So What Do You Do, Amelia McDonell-Parry, Editor-in-Chief of TheFrisky.com?

Amelia-McDonell-Parry-Artic

Amelia McDonell-Parry, editor-in-chief of the popular women’s lifestyle site TheFrisky.com, is probably the last person you’d expect to find at a men’s magazine like Maxim. And yet, McDonell-Parry’s career path has taken plenty of unexpected twists and turns, from her early days as an intern at Jane to scoring her first gig at Rolling Stone, to her current position heading up TheFrisky.

Here, McDonell-Parry talks about the surprising office culture at Maxim, going up against censorship at Turner and how she finally got past her fear of failure.


Name: Amelia McDonell-Parry
Position: Editor-in-Chief, TheFrisky
Resume: Interned at Jane and Interview during her summers at college, scored her first gig as an editorial assistant at Rolling Stone and parlayed that into a spot at Maxim, where she worked her way up from assistant editor to associate managing editor. Freelanced for about a year after that before becoming founding editor of TheFrisky.com.
Birthday: November 16
Hometown: San Diego, California
Education: BA in journalism from University of California, Santa Cruz
Marital status: Single
Media mentor: “Jane Pratt’s somebody I’ve always admired. She’s had an influence on where my career has gone. I would also say the people who’ve mentored me the most have been the people I worked with here [at TheFrisky]. It’s been really inspiring to see how they approach the [often personal] stuff they’re writing about, and the way they’ve evolved their voices.”
Best career advice received: Learning how to manage up is just as important as learning how to manage down.
Guilty pleasure: “The show that makes me feel the most guilty is Sons of Anarchy. It’s so brutal towards women, but it’s so hard to turn off. So that, and definitely wine and Diet Coke.”
Last book read: “I just finished the Lena Dunham book on tape [Not That Kind of Girl]. I also just read The Fever, by Megan Abbott. “
Twitter handle: @xoamelia


Tell me about getting your first gig at Rolling Stone.
During college, I interned at Jane twice and then also at Interview. The Rolling Stone job came along because the person who had hired me at Jane was somebody I stayed in touch with after I graduated and someone who was very kind to me and was impressed with my interning skills. About a year after graduating, I got lucky because that same guy had just gotten hired at Rolling Stone, and he recommended me. That’s how I got an interview, and that’s how I got hired. It was amazing because it was a year after graduating and I was like, ‘I’m working at Rolling Stone.’ It was like a dream. Mind you, I was answering phones and mostly doing finance stuff, like making sure all the writers got paid, all the stuff that actually has become incredibly helpful now that I’m running a website.

I was lucky because I was able to write small pieces for [the magazine], like little band reviews. I always really loved music and while I wasn’t getting paid a ton, I was getting free tickets to shows and free CDs, and definitely getting to live this sort of ideal, early 20s life in New York, working at a music magazine. It was awesome.

How did you end up at Maxim?
After about a year and a half [at Rolling Stone] my boss got hired to be the editor-in-chief of Maxim, and he brought me with him. It was interesting. I definitely went into it unsure of what to expect. I was not a Maxim reader. I’m a feminist. I was like, ‘What’s the culture going to be like? What are these guys going to be like?’ As it turned out, the men who actually make the magazine, at least for the time I was there, are so not a reflection of their readership. And so it was actually a really wonderful experience. I will tell you, the amount of pranks that people would pull — it was a really fun office. There was a lot of hard work, but there was a lot of silliness, and I liked that.