Flo Ngala ‘13 and Jessica Chi ‘11 make Forbes 30 under 30 list

Maeve Goldman, Staff Writer

Jessica Chi

From Revlon and L’Oreal Paris to Fenty, if you’ve stepped into an Ulta or Sephora you’ve likely come across some of Jessica Chi’s ’11 work. The 29 year-old Global Head of Marketing at Fenty Skin was recently recognized as one of the most influential young people in marketing by Forbes magazine on their 30 Under 30 list. 

Since graduating from Horace Mann 11 years ago, Chi has cemented herself as a marketing enigma, specializing in the cosmetics industry. In 2021, after four and a half years managing campaigns for products including Garnier SkinActive at L’Oreal Paris, Chi received an MBA in Marketing and Management from Columbia Business School in New York. 

Chi is now based in San Francisco where she is the  Global Head of Marketing at Fenty Skin, a subset of the luxury beauty conglomerate LVMH. In August of 2021, Chi launched the brands’ first fragrance, Fenty Eau de Parfum.

 

Flo Ngala

Voted “most artsy” in the 2013 edition of the Mannikin, Flo Ngala ’13 is living proof that senior superlatives stick, as she was recently recognized on the 2022 Forbes Magazine’s 30 Under 30 list for Art and Style. Each year Forbes recognizes 600 entrepreneurs, leaders, and stars in a variety of categories including Sports, Finance, and Art and Style. “Being recognized felt really cool,” Ngala said. “One of the best feelings is to know that goals you once wished for are coming true.” 

Ngala is a New York based portrait photographer and photojournalist who has amassed a portfolio of photos ranging from colorful candids of Cardi B to black and white snapshots of figure skaters. With a client list including Adidas, Busta Rhymes, and Billboard, Ngala was the first African American woman to photograph the MET Gala for Vogue from the inside.    

Ngala found out that she had been selected for the Forbes list while at home with her mother, she said. Ngala’s friend, another member of the Forbes 30 Under 30 class of 2023, delivered the news via a phone call after reading the list online, Ngala said. The timing of the call was perfect because Ngala’s mom had just stopped by for a surprise visit at her apartment, she said. “We got to celebrate that moment together.”

Ngala’s interest in the arts was present from a young age, but it took time to discover the medium she wanted to pursue, she said. Ngala first explored photography in the Middle Division and quickly fell in love with the art form, she said. “Photography was something that was very personal and very passion filled,” she said. “I realized that soon after I first learned to use a camera.” 

After learning photography skills, Ngala began to explore her identity as an artist and the variety of ways she could utilize her craft, she said. “Photography allowed me to find my own voice and space creatively,” she said. “I learned how to use my camera at school then I was able to capture my community when I would go back home.”

Today Ngala uses photography to depict the realities she observes and the people who surround her. “The story that has always stood out to me was the first New York Times story I ever did about Black figure skaters,” she said. “It was a personal project because I grew up figure skating. Specifically capturing other figure skaters who were women of color was impactful.” 

“Many of Ngala’s portraits celebrate the fleeting, intimate moments that make us all human,” Photography teacher Jordan Rathus said. “In capturing these small in-between moments along with the grand, Ngala brings the magic of everyday gestures to life. The bold act of creating these images builds community.”

Ngala hopes that young people who read the profiles of Forbes 30 Under 30 listers, regardless of the category, will see that one thing you can not get around is putting in the work, she said. “No matter what you want to pursue, try and fall in love with stepping up and doing the work.” Everyone on the list has a different story and journey that brought them there.