New gig Editor in chief, Brides
Old gig Executive editor, Brides
What’s been the best part about having the editor in chief job so far?
I think the most exciting part is that now, versus 10 or 20 years ago, we’re able to reach out and touch this reader on different platforms. That, and having my own bathroom.
When your appointment was announced, there was a lot of buzz about your being the first black editor in chief at Condé Nast. Were you surprised by the response?
It was a big surprise that it got so much attention. The outpouring of positive comments from people both inside the company and out has been wonderful. At the time, I was really just thinking about the magazine and what we need to do.
Are you going to focus on bringing more diversity to Brides?
I prefer to do, as opposed to say. But my goal is to continue to give our readers the most ideas and inspiration that I can. I think it will play out in a lot of different ways.
Now that so much wedding planning takes place online, whether it’s making a Pinterest page or watching bridal fashion shows the day after they’re on the runway, where do you see the print magazine fitting in?
We have a great opportunity to provide inspiration through gorgeous, oversized images, which is something that you still can’t really do online. And we always have to focus on the fact that we’re curating. There’s a ton of information out there, which can be overwhelming for a bride. You can spend your entire 15-month engagement just looking for one item. Getting that abundance of information down to a manageable amount—that’s our job.
You practiced corporate law for four years. Why did you quit?
My heart wasn’t in it. During the dot-com days, it was a little bit more exciting. But then the bubble burst, and I started working on more traditional corporate deals, and I thought, “I’m not passionate about this.” To really be great at something, you have to want to read about it in your spare time and really eat, sleep and breathe it, and I didn’t feel that way about corporate law.
So why the magazine industry?
I was looking for something I could do with a law degree, and one thing that really spoke to me was publishing. It always had, since I was young. My mother told me that I used to have a pen name.
What was the first title you worked for?
Travel Savvy, which was a small magazine for the hip traveler. It was at a time when no one would hire me. I sent my resume everywhere, but I didn’t have any experience. I went from having someone else answer my phone to getting coffee for other people.
Did you start on the editorial side?
I started as an intern, and within two years, I was editor in chief. My legal training certainly helped me jump into a business and figure things out. That, and the courage in my 20s to work for no money.
Did you have any regrets about leaving a high-powered job for an internship?
Two weeks after I left law, I was in Barneys, and I was trying on this Marc Jacobs bag, and I called my friend, and I was like, “Remind me why I did this?” And that was literally the one moment where I questioned my decision. But I haven’t had one since.