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Meet the Associate Editor of RealBeauty.com, Ariana Finlayson; She’s a Hofstra Alum!

Despite the increase in unemployment, Ariana Finlayson, Hofstra’08, shows that a Hofstra grad can make it in this economy. Finlayson, a former Print Journalism major, became the Associate Editor of RealBeauty.com for Hearst Digital Media (the same company that brings you Seventeen.com, CosmoGIRL.com, TeenMag.com, etc.) in August 2009 – just a year and a half after graduating from Hofstra! Her Campus Hofstra sat down with the successful alum and asked her about her career, her college experience, and even about her boyfriend who she met at Hofstra!

What were the main reasons why you decided to come to Hofstra?
In 11th grade, I had an English teacher, who became my mentor, and they went to Hofstra for undergrad, so that was an influence. I was also looking for a college with print journalism at the time, though I thought about majoring in graphic design, pr, and even thought about being a nutritionist. I wanted a place that was far enough away from home, but was still able to go home. I also wanted to go to a college where nobody from my high school was going. When I visited the Hofstra campus, I instantly loved it! I loved the campus, loved campus living…
I read that you used to be an RA at Hofstra, too. What is one of the most important things that you learned from your RA experience that applies to your life now?
You have to be flexible and go with the flow. A lot of things were thrown at me that was unexpected, which helps me in the real world. I was taught that there are a lot of different people out there. I had to get an understanding of certain people, which helps in the workplace because I learned that you have to explain things differently for different people.
I also saw that you met your boyfriend as an RA…
Yes! I love telling this story. [Shortened version] I was an RA on the 7th floor and he was on the 6th floor. One night, I was the RA on Duty, and [one of the boys] that lived next door to him called me and told me they were being loud next door. So I went to his room, knocked on the door and told them to “Please, keep it down.” He said, “Okay,” then slammed the door in my face. I was like, “I hate that kid.” Then a few hours later, the same guy called and said they were being loud next door still. I went downstairs again, told them that I wasn’t looking to write paperwork on them, I just needed them to keep it down. Again, said the same thing and slammed the door in my face. Once again, I said, “I hate that kid.”Then, one of my friends told me that a person on their floor had a crush on me. I said, “Please tell me it’s not that Steven kid”. It was. I said, “I hate that kid.” Plus, I wasn’t ready to date at that time. A few months passed and I would see him on campus, see him playing basketball while I ran around the track. Then one day, I felt I was ready to date again. I asked a friend of mine about Steven, and she knew I didn’t like him before, but since she was a mutual friend, she had us really meet, and yea. They’ve been together ever since!
What is the most valuable piece of advice or information you learned at Hofstra? Are there any professors you can look back on and say “thanks”?
[Professor Mo] Krochmal knows his stuff. When I was in his class, and this was before a big deal, he kept talking about this thing called “Twitter” and these other things called “BlogSpot” and “Tumbler.” He would say, “Ari, you gotta learn this stuff.” I was like “Pshh, Twitter” and “Pshh, what is this BlogSpot?” And, as it turns out, his class was really useful for my career. Another professor, he left the school, Steven Knowlton, I had heard horror stories about. I had him for Journalism 001 (Journalism Ethics), and he was vicious. I got a ‘D’ on my midterm, went to talk to him about it, and as it turns out, I deserved it. But I ended up doing great on my final, and he gave a really good learning experience. Then there was also [Carol] Fletcher, and also [Victoria] Geyer for PR, she was great. Even though I wasn’t a Public Relations major, I thought about doing PR at one point, so I took PR100 [Fundamentals of Public Relations] with her to see the other side of the industry. Working at Admissions also helped me hone my working skills.
And now you’re the Associate Editor of RealBeauty.com…How?!
Well, after I graduated in May ’08, I applied for EA (Editorial Assistant) positions at Allure, Glamour, Cosmo, Seventeen – but I had no job for 3 months, so I worked for a stylist. Then, I went on MediaBistro.com and saw a job for Hearst Digital Media, and worked as a Gift Guide Coordinator. It was a full-time freelance gig, with a 40 hour work week and no benefits. This was in November/December ’08, and then they kept me on for sweepstakes until February. Then in March, around Hearst they kept mentioning the launch of a beauty site. So from March ’09 I was working full-time on this “beauty site” that had no name until, finally in August 2009, I became the editor of RealBeauty.com. I didn’t think after a year of college I would be assigning, managing, hiring, etc. So after I didn’t get all of those EA positions, I ended up in a better place than I thought I wanted.
Can you provide any of your own personal advice to achieve success?
Be persistent – “Find Your Edge” (Hofstra slogan, FYI). You have to find what drives you. Hey, no one says you have to find out what you want to be for the rest of your life, now! You’ll find that some experiences won’t be for you or what you expected, but you’ll be surprised that you’ll find that you learn something from each experience. Also, don’t put so much pressure on yourself. Be optimistic; not naïve.

Kaitlin Cubria is a senior Public Relations major at Hofstra University, double minoring in Journalism, and Speech Communications & Rhetorical Studies. Born and raised in Staten Island, NY, Kaitlin always loved going into Manhattan on the weekends. She is a member of the Hofstra chapters of both Ed2010 and Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA), the vice president of She's the First Hofstra (non-profit) and acts as a Resident Assistant for Hofstra’s Residential Programs. Outside of her academics, Kaitlin recently finished internships at Hearst Magazines Public Relations, The CW Television Network Affiliate WPIX11 in the Creative Services division AND at New York Magazine. This semester, she has her dream internship at Seventeen magazine in the Web/Features department, where she is the Blog Manager for Seventeen.com's Freshman 15 blog! She is obsessed with pop culture; if you don’t see her reading the newest issue of Seventeen, you’ll probably catch her browsing PerezHilton.com for celebrity gossip. After having a love for both creativity and writing for a majority of her life, Kaitlin is excited to continue her communications/journalism experience at Her Campus! After college, she plans on pursuing a career in either entertainment public relations or magazine journalism.
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