Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Yes, I Actually Get Paid for This

So, I got back from my spa weekend in Arizona last night. It was as predictably phenomenal as three days of spa treatments, palatial suites, and gourmet food can be. On day two, while lying on a private patio getting a moonlight massage in breezy 85 degree weather, I thought, "I can't believe this is my job." And that's the crazy thing about beauty: you get to do the most amazing things, and it's called "work".

Everybody knows what a weird, parallel universe fashion is, but nobody delves into the beauty side of things that much. I find that really strange. Beauty is even more decadent than fashion, since beauty companies have so much more money to throw around on press trips, free products, and gratuitous gifts. I took a trip six months ago (again to Arizona) and the company flew us there via private jet. My boss (and sometimes even I, only a mid-level editor) regularly gets Marc Jacobs wallets and coats, plane ticket vouchers, iPods, overnight stays at the Mandarin Oriental, year-long gym memberships, and—of course—all the free highlights and haircuts your poor dyed, straightened and styled hair can stand. It's almost embarassing.

Of course, the entry pay is crap. When my parents found out how much I made at my first job (good ol' Condé Nast!), they questioned the legality of paying somebody that little. (Nope, not slave labor, just your standard editorial assistant position.) Then again, I managed to double my salary in a year-and-a-half, which is the benefit to hopping around from magazine to magazine. It's an incestuous little world, because everybody has either worked with, press-tripped with, or interviewed with everybody else. We see each other about six times a week, at various lunches, appointments and events put together by the PR companies, which means our industry is basically akin to a sorority. With even better hair.

The strangeness of what I do seems like the most natural thing to write about, so expect more posts on it. It's also the subject of the book I've been toiling away on (if "toiling" means shoving my laptop aside to watch The Bachelor and Veronica Mars) and expect to finish roughly in 2017.