Deanne, the mastermind and previous editorial director behind Time Inc.’s beauty site, MIMI, was recently promoted to the executive editor of digital innovation at the InStyle Collection, which encompasses MIMI, xoJane, xoVain, and The Outfit. Described as “a constant stream of social chatter, beauty content and videos for the beauty obsessed,” MIMI features material from their writers, Time Inc. beauty editors, influential bloggers, and consumers. Stop by for highly curated beauty news, trends, tips, how-to’s, and product reviews. Deanne was editorial director of MarieClaire.com, the co-founder and digital director of RealBeauty.com, director at Elle.com, senior editor at CosmoGirl.com, senior manager at Blackboard, and senior manager at AOL. Learn more about her career path, advice, and of course, her beauty routine.
Deanne Kaczerski, Executive Editor of Digital Innovation, InStyle Collection
Tell us a bit about MIMI. What is it and how did it come about?
We wanted a destination that fed our beauty obsession, so we created a brand that is personal, relatable, and relevant. Original content is posted more than 50 times per day, featuring everything from tips and tricks, to expert secrets and tutorials, to cool trends we spotted on Instagram, and new products you’ll want to try.
How did you end up at MIMI? What was your career path?
I always knew I was destined to work in the fashion and beauty industry. When I was three, my parents took me to Bloomingdales. I threw a temper tantrum in the middle of the store because I
wanted needed a yellow shirt with an orange sequined carrot on it. An addict was born.
Growing up, my parents instilled in me a very strong work ethic and the importance of academics and being driven. There was never a time I wasn’t enrolled in a summer school class just to get ahead or learn more. I took senior level classes in 10th grade and ended up being the youngest in my high school graduating class.
In college, I was a science major, focusing on biology, chemistry, and math. It wasn’t until my senior year that I realized that I really didn’t want to pursue that area. So after graduating as the youngest in my college graduating class, I went into what essentially was online publishing.
When not in school, I worked — since the age of 13 with my parent’s permission — in retail, learning about merchandizing, selling, styling, really anything anyone would teach me. I’ve also been an avid painter since elementary school. At 14, I won the Peat Marwick Award for one of my paintings, and had the opportunity to showcase it during a student exhibition at the Corcoran Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
There has always been a hunger to learn more, and that hasn’t changed. It’s one of the reasons I really love, and strive to master, all areas of digital.
What is a day as Deanne like? Please walk me though a day!
My day starts early and ends late. I’m also a mom, so after I pick up my son from school and spend time with him, I get back online to check email and finish anything I didn’t get to when I was in the office. Then, I spend about 30 to 45 minutes on my nighttime skin-care regime—taking off my makeup and putting on a combo of serums and lotions. That’s an average day, but being in this industry is anything but routine, so there are often days I’m at events, or shows, or staying late for meetings or photo shoots. I have a very understanding husband.
You previously worked at Hearst and AOL. What were your roles at those organizations?
AOL was such a great place to work and an invaluable experience. As a senior programming manager—which in today’s terms means senior editor—I basically oversaw the creation of women’s lifestyle content for AOL Red. We mass produced videos, hosted live events, and published new content multiple times per day based on what was trending on our message boards. Working for a company that was leading the way, truly defined my outlook on digital and what it meant to know your audience. I remember having a sign above my computer that read: Is it good for our member? And you know what? If it wasn’t, we didn’t do it. When I moved on to Hearst Corporation, I had the opportunity to work with some incredible brands. I started at CosmoGirl as the senior web editor, I co-founded RealBeauty.com, was the site director for ELLE.com, and finished my time there as the editorial director for MarieClaire.com.
What are your responsibilities as editorial director at MIMI?
I oversee the brand’s strategy and execution across editorial and social, and play a part in marketing and selling the brand, too.
What is your favorite thing about working in social media?
Newness. Discovering something unique, trending, or cool is such a huge draw, like coming across a profile of someone I wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to meet IRL is pretty darn amazing.
What’s your number #1 social media tip?
Be yourself! It bugs me to see essentially the same person over and over again in my Instagram feed. Lead, don’t follow.
What has been your proudest moment from your career so far?
It’s too hard to pick just one, because I’ve really loved everything I’ve been able to accomplish at each job. From co-founding two beauty startups, to working on and growing some pretty major sites with not a whole lot of resources, it has been incredibly rewarding.
But, if I had to pick just one, it was definitely my first major promotion. While at AOL, I had just facilitated my first photo and video shoot featuring back to school trends we wanted our audience to shop. I hired the crew, managed the budget, found the location, selected the models, worked with the stylists to come up with looks, booked catering, wrote the story, and worked with the video team to edit. The night we wrapped, my boss flew from Dulles, VA (where AOL was based at the time) to NYC (where the shoot happened) to celebrate. While we were sitting at the Gansevort Hotel’s rooftop bar, she told me that I went above and beyond with almost no oversight and congratulated me with a promotion!
I’m sure people at MIMI have great beauty tips. How would you describe your beauty routine?
My beauty routine starts with my diet: I eat as clean as possible. I’m a firm believer that what you put into your body is what you get out of it. I also start every day with a glass of water. Then, I focus on great skin care because my makeup looks better when my skin looks great. On an average day, my makeup look is fairly natural, but I still put on about 12 to 15 products before I leave the house. When I have an event or go out, I play up my eyes and always finish my look with three coats of mascara.
What is the most important characteristic that someone needs to be successful in your role?
You have to be a jack-of-all-trades and do each of them extremely well. It’s not just about editing, writing, or coming up with ideas. It’s also about stats and analyzing data, understanding and executing your strategy, staying current on industry trends and platforms, and knowing your audience—and truly understanding what all of that means.
What is one thing that you wish you had known when you were starting out your career?
Sometimes office politics play a bigger role than you’d like and that may mean ups and downs in your career, but if you continue to work hard, learn as much as you can, and stay true to yourself, you’ll end up just fine.
What is on your desk right now?
What is your morning routine?
My day starts at 5:30 am by hitting snooze for another ten minutes of sleep. In reality, I’m mentally prepping for what’s ahead. Once up, multi-tasking is key to leaving on time. I exfoliate in the shower, moisturize while picking out makeup, and apply concealer as I wake up my son. And while drying my hair, I’m able to walk into my closet to get dressed. (I have a hairdryer with a super long cord…it has changed my life.)
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My mom gives incredibly blunt, but honest advice. She always told me: “Work hard and don’t waste anyone’s time.”
What is your career advice for other young professional women?
Look forward, not backward — and don’t stress over trying to control things you have no control over. The other thing I always tell people when they ask for advice is to be a problem solver—basically, Figure. It. Out. You stand out when you can get the job done without asking questions Google can answer for you.