What started out as an internship at Harper's Bazaar has become a highly successful career for Allure's Kristie Dash (@kristiedash). At age 23, she's worked for just about every fashion and beauty publication in New York, rubbing shoulders with the biggest names in fashion (Karl and Kim K. make a cameo on her IG feed now and again), and making a name for herself as a hard-working assistant, writer, and now, editor. We chatted with Kristie back in August, and this is what she told us...
Tia: How are you? What are you working on right now?
I’m well! Thank you for asking. Right now, it’s August but we’re finishing up our November issue at Allure. Magazine publishing works so far in advance. Otherwise, I have a ton of blog posts to write and product launch events to attend—I’m busy but it’s fun.
Tia: Is this always what you have wanted to do for a living? How did you get involved in fashion and beauty publishing?
No, actually. I originally moved to New York because I was convinced that I’d be a professional dancer. A lot of my friends were (and still are!) getting dance jobs so I thought I would too, but I’m impatient, which is one of my biggest weaknesses. I’m a total workaholic and I wanted to work, not sit around at an audition for four hours only to stand in a line and be turned down based on my appearance. But that’s just how it is. All of a sudden, I was mentally, emotionally, and physically over it and went through a major identity crisis because a dance career was all I ever wanted.
Writing was my strength in school and I definitely cared about fashion and beauty, but growing up in a small town outside of Pittsburgh, I didn’t know what it meant to work in the industry or that it was even an option for me. It wasn’t until I kind of randomly fell into an internship at Harper’s Bazaar that I realized I could actually contribute to the magazines I always held in such high regard. From there, I did a ton of internships in a bunch of different fields to figure out exactly what I wanted to do, but my beauty internships at Teen Vogue and Vogue solidified the fact that I wanted to be a beauty editor. I’ll be forever grateful for those experiences.
Tia: What is a crucial lesson you’ve learned along the way?
I have two: say yes to everything, especially at the beginning stages of your career, and find ways to always make yourself a valuable employee. Never settle. Doing these things forces you to grow and constantly reinvent yourself, both of which are very important in this ever-changing industry. Plus, you’ll be a more well-rounded, dynamic person in general.
Tia: You were hand-picked by Eva Chen to be her assistant. What do you think it was that made you stand out, and what did you learn from the experience?
I don’t really know! All I know is that I worked hard as an intern, always coming in on days I wasn’t expected and staying late finishing extra stories for online. And I kept in touch because I was so thankful and wanted to give her my life updates—it was pretty natural. And as her assistant, I learned so much, it’s hard to even fathom. I’m super observant and just kind of soaked up everything I could from this brilliant woman and the amazing team at Lucky. I learned every aspect of the inner workings of a magazine and e-commerce website and looking back, I learned how to be an adult.
Tia: How do you manage such a busy career with having a real life too?
I’m not going to lie—it’s tough. I struggle with finding a work-life balance but I think that priorities shift, depending on what stage you’re at in life. Right now, my career comes first, but it’s important to realize what’s truly meaningful at the end of the day. That’s different for every person.
Tia: What 3 skills does it take to work at a magazine, such as Allure, Lucky, or Teen Vogue?
1) Communication: a lot of what editors do is based around coordinating with PR teams, brands, photographers, models, fellow editors, etc. Being a good communicator makes the whole process a lot easier and more efficient. 2) Versatility: in the age of the multi-hyphenate, it’s helpful to have more strengths than just one. And it’s ok if you don’t, but be willing to learn. 3) A great work ethic: day-to-day life in fashion and magazines is tougher than it looks on Instagram—we all have crazy hours. The fun, glamorous parts occur quite infrequently.
Tia: What are your goals for the future?
A year ago, I would have simply told you that I wanted to be a beauty director at a major magazine, but now I’m finding that it’s hard to say because the print and digital landscapes are changing so rapidly. I want to be involved in connecting print and digital because I love magazines so much—I want to help find a way to keep them around forever and get younger generations as excited about them as I always was and still am. I think social media plays a huge part in that. Basically, I just want to create cool content. I suppose that’s the storyteller in me from my dancing days.
Tia: We've been talking a lot about the multi-faceted meanings of 'beauty', and how magazines and social media play such an integral role in defining what it means to us. What is ‘beauty’ about to you?
Apart from the science behind the reasons why we find a symmetrical face more attractive, beauty can mean many different things, and that’s why I love it. There’s so much to learn and so much to write about. Even if you act like you don’t care about your appearance, there’s skin care, health and wellness, or even just the soap you use in the shower. At some level, everyone relates.
Tia: What would you tell your 17 year-old self if you could go back in time?
To relax—everything’s going to be ok.