BEAUTY 911: "How do I Break into the Industry?"

I'm hardly a veteran in the biz, but I can tell you how I got where I am today.

Jun 27, 2012 at 9:30am | Leave a comment

Hello Julie,

How are you? Firstly, I want to tell you how FABULOUS your site is; I always enjoy it. Now, the point of this inquiry. I am a recent college graduate with a double degree in English and Psychology from Chapman University. While I enjoyed school very much, my true loves and passions have always been fashion and beauty.

I would love any advice you have to get into that business. I guess you might say that my dream job would be a beauty editor at a fashion magazine. I'm currently interning for a fashion show, and I'm looking to intern next at a magazine or website. I'd love to hear any advice you have to break into the industry.

Thank you so much for your time!!!

Thank YOU for reading the site! I'm just going to jump right in and tell you exactly how I found myself sitting here today, writing for xoJane.com. 

During my first week at Pratt where I studied undergrad, I attended a panel for writing majors featuring alumni who had actually gone on to become working writers. There were editors from GURL.com and the now defunct Chiefmag.com, which was sort of like Vice. The dudes from Chief struck me as really weird so I sent them an email asking for an internship. Shortly after, I was spending my down time in their huge Greenpoint loft where I made a lot of fruit salad, wrote prank Craigslist ads and played with tazer guns. It was awesome.

Around the same time, I landed an internship at Elle Accessories, a separate magazine back then that is poised to make a comeback. I was so starstruck by the accessories editors that I could barely speak. Each one was conventionally beautiful and immaculately dressed in her own distinct way. I remember watching the engaged one with the enormous ring celebrate her 25th birthday by sipping champagne from the bottle in her mink coat and wanting to be just like her some day.

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Bbming in the beauty closet at Lucky

When the semester-long internship ended, I asked to stay for another, and one of the editors passed me to a friend in fashion news at Elle who didn't really need any help. She would loan me to the beauty department instead. I tended to the beauty closet, unloading bags and bags of face creams and fragrances and sorting makeup into plastic pull-out drawers. I never wanted to leave. This was before interns started filing lawsuits and things weren't as regulated. I was able to fly under the radar at Elle for a full year.

Next, I joined the beauty department at Teen Vogue, followed by Lucky, where I worked for Cat, and then Self. I have stayed in touch with nearly every editor who hired me as an intern, and still write for many of them today. 

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Hard at work

After graduating from college, I spent over a year at a PR agency as an in-house copywriter, which was sort of like beauty writing boot camp. And I can't say anything else or they'll sue me. What matters is Cat came in one day for an appointment and told me I should be working for her instead. 

A month later I applied to be her intern, a position she intended to offer an undergrad. Here's what I said:

Hi Cat,

It's Julie, your Lucky intern from years past. I'm still at ______, writing press releases and celebrity blogs all day and freelancing for SELF (clips attached). I'd attach a _____ clip, but I know the last thing you feel like reading is a press release. Instead, here's a quote I ghostwrote for Kim Kardashian:

"________________________________"

Since launching, xoJane has become my place of refuge and a constant source of witty, insightful, honest and original stories. Never, Ever Tell Me to Smile, Please Don't Pet Me, The Older I Get, the Less I Want to Have a Baby are some of my favorite xoJane pieces, but it's your game-changing beauty writing that actually enhances my vernacular. Case in point: I've always put shit in my drinks, but now it's strictly "Abortion Water." Ditto, "Commes Des F!%k Down" -- just perfect. And as a laser junkie, your trips to the derm are also wonderful and enlightening. Everything on the site is spot on so this could continue forever. 

I remember you telling me about xoJane before the site launched, and hoping I could contribute to the team in any capacity. Since I check Ed2010 compulsively, I saw you were looking for a beauty intern and I would love to be considered. Thank you for reading.

***

Cat offered me the position and I traded my salary and benefits for an internship that would later become the job I've always wanted. 

This is an extremely long-winded way of saying, if you want to work as a beauty editor, try emailing beauty editors at your favorite magazines and websites. Show them that you read their articles, share some of your credentials and remember to channel the voice of the magazine or site you're applying to work for. 

I hope this helps! 

Follow Julie on Twitter @JR_Schott.