Amanda DiLauro Interview

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During my class at FIT in the Spring (Fashion Journalism), I had the chance to listen to guest speaker Amanda DiLauro talk about her career. It was nice to hear about other aspects of the magazine business, besides the journalism, and many pieces of advice she gave stuck in my mind. After waiting the appropriate few hours, I emailed Ms. DiLauro to see if I could interview her for Teen Fashion From Suburbia. Being the generous person she is, she gave me some of her time for an interview. I learned so much about an industry which I had no previous knowledge of, and hopefully you will learn something as well.

Ms DiLauro is an Integrated Marketing Manager at SELF Magazine. SELF is a women's health and lifestyle magazine, owned by publishing powerhouse, Conde Nast. Being an integrated marketing manager means that you come up with ideas to give advertisers "added value" to go with what they are paying for the ad. This "added value" may be in the form of a sponsored event, a mention in another part of the magazine, and just about anything else the Integrated Marketing Managers come up with. Basically, they help promote the brand so it is worth it for that brand to pay money for the advertisement plus the "added value".

Conde Nast is known for being very choosy, and I asked Ms DiLauro if that is true, and if so, how hard is it to get a job at one of the Conde Nast entities. As she so eloquently responded, "Conde Nast can afford to be selective because it is considered the Harvard of magazine publishing. This is because of it's high-end brands such as Vogue and Conde Nast Traveler, who set the precedent for other similar brand from other publishers." Later, Ms DiLauro added on, saying "At Conde, the only job they will put you in starting out is an assistant role." However, Ms DiLauro assured me that there is no competition between individual brands owned by Conde Nast because they all occupy their own niche in terms of topic matter.

As a high school student, I was very interested to hear Ms DiLauro's perspective on the argument of a liberal arts college vs fashion college for a future in fashion marketing. She gave me the best advice anyone has given me about college, which was to "Pursue your passion, let that inform you." It spoke volumes about finding what you love to do and holding on to that dream. Ms DiLauro did warn against going to a (strictly) fashion college if you are having doubts or are worried you might lose interest.  

When asked about internships, Ms DiLauro told me: "In this industry [magazines/fashion] they look more at your experience than your GPA. You learn from having internships what you need to know in a work setting."

Anywhere you go in the fashion industry, you hear whispers that access to a job comes from your connections. Is it really all about who you know? While Ms DiLauro acknowledges the power of connections, she thinks that "connections can't get you a jobs if you don't have the skills for it." Use your contacts for the highly-regarded first hand referrals on your resume and use what you can do to actually land the job or internship. But what if you don't have any family or friends that work in the industry? If you go to industry events and network, you can meet new people who might eventually be able to help you get an interview for a job.

But what traits and skills will help you land that job at that magazine that you're dying to get? Since the magazine environment is very fast-paced, you have to be able to work in that environment and also be able to handle a high-stress job. Especially while starting out as an intern or an assistant, you have to be detailed oriented and have expert level time management skills so you can get all aspects of your job done. Ms. DiLauro made sure to emphasize the importance of being cheerful and not letting it show if things get you upset. A she said to me, "Don't bring other problems to work."

Job interviews can be scary, but before you even walk in the office and sit down, you should know everything about the place you are interviewing at and the person or people you were interviewing with. Google is a powerful tool in the respect. By acknowledging recent activity within the company, you are showing that you are truly interested in what they do, and that you put in that extra effort. Ms. DiLauro believes that confidence and conversation skills are also key, because all an interview really is is a conversation about yourself.

Most importantly, I asked Ms. DiLauro about her in-office attire and what stores she likes to shop at. "At Conde Nast," she mentions, "it depends on work appropriateness. You can wear jeans, but it depends on how you wear them and what you wear them with." Ms. DiLauro shops at H&M and Forever 21, because honestly, they aren't pricey, but she knows that you have to pair it up well so that it doesn't look like your outfit is cheap. And if she had to pick one favorite designer? Instead of one, I got 6, ranging from Alexander McQueen to Naeem Kahn to Alexander Wang. For shoes, Christian Louboutin tops the list, like always.

As I said goodbye to Ms. DiLauro on the phone, my brain was buzzing with all these different hints and tips and pieces of advice that she gave me. It was so helpful, and I can honestly say that I was honored to be permitted to interview her.


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