We are back with our latest Career Diary. Today we are featuring Caroline Vazzana, a fashion writer, editor, stylist, influencer, and author living and working in her hometown of New York City. She began her career in the editorial world working with Marie Claire, and has since spent time at Teen Vogue and InStyle magazines. During her time there, she worked on the fashion editorial print and digital teams, curating photo shoots and interviewing designers such as Betsey Johnson, Diane Von Furstenberg, and Manolo Blahnik for feature articles. Vazzana now contributes to a variety of brands across her social media, where she lends them her unique eye and voice. She has been featured on platforms like Teen Vogue, Nylon, BuzzFeed, and Vogue. Her first book, Making it in Manhattan: The Beginners Guide to Surviving & Thriving in the World of Fashion comes out this August!
In a few sentences, please tell us what you do and what your job involves.
I’m a fashion editor, style influencer, and author. My first book, Making it in Manhattan: The Beginners Guide to Surviving & Thriving in the World of Fashion, is out this August.
What is something you wish you knew about social media or journalism before you entered this field?
I wish I know known just how big of an impact social media specifically would have on my career.
What has surprised you about your industries?
I feel like I personally did a lot of research and worked several internships before actually entering full-time into the industry, so I really did know what I was getting into. But one thing I guess I learned is that working in fashion doesn’t just become your job - it’s a lifestyle!
What does an average morning look like for you?
No two days are ever the same, but usually first thing in the morning I wake up and check all of my social media and my email. I answer any messages I’ve received overnight, either from my followers or for work. I try my best to stay on top of all of my messages, because otherwise they can really pile up!
What does an average afternoon look like for you?
Any given afternoon, I could be meeting with designers, shooting a campaign, or attending an event!
What are some of your favorite parts of your job and what are some of your not-so-favorite parts?
I love being creative and being my own boss. I love that no one is really telling me “no.” Whether it’s an idea I have for a story or a crazy concept for a shoot, I get to make it come to life!
I guess one of the things that can be tough is you are alone working a lot of the time! But thankfully, I have an amazing assistant that I bring along with me to events and projects as much as possible.
What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?
Best advice: When I was in high school, I was very shy, and I looked up to my older sister, who was outgoing. One time I asked her how I could be more outgoing - she told me, “what do you get out of being shy?” That question has stayed with me ever since!
Career advice: When I was working at Teen Vogue, I overheard my boss telling another editor who had recently been promoted that, “to be a good boss you need to learn how to delegate tasks, you can’t personally do everything.” So true!
What is your advice to a student who is interested in entering the industries of fashion, journalism, or social media influence?
Work hard, be nice, and love it! It’s not going to be easy by any means, it’s actually going to be very hard at times. So that’s why I say make sure you really, truly love it. Also, do your research before entering so you know what you’re getting into!
What are your favorite business tools/resources, and why?
When I was first starting out two of my favorite sites when looking for jobs were Ed2010 and Fashionista.com.
What are some fun or unique aspects of your job as a social media influencer that you couldn't experience if you were in another position?
I love meeting new people and being able to collaborate with so many creative and inspiring women. Also, if I were in any other job, I probably wouldn’t be allowed to work with so many different incredible brands and build personal relationships with iconic designers like Betsey Johnson and Nicole Miller. I love the facetime I get with so many amazing people because they endlessly inspire me!
How has your blog Making it in Manhattan changed your lifestyle and goals for the future?
Making it in Manhattan has completely changed my life. I started it just as a way to share my story and to give guidance and inspiration to the future generation. Now, it has become my full-time job, my livelihood, and a big part of who I am!
As a social media influencer, do you feel the field requires a thinner divide between the professional and personal areas of your life, or do you think it's a mixture of the two?
As an Influencer, I think you really need to welcome your followers into your world both personally and professionally. They want to feel as though they know you! I really try to share a mixture of everything I’m doing from my work, to events, to a night at home with my cat! But there are definitely times when I don’t feel like sharing - and that, I think, is okay too. It’s all about creating a balance!
Are there any pieces of advice you would tell young professionals who hope to start social media careers?
If you are looking to become a social Influencer today, I think there needs to be more to your brand than just liking fashion. There are just so many girls out there now that it’s important to find what makes you different, what sets you apart. Think to yourself, what is my message? What is my point of view? Why should someone follow me? Don’t start until you can answer those questions!
How do you think social media influencers can make change to others’ lives or the content they view in the digital age? How can they instigate change?
As an influencer, I think it’s our job to create change, to be a positive voice in this industry and to inspire others. For me, I try my best to show my followers that you should always be yourself, that you don’t need to wear or do what other people think is “cool.” Also, I always try to spread a message of kindness, that we always need to be kind to one another, that you never know what someone else is going through. I think if more influencers used their platforms to share positive messages, the world would be a better place!
Are there any "do's" or "dont's" you have for young professionals entering the fashion or social media industries?
I think it’s so important just to come in with a positive attitude and be ready to work really hard. Nothing is going to be handed to you. Someone once told me when I was interviewing them, “no one has to work with you” - that’s so true! I’m always so happy and honored when a brand wants to work with me! I think being humble goes a really long way.
Are there any "myths" or misconceptions you think people have about the work a social media influencer does? Are any of them true, and why?
I think from the outside, some people just think all we do all day is take pictures, but there’s so much more that goes into it. At any given moment, I could be working as the creative director, photographer, editor, stylist, influencer, and even assistant - all at the same time! I’m often wearing many hats and juggling many different things. It’s a fast-paced, high-energy, high-pressure environment, and there’s so much to it that not everyone sees. I try my best to give my followers behind-the-scenes looks whenever I can. It’s not all glamorous: though there are, of course, glamorous times that are highlighted, there’s also extremely unglamorous times, and I think that’s what helps you really appreciate it all!
Aaron Royce, 20, is a student and journalist with writing experience for print and online publications. His journalism interest began when he started reading back issues of Entertainment Weekly, Rolling Stone and Vogue before entering high school; he was a co-editor for the school’s newspaper and arts magazine. Post-graduation, he attended Christopher Newport University before transferring to NOVA’s Annandale campus, where he is currently a sophomore pursuing a Communications major. He recently completed a summer as Northern Virginia Magazine’s style intern, and now writes for online publications and interns with ArtJamz Creative Director, RMCI Senior Designer and fashion blogger Anchyi Wei.