The parties, the free clothes, the access and invites to parties and events. Who wouldn’t find happiness in the lux life of an editor in chief of a fashion magazine?
Perfect on paper and in photographs — That’s what you might assume about Gabrielle Korn’s life and career. She was named the youngest editor-in-chief in the history of Nylon Magazine. It was a dream job, and the perks that came with it were enviable.
Behind the scenes though, the story was different. In fact, perfection wouldn’t come close to defining the challenges Gabrielle faced in her life. In her new book, Gabrielle walks through her views and experience with internet feminism, impossible beauty standards in social media, shifting ideals about sexuality, and much more. It’s an incredible and eye-opening read.
Getting to chat 1 on 1 with this author and dig into her life and experience is such a gift. We’re talking about social media, the concept of ideal clients, powerful women, and more.
Dream Jobs Aren’t Always Amazing
Gabrielle began her story with her big dream job that she landed at 28-years old. “I was the youngest editor in chief in New York City,” she said, “And it wasn’t amazing.”
“In order to achieve it, I had made my entire twenties about my career and hadn’t really focused on things like finding the right person to be with or taking care of myself in terms of my emotional, physical, or mental health. And beyond that, I was really taken advantage of, because I was so young,” Gabrille continued.
“I was doing the same job and held to the same standards as an editor in chief who would have 20 years of experience on me,” but Gabrille explained that she was paid well under what someone else would’ve been paid in the same position. The position came with access and status, but it left her struggling in other areas of her life.
Gabrielle learned that dream jobs aren’t always amazing, and this perspective, as well as what she experienced while in the role, is the foundation of what she shares in her new book.
Her Hidden Struggle
“There’s this idea as women that the less we need, the more successful we are,” Gabrielle began.
“And to me, that was like, I don’t need anything from anybody. I can date people who don’t give me anything because I don’t need anything. I can be really skinny because I don’t even need food,” she said.
Gabrielle explained that it all became tangled and she started to reach a breaking point, she reflected, “It was reaching this fever pitch as I was getting promoted and promoted and promoted and the more depressed and the skinnier I got, the more successful I was at work. It became really hard for me to untangle one from the other.”
Coming from a background in women’s studies, feminism, and activism, Gabrille found herself in the world of women’s aesthetics and it didn’t align with who she was.
The Concept of Ideal Clients
Gabrielle writes about the concept of ideal clients in her book. It’s been a familiar tenet of business for as long as I can remember, but as the topic of inclusivity is more widely discussed and understood, creating for one singular person is not inclusive at all.
“I think people just get so used to certain kinds of language that they stop being aware of the implications and the effects of that language,” Gabrielle explained.
Instead, Gabrielle encourages people to think of their audience or consumers as a plurality, a diverse set of people. Gabrielle created a set of rules for Nylon when she became editor in chief that completely changed how they viewed their reader.
It started with a PowerPoint, she said, “I sat the whole company down and I was like, look, these are the things we’re not going to say anymore. We’re not going to say who’s your reader. We’re not going to talk about our reader as a she. And also here’s a list of banned words. A lot of people didn’t understand and it took a lot of workshops. but eventually we all got on board.”
More from Gabrielle Korn
Hit play on the full conversation with Gabrielle Korn. She shares her views of social media and the online space, and walks through many of the other topics discussed in her new book, “Everybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes”. Find it wherever books are sold.