Tuesday, July 05, 2005

A Day in the Life, or Jolie Gets Wordy and Earnest

The day-to-day life of a beauty editor is always changing: sometimes I'll be at my desk for eight hours straight, interviewing experts and writing stories, and other times I'll be dashing around the city, running from appointment to appointment. The days filled with appointments are the interesting ones, since you never quite know what to expect.

Appointments held in the office, where public relations people visit you to present their latest beauty products, are usually rather run-of-the-mill, and only take about 15 or 20 minutes, if you're lucky. Of course, depending on who the PR person is, even the most mundane appointment can take a wrong turn, such as the time I sat down with a publicist I wasn't particularly fond of. Apparently, the feeling was mutual, since I commented on her exotic bracelet, and she replied, "Oh, it's a bracelet to ward off the evil eye. I wear it when I'll be around negative people." Hey, thanks!

Completely different from in-office appointments are out-of-office events, thrown by public relations people at clubs, hotels, museums or restaurants, and designed to make a big enough splash that you'll have fun and think, "You know, I think I will write about this completely ordinary and not-at-all innovative beauty product." That's the only possible explanation, since events are getting more and more lavish (think jungle motifs, hot male models acting as waiters, private museum viewings, day trips out-of-state and even cross-country or overseas press trips), when most of the time, an in-office appointment would serve the same purpose, let you ask more questions without worrying about getting the evil eye from other, busier editors, and would probably save the company a lot of money.

In between the appointments and the events are the lunches, which can range from decadent and delightful to painful and pointless. Some of the best food I've ever eaten has been in the company of PR people at chic eateries like Nobu and Per Se, although the average lunch tends to run more toward places like Sushi Samba, Bryant Park Grill and Koi. Sitting down to lunch with a PR person is a crap shoot: sometimes you'll hit it off and chat excitedly about college, "the industry" and various crazy celebrities (Tom Cruise, anybody?), whereas other times you'll be desperately grasping at straws for things to talk about, until you're finally forced to discuss what types of stories you're currently writing. (That's usually the point at which they'll try to convince you that their new anti-wrinkle cream is just perfect! for the oil-free foundation story you're writing.) Luckily, those uncomfortable meetings are few and far between, since PR girls seem to be getting younger and younger (it can't be that I'm getting older!) and are endlessly cheerful and talkative.

It's a very unique industry, but it's thankfully never boring. And at least twice a week I'll think of my banker and lawyer friends chained to their desks and I realize, in a nutshell, that my job rocks.


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