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Meet Haleigh (Wojo) McCarthy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Haleigh (Wojo) McCarthy.

Hi Haleigh, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
After graduating from Savannah College of Art and Design in 2010, I packed up my Honda Civic and drove out west to Los Angeles, knowing no one to take my first fashion design job. I stayed as a fashion designer for a few different companies for a little over six years but started to feel really burnt out and overworked. Not only was I designing, but was traveling bi-coastal to handle the trade shows, managing the PR agencies, managing social channels, and handling all of the production and creative direction for every photoshoot. I started to realize that the only thing that I really enjoyed doing was the production and creative direction for the photoshoots. I loved putting the ideas together, organizing the talent, and creating something really beautiful that would make the product sell. I decided to branch off and try the freelance world. Not realizing how hard it was to get started and to actually pay my bills, I had to pick up different jobs to make sure I could survive in LA. I would literally take any job that came up, paid or not paid just to build my portfolio more. I knew I had to have as much experience as possible to really become successful. I would work during the day at whatever temporary job I would take and schedule phone meetings on my lunch breaks and after work/weekends when I would get home. Through all of those experiences, I was able to start making a lot of connections and was able to create strong relationships with some of my favorite photographers. Those photographers started hiring me as their producer for larger campaigns such as KKW Beauty, Kristin Cavallari with Chinese Laundry, OPI, ELLE, Vogue, L’Officielle, Sephora, Backstreet Boys, Bravado Designs, etc. All of the hard work and long hours started to really pay off.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I’ve never been able to have the security of a backup plan or someone to cover my bills. I moved out to LA with $800 in my bank account, knowing absolutely no one and had no clue how I was going to make it. There were days where I would put my credit card down to pay for groceries, just hoping it wouldn’t get declined. So many days where I really didn’t know how I was going to make rent. It was really scary. Even when I started freelancing, I had to take other jobs just to make sure I could pay bills. I felt like I was always working just to live paycheck to paycheck. I think that hunger to make it though was what really drove me to not take no for an answer and to be able to negotiate my rates and contracts.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I help make the ideas of brands come to life in marketing campaigns. From the initial contract negotiations on what deliverables are needed from each brand to the hiring of crew, talent, collaborations, contracts, styling, props, location scouting, invoices, and making sure all deliverables are passed off to a happy client in the end. I handle it all and make sure it fits within the budget that we have. I’m most proud of the crew that I surround myself with to make sure everything is run smoothly. You are only as good as your team. The relationships and honesty that we build when we are working with our clients. Even if some things are difficult to speak up about, I always make sure it is addressed so that everyone can be on the same page.

What were you like growing up?
I think I was pretty bossy. I have a younger brother, and I’m pretty sure I just bossed him around all day. My interests were always photography, fashion and beauty, which is why I love working with those clients now.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
All colored images are by Bettina Bogar. Black and white image is by William Kaner.

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