After refueling at the Pier 66 Maritime Bar & Grill on an old barge afloat the windy Hudson River, Becky Mickel, W&L ’13 alum and Editorial Assistant for Martha Stewart Weddings, led us on a short walk to her place of work to show us around the office and introduce our class to some of her colleagues.
Unlike Southern Living, People, Elle, and other popular magazines that fall under the umbrella of media giants like Hearst and Time Inc., Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Weddings only belong to Martha Stewart Omnimedia. It is its own corporation and the two aforementioned magazines are written, laid out, edited, published and produced right there on the ninth floor of the Starrett-Lehigh building in Manhattan.
Becky was the Virgil to our Dante in our journey through Martha Stewart Weddings, and she was fabulous. She set us up to meet with her co-workers, the delightful Julie Vadnal, Elisabeth Engelhart, and Eleni Gage (Senior Editor, Assistant Art Director, and Executive Editor, respectively). This team of Martha Stewart Weddings staffers bestowed upon our eager class their career stories, day-to-day responsibilities, and tidbits of advice for aspiring magazinists.
Some takeaways from the visit:
1. The magazine industry is small… Don’t burn any bridges
2. Always be a joy to work with, and work well with others
3. Turn things in on time
4. Work for the Esquire sex column
Senior Editor at Martha Stewart Weddings, Julie Vadnal, worked at Esquire in the sex department early in her career. Coincidentally, Executive Editor of The New Republic, Greg Veis, also jumped into the magazine world working for the Esquire sex column. We had the pleasure of hearing from Greg at TNR the day prior to our trip to Martha Stewart Omnimedia. This hearkens back to takeaway number 1 – the magazine industry is indeed small.
Here is another Esquire anecdote. One of the things Julie had to do on the job at Esquire was find out how cops on stakeouts go to the bathroom. “Gatorade bottle” was the only answer she shared with us, and we will leave it at that.
5. When walking to an interview in the city, be sure to change from walking shoes into high heels around the corner from your destination, not in the lobby of the building you are interviewing in
I am a college aged male, so I will likely never have occasion to capitalize on this fashion wisdom. In any case, thanks, Becky.
Apparently Martha Stewart was in the building on the day of our visit, but unfortunately we did not have the chance to meet her. Oh well, a boy can dream. On a more serious note, thanks to Becky and the Martha Stewart Weddings ladies for taking time out of their busy days to educate us on the magazine.
– John Martin