Micaela English has what I consider to be a dream job. Micaela is senior web editor at Town & Country magazine where she pitches, writes, and edits multiple articles a day on a variety of topics pertinent to the Town & Country reader. I know you’ll be inspired by her career path and advice.
Micaela English, Senior Web Editor at Town & Country
How did you end up at Town & Country? What was your career path?
I actually started on the ad sales side of magazines as a sales assistant for two years. I took a fashion writing class through Mediabistro which inspired me to make a career switch and move over to editorial. I applied for a job to be the assistant to the Editor in Chief, got the job, and stayed in that role for two years. During that time, I learned so much about every section of the magazine world. When the opportunity came up to work on T&C‘s website, I thought it would be great for the next phase of my career – I love the Internet. I love all things digital. And I absolutely love this brand.
What are your roles and responsibilities as senior web editor at Town & Country?
We all wear a lot of hats online and my responsibilities change every day. Social duties belong to our social editor Logan Sykes, but I play a very heavy role in T&C‘s Instagram (it’s my favorite social media platform after all). Other than that: I write, write, write. I come up with story ideas based on topics and news that resonate with our audience.
What is a typical day like for you? Please walk me through a day.
No day is ever quite the same. Typically, I wake up around 6:00 am, read the New York Post‘s website, The Skimm, and my new addiction, the BuzzFeed News app (I have alerts for it going off on my phone all day). Then I take a 7:00 am Exhale Core Fusion or yoga class – sweating and getting exercise in is super important to me, it gets my brain thinking and my blood flowing. I wash up in their locker room and head over to the Hearst Tower. My team and I sit down and we talk about what’s going on in the world (we’re all responsible for reading different news sites/papers) and what T&C has to say about it and then we write and post to social, all day long.
It’s a blast. I truly love my job. I’m usually in the office until 7:30 pm each night, and then I’ll go home, cook dinner (I get all of my groceries delivered by the genius app InstaCart), and read whatever book I’m into or watch a show on demand. Right now I’m reading this hilarious book, The Underwriting, and my favorite show on television is Silicon Valley. I think the writing is absolutely genius.
To be honest, I’m doing all of these things while simultaneously checking my phone and being in a group text with my digital team at T&C, to make sure we’re on top of everything happening on the Internet. I know that could seem like a lot for people – to be constantly plugged in – but I’m a total Internet geek.
I live, breath, and truly enjoy the web and all of it’s craziness, it doesn’t even feel like work for me.
Hands down, my colleagues. I work with people I consider to be the smartest in the industry. I learn so much from them every single day. It’s all about the people you surround yourself with. I learned that being a competitive tennis player growing up, the better and more advanced the players are that you’re hitting with, the more elevated your game gets. That’s how I feel working at T&C. I work with the best of the best.
What has been the proudest moment in your career so far?
It’s the simple things that really get me going. Receiving e-mails and hand written notes from readers and followers of the brand saying they enjoyed my article or love the site totally makes my day. Or seeing a friend I may have lost touch with share one of my stories via social. It means the world to me that people are not only reading my content, but connecting with it. That’s one thing I love about the web, it connects you with people you may have never known, and makes the world feel like a smaller place.
What is the most important skill to have as a senior web editor?
I have three. To be a fast thinker, to understand what stories are on brand, and to be able to whip up catchy headlines. Writing headlines is a skill that has been the most challenging and I still work on it every day. A headline on the Internet is your 15 minutes of fame, especially if it goes viral. You only have so many words to grab someone’s attention – it’s difficult, but a hell of a lot of fun.
Develop a personality via social media. Make your own personal brand. Be bold and smart. Reach out to people whose careers you look up to, the worst that can happen is that they don’t respond. The best that can happen is that you may find your future mentor or receive some really solid career advice. I always do my best to talk to young people who want to discuss the industry, and a lot of the time I learn from them too.
You write multiple articles per week for Town & Country. Do you pitch all of your own ideas?
I talk to my co-workers about my story ideas and we all help each other fine tune our thoughts to make them even better. It’s all about collaboration and editing one another. Working on a team only makes me stronger as a writer and an editor.
You have such a strong social media presence. Your Instagram account is one of my favorite accounts to follow. What advice do you have for building a strong social media following?
That’s so nice to hear! On social media, it’s really important to have a sense of humor. For Instagram, make sure your photo quality is on point and don’t overwhelm your followers with photos. Be personal. Be real. I like to poke fun at myself a lot of the time.
What advice would you give to someone who hopes to write for Town & Country?
Get your work out there. Freelance for other websites, and then send us your clips with a well thought out pitch.
How would you define your professional style?
I love all-American classic style. During the fall and winter my uniform is usually a Ralph Lauren button down or sweater, AG jeans, and a Brooks Brothers coat. I love everything from the Polo Ralph Lauren line, especially their super high platform heels – I wore their 5-inch duck boots all winter. During the spring and summer I’m almost always dressed like I’m going to a garden party, with a full floral dress by Lilly Pulitzer, Alice + Olivia, and anything super feminine.
What is on your desk right now (other than the entire Mini & Emma Banana Leaf collection)?
I have Lafco’s Marine scented hand cream, always a big bottle of Smart Water, Malin + Goetz dark rum cologne, my iPhone 6 (no more than 2 centimeters away from me at all times), Pink Lady apples, Skullcandy headphones, notes that I’ve received from friends and past co-workers that have touched me, and my favorite Calypso mimosa scented candle. Oh and let’s be honest, on my cheat days, you’ll find a big bag of jelly beans from the Hearst newsstand on my desk.
What advice would you give to someone in the first five years of her career?
Stay focused on you, and not what anyone else is doing. Don’t compare yourselves to others. Strive for greatness; be polite yet bold. If all of a sudden you want to take your career in another direction, DO IT. It’s never too late to just start all over. I switched the direction of my career after two years, anything is possible.
What advice do you have for other young professional women?
Read Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In ASAP. Encourage your peers and, instead of viewing other women as your competitors, work together.
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
In life: focus on the things that are in your control, and let the universe take care of the things that are out of your control.
Professionally: Even in this digital age, some conversations are better to have in person than in e-mail.
Thank you, Micaela!
All images courtesy of Micaela English and Town & Country.