Why I Fully Intend To Work In Fashion And Beauty Until I’m 94

They’re gonna have to carry my cold, dead body out of this industry

Feb 20, 2014 at 3:00pm | Leave a comment

“This is so weird. This is SO WEIRD.” That’s what I keep saying out loud at my desk to poor Rebecca, who sits next to me.

She's being really cool about having a seat neighbor that talks to herself. I can’t help it! It’s just that I’m tripping off of going from freelancing at home in my jammies to suddenly being in a brand new gig with a whole crew of interesting characters that I’m excited to get to know. ­

My friend Cedric once told me that life happens in seven-year cycles. During each phase, we go through some sort of major transformation then the process starts all over again. It’s been seven years since the last time I started a new job and this go-round really does feel like a rebirth.

I often tell people that I’m the most unlikely beauty (and now fashion) editor ever. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from the Democratic Republic of Congo right before I was born, and almost all of my family still lives there. My grandmother has never worn makeup in her life, and yet I get to immerse myself in the beauty world and share my knowledge with anyone who will listen. And I get paid for it!

If you saw the village where my mother was raised, you would really understand how crazy that is. Ain’t no Sephora there, ya know?

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My gorgeous grandmother has no clue who Marc Jacobs is. 

Now that I have so many years in the biz under my belt, the randomness of my career path doesn’t feel quite so bizarre anymore. That’s because for me, it stopped being about the products, the tips and the trends a long time ago. Don’t get me wrong -- I LOVE that all that stuff. Seriously, a kick-ass bright lipstick like the one Emily wore yesterday (It was a MAC Retro Matte in Relentlessly Red; I need to get me one.) makes me abnormally happy. But really, I’m in this because of you. Meaning women, people, Muppets and anyone that I get to connect with through my work.

I grew up often being the only black girl in my class at school. I was painfully shy. My hair was different. My name was weird, and my parents had thick accents. I never fit in and it sucked.

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Me, the future beauty and fashion junkie, at age 11 months.

Now I love that I had that experience because it taught me how to relate to people I seemingly have nothing in common with. Turns out, that’s a big part of what I do for a living. That is precisely what I love about it.

I’ve learned that gabbing about lip gloss is a great ice-breaker. Many times those convos open the door to unexpected revelations about the impact beauty and image have on us. I get off on those convos. 

But don’t worry, I won’t just be getting all emo up in here. There will be tips! Lots of tips! And inspiration out the wazoo, I promise.

I see from the entertaining barrage of comments you left on the welcome post Jane wrote yesterday that you people are as beauty-and-style crazed as I am. And a few of us share an unhealthy obsession with Lupita Nyong’o and Tilda Swinton, which is cool.

Besides chattering about your icons, what do you want from beauty and fashion coverage here? I feel like picking your brains. Holla.