CareerWhat Beauty Editor Alanna Learned From Taking Time Off...

What Beauty Editor Alanna Learned From Taking Time Off After Graduation


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Hometown: Scarsdale, NY

Year you graduated: 2016

Where did you go to school?

Fordham University, Lincoln Center (I like to call it the small, secret, uptown artsy campus of NYC).

What did you study?

I majored in English and minored in Fashion Studies. About halfway through my sophomore year I realized I wanted to go into magazine writing — and while I could’ve chosen communications as a route, I was always passionate about writing and reading. By majoring in English, I was able to take Shakespeare classes and the journalism courses I needed, so I kind of got the best of both worlds.

Briefly describe what your college experience was like:

In one word, my college experience was invaluable. I learned so much about myself in those four years then I ever had in my entire life — it sounds cliché, I know. But once you’re out there figuring out life for yourself, learning how you behave in all different kinds of relationships — and following the steps that lead you to where you’re meant to be headed, you really get to know yourself on levels you didn’t even know you possessed. College was the totally perfect juxtaposition: it challenged and questioned my whole school of thought, but more than ever, it helped me figure out who I am and who I’m becoming.

Where are you living now?

I’m still in New York! (And hope to be, forever, TBH). There’s something about this city that I knew I was always astounded by —  it’s like that weird saying ‘when you know you know’ (like when you’re talking about finding a life partner LOL) —  but that’s how I feel about my relationship with New York. She’s always going to be my home.

What are you doing with your post-grad time?

I’m so honored to say that I’m a beauty editor! Popsugar brought on a team of editors and creatives to create content for L’Oréal’s — and I’m one of three Assistant Beauty Editors on the project. It’s kind of my dream job in the sense that it’s a really cool editorial opportunity for the biggest cosmetics company in the world. Plus, finding cool new angles for beauty writing and speaking to some of the most well known makeup artists of all time is just totally unreal. I legit have to pinch myself most of the time.

What did your post-grad path to your current job look like? Did you start right away? Take some time off?

If you read this piece of mine, you’ll know that I didn’t start my career right after college. Long story short, I lost my grandfather last year — which was the absolute worst thing I’ve pretty much ever had to go through.  But I realized that by not getting a job right away— I got to spend the latter months of his life with him — and it was that very path that led me to where I am today. Everything, seriously, happens for a reason. Before I did get hired to work on, I started beauty freelancing in 2017 at Teen Vogue and completed an internship at Rolling Stone.

What does a normal weekday look like for you?

Probably my favorite thing about my job is that a normal week day for me is nothing like a normal week day for most. I’ll usually wake up around 7, get ready for work at 9 (and grab a Venti iced tea in the process). Then, I’ll head into the office — my day consists of writing, or attending shoots, meetings, etc — and I’ll usually have events like beauty launches or parties after work. It really is a 24/7 job but I love it.

How about the weekend?

Weekends are definitely a little more chill. If you follow my social accounts, you’ll know I’m a lover of all things NYC nightlife— so I’m often checking out cool new restaurants and spots. Also, spending a lot of time with my friends is really important to me so I’m always bugging the hell out of them. I’ll also shoot for my blog on weekends, and finish off Sunday evening with a great face oil, always.

What has been the hardest adjustment for you going from college to post-grad life?

I would say figuring out your own workflow. While you learn how to ‘manage your time’ in college — it’s still much more structured than being at a job all day. In school, you still have assignments due and classes at certain times. When you work, you kind of are able to create your own rhythm with your team and you have to get your contribution done in a more scaled out, big picture, kind of way. It’s pretty freaking cool.

What has been the best part?

The best part definitely has to be being apart of something so impactful and large, while still being able to express my unique individuality and perspective. I always loved magazines and digital media writing because of the different perspectives they’re able give in every medium. Learning how to hone in all those points of view into one, cool mission or service is certainly a challenge, but the outcome is totally irreplaceable. It completes you. If you’re able to go to bed at night feeling this way about the kind of work you do, I think you’ve found your vocation.

What helped you land your current position?

Definitely my college and post-grad internships, as well as my clips from various freelancing gigs is the direct answer. Indirectly though, I think my passion for writing and wanting to really give beauty service and confidence to my readers made a massive difference.

Knowing what you do now, what advice would you give your college self?

I would definitely tell myself to not be so stressed out, and that everything truly does happen for a reason. My grandfather’s death last year really put my life into perspective — in the toughest way, it taught me what’s important and who’s important. Your health matters. Your family matters. Your friends matter. Those things come first.

What’s one thing you worried about in college, now being beyond it, you wish you hadn’t?

I would say that trusting my instincts was something I definitely struggled with that I wish I hadn’t. As my homie William Shakes would say — not all that glisters is truly gold. If you feel like something just isn’t for you in your gut and soul — it probably isn’t. Trust your instincts, because they’re usually right — and believe in yourself, this is only the beginning.

In 5 years you hope to be:

Attending the Met Gala on the reg. (Kidding, but also really not kidding). I hope to be happy. It sounds really cheesy, but I want to be just surrounded by people I love and have a job and a livelihood I love. And an Instagram-husband wouldn’t hurt.

Rapid fire round:

Current binge show:

Ah, this is a tough one cause I skip around on so many! I love all things dark and detective, so I’ll say The Fall. It’s a pretty horrid story — but I’m just obsessed with the writing, the characters, and of course Jamie Dornan. I also rewatch Black Mirror all the time. It’s hands down one of my favorite shows, ever. And Stranger Things of course.

Favorite way to unwind:

This should be no surprise coming from a beauty editor, but a face mask! I love trying all different kinds, and I love the feeling of peeling them off right before bed. In fact, I’ll probably do one later.

Favorite song right now:

Okay, very loaded question. I’m going to pick an old song that’s relevant now, if that makes sense — “Every Breath You Take” by The Police. It absolutely killed me that this was the song they chose to end season 2 of Stranger Things with so I’ve had it on repeat. As for actual 2017 releases, I’m really loving anything and everything that Khalid does.

Cause/issue that’s moving you:

The way we’ve talked about beauty in the past, present, and future. I became a beauty editor for a reason — not only do I love writing and playing with makeup all day, I am so proud to be a part of really changing beauty standards as we move into a more progressive future. In fact, beauty should not have ‘standards’ at all — beauty should be intrinsically you. And that’s the mantra that drives me every day.

Favorite podcast:

Ugh, I love this question, because I love podcasts. To go along with my love for dark hard-boiled crime, I’ve been loving Criminal and ABC’s 20/20. I’ve also listened to the first season of Serial about five times now (seriously, I’m not kidding) because I love Sarah Koenig’s voice (and obviously the excellent reporting).

Something good you read lately (can be a book, an article, an Instagram caption, etc.):

This TIME piece. It speaks for itself, and it’s important.

Morning drink order:

Venti Pineapple Black Lemonade Iced Tea from Starbucks, sweetened, always (blezz!)

Current favorite social media account you follow:

Probably my best friend and other half, @heyitslindseyy  ; we’ve been BFFS since high school and are totally creative partners in crime — she shot this sick portrait of me for her photo thesis, Resurgence — how talented is she?!!

3 things you can’t leave home without:

A vampy lip color, my iPhone, and a lil Shakespearean swag 😉

killer featured photo cred@laurenperlstein


currently living + breathing @makeupdotcom


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