How She Got There: Kristie Dash, Senior Editor at Obsessee

Name: Kristie Dash
Job Title and Description: Senior Editor at Obsessee
College Name/Major: Pace University, Communication Studies
Twitter and Instagram Handle(s): @kristiedash; @obsessee

Photo credit: @fashioninstant

What does your current job entail?

Kristie Dash: Obsessee doesn’t have a website—social media replaces the need for our website—so apart from creating content that lives on those platforms every day, I also manage our influencer network and day-to-day editing of a lot of our features that go up. Though we’re lucky enough to share many resources with Clique Media Group (Who What Wear, Byrdie, My Domain) as a whole, our Obsessee-dedicated team is small so it’s very collaborative and we all have a hand in everything, which I love.  

What is the best part of your job?

KD: Being creative about how we’re using social media to tell stories and then taking action and make them happen. So much of what we all see in media has been done before in formats that are tried-and-true, but it’s so satisfying to know that our biggest goal is to do the kind of stuff that no one else has thought of. For example, we’ll do these Snapchat takeovers where we’ll flip it back and forth to a few different people in totally different cities, almost like you’re watching a conversation unfold on someone’s Facetime. And then the other day after interviewing Zendaya, I thought it would be cool to actually insert her audio clip from the chat into the Instagram post in addition to writing it all out. We were able to make that happen within five minutes with the help of our video team, and it added another layer to the feature that made it a lot more personal. That kind of discovery is exhilarating to me!

What was your first entry level job in your field and how did you get it?

KD: I was Eva Chen’s assistant when she was editor-in-chief at Lucky magazine. I didn’t really have to interview for the job because she already knew me from being her intern at Teen Vogue. It goes to show that your internships are basically interviews. Now that I’m always busy and understand where these industry leaders are coming from, no one has time to go on this big search for job candidates. If you’re a good intern and if the timing is right, you’re hired. If you’re not hired right away, because the timing wasn’t right, I can bet you you’ll get a job from someone who heard you were a great intern.

What is one thing you wish you knew about your industry when you first started out that you know now?

KD: That it will be more rewarding than you think it will be if you have an open mind. Notice the little things because they will not only help you grow but they will inspire you to think bigger.

Who is one person who changed your professional life for the better?

KD: Well Eva, obviously. This sounds dramatic but most of the things I have in life are thanks to her. Metaphorical things and physical things [laughs]. Seriously. My career in general, a big part of my understanding of the industry, the shoes I’m wearing right now… I even met my best friend at the internship she hired me for. It’s kind of insane. I’m forever grateful to her. But I also have to give a shout out to Sarah Conly (now at Cosmopolitan/Seventeen) who gave me my very first internship at Harper’s Bazaar. That experience helped me get the others down the road and she gave me a chance when I was just a baby!

What is one mistake you made along the way and what did you learn from it?

KD: This sounds backwards and I don’t know if I’d necessarily call it a mistake but it’s something I’ve only recently learned and realized… Don’t burn out. Seriously. Once you’re out of college, you work for the rest of your life. If you’re still reading this interview, you probably are an over-achieving go-getter which is awesome and great but there’s a strong chance that after working through dinner every single night for five years, you’ll lose steam. Take a moment to breathe. Travel. Literally, you have to study abroad during school if you have the resources to do so. Find scholarships to make it happen if you need to. There shouldn’t be a huge rush to fulfill every goal you have in your career. It will all happen as it’s meant to happen, and to realize this is a refreshing relief, to be honest. Stop stressing out! I’m always stressed [laughs].

What has been the most surreal moment of your career thus far?

KD: When I interned at Vogue I had the privilege of going to the Met Gala. I was obviously just there to help, but to a young girl from the suburbs of Western Pennyslvania, this was a very big, fancy deal.

What do you look for when considering hiring someone?

KD: Someone who really cares. I can tell within 4 minutes of meeting someone if they really want it because that’s how I used to be. And still am! I can read it in someone’s eyes. It sounds creepy but it’s true. You can’t fake that passion and persistence unless you’re a talented actress. And if we’re just talking over email, show me that you care. I feel kind of bad for girls now, especially in NYC, because doing, like, seven internships is basically normal. I did so many internships but back then it was special. Now, it seems like the requirement. But if you’re just trying to get your foot in the door and you’re early on in your school years, build your resume by participating in organizations you care about. After the results of this past election, it’s admirable now more than ever to show that you have an understanding of the world we live in. Fashion isn’t only about clothes.

What advice would you give a 20-something with similar aspirations?

KD: Find the right balance between speaking up and keeping your head down. It’s special to find yourself feeling like you belong in a workplace, so if you’re lucky enough to feel that way, be confident (but professional) and share your thoughts and personality. If you don’t, it’ll take you longer to make your mark. With that being said, it takes hard work and extra hours to back those thoughts up, and being humble and gracious all the while is the most important thing of all. Kindness is key. Always.

 

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