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Up Close With TalkingShopping’s Maryal Miller


If you’ve ever wanted to combine your love of shopping into an honest to goodness job, then Maryal Miller should make you jealous.  Practically fresh out of the prestigious Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State, Maryal went hunting for a place to hang her proverbial hat.  After going on a gazillion interviews with tons of random publications, Maryal stumbled across a writing position at MagicDust Television.  “When I came in for an interview and they explained the concept, I said right away, ‘Yep, this is me. I’d be perfect for this. This is my dream job!’”  And through her persistence and unrelenting enthusiasm, Maryal found herself reporting for TalkingShopping, a “new” company venture founded through MagicDust.  “Our parent company, MagicDust Television… they’re really tuned into the major evolution that’s going on right now in journalism.”

What is TalkingShopping?
It’s a shopping news site.  We report on anything and everything that’s going in the world of shopping, be it shopping for apparel, home decor, food, toys, items specific to moms, items specific to kids, celebrity shopping news, eco-friendly shopping, shopping for tech items, holiday shopping, deal hunting, shopping for health items and so much more!

We always try to keep our reporting as objective as possible, but there’s a part of TS that also has a lot of our writers’ personalities infused into it – we LOVE to crack jokes.  We really want to make our readers feel like they have a connection here on the site.  And of course, in a tumultuous economy like this, we really want to be a place that women can go to make their shopping lives easier, more efficient and nice to their bank accounts.

I noticed that the TS site is like a blog, but it’s more.
Our site was created in the blog mentality because we think that a blog is a forum that’s easy for women to sift through!  We’ve got SO much information for our readers to discover – they could stay on the site for days and still find new, exciting things that they haven’t seen before!  Another really amazing component of the site is the video we do – we have video and production capabilities unlike any other shopping sites out there, which makes TS extremely unique.

TalkingShopping's Maryal


TalkingShopping's Cristina


TalkingShopping's Liz


TalkingShopping's Kailen


You ladies seem to have a lot of fun. What are the perks of working for TS?
The girls at TS are all so different with these gigantic personalities – which we’re pretty sure was a deliberate move on our editors’ parts!  We all have hard news reporting backgrounds and foundations, which make us great journalists, but I think we all also yearned for more than the daily grind of hard news reporting.  What’s even more unique and what I think has also been extremely vital to our success is that we’re not just co-workers or just reporters or just writers – we’re friends.  Every month we have a TS girls night where we decide on something fun to do together like dinner, movies, mani/pedis, wine night, etc., and that’s just our way to let loose and keep the “chemistry” alive.

Did you have a fashion or marketing background, or you just like to shop?
My degree is in print journalism, but I can say that although I really kicked it into high gear as far as my education was concerned in college, since I was in middle school, I spent my nights avoiding any and all studying and homework and flipping through the pages of Vogue, Vanity Fair and Elle.  I’ve always had a passion for fashion and have always loved the creative process.  I was in the honors college at ASU and for my senior thesis, I created my own magazine for college women with a huge focus on fashion.  To say the least, I was one of the more “out there” thesis projects when we presented on graduation day, and I felt kinda lame next to the kid who pretty much found a cure for a disease for his thesis, but I didn’t care – I loved it and to me, it was real and innovative!

ts-vid-interview1What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do for TS, or while on an assignment?
The craziest thing I’ve ever had to do is call up Sarah Palin’s makeup artist and BEG her for an interview.  She hadn’t done any interviews while she was on the campaign trail and we wanted to get her first!  I was so nervous and didn’t think we even had a chance, but once I got her on the phone, she was so nice and agreed to the interview right away!  I’m so glad I sucked it up and made the call because it was definitely worth it.  She was an awesome interview.  Interviewing Whitney Port at MAGIC in Vegas a few weeks ago was pretty crazy too – in the middle of the show floor and all the madness, it was nuts, but again, well worth it!

What is your fantasy outfit?
Gowns, stilettos, lavish jewelry, the works.  When I think of an amazing fashion spread I’ve seen that will forever stand out in my mind, my top pick has to go to the Kirsten Dunst/Marie Antoinette spread in Vogue right after the movie came out.  Per-fec-tion.  Annie Leibovitz shot that in Paris and for me, it doesn’t get more beautiful than that.  If I had one getup to don on the last day of my life, it’d be a Carolina Herrera or Vera Wang gown, some gorgeous, embellished pair of Manolos (not a Loubs girl) and Neil Lane jewels.  I guess I’m kind of whimsical!

What are some of your favorite jeans to wear and why?
When it comes to denim, I’m about as picky as they come.  In terms of style, I love a straight leg for day and a cigarette jean when I’m out on the town.  I love a good vintage-esque high-waist too, especially if it has some sort of tie in the front.  That’s awesome.  The back pockets of jeans are really important to me, too.  I’ve always had a boyish, thin figure so a button-flap pocket that adds some “junk in the trunk” is where it’s at for me.  Hudson is hands down my fave denim brand – they’ve perfected the art of denim design in my eyes and the price points are always reliable and reasonable.  Seven is so classic and I love that.  They know what they’re doing and have a great repertoire of washes!  They’ve got a style in their arsenal for every female figure. They’re undeniable.  I’ve also got my eye on William Rast – JT’s on to something there, but I think they’ve got a little room to grow.  Once they perfect their denim pieces, I’m all over it.  And do I even need to explain why Current/Elliott is amazing?  Pricey, but nonetheless amazing.

What do you think will be the hottest fashion piece this summer?
Hands down, the Grecian goddess sandal in a sweet, brushed metallic leather, like blush or pale gold.  It’s a must this spring and summer.  J.Crew and Dolce Vita have got some amazing options this season on that front.

Anything new that folks should be looking out for on the TS site?
Our newsletter is coming out very soon so if you want to see exclusive steals and deals, highlight stories and what we’re lusting after right now, readers should definitely sign up!  There’s going to be tons of awesome surprises in there for everyone – we’re really excited about it!  We’re also working on a huge “deals and steals” component for the site where readers can specifically go to see a whole world of sales, etc., everyday that are happening in every category of shopping that we cover!  Oh, and we also just added our new “Show us Your Stuff” component to the site, where readers, fellow bloggers and shopping aficionados everywhere can send us pics of their outfits or items they’ve recently purchased and include the price, where they got it, etc.!

Click here to visit TALKINGSHOPPING

Kathy Ng Hassan

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Posted Mar 13 2009 in Interviews
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