What was your first “Big Break” in your profession?
Getting my first job at Seventeen. I moved to NYC right out of school, I knew I wanted to work in magazines but didn't have many connections to the industry. So one day I went to the Barnes & Noble in Union Square, picked up any and every magazine I would've wanted to work for, and sat in a corner on the floor with the pile of them, making a list of every Art Director from the mastheads (I was too broke to actually buy the magazines). Then I sent my resume and book out cold—snail mail— to all of them. The Creative Director at Seventeen liked my book and held onto it, and when she was hiring an assistant a few months later, gave me a call. It was my foot in the door and I couldn't have been more excited.
What's in your backpack/handbag/tote right now?
- Phone / Keys / Wallet
- No less than 10 kinds of lipstick/gloss/balm
- An embarrassing number of crumpled receipts
- Eye drops (for after staring at a computer screen for hours)
- Hand sanitizer (for after riding a CitiBike)
Top 3 Tips you would give someone starting out in your creative profession:
1. Don't take critiques personally. In school you'll do projects where you have complete creative freedom—but when you're working for a client (or a creative director, EIC, whoever)—that's just not the case. Everyone will have feedback, you will have to make changes, and not everyone is going to agree with your creative choices—and thats ok! That's the challenge. I've actually done some of my best work because of feedback that forced me to think in a different way. Design is a collaboration. So don't be afraid to try your ideas, even defend your ideas, but don't be too precious about anything either.
2. You're never done learning. I'm constantly drawing inspiration from different places (magazines, blogs, movies, whatever— even ads in the subway) and I learn new ways of doing things all the time— it's how you evolve as a creative.
3. Have a good attitude. You can be a complete creative genius, but if you're a pain to work with, it doesn't even matter. Also, no project is too small. I've done everything from large-scale photo shoots and magazine covers to banner ads and e-blasts. Just because a project doesn't seem exciting to you doesn't mean its not important and that it can't look great. So check your ego at the door and don't think you're better than any project. If you do good work on any scale, people will notice.
What is your MOTTO in life?
I have two:
1. Make your own you.
2. The answer is always "no" if you don't ask. (This is so simple, but it’s the best advice I have ever been given and has served me both professionally and personally.)
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
I watch almost every show on Bravo (#basic).
What do your parents think you do?
Draw pictures? Kidding—but both of my parents are doctors, so what I do could not be more different. But they were always totally supportive of me pursuing a creative career—my mom was actually the one who encouraged me to go to art school. So I don't know if they understand what I do day-to-day, but my mom really loves showing strangers my name in a magazine anytime she's in a salon.
What would be your Networking Do's & Dont's?
I really dislike the term “networking,” I always associate it with having an agenda. Be yourself. Have authentic conversations. Be kind. Make friends. You never know who you'll run into down the road.
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