Aspirations and goals. Those are two topics anyone can go on and on about this Thanksgiving. As you anticipate those awkward moments around family and friends this holiday season, let this story of Kasey Ma break down any fear you may have of pursuing your dreams and talking about it.
Currently enrolled in the executive training program at Lord & Taylor, Ma has quite a lot to be thankful for — from giving up swimming because of medical reasons and holding onto her passion for music by not letting another doctor tell her about new health risks.
As some of you prepare for your undergraduate graduation, you may ask yourself: “Who am I without school?” Ma surely asked this question, but swiftly plunging into the fashion business field after a string of profound internships – while studying at New York University – she has no doubts of having any downtime. Her new gig as a trainee for Lord & Taylor’s executive training program has her placed in the Buying Program for the Michael Kors, Vince Camuto and Calvin Klein brands.
During her time at NYU, Ma began interning at companies with a finance outlook. However, her niche for styling her own clothes led her to combine her love for fashion with her economics degree. Despite the high salary offers of the business field and the slow approval of her parents, she decided to pursue happiness over money.
“It’s probably one of the best decisions I have made. I’ve interned in merchandising for the past 2 to 3 years now and this is the path I want to go in,” explains Ma.
During her senior year, her excitement for the merchandising industry grew further as an intern at Aéropostale. She quotes it as one of the “best internships” she has ever had in her life. Her group was able to give opinions on apparel designs and mingle with a crew of friendly and passionate supervisors. Ma was even able to give input on the Bethany Mota line!
She thanked her first job at Abercrombie and Fitch for her customer service skills and eye for following trends while working in the merchandising industry.
Outside of fashion, Ma’s other passions are swimming and music. Everything about her hits us with awe. She was qualified for the Junior Olympics prior to college, but dropped her dreams after learning about her knee problems. Refusing to have surgery, she sadly had to give up this dream.
She soon came to another medical roadblock. Ma was told she had a vocal impediment due to scar tissue built up on her vocal cords. To the talented songstress, this was a huge blow but not a major set back.
“I chose to go to surgery for that. I’m not giving up two dreams I love. [Surgery] strengthened my passion for music and singing.”
After surgery, Ma began singing in front of various crowds with one venue being in Spain while studying abroad this summer. She is now working on her first EP. Ma’s double life of working at Lord & Taylor during the week and recording her EP on the weekends is a quintessential example of how to be a passionate go-getter despite obstacles.
“I work better with stress believe it or not. If I have a deadline I am going to work my ass off to make it good.”
By Yegide Matthews / Photo: YHM Magazine Archive