Whether you’re a business professional, a student or a otherwise, it is likely that beauty has played a role in shaping your identity and your presence in the world.
This week, TIME Inc. teamed up with the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City for a sudent-moderated panel entitled “Full Spectrum Beauty” to discussion about the ever-changing beauty industry. Beauty editors and directors — including Angelique Serrano the Beauty Director at InStyle, Holly Carter the Beauty Director at StyleWatch and ESSENCE‘s very own Beauty and Style Director, Pamela Edwards-Christiani — gave insight into some of the student’s more burning questions. It was clear that the most pressing inquiry was learning what it actually takes to become a beauty editor. And no, they don’t just play with beauty products all day. With that said, here are a few de-bunked myths striaght from the editors’ mouths.
Myth 1: They all have degrees in journalism.
While a number of beauty editors studied English or journalism, there are a few — like Eva Chen and MIMI Chatter Editorial Director, Deane Kaczerski — who actually planned on becoming doctors. In addition, People StyleWatch Beauty Director, Holly Carter was enrolled in Wharton Business school until she decided to pursue a career in publishing. Studying at the university level teaches you a number of skills, so no matter what you study all roads can lead to becoming an editor if that’s your dream.
Myth 2: They are all professionally training in makeup and hair.
That’s not always the case — although they certainly learn a lot about various techincal skills within the industry. ESSENCE Beauty & Style Director, Pamela Edwards-Christiani believes that years of interviewing top dermatologists, scientists, makeup artists and hair experts have made her an expert. Editors have access to the best in the business and they form relationships with influencers and experts which familiarizes them with the latest innovations and trends.
Myth 3: They play with beauty products all day.
Kind of. Holding the title of beauty or fashion editor requires that you remain abreast of the latest innovations and trends, so yes, they are often the first people to see and test the newest products. However, more often than not their days are spent researching, planning stories, developing editorial strategies, sourcing freelance writers and finding the most intriguing news beats. Playing with products is an added benefit, but it certainly doesn’t take up the bulk of their days.
Myth 4: Social media doesn’t influence their work.
Editors, much like consumers, are very involved with social media. Angelique Serrano, Beauty Director at InStyle magazine, noted that she and her team are constantly on the look out for influencers and girls who are doing things that are innovative and interesting. The constant pull to be current is heavily driven by what occurs in the social media-sphere via platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, Periscope and Reddit.
Myth 5: They’re all makeup junkies.
While most beauty editors do love the art of makeup, a great product and discovering new makeup techniques, they don’t always do wear a full face of makeup everyday. In fact, some beauty editors are actually more obsessed with skincare than they are with cosmetics. They’re likely to focus on the newest innovations in hyaluronic acid or Korean beauty — before tackling the perfect smokey eye or ombré lip.
The one thing that every beauty editor shares in common is their love of innovation and their pursuit of knowledge. In a way they are guinea pigs (albiet glamourous ones) who are often willing and excited to try the latest skincare trends. Ultimately they are passionate storytellers on a mission to beautifully improve the lives and sense of style of their readers through word and images.