Q. I have just finished studying at university and am considering what career path I’d like to take. I have always been interested in fashion, make-up and beauty products and am interested in pursuing a vocation in this area. Particularly, I am keen to look into the area of beauty journalism, so I would be very grateful if you could give me any useful tips on how I could go about this. I am a regular user of www.beautybible.com and so I know you are very experienced in this field!
A. First of all, start writing. Writing is like a muscle: the more you use it, the better you become. Read magazines. Look at blogs. (You could even start your own blog – it’s so easy, now.) Try to develop the kind of punchy style which magazines and the fashion/beauty pages of newspapers tend to want, which is very different to writing papers at college. The real challenge, though, to get your foot in the door. To be honest, these days, internships are almost the only way anyone’s going to get a first rung on the beauty/fashion journalism ladder. You may have to be prepared to work for free for some months, because magazines are short-staffed and it’s the very best way on earth to ‘trial’ a new team member to see if they fit in; if they do, the chances are they’ll get promoted to a paid job. We literally do not know of anyone who has done it in a different way, in this day and age. Do you know someone who knows someone who knows someone on a newspaper or magazine…? Ask them to make an introduction, and offer your services – for free. Alternatively, you can write to beauty editors or fashion editors, but make your application stand out. Whether that means creating a life-size poster of yourself, or illustrating a letter (if you’re any good at that) – anything to make it leap out from the pile. Alternatively, you might want to consider a postgraduate writing course of some kind – perhaps somewhere relevant like the London College of Fashion; the tutors there also have great contacts, and help with work placements for students. And from both of us, good luck.