There’s more science in the beauty and cosmetics industry than meets the eye.
At the Pond’s Institute in Trumbull, Connecticut back in 2006.
I never thought I would become a beauty editor. Not once did it even occur to me that I would be working as one. True, at 18, I told myself I wanted to be an “editor” by age 24. But, at the time, I actually had no idea how to go about it and what kind, actually. (I did manage become an editor at 24, but that’s the subject of another blog post.)So what happened? I started as an intern at Seventeen Magazine back in 2000 when it launched its first international edition. Shortly before graduating, I was hired as an editorial assistant—not an unusual career trajectory for people who intern at magazines. The “beauty” part came in about two years after being hired for the position. I was getting fidgety, watching my contemporaries rise up to fashion, features, and managing editor positions, while I remained a work-all-sections EA, which quite frankly, was actually fun because I got to do everything. But, I probably had that particular career timeline at the back of my mind—or not; I was simply feeling envious of my colleagues. I brought this up to Maya, my first boss (see previous post) who earnestly told me and I will never forget this:

“Mariel, don’t compare yourself to others.”

I actually forgot exactly what she said after that, but the gist was that I shouldn’t indeed be comparing myself with the other EAs who have already “moved forward” because 1) Seventeen was a different magazine, and 2) The position I wanted for myself—lifestyle and fitness assistant/editor—didn’t exist in our magazine’s masthead at the time.

But more importantly, Maya wanted me to make a decision. To paraphrase, “I don’t know where to place you, what do you want to do? You can choose between beauty or features.” At the time, Maddy, the fashion and beauty editor was getting ready leave for New York and the position was going to be shared by a fashion editor and a beauty editor who were yet to be hired.

Lille, the features editor (who remains a very very good friend, like most of the Seventeen girls), nudged, “Why don’t you do beauty? You just got a car and you can drive to do pull-outs?” It was a simple as that: I could now physically go to the stores and borrow merchandise to write about.

So, that essentially was how I got my start in beauty. And then I walked the walk, talked the talk, worked the work. As the years went by, I no longer had to pull from stores because products simply arrived at my desk, beautifully packaged and brimming with all the science I’ve come to love to digest.