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How She Got There: Jess Zaino, Style Expert

Name: Jess Zaino
Age: 35
Job Title: Style Expert
College/Major: Radio, Television & Film Studies at City University of New York at Hunter College
Website: http://www.Jess-Zaino.com
Twitter Handle: @Jess_Zaino
Her Campus: What does your current job entail? Is there such a thing as a typical day?
Jess Zaino: Wake up, take a walk around the Jackie O. reservoir in Central Park to get my thinking juices flowing, start on emails, take fashion previews, PR & development meetings, possibly produce a television show or fashion column, go shopping for hire, dinner with friends, evening event, sleep, and repeat.
HC: What was your first entry-level job in your field and how did you get it?
JZ: As a Production Assistant with Saturday Night Live. I was in my first week at college and saw a job posting on a career board. I called, name dropped the referring professor’s name and got a super cool gig buying cigarettes for Janeane Garofalo, who smelled like vanilla oil, among other things.
HC: What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?
JZ: Life is a whole lot of up and down and it’s best to be pliable and go with the flow. Sometimes you’re working and sometimes you’re not.

HC: Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?
JZ: Jill Pollack, host of HGTV Canada’s Consumed. She is a lifelong mentor and close friend.
HC: What words of wisdom do you find most valuable?
JZ: “It’s not about the rock. It’s about the roll.” – Keith Richards

HC: What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?
JZ: Sometimes my enthusiasm trumps the details and I make careless mistakes. I need to slow down, breathe through decisions and take an hour or night to think on it and proceed with caution.
HC: What is the best part of your job?
JZ: I do me.

HC: What do you look for when considering hiring someone?
JZ: Passion, focus, responsibility, and style.
HC: What advice would you give to a 20-something with similar aspirations?
JZ: Research the industry. Watch. Read. Listen. Carve out your expertise. Focus and build your brand. Take bold chances. Keep calm and carry on.

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Gennifer is the Branded Content Specialist for Her Campus Media. In her role, she manages all sponsored content across platforms including editorial, social, and newsletters. As one of HC's first-ever writers, she previously wrote about career, college life, and more as a national writer during her time at Hofstra University. She also helped launch the How She Got There section, where she interviewed inspiring women in various industries. She lives in New York City.
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