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From Myspace to E! How Hanna Beth Got Her Start

Written By: Emily Rae Rosenstein
Photographed By: Wil Cohen  Hanna Beth

It was a somewhat gloomy morning when I met Hanna Beth Merjos at Herringbone, the posh beachside restaurant in Santa Monica. She sauntered into the front dining area, turning the heads of the restaurant workers. She has a magical quality to her appearance: beautiful, petite, with large brown eyes—she looked like a young woman from a Margaret Keane painting.

Before there were self-made Instagram celebrities, there were creative individuals who used Myspace and websites like LiveJournal to blog about their lives and share candid photos. Hanna Beth was one of the first, self-made creatives who created a following for herself through her writing and personal style. “It all began when I was in high school. I was a teenage girl going through teen angst, and I used to express myself through my Myspace. I would blog about school, and post pictures of myself in these crazy outfits, and I began building a following,” she says. If anyone followed Hanna Beth in the early and mid 2000s, she was known for her funky, “scene” rocker-chic style. Short choppy hair (with occasionally colored extensions) wild eye makeup, oversized sunglasses, hoodies, and layered jewelry were some of her style staples at the time. As her following grew, she would reach out to photographers around Los Angeles and style her own photoshoots. When she was 18 years old, BuzzMedia took a liking to her style and her online presence, and invited her to blog for their website. Her collaboration with them opened many doors for her career as both a model and blogger. One of the first big campaigns she got through BuzzMedia was Beats by Dre. “Things really took off for me from there,” she says.

Today, Hanna has over 284,000 followers on Instagram, and thousands of subscribers to her Youtube Channel. Hanna being one of the first pioneers of young female influencers on social media, discussed some of the differences of social media back then in comparison to today. “Back then, I would post whatever I wanted and didn’t put too much thought into it. It was more authentic,” she explains. “Today, you really have to think about what you post. Especially if I’m working with a brand, I have to consider if what I post is something the brand will like, all while staying true to my own brand. There’s a lot more thought required.” Hanna also explained she used to blog more towards the beginning of her career, but today her posts are more image focused. “With Instagram and Snapchat, people want to see everything fast and easily,” she says. “I don’t spend too much time writing anymore. Now, it’s all about the image.” Hanna Beth has certainly evolved with the changing tide of social media. Where she might have had more opportunities to express herself through her writing, today she is current and continues to keep progressing her brand. “Instagram has become one of my biggest platforms, I’ve been able to book so many jobs through it. A lot of my work comes to me through social media.”

One of the most recent highlights of her career was her role on the reality TV show, E!’s “House of DVF.” When the show approached Hanna Beth, she was apprehensive about being involved in a reality television show. However, she knew it would be a positive move for her career because of the fashion-based premise. “When I did my interview, I was very honest,” she says. “I explained how I would be good for the brand. I was surprised when they picked me as a contestant.” In the show, esteemed women in the fashion industry competed for the title of brand ambassador for Diane Von Furstenberg. “On the first day of shooting, I knew I was different from the other girls they chose, and it would either be good for me or work against me. I didn’t think I would make it that far.” The whole process of the show came with personal challenges for her as well.

“The most difficult part for me was coming out of my shell, I’m naturally shy. I also was going through some personal things. In the end, I learned how to get out of my comfort zone, and be more outgoing.” By the end of the competition, Diane picked Hanna Beth to be her brand ambassador. For those who followed her journey on the show, this win seemed unexpected because her style was far more edgier than the conservative DVF brand itself. However, Hanna Beth was the fresh, creative force the brand needed. As brand ambassador, Hanna has styled numerous campaigns for the line and provided creative direction during photo shoots.

Hanna Beth has always remained true to herself when it comes to her personal style. She is eclectic, edgy, and glamorous in the way she dresses. When I met with her, she wore  distressed jeans, with Moschino briefs peeking out from her waistband, and a cashmere cropped hoodie. Her shoes were a sight for a fashionista’s sore eyes: black platform booties with glitter detailing—by Marc Jacobs, of course. “I’ve always been inspired by late ‘70s punk and the Andy Warhol Factory generation,” she explains. “I love how it’s effortlessly crazy and edgy.” Hanna doesn’t play by the rules when it comes to style. So many young women follow trends blindly, and they all look the same. She sets herself apart from those girls, by marching to the funky beat of her own drum. “My style changes with my mood, if I like something, I’ll wear it. I don’t like to follow any guidelines or specific trends. If I do like a specific trend, I make sure to interpret it in my own way,” she tells me. “I love incorporating anything with glitter into my wardrobe.”

Currently, Hanna Beth has been working with both fashion and makeup brands on various collaborations and sponsorships. She also continues to blog on her personal website, www.barbiebeth.com. She just released a cashmere sweater collection exclusively with Revolve Clothing. A more recent endeavor she has been pursuing are makeup tutorials and tips on her YouTube channel. On her channel she tries out various beauty products, gives her viewers tips on applying makeup, and shares her favorite products, as well. Hanna is a constantly evolving style icon with much to offer to the beauty and fashion world.

Current Go-To: Hanna Beth’s current style-staple? Comfort. “Currently, I’m into anything that’s comfy—especially onesies, matching top and skirt sets, cashmere sweaters—things that are minimal…with a little edge,” she says.

Closet Essentials: “Shoes, especially heels and sunglasses, are essential to my wardrobe,” Hanna Beth says.

Brand Loyalty: “My favorite brand right now is Gucci. Everything is so crazy and amazing. I’ve been loving everything they’re putting out—it’s fun and different. I also love Marc Jacobs and how everything is Rock and Roll inspired.”

Vinyl Girl: Hanna Beth has been collecting records since she was 15 years old. “I love how music sounds on vinyl,” she says.

Photoshoot Location:
Herringbone
1755 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica, CA 90401
310.971.4460

Hanna Beth Merjos
@TheBarbieBeth
@BarbieBeth
“House of DVF” Star Hanna Beth Gives Fashion-Forward Social Media Advice