When Anne-Marie Guarnieri left Niche Media (my former place of employment) to join the beauty ranks at Allure, there was a general rumble of oohs and aahs that echoed from the editorial pit. Allure seemed like the holy grail of beauty coverage and, of course, no one was a better fit than the lady we referred to as “AMG.”
These days, Anne-Marie is heading up xoVain, the new brainchild of Jane Pratt following in the footsteps of xoJane.com. Although AMG has been writing about beauty for nearly a decade (her resume reads with names like Teen Vogue, Marie Claire, Style.com and, of course, Allure), it appears her role at xoVain is her most favorite yet: “When you feel fatigued by traditional women's magazines, when you don't see yourself in the beauty images you're being bombarded with all the time, when you just want to understand beauty better, know that you can come to our site to get a dose of reality, in the best way,” she says.
Want to know more? Me, too. Let’s chat with AMG:
Julie Bensman: What does your typical day look like?
Anne-Marie Guarnieri: Everyone always answers this question like, "There is no 'typical' day for a glamorous, busy editor!" But that's a lie. Every day is more or less the same for all of us in many ways, but it's never boring. My day always starts with a rad breakfast, either made at home or out with PR friends. I'm a breakfast-food fiend. But let me back up: First, I get up around 7:00 and start answering emails. I like having quiet time away from the office to catch up on that. Also, we have writers from around the world, so that's a good time to check in with the ones who aren't on EST. Then, I start checking social media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook. That's where I get a lot of story inspiration. Next, breakfast. Then, into the office to handle the day's stories, which I plan with my awesome Managing Editor, April, and Assistant Editor, DaMonica. The remainder of my day is filled with meetings, desksides, writing, editing and events.
JB: How is xoVain different from other roles/publications you've worked for in the past?
AMG: xoVain is freeing compared with the legacy print magazines I spent a decade working on. I did a post recently that addressed how we are different, so I hope you'll allow me to quote myself: Don't you wonder why, even after all this time, pretty much every beauty story you read still looks the same? And why women who aren't models (i.e., you, the ones who are buying the products) are still not part of the broader beauty message? Well, that's why xoVain exists. Our motto is "No Beauty Secrets," and I stand by that because the word "secret" connotes that this information isn't or shouldn't be available easily or to everyone, and I totally reject that.
JB: How have you seen the beauty industry change since you first got into magazines?
AMG: The rise of beauty bloggers and vloggers has changed the definition of what it means to be a beauty expert. And they're the ones with the platform — the top ones have millions of followers. Print magazine beauty editors simply don't have that kind of reach, and that's a huge shift.
JB: What do you love so much about covering beauty?
AMG: There's always something new to fall in love with or obsess over. Beauty always fits. Beauty doesn't care what size you are, or how much money you have, or where you went to school. Beauty inspires. Beauty exists at every price point. Beauty can change your day for the better — it can change your life, too. Beauty matters. It's not trivial or superficial to like beauty.
JB: When was the last time you thought, "Now THIS is why I love my job"?
AMG: Every time I go into our comments section (and we have a REALLY engaged community filled with extremely smart consumers) and I read that someone bought a product because of something we wrote. Our readers have zero tolerance for BS and I never take for granted how much their endorsement of our recommendations matters.
JB: What's the best piece of beauty advice you've picked up along the way?
AMG: Stop smoking. Also, it'll grow back.
JB: When you're not working, where can we find you and doing what?
AMG: Cooking at home, obsessing over my dozens of Spotify playlists and browsing Net-a-Porter.