When trying to understand how a young college freshman received a correspondence with a major magazine, you’d have to look at the recipient of this lofty honor. It’s not every day that a student, not even finished with her first college semester, is featured in a nationally published magazine. However, for college freshman Bria Cross, it is.
Cross’ eccentric, go-getter personality is what makes her who she is and it’s what has gotten her so far in her life at such a young age.
Cross, a journalism major at Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in broadcast journalism, was recently chosen, along with 15 other college freshman, from over thousands of applicants forSeventeen magazine’s “Freshman 15” correspondence. With an internship that many graduates could only dream of, at just 18 years old, Cross has already had her writing published several times before.
Taylor Jones, a close friend of Cross, said that although Cross likes to have fun, she is also very business oriented.
“[Bria] is a successful young woman who in my opinion has accomplished so much at her age,” said Jones.
Hailing from Dolton, a southern suburb of Chicago, Cross has already achieved journalistic success at a young age. She started her writing career on the yearbook staff at Seton Academy in South Holland. However, it was at her second school, Thornwood High School, that Cross was asked to write the opening section of her senior yearbook. It was also at Thornwood that Cross’ teacher introduced her to the creator of Chicago-based TrueStar magazine.
At the young age of 16, Cross began writing for TrueStar. It was her intense love for entertainment news and her ongoing persistence that landed Cross with numerous celebrity interviews, with hip-hop artists such as the New Boyz and Omarion.
“I told [TrueStar], ‘I like celebrities, so I’m going to write about celebrities’,” said Cross.
After these high-profile interviews and well-written articles, Cross landed her first cover of TrueStarwithin only three months of being hired.
“It gave me confidence,” Cross said.
However, it was last summer that Cross landed the correspondence that would upgrade her writing career the most.
While exploring the Seventeen magazine website this summer, Cross came across an “Apply Now” button and then spent two hours filling out an extensive application for the “Freshman 15” correspondence. After several months without hearing from Seventeen, Cross finally got the email telling her to submit a two-minute video about herself and why she would be a good addition to the “Freshman 15.”
Only days before her classes began in September, Cross received the call that informed her of her new Seventeen correspondence.
Seventeen features editor Elisa Benson said that Cross’ excitement for life and upbeat attitude is what earned her a spot on “Freshman 15.”
“We loved her right off the bat,” said Benson. “Her video was super-energetic and fun. We could tell she wanted to fully dive into the college experience and share it with readers.”
However, Cross admitted that she doesn’t know why Seventeen chose her over thousands of other girls for this correspondence.
“I don’t really know what set me apart,” said Cross, “but I’m glad I got noticed.”
Every week, Cross submits a blog, video blog and photos of she and her friends while also answering questions from readers. Cross frequently writes about parties and also of her complications with her roommates.
According to Cross’ blog manager at Seventeen, Kaitlyn Cubria, Cross has what it takes to be a great journalist.
“I think Bria has improved since her first blog/ entries,” Cubria said. “The journalism industry is tough to crack into. The fact that Bria will have all of these clips from Seventeen will give her that much of a leg up on her competition.”
Although Cross writes for both TrueStar and Seventeen, she has many different ideas for what her future career may be.
“I want to do everything,” said Cross. “I wouldn’t mind working for a PR firm, hosting TRL, or having an online blog. I want to do it all.”
For students and aspiring journalists, Cross offered some important advice: make yourself known.
“Put yourself out there, apply everywhere,” Cross said. “Don’t be scared to try anything.”