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Clinique + Teen Vogue bring you one step closer to a dream Fashion/Beauty career

Posted on November 22 2010

Clinique and Teen Vogue recently took to the road in a 13 city tour, visiting college campuses and select Nordstrom locations. It is their second annual Fresh Faces Tour and their goal is to inspire young women interested in fashion, beauty and publishing careers and educate them about how to break into these desirable industries. According to the Tour, one accomplished young woman who embodies integrity and healthy beauty will be selected as the next Clinique Fresh Face and will win a summer internship with Clinique along with a one-week, behind the scenes experience at Teen Vogue in New York City…basically an all around hard to pass up, winning package.  The last stop for the tour was at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles where I got the opportunity to sit down and talk to Eva Chen, Beauty and Health Director of Teen Vogue and one of the panelists of leading industry movers and shakers on hand at the event to give insider tips as well as career advice.

Chatting with Eva, I realize she’s one of the luckiest girls I’ve ever met. She works in an industry she absolutely loves, has a job she’s truly passionate about, gets to jet to places like Japan to interview stars like Lady Gaga plus she couldn’t stop saying wonderful things about her boss, Teen Vogue Chief Editor Amy Astley….did I mention she’s one of the luckiest girls I’ve ever met? Dressed in a chic skirt and blouse combo and a pair of coveted Alaia platforms, Eva, a John’s Hopkins and Columbia Business School Graduate answered questions on beauty, fashion and her dream career.

How did you get started in the Fashion/Beauty Industry? Was this always a path you knew you’d take?

I started at Teen Vogue in 2003. Beauty and fashion in general, I started in 2000 as an intern. I was actually pre-med in college and never expected to work in the fashion industry. I was always interested in a lot of different things so while I was pre-med, I decided to take a break and try something new. I decided to get an internship and I applied to about 30 of them. I was really lucky; I got about ten offers from ten different fields…PR, television, book publishing and the only one that paid was ironically in magazines (because now magazines don’t pay for most internships). I took the one that paid…thought it would be nice to have shelter over my head and food in my stomach. I went to Harper’s Bazaar, worked in the Beauty and Features department and it was a really eye opening experience. I don’t think people realize that what you love, your hobby can be your job. I loved reading fashion magazines growing up. My mom always had Vogue and Bazaar, the classics and I just never realized it was someone’s job to make those magazines. That’s why today, I’m meeting girls and telling them…guess what? You can do what you love. Anyway, after my internship at Bazaar, I got my first official job at Lucky Magazine. I worked in the fashion closet which like so many before me, included logging clothes in and out, doing credit, which is pretty much a thankless job. The whole time, I really wanted to write, to tell stories. I also missed beauty, I found it fun, optimistic and a bit more light hearted than fashion. I ended up getting a job at Elle Magazine in the beauty department where I worked for 3 years before coming over to Teen Vogue where I’ve been for 5 years and I love it.

How has the industry changed since you started?

The industry has evolved a lot. When I started at Bazaar and Lucky, dot-coms were the barest minimum. We basically had a page showing people where to subscribe. Now social media has taken over. My job was to be an editor and writer, now my job is to be an editor, writer, blogger and tweeter. We have an iPhone app that offers fashion and beauty tips, I also do events like this, public speaking engagements and marketing events for beauty…it’s a lot. I’ll admit, I was a bit of a late adapter to things like twitter. I just joined a year ago, I felt I was already blogging and on facebook but it’s such a powerful tool. We’re also able to do so much more with the web. We don’t necessarily have the space in every issue to explain to each Teen Vogue reader how to apply eyeliner but on the website, I can do a video and literally show a girl step by step how to do a smoky eye.

The economy has really changed people’s mindsets. A high number of individuals are not content being where they are right now. This event benefits young people looking to get into the fashion and beauty industry…what advice would you give to the person who’s coming into this a little late, maybe even someone who already has an established career in another industry?

I think it takes a lot of courage to pursue what you love. What I always say to others I’ve talked to about this is that at the end of the day, you’re at your job for most of your life so you have to love what you do. If you’re a lawyer and you love jewelry, start doing something about it, start designing. You have to demonstrate interest and invest in it. Taking the first step is the hardest. It takes courage just to take that first step. It may help to start saving money so you have a bit of a cushion…It also helps to start small. I have a friend who was an editor and decided she wanted to be a makeup artist; she started by doing makeup for all her editor friends for black-tie’s and benefits. At the end of the day if you want it badly enough, you’ll do it…you have to be hungry for it.

A lot of fashion fans have seen the portrayal of the industry on shows like The Hills (Teen Vogue) and the The City (Elle). Would you consider it an accurate portrayal?

I feel like based on movies like The Devil Wears Prada, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and television shows like The Hills and The City, I get so many questions from friends asking if my boss really throws a coat at me every day. I think people want to be entertained and I’ll admit there’s a grain of truth to every story. You also have to consider that every industry has cruel people. It doesn’t matter if you’re a lawyer, doctor or in the fashion industry. You have to be prepared to deal with multiple personalities. There are people who give life to and promote certain stereotypes but there are also people like Amy Astley who are smart, successful and so kind.

Can you give us one beauty trend that no woman should go without this fall?

My brain is currently in the Spring/Summer (2011) seasons right now so I’ll give you something for fall and spring. For fall, it’s definitely the classic red lipstick. A lot of brands have recently launched amazing super rich red lipsticks…Chanel Rouge Coco is great. I also love really bold lashes for fall; I call them angel lashes because they wing out. For spring/summer, it’s the transition from the classic, polished red lipstick to kind of a salmon-y, orang-ish red. It’s fun, young and a little off-beat.

What’s your personal fashion/beauty philosophy?

Have fun! A lot of times women and girls are so afraid to try something new. 99% of the time, your personal insecurities are your personal insecurities….no one else notices them. When it comes to beauty or fashion, the worst thing that could happen is you take your clothes off and put on a different outfit or if the makeup doesn’t work, you wash your face and start over. Lastly, if you’re trying out a new trend and you’re not sure if it’s going to work, don’t spend so much money on it.

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