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GUEST POST | 12 Ways to Become a Successful Freelancer

Career, Guest PostsMari NievesComment
mari nieves pink studios

Oh, hello! My name is Marii Nieves and I am the Founder of Pink Studios - a full-service boutique digital marketing provider; specializing in digital media presence for small & medium-sized businesses; and you probably heard about me and my story, here.

A little over a year ago, Pink Studios stopped being a part-time gig to become a full-time-with-overtime monster - and I could not be happier about it. Regardless, I feel the obligation to admit that making the decision to quit my full-time job as a Digital Marketing Director at a multimillion dollar company was not easy. Not at all. You can read about it here.

The financial stability, the routine, the classic “what would people say?” and “what if I fail?”, were constant thoughts running through my brain.
Why are we wired this way though? Instead, why don’t we think “I am confident in myself”, “I can do this!”, “I will kick-ass!”, “I will prove them wrong.”

When you are making a decision like this, you are allowed 5 minutes to be sissy and curl up in a corner.
— Mari Nieves from Pink Studios
beyonce slaying

When you are making a decision like this, you are allowed 5 minutes to be sissy and curl up in a corner; after that you gotta pull up your big girl pants, be gangsta and say: “I’ll get this shit done!”

Being organized and establishing processes and routines made this journey a whole lot easier. Today, I am sharing with you my favorite tips to becoming a successful freelancer and get things done:

1. Establish some sort of online presence to present your services.

People spend the vast majority of their time online. Whatever your industry is, you need to make sure that if people are searching for people like you - they can find you. Whether it’s a website, Facebook Business Page, Twitter, Instagram, you name it. Be there.

2. Update your personal social networks, specially Linkedin.

Everyone you are connected with should be aware that you are now flying-solo and that they can reach you for special projects. ambinity has a GREAT article about it: 10 Ways to Maximize your LinkedIn Profile

3. Create a routine.

When you become a freelancer, you are most likely to work from home; distractions and convenience might come in your way. Just because you are working from home doesn’t mean you get to wake up at 10:30am, take 3 hour lunch breaks and squeeze in a Netflix marathon. Get up early, fix yourself a cup of coffee or tea, eat breakfast, dress up and get to work. At the beginning, you might find it annoying but trust me, it gets you in the right mindset.

4. Organization + a project/task management app are key!

In order to be successful at #4, you NEED to have a proper way to manage tasks. Something I have learned over this past year is that whether I successfully execute my morning routine or not; if I don’t have a set list of what I need to work on the next day - my morning is wasted! Ain’t nobody got time for that! So, before your day ends make a list of all the things you have pending;  that way the next day you’ll be ready to get stuff done instead of wasting time running in circles figuring out where things were left off the day prior.

But how do I make my to-do lists? Paper? App? Both? This is something I get asked constantly. Paper lists are great until you go to a meeting or to work somewhere else and you left your list at home.That sucks! You can use post-its if necessary for quick reminders; but… hey, we are not The Flintstones - use the technology resources available. There are great tools such as: Asana, Trello (my favorite) and Basecamp that can work wonders. Are you using any of these?

marii nieves pink studios

5. Setup a dedicated workspace.

I need to brag for a second - I LOVE, LOVE <3 my workspace! Now that I got that off my system I have to tell you something. Working remotely and having your office be a home-office is hard! To be able to focus all of my energy on work, I needed to set up a dedicated space where I could forget about all the distractions around, be inspired and really get to work.

A few essentials for me: Macbook Pro, external monitor, bluetooth keyboard and mouse, lamp, lavender candles, comfortable chair, speaker, couch - mostly for visits and when I want to change scenarios a little bit.  Make it work for you!

Shop Mari's Office Must Haves!

6. Get your numbers in place.

Hopefully you’ll start making money soon and once you have to fill your taxes, etc; you’d need to have everything in place. At the moment, I swear by Wave App. It allows me to send estimates, convert them to invoices, send payment reminders, track outstanding balances and expenses. It has worked wonders for me and those I have recommended it to. Try it out and let me know.

7. Use a contract or agreement for every project.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a small project or a large one - you want everything discussed and covered. This will save you a lot of time and headaches. There are different website that provide pre-made proposals, contracts and agreement that you can sign up for such as Proposify. Alternatively, you can also sit down with an attorney to make sure everything is covered.

8. Rate cards.

Depending on your industry, this may be viable or not. Set some time to define your pricing structure. Are you gonna charge per hour? Per project? Per service? Establish those from the beginning, that way, making proposals will be a breeze instead of a nightmare.

9. Limit distractions.

Distraction could be your worst enemy; from watching TV to laying down for a second (that turn out to be 2 hours) and our fatal attraction: social media. I am a firm believer that you need to work hard but breaks are 100% necessary. There are several apps that can help you with this. From Focus (download for iOS | download for Android) which focuses on the Pomodoro technique to Freedom, ColdTurkey (download for Mac | download for Android) and InMoment (download for iPhone) which allow you to track and/or block time spent on social networks or a list of websites you determine for a certain period to allow you to better focus on getting things done.

10. Ask for testimonials.

From past clients, to ex-bosses, supervisors, colleagues, etc… they probably have great things to say about you. The easiest way to compile all of these is to ask for Recommendations on LinkedIn. From there you can extract their testimonials and use on your website and promotional material. It is always encouraged that you let them know that you will be using their testimonials - I highly doubt they will say no, but it is a courtesy.

11. Don’t be afraid to say “no”.

Choose your clients carefully. You are allowed to say “no”. Is this new client from an industry you don’t feel 100% comfortable with? Does it not align with your business values and standards? Do you feel like the chemistry is not there? Are you fully booked but don’t want to say “no” because “it’s a new gig”? Don’t feel bad. That is absolutely okay.  This will happen and you need to be ready to tackle these type of situations. My recommendations, draft a nice email and propose a plan: either let them know that at the moment you are not able to work with them and, if possible, provide an alternative vendor to fulfill their needs.

12. Never stop learning.

Easy as that. Information is at our fingertips these days. Never stop learning. Find ways where you can increase your knowledge on certain topics and trends and even find time to learn new things. Doing so will allow you to stay up to date and be able to react within your industry when something is relevant.


BONUS: The occasional day off is totally fine!

People ask me: “how do you stay motivated every single day of the week” and my answer is: “sometimes I don’t”. Their reaction is priceless. The reality is, this is one of the perks of being your own boss. You set your time and if you don’t feel productive for a moment, it is okay to take the day off if necessary.

ambinity

On days like that I like to catch up on my Netflix queue, watch crappy reality shows (this right here is my guilty pleasure) from Real Housewives of Orange County, Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, RHOA and RHONJ, Keeping up with the Kardashians, Botched, Naked and Afraid, Shark Tank and I also love to read a good book, listen to podcasts and try and just pay with Pakko Petardo and Lola Inés del Pilar.


 

Last but not least, make sure you make the most out of your time as a freelancer or entrepreneur. Get stuff done. This is your time. Don’t ever let your creativity die. Do you have additional tips or questions? Leave them in the comments section below.

If you want to reach out to me, I am always available via inbox or you can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter. See you there.

mari nieves pink studios

Meet our Guest Blogger

I’m Marii, your Facebook-loving, goal-crushing, digital marketing-obsessed professional. I’m a Computer Engineering turned digital marketing-entrepreneur who believes in the power of helping others succeed in life or their businesses with the right tools by their side. Founder of Pink Studios and The Digital Strategy Lounge and mom of #PakkoyLola.
Wanna know me? Shoot me a message here or here.

Letras con Tacones' Experience as an Intern at ELLE

CareerMaría Elena RodríguezComment
paola letra con tacones puertorrican blogger elle

First of all, happy new year!!! So glad to start 2017 with this new series: Intern Diaries, so let me know how you like it in the comments bellow! :) 

I have known Paola from Letras con Tacones for a while now. Not only as a Puertorrican blogger peer, but because I had the chance to partner with her with one of the brands I work with at the Agency. She's not only super sweet, classy and has awesome style, but she is also super responsible and dedicated to her work. 

So when she told me that she was going to study fashion in New York City and nevertheless, work at ELLE, I knew I had to interview her for you guys. And of course, she gladly accepted. Hope you guys enjoy this interview as much as I did! 

What are you studying in grad school and where? 

I am currently doing a Master in Professional Studies (MPS) Fashion Marketing at LIM College in New York. 

How did you get an internship at ELLE? 

I arrived at New York City on August 16, 2016 and classes began the next week. I had already started thinking about working during the day and studying at night, so that Friday I decided to go to FreeFashionInternships.com, a website recommended by my blogger friend, Yulia from Hidden Fashionista, which is where she got her internship at Jimmy Choo. I applied to five companies: Saint Laurent, alice + olivia, Marc Jacobs International and Oscar de la Renta, in that same order. 

paola carolina colon elle fashion internship
Hearst Tower. Photo Cred: Foster and Partners

Hearst Tower. Photo Cred: Foster and Partners

Two weeks afterwards I received the email from ELLE asking if I was still interested on the internship, and what date I was available for interview. That email was a Wednesday and I confirmed the interview on that Friday at 10AM. After researching to be ready, I went to the interview super early so I didn't get lost on the subway since I was such a newbie, haha. 

The Hearst Tower is located at Colombus Circle. Hearst is Elle's, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan and Seventeen's  publishing house and they're all located in the same building. 

I arrived for the interview at the 24th floor and my heart wanted to explode. The person who interviewed me was the Fashion Assistant who asked some questions such as what are you studying and for what,  what was my experience in fashion and what are my short and long term goals and basically why Elle. Finally she just told me: "Congrats! You got the internship. When can you start?" I literally died. 

In which department did you work at? 

The internship was at the Fashion Closet, which is where the fashion assistant and freelancers work at. It is pretty much the spine of the magazine, since it is where all the designer looks are stored for the photo shoots. I was in charge of manageing everything that came in and out of the closet. I had to notify, evidence it and keep it organized, cleand and presentable for collaborators or stylists. 

How did you imagine your first day at Elle? 

I thought that I was going to receive a tour and training for every task but it was completely the opposite. I learned along the way and every time they called me out for something wrong. There were SO many details that I had to keep in mind, that every time I made a mistake I wrote it down on my agenda to make sure to NEVER do it again. 

There were SO many details that I had to keep in mind, that every time I made a mistake I wrote it down on my agenda to make sure to NEVER do it again.
— Paola

So how was actually your first day?

My first day was quite interesting because I had no idea of what I was doing and if I was doing it right or wrong. Everybody was so busy and on their own world, so nobody had time to answer my questions unless it was extremely necessary. To be the first day, it was significantly a lot of work, but the excitement was too much for me to care!

What was your biggest challenge?

The biggest challenge was to avoid mistakes. Magazines work as a chain and if someone makes a mistake, the rest of the people are affected by them. From the stylist to the department editors. You have to be super diligent, have a problem solver attitude and be willing to do whatever they ask you. 

What was your favorite part about working at Elle? 

elle magazine headquarters

Everyone that I saw daily inspired me somehow. Watching Robbie Myers, the Editor-in-Chief, Samira Nasr, Fashion Director and María Dueñas Jacobs, the Accesories Director were my daily doses of goals. I wasn't seeing it on Instagram or Pinterest, I was watching it in real life. From what they wore, the gifts brands gave them according to their styles and the conversations they had at the closet about trends. Everything was part of the experience. 

I do have to admit that the highlight was the first day, when a Puertorrican greeted me at the lobby. It felt just like home! haha. 

Another great thing were the presents. There were a lot of things that the brands duplicated or nobody wanted so the interns took advantage of it. (Yas!)

As a Puertorrican woman doing a high demand internship at the Fashion Capital of the World, do you felt like you had a bigger responsibility than the rest of your peers in your position? 

We were five interns in total. Three of them from the US, one from Barcelona and myself. Two of them were studying at Columbia, one of them took the semester off to complete the internship and the last two of us were from LIM. I was the only intern doing a masters so that was my motivation to be better every day. I always have in mind the huge responsibility of representing Puerto Rico by giving it my all everywhere I go, no matter if it's school or the internship. 

I am extremely proud to be from Puerto Rico and super grateful for the opportunity at Elle. <3

Describe a normal day at Elle.

You can sum it by saying hectic, nonstop and exciting. But a normal day would be: 

Elle Magazine Itern

Arriving at ELLE's Fashion Closet at 9AM to move the pictures from the camera to the software. We had to take photos of all the items in the closet and assign a code for each. There was a board to make the respective check ins and check outs with all the items for photo shoots. During the entire day I received garment and shopping bags of different designers and I had to equally schedule messengers to return the looks that had already been shot.

The most frequent task was reading emails to be in constant contact with publicists or the Fashion PR company that represented each designer. They were usually Karla Otto, PR Consulting, KCD or HL Group. 

They would give me a list of brands with a theme, like for example, "skaters" because they had to do a photoshoot inspired by that theme. So my job was to search around the Internet and find the coolest looks from each brand and set them up so Samira, the Fashion Director had a clearer view of what she wanted. 

We had a photo shoot practically every day, so we had to help to create mood boards for inspiration and visualize the story the stylist had assigned or the story Samira wanted to tell. And of course, look for Starbucks! 

What is your biggest lesson after the internship? 

Everything is possible when you have the talent, perseverance and passion. You have to be patient and give it your all every day, because in New York there is no time to lose. It is true what they say: "If you make it here, you make it anywhere". This city is not easy, but if you survive and accomplish your goals, you are ready to live anywhere in the world. 

What is your next goal now that you've finished your internship at ELLE?

The next step is to apply for another internship, but this time from the designer's side. I am in the stage where I have to explore all the areas and see the other side of the coin. I want to experiment the communications and marketing department inside luxury brands. So stay tuned... You will get more Intern Stories! 

 Did you ever imagine yourself as an Intern at ELLE?

I always had it in the back of my mind. I am very positive to accomplish what I set my mind to. The first time I saw The Devil Wears Prada (my favorite movie) I knew that I was going to be doing that one day. And after 10 tears, that day is here! It sounds cliché, but so true. 

fashion intern

Do you feel like your Blog Letras con Tacones helped you reach this goal? 

Every time I take a step forward I am super grateful to have created Letras con Tacones. This is my biggest asset when it comes to interviews, because it is my own. I can talk about my vision and how I pretend to use it in my career. Also, as a journalist, I need a presentation card that helps me express my passion for fashion and social media has been the perfect platform. 

Was your internship anything like The Devil Wears Prada stereotype?

To be really honest, it is not too far away from the reality. The movie exagerates some things but other things are super accurate.

That fast pace environment is completely true. I was at ELLE from 9AM to 5PM because I took classes from 6PM to 9PM, but the interns that didn't have class at night stayed there way after hours. Also, whenever I had the chance to lunch, it had to be in front of the computer. I always had to work really hard during lunch and if there was an emergency, I had to stop eating and resolve it. 

Running errands was really challenging too. Sometimes I found myself with two garment bags and two shopping bags in the middle of the city praying that it could survive rain or a subway ride back at ELLE. If the bags were TOO heavy, they called an Uber, if not, you'd just have to wing it as a mad woman through Manhattan with thousands of dollars in merchandise. Just like Andy! haha. 

The outfits in The Devil Wears Prada were an exaggeration. Most women at ELLE wore snickers, boots and Gucci Flippers combined with high waisted jeans, dresses or cute tops. I loved that everybody was super comfortable and practical while being super fashion forward.
— Paola

The outfits in The Devil Wears Prada were an exaggeration. Most women at ELLE wore snickers, boots and Gucci Flippers combined with high waisted jeans, dresses or cute tops. I loved that everybody was super comfortable and practical while being super fashion forward. Adidas and Converse were my bff's during the entire semester. :)

Also every time the Editor in Chief entered the closet, people stopped talking. So the movie was pretty accurate in this... just in a lower scale. Oh and Starbucks is so true! I had to look for coffee all the time!

starbucks fashion intern

What advice would you give someone who wants to enter the fashion publishing world? 

Follow your passion will always be my advice. A lot of people think that communications field is saturated and that is a mistake. Our biggest challenge is to create our own jobs and projects. You will always have to make sacrifices but I promise you that it is worth it. Just have patience. 

The key is taking risks, learning and educating yourself the most you can in order to get the job "a million girls would kill for".

Shop ELLE Staff's casual clothing staples:


So that's it guys! #CareerGoals don't you think? Hope you loved this interview and please let me know if you would like more like these. Let's see if Pao is ready for the next Intern Diaries! ;)

Make sure you follow Letras con Tacones:

  • Blog: http://www.letrascontacones.com/
  • Instagram: http://instagram.com/letrascontacones
  • Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/letras.tacones

Until next time!

María Elena

*All the pictures in this post were provided by Paola Carolina Colón, unless otherwise stated.


 

 

Career Profile | Larissa Vázquez Zapata, Editor of GFR Media's Magacín

CareerMaría Elena Rodríguez2 Comments

If you live in Puerto Rico, there's no way you haven't heard that El Nuevo Día is the biggest media outlet and news publication in the Island. As part of GFR Media, this daily newspaper has gained the respect of almost everyone in Puerto Rico for being the most complete in every aspect and being able to evolve with its audience through decades and regardless of harsh economic situations. 

A photo posted by @magacin on

I remember when I was in high school I loved receiving El Nuevo Día's Sunday edition because it had so many interesting articles and special segments, but most importantly, I could read Magacín, their lifestyle section. As an avid magazine reader as a teenager (my favorites where Revista Tú, Seventeen and Cosmo Girl), Magacín felt like a more grown up and sophisticated version of what I was used to reading. Since I was so consumed in Mexican and American magazines, Magacín helped me stay on track of the lifestyle trends in Puerto Rico. But I have to admit, as embarrassing as it sounds, that I loved looking at all the fancy people at extravagant events and imagining myself in their shoes, which were probably Manolos and Jimmy Choos. *sighs* 

Then I started working in the communications industry and noticing the bylines so of course, that's when I started to admire Larissa Vázquez Zapata who has been the Editor at Magacín for the past 8 years. She was the person in charge of making the first digital portal for the publication and is currently in charge of their social media outlet at the same time she manages a team of Lifestyle journalists. And did I mention she has traveled all over the world for this job? Can we say #DreamJob?! 

So needless to say, Larissa has been in my interview bucket list ever since I started this Career Profile series a year ago. I am truly honored that she took the time to answer these questions and hopefully this will help you get to know the life of a super rad Puerto Rican Editor. So without further ado, and great pleasure, I present you with Larissa Vázquez Zapata's Career Profile:

ME: When you were a little girl, what did you wanted to do when you grow up?

Larissa at a Magacín photoshoot. (Photo Cred: magacin.com)

LVZ: The story is a little long, I warn you. When I was a little girl I started to write on every wall I could find, something that my mother didn’t like very much since during this time, mid 70’s, most middle class homes had wall paper and my home was no exception. That’s how I figured a way to practice my calligraphy skills over a bone white moiré wall paper that soon started to show “Bic blue” stains. So after my mom convinced me not to write on the living room’s walls, I moved to my grandma’s room. I started using white chalk to write on her wooden closet doors. Needless to say, I messed them up as well. The wood absorbed the chalk and the doors started to look gray!

I also used to climb on a chair and start giving classes to a group of imaginary kids, so I guess at that time, people thought I would be a teacher.

But I was always curious and used to devour any book in my hands. One of my favorite lectures was the Enciclopedia Salvat, which every once in a while they would come out with a new volume that they used to sell at Pueblo Supermarkets, so I would beg my mom to buy one for me. I even memorized the covers of the 12 volumes: the first one had a papyrus fragment of the Egyptian Book of the Dead and the 12th had a NASA picture with the Apolo 13 in space with Earth in the background.

While still in elementary school I began writing science fiction scripts and making cuts out of the fashion and decor magazine my mom used to buy. From that moment on, I gave into the “glossy” and until this day, I’m in love with magazines.

I also had a time in which I wanted to study architecture, but I have to admit that I freaked out over all the things people said about Structure Class. Believe me, numbers and I do not get along.

ME: What did you end up studying in College and why?

University of Puerto Rico (Photo Cred: indicepr.com) 

LVZ: Before starting college, I have to say that I was very involved in the university system since I graduated from University of Puerto Rico’s High School (UHS) and that was a huge privilege and influence in me. Particularly in terms of rounding up my education and afterwards on deciding what I wanted to study since this was the Latin American literature boom and magical realism era. I was getting to know Luis Rafael Sánchez, Magali García Ramis, Gabriel García Márquez, Horacio Quiroga and Alejandro Carpentier. I was sure I was going to choose a career in which I could read and write a lot. I wanted to be a print news journalist because that way people would only recognize my byline, not my face. That’s why I did my bachelors and masters degrees in Journalism at the Public Communication School of the University of Puerto Rico in Río Piedras.

ME: Did you work during college?

LVZ: I had the privilege of having parents that could provide everything for me. I wasn’t rich or anything, but I had the basics, so I was able to focus full-time on school.

ME: What was your first full time job as a journalist?

LVZ: By the end of my bachelors I had a practice course that was supervised by Norma Valle from Imagen Magazine back when Casiano Communications was in charge. I managed to stay there for several years but then I quit to pursue my masters degree. When I graduated they hired me again, but soon I was contacted from El Nuevo Día. I was a little traumatized at first for having to change the glossy paper to a newspaper, but I was very attracted to the journalism challenge of having a daily deadline, something that would require a different work rhythm than I was used to.

That’s how I had the privilege of working as a journalist, in my field of study, since day one.

ME: How did you get your start into the lifestyle and fashion scene?

LVZ: First, I started as a reader. Since I was very young I read a lot of magazines made in Puerto Rico, United States and Europe. In fact, whenever I travel, one of the first things I do is go to a newsstand, get a local newspaper and see what magazines they have, even if I don’t understand the language. This is one of the best ways to train the eye. Not only in terms of topics, but in graphic and design terms. An editor not only works with text and supervising reporters. An editor is in charge of conceptualizing an entire magazine, cover to cover. You must have a much greater vision with your graphic designer and all other artists so your product reflects freshness, innovation and it’s attractive to your audience.

I didn’t end up working at a magazine with strong beauty and fashion content by chance. I looked for it with all my intention.
— Larissa Vázquez Zapata

Larissa with Beyoncé (then pregnant with Blue Ivy) at the launch of one of her perfumes

I didn’t end up working at a magazine with strong beauty and fashion content by chance. I looked for it with all my intention. At that moment it was what I most wanted to do and that’s how I started to get to know people, develop my resources and at the same time, people in the industry started to notice me through my work. And with time, that’s how I started to win the exclusives, big interviews, invitations to cover events around the world and so on.

With more than 20 years as a journalist, with a steady byline and the past 8 years as Editor of Magacín, I’ve developed an expertise in lifestyle topics, luxury marketing and the female audience.

Also in my free time I read a lot of information about lifestyle, because I like it. Apart from fashion and beauty, I read and write a lot about travel, art, design, architecture and gastronomy. Truth be told, part of my job is to be aware of all trends in these topics.

ME: How does it feel to be Editor of one of the best Fashion publications in Puerto Rico?

LVZ: Great! It’s a privilege and a great responsibility. In terms of print only, we are talking about a lifestyle magazine with the most circulation in Puerto Rico. Almost 200,000 copies are inserted in El Nuevo Día every Sunday and Magacin Lifestyle, the magazine we publish in glossy paper every season directed to high income households, has a guaranteed circulation of 30,000 copies.

Magacin Lifestyle print magazine. Read the Summer 2016 issue it here. 

Although for web and social media, that is a whole new world. Now we are not only working with one platform, we have mutated into a monster with several heads. I am responsible for the editorial calendar while creating and executing content strategies for every Magacín platform, among others. But we are also a very small team so we have to be extra efficient.

ME: What do you most like about your career?

Provided Picture 

LVZ: That it demands constant creativity and every day is different. You have the opportunity to get to know extraordinary people, visit new magnificent places, see, listen, smell and appreciate a lot of things first hand. And most importantly, write and being able to tell a story. In the end, it’s the seduction with words, as Álex Grijelmo says.

ME: What is the biggest challenge of your career?

LVZ: Moving at the rhythm of technology, getting to know the audiences better each day and balancing between work and personal life. Anyone who has worked in the communications industry knows that the levels of stress are very high, with super extended hours. In other words:  don't let the job become who you are.

ME: What has been the best moment in your career at Magacín so far?

LVZ: 2008 was very important for me because it was the year that we first published Magacin Lifestyle, which I consider my daughter. Being able to create a product from scratch until having it in your hands is very exciting.

Then in 2011 we became a multi-platform when we launched magacin.com in which I had the opportunity to work on the architecture of the site with my friend Orlando Camperto, which by the way, designed Magacín Lifestyle and now is the Design Director at El Nuevo Día and Primera Hora. I remember how we used to cover the walls with yellow Post-Its in order to visualize the functionalities we wanted the website to have.

These two launches have been the biggest milestones in the history of Magacín and I am very satisfied to know I was the editor during these stages. But as you know, we are moving at the speed of technology and market trends, so soon you will be seeing some changes. I can’t tell you anything else, but we keep evolving and that’s what’s important.

Larissa at the Épernay Vineyards in France, where the Moët & Chandon champagne is made. 

ME: What has been your favorite assignment?

LVZ: During almost more than 20 years working as a journalist it’s probably impossible to remember all of them. I do have special memories for a series of travel chronicles I made through the Middle East in countries like Oman, Qatar, Barein and some of the Arab Emirates like Fujaira, Abu Dabi and Dubai. Those are places that you don’t get to visit every day.

ME: How do you feel you are contributing to the Puerto Rican society?

LVZ: There’s a lot of people who think publications like Magacín are superficial because of its social and lifestyle content. They fail to notice that in 20 years you will be able to know how the economy, fashion and people’s situation was during this time. Magacín is filled with anthropological and social lectures.

From the left: Gustavo Arango, Larissa Vázquez Zapa and Nono Maldonado. (Proviced Picture)

You can figure out what makes a society by carefully studying their lifestyle and how it entertains, among other factors. Magacín is a window to a society sector in Puerto Rico and at the same time, gives you a quick take to the world.

ME: If you weren’t Editor for Magacín, what would you be?

LVZ: An architect or perfumist.

Larissa at the Louis Vuitton Foundation in the outsides of Paris. 

ME: Would you encourage the current generation to pursue journalism as a career?

LVZ: If they have ink in their veins, absolutely! Even though this metaphor is a little out-dated since it refers to traditional print journalism, I like it because it stresses the passion and compromise it requires. Today’s journalism is multitasking. You have to be ready to do everything, but even though the media has changed, the basics are still the same. If you want to be a journalist, you have to understand the ethics, have a profound understanding of your language, develop analysis capabilities and have a great intuition to recognize where’s a story.

Also, remember that journalism doesn’t make anyone rich and the glamour is only a mirage.

If you want to be a journalist, you have to understand the ethics, have a profound understanding of your language, develop analysis capabilities and have a great intuition to recognize where’s a story.
— Larissa Vázquez Zapata

ME: Do you need to study journalism in order to be an Editor?

Behind the Scenes at a Magacín Photoshoot. (Photo Cred: magacin.com)

LVZ: No one would dare ask a surgeon who’s about to do surgery: hey, did you study medicine? Because it’s obvious, we take it for granted. Well Journalism Schools don’t exist by chance. If someone wants to work in the communication industry and be an editor for example, someone who is going to edit and correct what other journalists write, it must be a journalist who supervises you. For the sake of professional respect, someone who knows what the reporter had to go through in order to write that piece. An editor is not an editor because he/ she writes beautifully. An editor is someone who understands much more than just gathering and conceptualizing information.

An editor is not an editor because he/ she writes beautifully. An editor is someone who understands much more than just gathering and conceptualizing information.
— Larissa Vázquez Zapata

The thing is that nowadays there’s a tendency in which any super model, pageant queen or actor who wants to become famous can be given a microphone. And instead of naming them TV Presenters, they call them Journalists. But if the media certifies it, we are doomed. And sadly, TV is filled with cases like these, which harm the profession.

Larissa with Puerto Rican Supermodel Joan Smalls at The Mall of San Juan.

ME: What would you recommend someone who wants to be an Editor of a lifestyle magazine one day?

LVZ: To be up to date, cultivate and get to know every topic that they pretend to cover. That they know how to write, because even if it’s a post on Facebook, a tweet or a caption on Instagram, it has to be well written according to the particularities of each platform. They have to develop a good eye. To learn to work as a team because the newsroom is a work chain.  Enroll in practice courses because that is the best way to network with people in the industry and really know if you like the editorial world.


Larissa's Favorites:

Favorite way to unwind: Sleeping (I really need those extra hours) and reading magazines. I have magazines in every room in my house! I also love spending time with my nephew. I enjoy going out to eat out of town with the family.

Favorite Holiday: None. Every month there’s at least one holiday with questionable origins and there’s no doubt commerce is the one taking advantage of the celebration.

Favorite Social Media: Not too long ago the Sales and Marketing Executives Association of Puerto Rico (SME) presented a study which revealed that 87.7% of the Puerto Rican population prefers Facebook, which is the same tendency we have seen in our followers. So as an editor, I have to be where our audience is. In fact, according to Neiman Lab, 44% of the adult population in the United States access news outlets through Facebook. Which means, we can not leave out Facebook and that Mark Zuckerberg is doing a great job!

Personally as an editor, I use Facebook a lot as, but I prefer my private life to stay private.

Must Have Piece of Clothing: Solid color twin sets, dark jeans and a black lace dress. But the look isn’t complete without a good pair of shoes and I prefer my Tribute T-Strap by Saint Laurent in gold.

Favorite Scent: I can’t choose just one! The first rain drops in soil, white flowers (gardenia, jasmine, nardo and azahar) and the combination of saffron rose and oud.

A necessary luxury: Time above all things. Also perfume, dark chocolate truffles, heels and traveling.

Music Genre: It depends on my mood. What you will never find in my playlist is rap, reggae or reggaeton.

Favorite Book: The Bible. Is the book with the most circulation and the most translated in history. Also Salvadas las distancias: La caverna y Todos los nombres by José Saramago, 100 Years of Solitude and Love in Times of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez. Reunión de espejos by José Vega (is a story book collection of Puerto Rican writers), and The Perfume by Patrick Süskind.

Must have decor piece: Isamu Noguchi table with a black base.

The Noguchi Coffee Table (Photo Cred: Apartment Therapy)

Favorite Restaurant: Wherever they serve good sushi or Mediterranean cuisine.

Favorite Coffee Shop: Chaguín in Río Piedras beside La Gándara. I don’t even know if it exists anymore, but just for the sake of nostalgia. It used to be the center of encounter of the UPR's Communications School students.

Favorite place you’ve ever visited: Istanbul, Florence and New York are my favorite cities.

Hot air balloons in Capadocia, Turkey. (Photo Cred: Tropdreamer.com)

What is next in your bucket list: 2016 will mark the 20th anniversary since my first trip to Spain so I would love to visit my friends and do a roadtrip along the South once again. Granada blows my mind! Also, my friend Nora and her husband Ettore coordinate an Isabelina route that is historic and fascinating. Then we will eat gazpacho, bulls tail and honey eggplant in Cordoba.

I am also waiting for the opportunity to go see the northern lights, maybe in Tromso, Norway and overfly Capadocia on an air balloon.

But for now, probably a barre workout. Not because I love exercise, but the complete opposite. To see if I start enjoying it a little bit!

 


That's it guys! Hope you really enjoyed this interview. Now that you know Larissa's hard work behind the scenes, make sure you subscribe to magacin.com so you can learn more about the fabulous lifestyle trends in Puerto Rico.  

Who would you like me to interview next? Let me know in the comments bellow. 

Until next time!

María Elena