It's Wednesday~ which means it's time for another WCW...
When did you start writing? I was also pretty into writing and actually started doing interviews on a local access TV show called Swept Away when I was in middle school/high school. I interviewed early 2000s emo bands and we even filmed a pilot for The N! (Unfortunately it was never picked up, would have loved my Degrassi moment). In college I wrote for a short-lived Jewish newspaper called The Spiel and also for my college paper, where I did concert reviews/entertainment content. I didn't start writing professionally until the summer after I graduated college for Total Sorority Move.
Can you tell me about your background? School? What set you up for this endeavor? Is this your sole job? If not, what else do you do? I majored in American Studies at Tulane--there actually wasn't a journalism program at all. I never even took a writing class. This is my sole job! I sometimes freelance for Teen Vogue and used to freelance for a few more publications, but don't anymore.
If you’re not doing it, what would your dream job be? This is it! Growing up I always wanted to be in the music business. But I also wanted to be Carrie Bradshaw, and she was a writer at the Observer so.
How important is social media to your business? Super important, but Twitter definitely used to be way more important. It's a really good way to connect with other writers, but it feels like other than that less people are on it.
What would you say is your personal brand is? Definitely think ~southern girl in the city~.
What can others learn from you? That persistence is key, especially as a writer!
How do you do under pressure? How do you handle stress? By popping a Xanax and drinking more coffee. (Jk, kinda.) My mom always says "work absorbs anxiety," so by throwing myself into something new.
What’s the average day in the life of Margaret look like? Well I like to say that everyday is different like a bad OkCupid profile, but most are the same. I work in the Financial District and usually try to workout either before or after, although I am the world's worst morning person. I usually go to modelFIT in hopes of spotting a celeb, Box + Flow or yoga/Pilates if I'm feeling medium lazy. I attempt to make my lunch to avoid a sad desk salad. And then after work I usually have events, whether it's checking out a new band (most recently Loose Buttons http://observer.com/
Do you/Did you have a mentor/mentee? I didn't have an actual mentor, which is why I really really try to help folks out now (especially younger girls from my sorority who move to the city), but definitely had a ton of help along the way. Very grateful Veronica at Total Sorority Move accepted my pitches right after college graduation, my friend Alex Gehringer at College Candy was a fabulous editor and my editor at Observer always has fantastic ideas. Also grateful to folks at Racked and Virginia Smith at Vogue for giving me a chance (http://www.racked.com/2015/2/
How did you advance your career? Working really, really, really hard and freelancing for everyone. There were days/weeks where I was constantly on deadline, but I didn't stop pitching or writing and tried really hard to make deadlines, especially for new editors. Also by networking with everyone and trying to connect them with people to spread the karma. And by joining up with other really driven women! I actually got my current job through a secret Facebook group for lady writers. Also, taking writing classes! I worked with Sue Shapiro, who gave me incredible advice about pitching and writing.
Why do you do what you do? I always wanted to work in the music biz, but had a ridiculous experience post-grad (Glassnote Records offered me an internship where I would work in NYC for $6/a day, which was unlivable, so I stayed in New Orleans for 2 years because NYC scared me). In NOLA, I was doing social media for bands (Better Than Ezra) and then for restaurants, but wanted a more creative outlet, especially after writing my entire life. After a particularly rough heartbreak, I started writing about it + pitched to Veronica at TSM and then was freelance writing daily. Now, I absolutely love covering everything lifestyle. It's a great way to still be involved in music, try cool new workout classes and cover things in a snarky way. It's kind of a mix of trend forecasting, A&R and writing. I've also gotten to interview some of my serious icons, which is incredible, including Tim Gunn, Pat Field, Dashboard Confessional and Kate Nash--and coming up, I have interviews with Paris Hilton and Hillary Duff, hitting peak early 2000s content.
How would you describe your personal style? In winter, mostly every layer I own in an effort to channel Frosty the Snowman. But I did get a pair of crushed velvet blue boots and an internet pink coat with a leopard collar to make it more livable. But in general, punk rock prom queen if I'm channeling my early 2000s Something Corporate loving self. But a mix of preppy and my new life in Williamsburg.
What makes up your wardrobe? I'm obsessed with Opening Ceremony's bags, Loeffler Randall's bags and shoes, Vince sweaters, high waisted skinny jeans, Lilly Pulitzer but only when I'm safely in Florida or in the Hamptons (you can take the girl out of the south, but she'll still have a Lilly planner), Rag & Bone booties and dresses, literally anything from Reformation but especially their leotards, V-necks and sweater dresses, anything Sandro, and a lot of leather, lace and in the winter, turtlenecks.
In the summer, I'm still a sucker for a good sundress, wedges or Vince sandals. And an oversized jean jacket because I still don't understand N Also, pearls (I love this leather/pearls designer from Seaside, FL https://www.wendymignot.
com/) and Mignon Faget, a fabulous NOLA designer who makes really chic silver. For workouts, I love Sweaty Betty, ADAY (I just helped them design a sports bra, which was very exciting) and my black and gold APL sneakers.
Who is your fashion icon? Early Gwen Stefani (red lips, leopard), Audrey Hepburn 4ever (all black everything, sometimes a tiara), Reese Witherspoon (so southern), Solange (I wish, she is impossibly chic).
What do you feel is your greatest accomplishment? Getting my current job!
What is your ‘must have’ accessory? I wear the Michelle watch my mom got me for graduation every single day. Also, diamond studs. And my Mignon Faget ring for Tulane grads.
What advice can you give others that look towards you to gauge success? Literally never stop hustling. Freelance, freelance, freelance! Write about topics you care about and explain to editors why you're the best person to cover that topic. Keep deadlines. Don't be scared to reach out to people. Follow up! It's more likely that someone forgot about your email than they don't want to respond to it. Find networking groups online. Connect with people in your industry and don't be afraid to ask them for help. Help them in return.
What advice can you give on failure? Failure always feels like the end of the world, but you will fail more times than you succeed. Keep learning from it. Don't give up, and try even harder the next time. Don't make it feel personal (even though it always does).
|Guys, let me tell you-- me, KJB, I cry seeing this photo|
What was your big break? Getting my current job was my biggest break, but getting pieces in Teen Vogue, which I literally grew up reading religiously, felt very, very major.
Are you a member of any organizations? Trade Organizations, etc. I'm a member of Binders on Facebook, Femsplain contributors (another cool, positive FB group) and Skimbassadors. I'm also in the Junior League and on their policy committee.
What’s next for you? Hopefully interviewing super cool people, making interesting video content, writing about topics I love and eventually 100 years from now writing a book.I simply ADORE Margaret! She is a hoot and a half on Twitter, and her articles are just perfect!
Stay up to date with Margaret by following her links below:
Here are four of my favorite and most recent articles:
Here are four of my favorite and most recent articles: