Thursday, July 12, 2007

Dream Jobs in Fashion Part I: Magazine Beauty Editor

I contribute to the shopping/fashion website Stealthatlook, and readers Noreen and Jasmine asked about how they can land magazine jobs, after reading my book review on “Free Gift With Purchase”, the biography and memoir of Lucky Beauty Editor Jean Godfrey-June. So I asked no less than Preview Beauty Editor Agoo Bengzon to tell us how she jumpstarted her career, and how Noreen and Jasmine can bag the job of their dreams!

1. How did you get started in the magazine industry? Have you always wanted to pursue a career in fashion?
Even at a young age, I was always fascinated with the fashion and beauty pages of magazines such as Vogue, Bazaar and Elle, and this would often translate in my way of dressing (I always wanted the "in" brands and experimented with different hair styles and lip colors) but my first job was, ironically, in a preschool. I taught boys and girls (ages 2 1/2 -31/2 Nursery) for two years. In the year 2000, a co­teacher told me that her friend who worked in Summit mentioned a job opening for Beauty Editor in Preview. I applied, and fortunately, landed the job (I started out with the job title of Beauty Assistant though).

2. What are the entry level positions that one can look into if they want to work for a magazine? Does one have to graduate with a degree in communications or journalism to become part of the editorial staff? Does one need previous work experience or can a fresh graduate immediately get hired?
There are no specific criteria although I would imagine that a Communications or Journalism degree would be helpful. I, for example, graduated with a degree in Psychology, and ended up here. Fresh grads are sometimes hired but they usually have to start out as Editorial Assistant. In fact, our current Editorial Assistant was a fresh grad. She started out with us as an intern, and because we were so impressed with her organizational skills, and willingness to learn, we hired her right after she graduated.

3. What basic skills are required to land a magazine job?
One must be computer literate, be genuinely interested in the subject matter (depending on the magazine).

4. What qualities do magazine companies look for when choosing who gets into their editorial staff? Is it the editorial staff who determines who becomes part of your group?
The HR department screens the applicants, and we choose who we want. Preview in particular looks for those who are sincerely interested in fashion and/or beauty, and are also able to participate in social events as networking is part of the job too.

5. What are the perks of your job? Is it as glamorous as it seems? Do you get lots of freebies and do you always get to try the latest skincare craze?
The freebies are great, and we also get to try all sorts of restaurants when products are launched. We also get other privileges like discount cards, face and body treatments, etc.

6. Are there any cons to working in a magazine? Late hours? Stress?
It is sometimes tiring to do the same thing month after month. I for example, am in charge of all the beauty sections, and I have to do the same thing every time. It can seem like "Groundhog Day" sometimes. Deadline days are also particularly stressful.

7. What's a day in your life like?
As a Beauty Editor, I am at the office most of the time, doing my text. I have shoots occasionally, and attend at least 2 events a week.

8. What advice can you give to those whose dream is to one day work for a leading fashion magazine?
If you're still in college, try it out as an intern. That way, you aren't tied to the job yet, and can find out how it feels. If you like it, send in your resume, and make sure to specify your areas of interest.

This post was published in the July issue of Stealthatlook.com. Click here to check out the site!

13 comments:

giancinephile said...

hey cd I hope it's perfectly okay with u if I add your blog to my bloglist haha.

It's nice there are blogs like this from the tiers-Monde haha! It doesn't mean livin' in a poor country will stop you from obsessing on couture!!!

More power to ya!

cd said...

Its more than perfectly ok giancinephile! I'd be happy if you link me up! More power to us! Here's to the fashion obsessed! Hahaha! =)

Angel said...

hey there! im just wondering... it seems that you're very into fashion... how come your in charge of the beauty section of your mag? :)

cd said...

Hi angel! That's actually just a one-off thing. I normally do write-ups on fashion but I did a book review on a beauty editor's memoir. Some readers asked how they can get a job like that, so I interviewed Agoo =)

Anonymous said...

just a question though, i'm a communication arts sophomore and just started to take up my majors. can i do internship already? or do i have to wait until i'm already in my last year in college?

cd said...

Hi anon! I think you can do summer internships as early as your sophomore year! Just call the HR department of publishing companies and inquire to be sure! Good luck! =)

sheena said...

Hi, I was really inspired by your recent interview since being a fashion magazine editor is also my dream job. I was even more motivated to learn that Ms. Bengzon also majored in Psychology,as I am doing now, but still landed that kind of job. I was just wondering (since Ms. Bengzon mentioned this), how computer literate should someone aspiring to work in a fashion magazine have to be? My computer skills are just average, so I`d like to know if there are specific program skills I must improve or learn. Thank you so much!

cd said...

Thank you too Sheena! As far as I know, basic Microsoft Word is fine for writing your articles. Should you need to learn more computer programs, I'm sure you can do that on the job. Although in the UK, they highly recommend that fashion journalists be familiar with Quark Xpress. I'm not too sure how widely used that program is back home, but knowing how to use that will give you an edge, especially if you are looking at an international career! Good luck and I wish you all the best! Don't lose sight in following your dreams!

nikiVONbiki said...

This was very useful information! ;] these are all the questions I always wondered about landing a job writing for a magazine with a communications major. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi I'm a freshman studying communications at York University. I know that most magazine-based internships are not paid, but because I have to pay rent and such, at least until my lease runs out, would it still be fine to do an internship in my junior year? Would I be behind in anything or would it be more difficult?

cd said...

You're welcome Niki!

Hi Anon! Of course it helps to get in the game early, but sure you can do internships later. There are a lot of girls who have done internships in the latter part of their college years, or even made a career move to magazine publishing without having a background in it at all. But, of course, it would be better to get your foot in the door early. What you can do is intern during the summer when school is out. You can make arrangements with friends to share a space or live with your parents and find a local magazine publication you can intern for. Hope this helps!

Stephanie said...

Hello! This interview is really inspiring :> I've always wanted to be an intern in a fashion mag but for some reason, i'm always rejected :( It's so depressing because they don't know how passionate I am when it comes to fashion and beauty. I even plan to apply for scholarship in SoFa after graduating at DLSU. I really really want to be an intern and I'm sure I can handle anything. What do you think should I do? Or like what should my resume look like? I'm still young so I don't have many experiences yet to put in my resume :( Hope you can help me! THANK YOU SO MUCH :)

CHRISTINE DYCHIAO said...

Hi Stephanie! While waiting to get a magazine internship, you may also want to intern for a PR company, the lifestyle section of a newspaper, or a fashion/magazine website. You may also offer to contribute to an established blog. There are other ways to hone your writing skills and the network you create on your first internship can open more doors to actually getting the magazine internship or even job you've always wanted! It's important to network as well, and really just get your foot in the door so to speak. Hope this helps! =)

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