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Making Journalism Glamorous: Christian Gollayan

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois chapter.


Getting all the attention during an interview was somewhat of a change for senior Christian Gollayan. As Editor-in-Chief of IMPULSE Magazine, his job is to find and shine the spotlight on the glamorous people at U of I. However, before he graduates as a News-Editorial Journalism major and goes on to find his spot in the fashion industry – where we can be sure we’ll find his take on other people’s success – we get his story.


Her Campus: Tell me about your position on IMPULSE.


Christian Gollayan: I’m Editor-in-chief. I started in March last year, my junior year, so I’ve been Editor-in-Chief ever since. I started out when it was founded in 2011. Katerina Bizios was the person who started it and then she kind of took me under her wing and by the time she graduated I took over for her.


HC: What do you like best about working with IMPULSE?


CG: I guess the best part of my job is getting to work with some of the best writers, stylists and photographers. One of the reasons why I love IMPULSE is that we don’t really have a publication that glamorizes student life the way that IMPULSE does. We have the DI, which is a really good newspaper, and we have other entertainment magazines but we don’t have that fashion and glamour one that U of I needs.


HC: Tell me about one of your favorite editions.


CG: Well, we just did a cover with Julia Sames. She’s like this blonde bombshell and it was a really fun spread because we haven’t really had that kind of cover before. Most of our covers have been male so it’s a lot of student pride. We got to do a really pretty, glamorous cover so that was really great. I guess one of my favorite stories I have written was on this politician named Timmy Knudsen. He was one of our past covers and he was doing a lot of great things on campus and it was really such a great interview because I’ve never really worked with a politician before, especially for a cover story. He interned for Illinois Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias; The Institute of Government and Public Affairs; and got to interact with some high-profile politicians. Learning about fellow Illinis’ accomplishments really shows just how impressive our student body is.


HC: So if you could feature anyone on the cover of IMPULSE who would it be?


CG: Oh no! I can’t! Right now, I’d really love to have Brandon Paul as our next cover but he’s graduating. He’s very hard to get a hold of because he’s a basketball player. I’d love to have another really great athlete just because those tend to be our most popular ones.


HC: What section of the magazine do you like most?


CG: I was a writer when I first joined IMPULSE magazine so I really loved doing the longer feature stories but I’ve also come to really appreciate our fashion spreads because those take the most work. A photo-shoot will probably take like 4 to 6 hours, with hair and makeup and then the actual shoot itself. Those tend to take the most work but they start sooner and tend to be one of my favorite things to do.

HC: So would you say you’ve learned more about fashion while being on the magazine?


CG: Yeah I’ve learned a lot more. I mean I’ve always been interested in men’s fashion. I interned at DETAILS Magazine last summer. With women’s fashion it wasn’t something I was always staying up to date with and so IMPULSE has gotten me into that world. I always work with my stylists and I know what’s happening and it’s really cool.


HC: How would you describe your personal style or how would your friends describe your style?


CG: I’d say modern classic. Menswear trends are pretty consistent, but I like mixing staples (cardigans, neutral sports coats, club-collar shirts) with interesting prints (paisley, gingham, floral, etc.) and of course, tailoring everything. My friends usually say that I’m pretty stylish but then again I work with Gino Baileau. He’s this photographer – he’s a guy but he dresses in these really crazy outfits and so when I’m standing next to him they pretty much say that I’m stylish but conservative. I usually let the other people on my staff stick out.


HC: So what’s your opinion on the styles here at U of I?


CG: I think there’s like that Midwestern-dressing-for-comfort thing that’s very different from east coast. Like when I was in New York, I was like always dressed to the nines but I think here a lot of people put comfort before fashion. I think that there’s still some variety on campus but I definitely think that it’s a lot more laid-back.


HC: So you’ve traveled to New York! How has working on IMPULSE impacted the way you took in fashion?


CG: I got really inspired by how men dress there specifically. The thing with men’s fashion in New York is that a lot of things there are tailored. Like their jeans are tapered, their shirts are taken in and their cuff links are showing with their jackets and it was such a different pace. Like when I was at Condé Nast all the guys looked like male models and how they dressed was just amazing.


HC: Where else have you traveled?


CG: I was born in the Philippines and then I moved here to the U.S. in first grade and then I moved back to the Philippines in middle school. So I’ve traveled a lot since I was a little kid.


HC: What are your plans for this summer?


CG: Right now I’m looking to get job interviews. Hopefully I can start out as an editorial assistant at a big magazine in New York. I was just in New York last week with the journalism school. I got to do the New York trip but I also got to meet up with some of my friends who work at like Teen Vogue.


HC: Well good luck with that. So going back to IMPULSE, what are some of the struggles you’ve had?


CG: I think one of the biggest challenges I’ve had was getting into the groove of like the fashion and the photo-shoots because that was just something that I really didn’t know about coming into it and just how much time it took. I kind of underestimated what the stylists and photographers had to do because I was so focused on editorials.


HC: If you could offer advice to anyone interested in going into a magazine or fashion what would it be?


CG: Be the best! I think just because the industry is so competitive you really have to put in 100 percent of what you want to do.


HC: If you could work anywhere, where would it be?


CG: I would really love to work for an influential magazine – Vogue, GQ, Esquire, Men’s Journal or Men’s Health – I really love reading those magazines. It’d be great to be a part of those teams.


HC: And if you could feature any celebrity on the cover of IMPULSE who would it be?


CG: Jennifer Lawrence or Selena Gomez if they were both Illinis. Can’t get enough of them.


HC: With regards to celebrities, who are some of your inspirations?


CG: I wish I’d thought about this one. Ryan Gosling! Obviously. Just because he’s like the golden standard for menswear right now. For women’s fashion, I’m really inspired by Mad Men, the show. I really love Betty Draper and her 1960s ensemble. She’s my favorite character in that show. I also really look up to guys like Andy Cohen. His career path from starting out as a broadcast producer at MSNBC to building his own brand and empire at Bravo is really inspiring.


HC: That’s awesome! Is there anything else you’d like Her Campus readers to know about you or IMPULSE?


CG: IMPULSE has grown so much since I started as Editor-in-Chief. We just released our Spring Issue, and out circulation has more than quadrupled, our social media following has more than doubled, businesses have been really excited about working with us and we just released our website, 46east.com. I’m leaving it in very good hands, and I’m sure my staff will continue to produce high-quality work. We’ll be having a release party in late April or early May to celebrate our new website. We’ll have some new exclusive online content, so we’re definitely excited for that.


HC: Those are all the questions I have for you. Thank you very much.


CG: No problem. Thank you!