Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Life Of A Beauty Director Pt 2

And what happens to all that stuff? About twice a year, everything that's lingered without use is put into the beauty sale. We get everything together, have a sale for the whole office where each product is only $1, and the money goes to charity. We pick a different charity every time.


Beauty sales can be brutal. Yeah. They get crazy sometimes. Elbows are in full-force during these things, it's incredibly what some people with do for $1 Dior lip gloss. I've even seen a fight! I once had to kick people out of a sale because they were about to have a full-on smackdown over some no-name product. Because the thing is, it's not just people in the office. People talk, and then people from all over the building show up for the sale. It's nuts.

So what do you look for in a product? What differentiates the ones that make it into the pages of Teen Vogue? Great packaging is a plus, the products we feature really have to pop off the page. Also, it absolutely has to work, whatever it is, that's the bottom line. So like, I always love doing the Neutrogena and Bigelow products, because I know they work from personal experience.

Tell me how a page comes together, from start to finish. Ok, from birth to print: First, I have to come up with the idea. Ideas come from talking with the other editors, Amy - we're usually on the same wave length. Then, we talk to the Art Department and figure out what's the best way to illustrate the story. Do we use fine art? Shoot a product that evokes the subject? Shoot models? You need to strike a balance so there's diversity in the pages - You can't just have product after product after product. Then, the Photo Department comes in, like if you're shooting a cupcake, which we did recently, you need to find a food stylist. So then it's like, do you know a food stylist? Do you know a good one? Who's a food stylist anyway? Every shoot poses its own issues. If it's a beauty story, I'll make a board to lay out what it'll look like - examples of products and looks from the runway to illustrate whatever the subject is, like glittery eyes or pink lips. Then, the corresponding products get shot, and then the contacts come back. I look at them to choose which photos are best. They'll all have just tiny differences, but those differences are what differentiates the ones that make into Teen Vogue and the ones that don't. After all this, we have to think about the balance on the page. Like, does it need a sidebar? Big pull quotes from doctors and teens? We have to figure out what will go best with the page to keep the balance but to also maintain that Teen Vogue feel. Then, all the options are presented to Amy, and she picks what she thinks is best. Simultaneously, we're researching and writing the story, Amy approves the text, then Production melds it all together (they have to think about fonts, margins, basically making everything standardized and proper). Then the Research Department fact/spell/grammar checks everything, which is really important for integrity. Then, they'll send me back all the corrections that need to be made, like sometimes teens get gun-shy about quotes they gave and want things changed or their names kept secret, so then I make all those corrections and changes, which happens in about 2 - 3 rounds of edits. Then, we come to the printing stages: The first round, like the rough draft, comes by, and everyone involved signs off on whatever part they're in charge of. So like, Photo people check the photo credit, Research looks for the corrections they cited, the Managing Editor looks for glaring errors, and I kind of go through with a fine-tooth comb - like, did we say "pink" fifty million times on one page? That kind of thing. All the first drafts go to Copy, then the final drafts, the mechanicals, get passed around. Mechanicals should be totally clean, but everyone goes through once more just to be totally sure. This is why magazines usually don't have mistakes, there are a zillion people editing every inch of them! Then finally, everything goes to the printer, but just before that, Art does something called "color," where they make sure everything looks just like it does in real life. This can be really tricky with bright makeup though.

Phew! That is one seriously lengthy process. Ok, I think it's time for the stats!


Hometown: Greenwich Village, but before it was gentrified and all NYU central. I wasn't even allowed to go to Washington Square Park!

At-work drink of choice: Water! I drink so much water it's crazy. This water cooler is 18 L, and I go through one a week! If not water, green tea.

After-work drink of choice: More water, but if it's a celebratory event I'll have champagne - but one glass only.

Breakfast of choice: Usually, once slice of whole wheat toast with honey and peanutbutter, and sometimes bananas. If I have time, I'll have a couple boiled or poached eggs, and I always have a grapefruit.

What's your best beauty advice? And don't say "drink water"! Well, besides drinking tons of water, I say you should stay out of the sun, don't smoke, don't fake bake, get at least seven hours of sleep, eat well. I mean, they're all so obvious, and no one wants to do them, but they really do work. So if you want advice beyond that, here's something important: I say you should get your face into a total routine. Like, wash your face every single night, no matter what. Also, don't touch your face! And make sure to wash your hands a lot in case you do.


Your face routine makes me wonder: Would you ever go camping? No. I went once in Wales and it was awful, I really doubt I'll ever do it again.

How did you keep up your face routine? I couldnt'! There was no running water! So I brought like six or seven packs of wet wipes, Evian spray, dry shampoo, and tons of bandanas to cover my hair. I'm really more of a beach, running water, plumbing kind of person.

What do you read besides health stuff and newspapers? I've been reading a lot of cookbooks lately. I got married in August, so I have an embarrassing amount of kitchen stuff now, so I'm trying to put it to good use. I also read a lot of blogs, like Fashionista, Gawker, Splash News if I need to just totally decompress. I also, embarrassingly enough, read a lot of teen fiction because it gets sent to me so much. I tell people it's "market research" but really I kind of like them.

How do you get to work? I take the subway. But sometimes in the summer, I'll ride my bike in on Fridays.


What's your guilty pleasure? I'm on Shopbop like every 22 seconds. Also, Net-a-Porter, I love to shop online. It's a sickness I think. I'd rather order something from than walk the three blocks over to their store! It's just so convenient! I like to think I'm single-handedly boosting the economy, but I know it's problematic, too.

Which languages do you speak? English, Mandarin, French but not confidently, and I'm barely proficient in Spanish. I also took eight years of Latin, if that counts.

Fun fact? Hmmm. Well, I'm addicted to yoga, so I can hold the crow pose for like ten minutes. I think that's pretty good. I'm also really competitive about Scrabble. I'm trying to memorize all the two-letter words. I'm also excellent at doing nails - I give my grandmother a manicure every Sunday.

Wow - grapefruits everyday, 18 L of water every week, riding your bike to work - none of this sounds real! Hey! I'm a beauty editor, I have to live up to it all.

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