Photo by Sarah Bader
Article by Tara Fay
Studio A.M. is not a space synonymous with female leadership. Victoria Meglio, however modestly, is in the process of changing that. Efficient, thorough, and confident in her abilities, above all else, she is humble. Never taking sole credit for what she deems is the work of the Studio AM Collective, she is quick to acknowledge the efforts of her team. But every team needs a leader, and Tori is poised to be a phenomenal one.
The first in a series centered on women in the arts and media, here’s my interview with Tori, where she shares her thoughts on her career, growth, social pressure, and feminism.
Tell us a little about yourself…
I graduated from The University of Pittsburgh in May 2016 with a BA in Marketing & Supply Chain Management, a minor in Fitness, and a Certificate in Leadership & Ethics. Born and raised in the suburbs of Pittsburgh, I lived in Oakland while at Pitt, and am now a proud resident of Uptown. I’m currently on a mission to do big things with amazing people, at the intersection of passion and purpose. I’m here to enhance the vibe and elevate the standard of culture in our city.
How did you find out about your current position at Studio AM and was it a natural fit with what you wanted to do professionally?
In March 2016 I received a unique personalized invitation for the Ultraviolet Garden Party, and the event experience to follow really left a lasting impression on me. In the following weeks, I reached out to the Studio A.M. staff about open positions, and in July I started working part- time focusing on the Studio’s brunch service and private event planning. Shortly after I transitioned into my current position in marketing and brand management. Was this position a natural fit with what I wanted to do professionally? My answer is yes, as I have generated a wealth of identity capital since joining the Studio A.M. Collective.
What is the best thing about your career?
There are a many highlights of my current position. One is being able to make impactful decisions. I answer to one person and am held accountable by many. I thrive on the fact that the success of the Studio is impacted directly by my performance. Experiencing the impact of my choices fills me with confidence and purpose. Another highlight is meeting and working with remarkable individuals. I feel as if I’ve had the opportunity to know some of the most interesting people in the world — many of whom I’ve had the opportunity to grow with and now consider my friends.
What have you instituted as far as new programming?
The Collective has instituted numerous new programs including: Thai Thursday, Gallery Hours, Monday Night Yoga at The Hideout, regular live music at Studio A.M., Artist Dinners, and Saturday Brunch. Also, we’ve had an increasing amount of private and charitable events.
Do you feel, outside of Studio AM, that there is adequate support for women in the arts? What are your thoughts on using your platform for women in the arts who may be underrepresented?
I am mindful to carry forward values that prioritize concern not just for gender equality, but ones that employ feminism as a critical lens to examine a broader matrix of class, gender and race structures. I hope my work acts on these values in many ways, for instance, by conducting interviews like this one, and aligning programming around these issues. Also, by helping advance, whenever possible, the careers of younger women, and by supporting a spectrum of artists.
Aside from the programming in my work, I choose to use my personal dollar to patronize other businesses and brands whose mission and ethics I support.
What has been the most difficult hurdle with being a woman in the arts and working alongside a notable male artist?
A large hurdle that I encountered was social pressure. Sometimes our goals and behaviors, although rational to ourselves, come into conflict with the way others would like us to act or live. When this happens, people many use emotional tools like criticism or rejection to exert influence over you. I learned that this is called social pressure, and it’s a force meant to make you conform to the will of others, and it’s very real
Working alongside a notable male artist has been the most empowering part of my job thus far. Having a mentor and leader who is genuinely dedicated to my professional success and growth has been invaluable.
How do you seek to engage diverse audiences thru your work?
By focusing on the culture first and the product second. Sales are what keeps the brand financially stable, but the authenticity is what makes the brand so relatable. The staff should be a mirror of the community you are trying to reach. When you step into Studio A.M. or one of our other program locations, patrons are guaranteed to feel a certain vibe.
Do you consider yourself a feminist and do you think of yourself as well versed in intersectionality?
If a feminist is someone who roots for other women, loves women from all walks of life, believes in female financial independence, and constantly tries to identify unconscious bias when dealing with both men and women, then I am a feminist. To me, feminism does not mean fight for rights or equality, as fight is a negative word. To me, feminism means moving forward whether anyone supports you or not.
It’s difficult to be a true ally without considering intersectionality. While it is true that all women are oppressed some way, it must be clear that women’s liberation and equality will have to address the fact that we all experience this oppression at different levels, and some women experience multiple forms of oppression. I’m a person who wants not only to hear the term intersectionality, but actually feel it, and see the evolution of what intersectional feminism can actually achieve.
When a woman moves forward, I believe she takes the whole new generation along with her. To me, a woman not only gives birth but creates a whole new world with new thinking. With her new forward thinking, she can instill rights, education and values in her children. She is the forward movement.
How does this (intersectionality) reflect in the person you strive to be and the programming that you present?
As a white woman who strives to be mindful in exercising her ability to remove herself from a position of privilege and view matters through an intersectional lens, I want women’s rights to be equally honored, uplifted, and heard. Being conscious of issues of racism, classism, and homophobia allows me to stand in solidarity with women of color, or of a different sexual orientation than my own. One has to see race and all the various representations of womanhood in order to reach and invite a diverse group of women to use the platform she is given, so that all women can begin to rise together, in order to truly work towards solidarity.
Find more of Tori here: