What was Vanity Fair like?
Well, I was second assistant at Vanity Fair, which basically meant that I was cleaning cups, running out to do crazy errands, expensing chignons, buying books, just crazy stuff that Conde Nast assistants do. And I was being totally tortured and terrorized, as Conde Nast editors do to their young. And I worked for the most amazing person. Her name is Marina Schiano. And had I known, at 21, who I was really working for–I mean, everything would have been different. Because she was like, the right hand of Yves Saint Laurent. I didn’t know and I probably didn’t care. I probably was more into Fiorucci at that point, you know?
But it was the worst experience in my magazine career, and probably the best experience to start out with. Because what I learned was how to respect people. Because I had no respect, I didn’t understand that concept. I learned how to be patient with people, I learned how not to treat people, and how to treat people if I wanted to have this as a career.I think it’s harder when you have an incredible experience and then you go to a real shitty one. But I was already abused, and at Conde Nast!
So that was torture, and then, well you know, the big story is that I had a fever–Everybody always has a fever in these stories, right? Everyone’s always sick as a dog–and I was delivering Christmas presents to people that Marina was giving. And I was delivering, in particular, dog biscuits to Carolina Herrera’s dogs. And I guess in my sickness, one of the biscuits chipped a little. It didn’t completely break, but it chipped a little. Which I, of course, was very sorry about. Well that was the end of it. That was the end of that. I mean it had built up, but that was it—Carolina Herrera’s dog biscuit. That was the cause of my departure from Vanity Fair.
And then I sat for like a month doing nothing. But my stepmother had left Vogue. She went to Revlon for like a month, and then she ended up doing a startup with Grace [Mirabella, former Vogue editor in chief]. She called me, I went in. I had to work as a freelancer because they didn’t want family members working together. At Mirabella, if you raised your hand, if you said you could do it, you did it. One week I was the swimwear editor, one week I was doing knits, and then I became the booker. Hair and makeup and models and whatnot. I didn’t really have experience in that area, but they all kind of trusted me because I wouldn’t sabotage my stepmother and her shoots. And those were all former Vogue people. It was just a really interesting crew.
That was a great magazine.
It was great. So I went from a beauty magazine, to Vanity Fair, and then I went to Mirabella. And then after that I wanted a full time position. So I went to Seventeen as the accessories editor, and I left there as the fashion director.
Our editor in chief, who just recently passed away, Midge Richardson, was amazing. She was a former nun who did fashion, who did Seventeen. And what she taught me was to respect the reader. Because one day I had a prom shoot where I wanted to do designer, and “designer” at that time was like Betsey Johnson—Betsey Johnson was the Prada of Seventeen. Well, I almost had my head served to me. Because her point was, well you can’t do an entire story of expensive things, because these kids have parents.