For anyone who has ever glanced through Teen Vogue, to peruse the articles about the latest teen pop sensation, tabloid darling, or just like to look at the ridiculously stylish teens who have fashion forward closets (and wallets), you’ll be psyched to read this next interview with Eva Chen, the beauty director of Teen Vogue. Check out the interview where she dishes on what its like to work at the former offices of Whitney and LC, her very simple beauty secret, and ahem, is she a karaoker?
Eva, so glad you could do the interview. Tell us where you’re from? Native New Yorker?
Yes, I was raised in New York. I grew up in the village, right around Washington Square Park. It was great to have such a multi-cultural and diverse experience as a child!
Tell the readers of girlatastartup about how you started on your path to becoming the Beauty/Health Director for Teen Vogue. So, when you were 10, were you really into beauty products and stuff, or did
you start off in one arena and end up here?
I never would have guessed that I’d end up as a beauty editor. I actually was very much interested in medicine as a teen and went to Johns Hopkins University to be pre-med. The reality of pre-med didn’t quite agree with me though and after three years, I took a break and accepted a summer internship at Harper’s Bazaar in the features and beauty section. It was love at first sight! I had a great experience. Senior year, I went to Oxford University and studied Shakespeare instead (as I had enough credits to
graduate already) and then afterwards, got my first job in magazines at Lucky, in the fashion department. Then, I got a position at ELLE as the assistant beauty editor. I stayed at ELLE for three years, eventually leaving with the title of editor, before coming to Teen Vogue as the beauty and health director.
Very Cool. So onto the health questions, I’m a 20-something, but still read your blog for its great beauty tips/finds. What’s the biggest difference in offering beauty/health advice to teens vs. 20-somethings?
We absolutely have readers in their 20s (I’m in my 20s too and SO many of my friends “confess” to loving Teen Vogue!). The main difference between teens and 20-somethings is that teens are still very much learning, so they like to learn about the basics. That said, teens are MUCH more open to experimenting too. How many 28 year olds are brave enough to try the Agyness Denn pixie cut? Whereas teens are fearless!
Wow, anyone who can pull off a pixie cut gets a gold star in my book. So.. what about mentors? How crucial are they and how do you suggest that people go about finding mentors in their fields? Also, did you have a mentor who guided you to where you are today?
Finding a mentor is definitely helpful. The best way to find a mentor is through internships (where you establish connections) or through reaching out to people via email. You can email people just to say you admire their work and ask whether they’d have 5-10 minutes for a spot of advice. I’ve found, given the proper wording/manners, most people are kind and gracious enough to grant time, even to a stranger.
Eva, give us some skincare secrets and don’t be stingy. You obviously have billion-dollar skin.
The most important thing is to set up a routine. Wash your face 2x a day religiously, drink a LOT of water, and wear SPF like it’s the most important thing in the world (which for skin, it actually is). Oh, and look into retinoids. I’ve found that they’re the one thing EVERY derm agrees on, in terms of acne reduction and elimination of fine lines.
Check. Tell us…what’s the coolest part about working for Teen Vogue? Is the the free products/perks? Going to Fashion week? And added on to that, are you a fan of the Hills, and is working there, hm…, a bit more intensive than its portrayed on the show?
I love working at Teen Vogue for so many reasons! It’s great to talk to young women/teens every day and hear that we’re really affecting their lives. Of course, free products aren’t bad either, especially for a product addict like me! Fashion week is wonderful but very frantic, so I’m grateful that I only have to cover New York.
Okay, so in the state of the recent economy, how can a girl be fashionable on a budget?
Ebay, ebay, ebay. And H&M!
Yes! H&M on 34th St is the best! And, as a former NYC resident, I miss the summer NYC fashion. What’s in style for summer 2008? Give us some of your favorite outfits.
This summer I’m pairing cute flats with little shorts and billowy tops, or I’m wearing long maxi dresses and a little chapeau (must protect the skin!). I’ve been lucky enough to go to Paris a few times this year, so I’ve picked up quite a few cute looks from Sandro and Maje.
You obviously love your job. So, what inspires you in your daily life? And if you could give advice to young women out there who are searching for their talents and passions, what would you say?
I find inspiration everywhere, from the New York Times Science section (great source for cool studies for my health section!) to the streets of Milan and Paris and New York. And, of course, the legions of cool and awesome girls out there who email me! My advice to girls out there is to not be afraid to try a lot of things. After all, I did pre-med, pre-law, pre-everything, pretty much, before landing in a field I love! And the more things you learn that you DON’T like, the more you are honing in on what it is that you do. Always write thank you notes, be down-to-earth, and be patient.
That’s so true. Thanks Eva, so how about some random questions?
Are you a downtown girl or an uptown girl? (Had to ask)
Downtown girl but with with the occasional taste for an uptown splurge.
What’s your Karaoke anthem?
I am the most tone-deaf person ever so I try not to agonize anyone with my voice!
And because this blog is entitled, Girlatastartup, how tech-savvy are you, Ms. Chen?
Just the basics… Emailing, word processing, and internet. Enough to get by. I wish I was more so, though!
Girl, you have the basics down. Thanks for sharing your inspirational and beauty tips with us, and I will CONTINUE to peruse that cute little mag of yours. Check out Eva’s Beauty Blog to read more about the latest beauty/health/fashion trends.