Fashion magazine editors are a rare breed. They live a life that seems聽unattainable to most — full of front-rows, VIP parties and celebrity photo shoots. Getting there is one hell of a mountain to climb, and you need to be willing to log countless hours of thankless, hard work — because it’s your dream.
Kyle Anderson is the Senior Accessories Editor at ELLE Magazine, and probably has one of the most amazing (and tiring) jobs in the industry. But it wasn’t just handed to him. I had the opportunity to chat with Kyle recently, where he tells me about his climb to the top of the fashion magazine pyramid, and what’s kept him grounded along the way.
Tell us a bit about yourself.聽
I was born in Stockholm, Sweden, and grew up in Chicago. I moved to NY about 9 years ago and started my career by interning (at) a bunch of different magazines. I had pre-arranged an internship with Esquire before I moved here and took some classes at FIT at the same time. I actually had already graduated with a double major in International Business and Finance but took some classes just for fun. For about 2.5 years I interned at Esquire, then Marie Claire, COSMOgirl, Vogue and then ELLE. I started to get freelance assistant work for a few months at a time at Vanity Fair, then COSMOPOLITAN and finally ELLE. Working at ELLE was my dream job and I was lucky enough to get exactly the position I wanted — how often does that happen? Accessories Assistant at ELLE magazine. I worked here for the past 6 years and I鈥檓 a Senior Editor now.
What does a typical day at work like for you?
I usually go on appointments to meet with designers and their press people from 9am- noon. Then I go to the office download my photos and start editing for whichever stories were working on. I do that until around 6:30-7 then usually I have drinks or dinner with designers or other people in the industry, or I might have an event to go to… the launch of some new product or fashion line.
When you were a kid, did you dream of working at a fashion magazine? When did you know it was your calling?
Yeah I was always obsessed with magazines and fashion. Even in kindergarten the only thing I ever wanted was clothes. I never wanted toys. It was the 80s and in my mind and even living in Chicago I was totally the 80s bleach blond surfer boy with all of the neon and accessories to match. I used to go with my friends even when I was like 6 years old to the public library and we would spend hours looking at magazines like ELLE or Vogue or W. I remember liking W because of their huge pages. Huge ads from brands like Chanel then with Claudia Schiffer, they were so cool and glamorous. I thought who are these people that put this thing together. They must be amazing! (Laughs)
Fashion bloggers have been receiving a lot of press in mainstream media. How do you feel the popularity of blogs are effecting magazines, like ELLE?
I don鈥檛 really feel like they have any effect on ELLE exactly but yes it is true a few of the bloggers are really influential. There are like 5 of them that are super important people and can be seen sitting front row of every show along with Editor-in-chiefs etc. I think they are a great way to get their message out fast. Now everyone has a blog — I have a blog, my cat has a blog… kidding, but it’s now about what can you offer that no one else can offer. Before, having a blog was enough. Now I have to have the inside scoop. I try to give that at my blog, kyleeditor.com聽– a sort of editor鈥檚 behind-the-scenes view. Or even through my twitter account,聽allowing people who are interested to be right there with me at shows, etc.
Please highlight for us some of your favorite trends for SS12.
My favorite trend is bra tops. Ha-ha. Sounds funny… but yeah, in Milan everyone showed a bra top with knee length skirts, under coats, or with slim pants. They look really chic and fresh. You could see them at all of the big Milan shows.
What is your idea of the perfect day?
One that doesn鈥檛 end in a disaster, basically. No, not really that doesn’t happen. But my job can be very overwhelming. We have to do an almost unrealistic amount of things in a very short period of time. You just do your best and everything seems to work out. My perfect day would be shopping at breakfast at Norma鈥檚 at Le Parker Meridien, shopping at Bergdorf’s and Barneys for clothes and things for my apartment, going to Starbucks about 10 times, lunch at Bar Americain near my office, sleeping a lot all afternoon and watching movie at night.
Who is your biggest inspiration in life?
Nina Garcia, our former fashion director hired me. She was probably my biggest inspiration in my career. Also my boyfriend inspires me. Without the support of these two people I wouldn鈥檛 be where I am today. Nina gave me a lot of opportunities and my bf supported me no matter how things seemed to be going even in the worst of times I knew I never had to worry about anything.
Most amazing celeb styling moment?
I just shot a friend of mine, supermodel Andrej Pejic for the cover of Sch枚n!聽Magazine. Even as a friend I鈥檓 still amazed by his beauty. He鈥檚 probably the most beautiful person in the world.
What piece of advice would you give to aspiring young creatives who hope to make a living doing what they love?
I was actually talking about this with one of my friends. Its true what they say. You have to really really think about what it is that you love. Because you are going to have to do whatever that is for 14 hours 6 days a week. You can鈥檛 think about what makes the most money or what is expected of you to do. I mean, my mom wanted me to be a pastor in a church. I’m not really sure how well that would have went over looking back at my last few years living in NYC but I chose a job that I knew would keep me interested and I had a passion for that didn鈥檛 involve paychecks or counting how many hours I put into each day. I go to events and dinners that last until 1am often and for me it doesn鈥檛 feel like work… usually. So, choose what you love and never give up.聽Everyone I interviewed with for years told me no. I had tons of internships and always did my best and no one ever gave me a chance. It hurt so much. But, it only took one person to believe in me. Not ten, not five… I interned at ELLE and worked so hard and luckily Nina Garcia could see that in me — that I would be a great editor and she took a chance on me and now I鈥檝e had over 6 years of amazing experiences that I never dreamed possible. People told me to just give up but I just couldn鈥檛. You only live once. I know this all sounds clich茅, but its really true.
Our huge thanks go out to Kyle Anderson for his time and contribution to this piece. You truly are a role model to anyone who is working towards their dreams.