Oct. 6, 2016

Alumni Spotlight: Ella Clarens, BA'11 (Psychology, Communications)

Arts alumni are an accomplished crew. They have great advice for students and fellow graduates, and know that arts degrees teach skills that are sought-after in the professional environment.
Ella Clarens, Alumna, stands against a dark background
Ella Clarens, BA'11 (Psychology, Communications) Gerard Sinanen

Calgarian born freelance writer, Ella Clarens, has a passion for sharing others stories as she loves to learn about and connect with people. Since 2010, she has been uncovering the gems of local talent helping to boost awareness of their work and increasing their clientele. Clarens has taken her writing nationally and internationally covering Fashion Week in Toronto as well as New York. She has interviewed influencers such as Derrick Rutledge, Oprah Winfrey’s makeup artist and Lubov Azria, Chief Creative Officer for BCBGMAXAZRIA Group. You can find her monthly column in the Calgary Herald revealing the next up-and-coming local star in the beauty or fashion industry.

What is your favourite University of Calgary memory?

Receiving an A on my Neuroscience paper about cocaine addiction and why people stay hooked. It was a tough class and I really gave it my all. With that said, I truly enjoy neuroscience; it’s such a fascinating space and how the human mind works is incredible.

What was your favourite campus hang out spot?

I made sure to explore the campus as much as I could; I spent a lot of time in the Social Science building. My favourite place to study was the Atrium! Being around the lush indoor plants brought about a sense of calmness.

If you could give one piece of advice to a student completing the same degree that you did, what would it be?

Put yourself out there! Attend events and networking gatherings even outside of the psychology field. Keep an open mind about your Psychology degree; it applies to many areas of life. The more people you know, the greater your opportunities to get involved in your area of interest and try something new. You never know how saying “Hello” to a stranger could impact each of your lives in a positive way.

How has your career evolved?

I began writing locally about the beauty and fashion scene and it ended up taking me to Toronto and New York to experience the fashion world as a true insider. My coverage has also evolved from focusing on events and products to people and their mission aka storytelling.

What is the best thing about your job?

I love meeting new people and learning about each person’s passion. Everything about him/her lights up. Interviewing others is also a way for me to learn about the world from different perspectives.

How did your arts degree help you get to where you are now/your current career?

Because I deal with people on a regular basis, using the principles of Psychology is important; I’m able to read a person or situation and this allows me to know how to communicate with an individual or to respond to a situation. Minoring in Communications strengthened my verbal and written skills as a writer.

Do you have any other thoughts or memories you would like to share?

Be honest with yourself about what drives you and the rest will fall into place