Episode 32: The Masthead with Marie Claire Video
A day in the life of a Marie Claire staffer
Hello. Come on in, guys...to my small apartment. Now, I'm getting ready to go to work, taking a little bit of time, not really sure what I'm gonna wear, what I'm gonna do with my hair. My name's Lizzie Dunlap, I'm assistant beauty editor at Marie Claire. It's Monday morning. I was out of the office on Friday so I have a lot of e-mails and voicemails to catch up on, and some copy to move, so I'm gonna read this over to the copy chief and then just go through the e-mails and check my voicemail.
One of the first things that anybody asks you when they hear that you work in a woman's fashion magazine is, "Is it like the Devil Wears Prada?" and so we thought it will be fun to actually follow two real-life assistants for a couple of days and actually see what their real lives were like.
The 8th Avenue became 56th and 57th Streets. Being the assistant fashion editor means I am the assistant to our fashion director and I produce and work on all the shoots that we do as well as helping her manage the department and managing her schedule and helping her style, doing all the travel arrangements and going on the shoots with her as well. Turn on her lights, make sure she doesn't have any voicemails, make sure her computer's on. I bring her Woman's Wear Daily which she reads everyday. Coffee, water, and then I water her plants.
I might be meeting with a photographer so I need for her to gather a bunch of different magazines that illustrate the type of story I'm looking for, wanna pick through them or see what they're interested in.
We need to get a [unknown]
I already asked his agent if she can send me the studio preferences.
I'm in the beauty closet right now and I was going through products for a July shoot on pedicure colors, but we've decided to expand the shoot a little bit more and get some pedicure tools as well.
Okay, that seems more realistic. I think I didn't have it in properly 'cause I was shaking.
Lizzie's job actually has a whole bunch of different duties all put into one job. She's actually got a lot of responsibility.
Part of what we do is market work.
This is Jessica from QBC.
Hey, nice to meet you.
So we're going out on appointments with publicists and publicists are coming to meet us and are introducing us to some new science, new ingredients, and just giving us an overall view of what's going on in the beauty industry.
We have at least 20 or so bags coming in everyday. She's gotta figure out what we wanna keep, what we don't, what might be interesting for our readers and what might be potentially suitable for an upcoming story.
This is Tracy's daily schedule, or daily memo, as we call it.
My responsibilities are so all over the place and so that means her responsibilities are kind of all over the place and both of us have to give a semblance of trying to keep it together.
To be the fashion director's assistant, you need first of all nerves of steel. What you have to be is really passionate and you need a sense of humor.
Just one second.
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Lizzie Dunlap has been my assistant for a year and the hours that you have to keep to be an editor-in-chief's assistant are really tough, and Lizzie is very smart, she went to Cornell, she's a really good writer, and it was just very clear that she needed to move up, otherwise we were gonna lose her to another bigger job somewhere else.
It was really the best experience I could have in magazines because you get to look at everything on a big scale.
I think what's great about Lizzie is that she's well-rounded. She has a lot of different interests besides beauty but she's really passionate about beauty as well.
And my favorite part of the job is...I mean, in covering beauty, is that it's such a personal matter to everybody. Everybody cares about the way that they look when they look in the mirror. I do work very late hours, for sure. I work a lot of weekends. It's pretty hard to balance my social life with my work life, for sure. Thankfully, my friends are really understanding, my family's very understanding. Having a job that's so largely based on creativity so even when you leave the office, it's-- you're still thinking about it, it's very hard to switch off the work gear and switch into friend gear. Usually takes half an hour, then telling me to stop about talking about my office day. My job is definitely very glamorous. I think my favorite part would be the traveling. The only problem is that, you know, when we're traveling, I can't always enjoy myself. Imagine, you know, traveling, how difficult it is and security and everything so imagine if you had like, you know, 9 or 10 like big trunks of clothes. It's a lot of work but it's always great to see something new. You're low in the pecking order in a sense, you're low in the corporate pecking order, but you have access and you get to see a huge amount more than most people do so you have a lot of access from the job. By assisting, you know, someone like a fashion director or any kind of director level, you know you're really taking the next step and the great news is that you can sort of get, you know, a pretty decent job hopefully after that.
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I think one of the hair myths is that you can keep changing your hair color all the time and it won't make a difference, the hair will just go whatever the box says. The hair will probably never be the color on the box because the hair color is put on anybody's natural color, it has to work with those natural tones.