna gets home two or three times a year, and she’s now mum to one-year-old Theodore.
“I miss my family in Derry, but I’ve lived in London for a third of my life now. I have no regrets whatsoever.”