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Conversations with Eryka Arzola

Today we’d like to introduce you to Eryka Arzola.

Hi Eryka, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
I was raised in a small town in Virginia and had always shown an interest in and love for fashion. Growing up, I imagined myself as a fashion designer and attending fashion school after high school. My insecurities got the better of me because not only was it not a “practical” profession, but I thought I would never be able to make it in the fashion industry since I was not a size 0. After graduation, I attended the University of Virginia, where I found another passion in Foreign Affairs and planned to pursue a career in that field post-grad. After applying for jobs in DC for months, I decided to accept an offer with Oracle in tech sales. I convinced myself that if I was making enough money, I could so a job that I hate. Well, I was wrong. One trip to Thailand later, and I decided I needed to quit my job and figure out what I wanted to do in life. I quit my job in August 2019 and by February 2020, I was living in Austin and working in advertising. While I loved my job, I was still looking for a creative outlet. Unlike most millennials, I downloaded TikTok in the summer of 2019 thanks to my 18 years old sister convincing of how cool the app is. For a long time, I was a passive consumer of creator’s videos, but one day I decided that I would start posting my own fashion content as a way to challenge my creativity and have some fun. I posted my first “get dressed with me” in October 2021 and that video amassed over 230k views! I was definitely not expecting the video to do so well, but I took that as my sign to keep posting. I received so many positive messages because I was providing representation to a lot of girls/women how also felt like they had never seen someone with their body type/size in the fashion world or dressing trendy and cute.

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?
When I was applying to jobs after college graduation in 2017, it was around the same time that the Trump administration decided to gut the State Department and implement a hiring freeze. This is the place that I wanted to work after graduation and now did not have the opportunity.

While at Oracle there were many times that I broke down and was upset with where I was in life and how I did not want to be stuck in that job for the rest of my life because I couldn’t see a way out. I had been applying to jobs in other industries for a long time and would get to the final round and then be rejected. After I quit Oracle, I worked for my parents while obtaining a digital marketing certificate from the University of Illinois and used this to pivot to a job in media and advertising.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
My TikTok content is centered around “get dressed with me” where I tell the audience where I am going and show them my process of picking out an outfit. I am mostly proud of myself. I decided to stop listening to the voice in my head telling me not to start, that people would make fun of me, or that I would not be successful, and I decided that at the end of the day, I was doing this for me and that it is something that is fun.

What were you like growing up?
I was a really happy, outgoing person and definitely an optimist. I was also a very high achiever. I finished second in my class in high school and attended a top university upon graduation. I set very high expectations for myself. I grew up in a small town and there was not much to do, so I play softball, basketball, and field hockey throughout the year.

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