My heart truly goes out to college grads hoping to be the next Anna Wintour. The traditional straight line from journalism school to editor-in-chief has never been more erratic — there’s no formula to finding your publishing job. In my experience, it’s a delicate combination of hard work, risk-taking and a whole lotta luck.
Rarely does one find an editor who has moonlighted in editorial, in-house, brand strategy and e-commerce, but that’s exactly the number of hats Ruthie Friedlander can claim to have worn. The ELLE.com deputy editor brings her myriad of experience to the forefront of one of the most dynamic digital fashion sites out there. Who likes straight lines, anyway?
Julie Bensman: In a nutshell, describe your career path up to this point.
Ruthie Friedlander: I began my career as Dan Abrams’ assistant (you probably know him as a superstar news anchor and founder of Abrams Media). While there, I co-founded Styleite.com, but left the editorial world to work on the brand side of fashion. I worked at Club Monaco, Chanel and The Row working in digital strategy, social media, e-commerce and really all things Internet-y, to go back to editorial a few years later. Now, I’m the deputy editor at ELLE.com.
JB: I’m sure you wear a bazillion hats in one day. How do you stay organized?
RF: It helps that I’m completely neurotic in my personal life, but I’d say the real key to my organization is filing emails. I file by brand, genre, importance, etc. My co-workers don’t understand how I don’t have unread emails and have a nearly empty inbox, but the truth is, I’d lose sleep if it was any other way!
JB: What’s the best and then the most challenging part of your day?
RF: Best: Watching a story go viral. Most challenging: Trying to get through emails!
JB: How does social media play into how you find (and receive) new story ideas?
RF: We’re always scouring Twitter, Facebook, even Instagram to see what’s trending. If it’s something we’re all interested in, it tends to be a good item.
JB: What can we always find in your handbag?
RF: Portable charger, Chanel’s Rouge Coco Shine in “BOY” and headphones.
JB: What’s your guilty pleasure?
RF: Massages at Shibui Spa…but I never feel guilty about it!
JB: What’s the last thing you googled?
RF: “Who is the next bachelor?”