The team at UNUM is hardcore fan-girling over Aemilia Madden, Editor at WhoWhatWear – one of the top fashion blogs of all time. In this interview, Aemilia (@aemiliafay) chats with us about the fashion industry, desserts in Istanbul, and her biggest piece of advice to aspiring fashion writers. Enjoy!
Tell us about what you do and why your love it!
I am a fashion editor for the website Who What Wear. I've always loved fashion and I feel like I get the chance to live my dream job every day surrounded by smart, inspiring people.
2 truths and 1 lie about yourself – GO!
(Readers: see the answer at the end!)
I once sang in carnegie hall, I grew up next door to one of the Counting Crows, I drove across the county in a pickup truck.
Your fashion sense is off the charts!! What's your go-to daily outfit?
Thank you! Honestly, my go-to outfit is pretty simple. Yes, my job requires that I dress up sometimes, but I'll always be a high-waisted jeans and t-shirt kind of girl.
What is your greatest piece of advice for aspiring fashion writers?
My advice is to put yourself out there as much as possible. Work on your own blog, take freelancing gigs. The more you build up a portfolio that you can share, the better.
Are you a better writer than your parents? ;) haha do they make you proofread for them?
My parents are in computer science and medicine so our jobs are in completely different wheelhouses. In our family I think proofreading goes both ways depending on the occasion. Through college I'd have my mom look over big papers for me, but I've proofread many a work email for her.
What's your secret to keeping up a good insta theme?
I just try to share photos of my life, things I find interesting or that make me happy. I think my perfectionism drives me to keep my photos looking at least somewhat neat and pretty, but I don't take it too seriously, it should still be fun. Obviously my personal style is important too, so I try to share that as well.
Craziest pick-up line anyone's ever tried on you?
That's tough, there have definitely been occasions where I've gotten some pretty bad ones, but I tried my best to forget about them asap.
What's the most surprising thing about your job that no one would guess?
I think people might be surprised to learn that you don't have to intern at a major magazine or know someone to get your foot in the door in the industry. I worked my way up through different internships and jobs across the media industry before I got to where I am now. It's all about following what you're passionate about.
All-expenses-paid adventure - where would you go and what would you do?
I come from a family big on backpacking and camping, so outdoorsy getaways have always been my go-to. I would love to go to Africa and do a safari. My ideal vacation involves a lot of hiking and exploring, but I wouldn't mind having a nice comfy bed and a glass of wine waiting at the end of the night.
Who in your life do you look to for inspiration?
It might be cheesy to say so, but my parents. They are down to earth and their advice to me was always to measure success in effort not results. Every time I feel like I'm struggling, they remind me that failure happens, but if you're giving 100%, that's all that matters.
Best dessert you've ever had.
I'm a huge dessert person, so that's such a tough question. Last year I was in Istanbul at a little cafe called Dandin. They have an almond flour cake with fresh berries and pistachios, and I went back and ordered it 6 times in 2 weeks. I even tried to get the recipe once I was back in America but nothing ever panned out.
3 words – describe what it's like backstage at a show.
Frenzied, frenetic, exciting.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE MEETING TAYLOR HILL AND THE OTHER Victoria'S secret ANGELS??
It's always been a pleasure interviewing the VS Angels, they're so nice and positive. I will say I'm always surprised and impressed by how they can manage their schedules. They are all so busy, it must be exhausting.
What's one embarrassing moment you had at work?
I go to a lot of events for my job and I'm constantly meeting new people and for me it can get overwhelming keeping everyone straight. There have been a few instances where I've introduced myself to someone I've met before, not recognizing them in a different context. I always feel so awful when it happens, but I think people understand in the industry that it happens.
A magic fashion genie just gave you 3 wishes, what are you gonna do with 'em? ;)
I would wish for the perfect pair of high-waisted vintage jeans, a meeting with Coco Chanel, and to swap closets with Vogue.
What's one thing on your bucket list that you haven't done?
Going to Paris fashion week, definitely. Paris is one of my favorite cities in the world (although I don't speak French, don't judge me!) and I have always dreamed of going there and seeing the shows.
Tell us about that little fluffy guy (Above, middle)
That's wolfie, a gift from a boyfriend of mine because wolves have always been my favorite animal. Wolfie made the trip from California to New York with me back in 2013 and has made it through my three NYC apartments to date.
Are you gonna be at any concerts in CA like Outside Lands?
I'm definitely due for a trip back to the Bay Area, but I've been slacking and I don't think I'll be back in time for OSL. My favorite Bay Area concert is actually Hardly Strictly Bluegrass, a free folk, country, and bluegrass festival in Golden Gate park. I haven't been able to make the festival since I made the move to NY, but there's always next year.
Who are your favorite artists?
My taste in music is so over the place, one day I'm listening to Kanye West, another it's Philip Glass. I'll always have a spot in my heart for The Shins, The Strokes, Bob Dylan . . . I think you grow attached to the music you grow up listening to.
Can you dance? What's your style?
I love to go out and dance with my friends but I can't say that I'm any good, it's all just for fun. I definitely don't have any classic dance skills, I was more of a sports gal growing up.
Do all of your friends ask you for fashion advice before they go out?
My friends all have great style all on their own, they definitely don't need my advice. That being said, I love helping them pick things out. If they're stuck between two different dresses or pairs of shoes I'm happy to chime in. But they do the same for me when I'm stuck.
Answer to 2 Truths & 1 Lie - the lie: "I didn't drive across the country in a pickup! I wish I could!"
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