EDITOR SPOTLIGHT: EVA CHEN
This year, I wanted to shake up the Spotlights a bit and start to feature editors, writers, bloggers, and press in general, as they are the ones who work with publicists more than anyone else, day in day out. What better way to understand how PR works than to speak to those we are working with? So, with fingers crossed, I reached out to a few editors who I can now call friends, and am lucky enough to have gotten a few to agree to contribute.
This first interview with Eva Chen is a very big “get,” as she sets the bar incredibly high when it comes to editors in this industry. You may know Eva from her most recent job as the Beauty Director at Teen Vogue or as the social media maven she is with a super aspirational namesake fashion blog, or you may be one of her thousands of followers on Twitter or Instagram (@evachen212). Everyone who knows her loves her, and those who don’t know her want to. She is by far one of the most brilliant and stylish people I know, and a celeb in her own right, but she remains down to Earth, and loves giving back to her readers and followers the way that I do.
I feel very lucky to know Eva and to have had her on my side supporting this blog from the beginning (in addition to all the professional support she’s given me over the years.) It is an honor to have her Q&A for this first editor Spotlight, and I can’t think of anyone I would have wanted to participate more, so I hope you enjoy her very honest and insightful interview. Meet Eva Chen…
Name: Eva Chen
Position/Company: Writer, editor, blogger
Where did you go to school? Johns Hopkins University, BA. Columbia University, MA.
What was your major? Pre-med for the first three years, but ended up as an English major when I saw the light. And when I say “saw the light”, I mean realized where my heart truly was.
Did you intern in college? (Where/what were responsibilities//what did you learn)? Harper’s Bazaar, summer between my junior and senior year. I applied on a lark to that internship—and about fifteen others—HB was the only one that paid (at the time!), so I took that one. I’m so glad I did. What I learned, I could’ve paid for that knowledge!
First editorial job? Lucky magazine in the fashion closet. I worked on credits and returns. Not glamorous, but I learned a lot just by listening and observing.
Favorite part of your job? Today, I get to write for a multitude of publications from Vogue to Wall Street Journal. I love channeling different voices and points of view. I also have a blog, which is a wholly different sort of writing.
Least favorite part of your job? Finding the time to stay up to date on social media, which I think is an important part of any media job these days.
Favorite beauty/fashion brands? Beauty: Nars, Ren, Deborah Lippmann, KohGenDo. Fashion: Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu, Balenciaga.
Biggest accomplishment so far in your career? Hopefully it’s still coming! I’ve had a great deal of wonderful luck to date, I’ve been so lucky to work at so many amazing places, from ELLE to Lucky to Teen Vogue.
Biggest lesson learned to date in your career? Listen. Wait. Be patient.
Who were/are your mentors? What did they teach you? I haven’t had true mentors, but have been lucky enough to work under bosses (many, many of them), each of whom I’ve learned so much from.
Best work advice? Do your homework, plan, and be patient.
How is your job as a long-lead print editor different from the work you do in social media? I think in two different ways—how do I want to tell the story now, versus how will I want to tell the story for people reading it in three months from now? It’s a strategic puzzle!
You are a pioneer in the social media space. What drew you to those platforms and how did you have the insight to know that they would play such an important role in how we communicate, and how brands position themselves? I just wanted another way to communicate with my audience. I can’t believe my following is 1.6 million and counting—it’s shocking to me, but ultimately an eye-opener. Social media is just a new form of entertainment, up there with magazines, movies, TV, etc!
You have worked with a lot of publicists over the years. What are publicists doing right? What are they doing wrong? Building relationships are key. Don’t let your intern call or pitch very senior people.
How do you like to be contacted with a pitch? E-mail always wins! Phone calls are super inefficient, in my point of view.
What do you believe makes the most effective pitch? Tailoring it to the publication you’re pitching.
As an editor, you can’t live without your… phone.
As a blogger, you can’t live without your… phone times a million!
In order to succeed in this industry, you… should learn digital, as best you can, and be nimble.
If you weren’t an editor or blogger, you’d be… sad.
Anything else you think aspiring editors should know? The hype that surrounds fashion/media is just that—hype. Do your research and realize that, like anything worth doing, it takes time to build a career.
What website/Twitter handle/Facebook/Pinterest page, etc would you like to promote? In other words, how can my readers follow you or your company/brand? evachen212.tumblr.com
Birchbox's Emerging Beauty Brand of the Moment: Sunday Riley
You’re too savvy to be scared of face oils, right? In case you need a little nudging, our pal Mollie Chen of the supremely smart co. Birchbox makes her case. And PS: We’ve seen her skin, and it is something to aspire to.
My pressed powder is feeling mighty overlooked these days. Thanks to Nam Vo and other glow-obsessed makeup artists, I’ve given up on the mattifying and am focused on looking dewy instead. The secret? Amazing face oils. Lately, I’m hooked on Sunday Riley’s Juno Transformative Lipid Serum, a lush oil that feels weighty but slips into skin almost immediately. The anti-aging line is known for combining plant-based botanicals with modern technology and is a favorite of big-name editors (product guru Eva Chen is a fan). Not surprisingly, the products are a bit of a splurge. But I’d make the case that they’re a smart luxury: All the formulations are packed with natural ingredients—argan oil, borage oil, raspberry seed oil, oh my!—in their purest and most potent forms. Beyond the near-instantaneous effects of my beloved Juno Serum (hydrated skin, noticeable suppleness, healthy sheen), I love that I recognize every single ingredient on the label. —mollie
3 Quick Beauty Fixes
Most of you guys pretty much know, I’ve recently confessed to being a late bloomer with makeup. Ever since I can remember I’ve always been a clothing, bags, shoes, etc type of girl and it was pretty much a tapeworm situation— I just could not get enough. I mean, things haven’t changed, but my fondness for makeup, beauty and skincare has definitely become one of my top priorities post graduation.
That said, I thought I’d share with you all my top three favorite beauty items and why I swear by them.
1. shu uemura eyelash curler, $19, available at shuuemura.com
When I heard through Twitter that L’Oreal was actually closing operation of shu uemura in the U.S. I automatically freaked out! At the time, I had been watching beauty videos on YouTube — yes I am a loser — and pretty much everyone raved that they were the Hermes of eyelash curlers. Honestly, never really thought to buy one myself, but with this whole “Chanel is going to increase their prices” type fiasco, I actually bought an eyelash curler online just… because. At the time this news broke on Twitter, I was tweeting back and forth with @fuggirls and Teen Vogue’s Beauty Director Eva Chen @evachen212 asking for any recommendations on what shu uemura products to buy.
I was using a Revlon curler at the time and quite frankly, assumed that I wouldn’t have been able to see any physical differences with the two brands. However, even an amateur like me was shocked. The website states that the “curved angle suits all eye shapes” and ensures “stability and control”. As an Asian with pretty short eyelashes that needs both volume and length, I could notice a significant difference after throwing on some basic mascara.
Basic tip: Even if you don’t have time to actually put any makeup on, make sure to curl your eyelashes. Even without any mascara on, your eyes will look more open and will make you look wide awake. And, if you’re willing to spend $19 on the shu umuera, your price per use (PPU) will be insignificant.
2. Lancome Bi-Facial Double-Action Eye Makeup Remover, $26, lancome.com
To be quite honest, my only New Years Resolution every year is to take off all my makeup before going to bed. Now, that sounds like a pretty simple task, but in my four years of college, trust me— I would be happy just making it back to my bed at night. haha, kidding! We all know that taking those few extra minutes to take off all your makeup and properly cleanse your face after a late night out seems like a daunting task that well, no one wants to do. Don’t get me wrong, there are going to be some nights when you just don’t follow your nightly skincare routine and that’s ok. But, it’s about taking preventative measures to decrease those nights from happening.
I’ve never had a problem with my skin freaking out after sleeping in last night’s makeup and I think this gave me a lot of leverage to “get away” with it. Quite frankly, I’m just too lazy to deal with 3736 products. I’m also not fond of makeup remover towelettes because I feel as if it’s rubbing dirt around your face with a sheet. And my Philosophy Purity cleanser isn’t “strong” enough to take everything off. So my search began for something that would help lazy me take of my makeup.
My mom loves Lancome and she no joke has 20+ of these makeup remover bottles in her possession. She swears by Lancome and in the process has managed to get quite a stash of “Gift with Purchase” items. I grabbed one once because I had nothing else to use, and it was love. I use it with a cotton pad, soak it, and then just let it sit on my closed eyelid for a few seconds and then press lightly and WAZAM, everything comes off. This stuff is golden and I am so thrilled that I don’t really have an excuse. Plus, it’s safe for contact wearers!
Basic tip: Find your favorite easy method of taking off your makeup whether it be a cleanser that doubles as a makeup remover, towelettes, a cold cream, or a liquid-based product. Splurging a little bit on proper skincare now will save you money in having to spend more later on any issues that might pop up.
3. BioSilk Silk Therapy, $17.95, available at folica.com
As a self-proclaimed hair model, my hair tends to be quite on the dry side. But an important fun fact is that I never blow dry my hair — the only time is when I’m at a salon getting it cut — and I don’t put any heat to it… no curling or straightening iron. My friends call it the “pretty Asian hair” syndrome.
When I get out of the shower, I towel dry my hair and put the smallest bit of product on my fingers — think pea size amount — rub my fingertips together, and just run it through my hair, concentrating on the ends. If I’m running late, I’ll get my hair to the driest possible state which is usually still damp and just throw it in and let it air dry.
This replenishing treatment works wonders for me and for my dry hair. I can tell that my hair welcomes this little bit of “oil” since it basically sucks that stuff right up. Plus, with added UV protection it will definitely help you with protecting your hair from the harmful rays of the sun and help deflect any light. You’re left with very nourished and healthy shiny hair.
I’ve been using this product for years now and it’s the only haircare item in my hair routine. I don’t use any other products except it and though I am fortunate enough to have non-funny hair, I do think you should take a look into it especially if you have thin, lifeless hair.
Basic tip: Keep your hair looking fresh with a quick fix “on the go” treatment that will add nutrients and shine back to your dull hair.
YouTube video to come!