Can you tell us about your career background before you were appointed Fashion and Beauty Editor at The Press Association?
I was a bit of a late bloomer in terms of journalism. After university I fell into recruitment by accident, then when I was fired from one job (a massive blessing in disguise) I started temping in John Lewis head office. I started blogging in my spare time for a celebrity fashion site then went part-time at John Lewis which meant I had time to get some work experience and that’s how I ended up at the Press Association.
For those unfamiliar with The Press Association, tell us more about the company and the work you do there:
PA is a national news agency, so we provide articles for other newspapers and publications. I’m part of the Features team, we cover things like TV, film, food, health and travel. In my role I write fashion and beauty features that mainly go out to regional papers across the UK via the Features Wire, plus we have other clients, and I also write a technology column.
You came to be a fashion editor through an unconventional path, following a career in Corporate Social Responsibility at John Lewis PLC. What advice would you offer to others looking to change career?
I would say tell as many people as you can about your ambitions. I think at first I was a bit shy about telling people I wanted to become a journalist because it seemed like such an impossible thing to do, but the more people I told the more I realised people always want to help. So many people told me about contacts they had or journalists they knew and I didn’t always follow these up. So make sure you do as they can be really useful in terms of getting experience, finding out about jobs or just asking for advice.
What has been your career highlight to-date?
Being appointed to my current role was amazing, it felt like five years of hard work had paid off and a year on I still absolutely adore my job and feel so fortunate.
Working as a beauty editor, you must constantly be discovering new products. What are you current beauty favourites?
This year I haven’t stopped raving about BareMinerals Complexion Rescue. It’s a tinted moisturiser that has the perfect blend of coverage and moisture – everyone I know who has tried it loves it. I also love Benefit’s new They’re Real Tinted Primer, which I use as a brown mascara, it’s nice and subtle. My favourite new fragrance is Marc Jacobs Decadence, it’s really warm and ambery, plus the handbag-shaped bottle is dreamy.
With a busy schedule, how do you maintain a work/life balance?
I’m ruthlessly efficient at work – I live and die by my huge planning spreadsheet – so I don’t work late too often, and I make sure to limit the number of work events I do in my spare time so that I still have a social life. It’s fun to bring friends along to events, too, when I can.
Working in fashion and beauty, you must be surrounded by high-achieving women. What is the most important life lesson you have learnt from another woman?
My manager at John Lewis, Gemma, was always hugely supportive, even though she knew my ambitions lay outside the company, and she was a great example of some who could stay calm and focused even when faced with lots of stress and deadlines. I try to emulate that, even if I don’t always succeed…
Your job involves attending fashion events outside of the 9-5 – what does your working wardrobe look like and what are your tips for taking an outfit from desk-to-dinner?
My working wardrobe has a touch of split-personality disorder, because on days where I’m only in my office I’m in my uniform of Diesel skinny jeans and Uniqlo check flannel shirts (men’s extra small, I prefer the cut), but if I’ve got to be out and about I’ll put on something like a silk shirt dress or jumper dress and heeled booties. I have about 8 pairs of shoes in a bag under my desk so that’s my tip – swap shoes if you want to feel dressed up.
And finally, which is your favourite Fold style and why?
I love the burgundy Northcote dress that I wore at the shoot – because I’ve got a decidedly ‘boyish’ figure I don’t wear anything too clingy on top so the boxy shape is perfect.
Pictures from David Nyanzi