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Bella Interview: Amy Keller, Allure Beauty Director

If you've ever wanted to know what it's like to work at Allure, you're in luck. I recently talked with Amy Keller, the magazine's beauty director, about all aspects of her work at the foremost beauty publication. As you can imagine, there was much to discuss, so I'll bring you a new topic from our talk every day this week. Today, it's all about how to break into the beauty-editing business, with Amy sharing a glimpse into her day-to-day work at Allure.

If someone wants to become a beauty editor, what's the best way to get started?
I have a journalism degree, as do many people who work in magazines. But that isn’t as necessary as trying to get an internship at a magazine is. Our last intern who worked here at Allure went on to become the beauty assistant at Real Simple. We are always looking to place people who we have had as interns and who we liked and who showed great promise.

Being a beauty editor is one of those things people don’t even know exist. I moved to New York from Missouri and I didn’t really even know there were beauty editors; I just knew I wanted to do something fashion-related. I started as a copy editor and was always asking around the magazine if I could do extra items, and the beauty editor told me she liked the comments I made as a copy editor. So I guess what that boils down to is this: Even if you’re working at a magazine in another department, sending an idea to the beauty editor or just doing anything you can ever do to help out in that department, that will be remembered.

To see what a typical workday is like for Amy,

So what does a typical workday look like for you as a beauty director?
It varies from day to day, but the main thing that I deal with as a beauty director are many calls and emails from the PR people, pitching products or pitching story ideas or checking to see if you got a product —that sort of thing. So you're wading through a lot of that stuff as well as sorting through press releases and products that come. We have a beauty team of six people here at Allure, but on a weekly basis, I probably get 50 to 100 bags of products. So I’m constantly going through those and seeing if the press releases relate to any particular stories we have planned.

I also go to press events for new products. Different members from our team will go to those events, but during any given week you could have up to six events per person. I would say these events usually last an hour or hour and a half.

I also come up with many ideas and memos. Once a month, I send my ideas for the beauty features and any front-of-book sections. We also have sections like Beauty 101 and Beauty Directory, so I am constantly working on ideas and memos that I send to our editor-in-chief. Since we have so many beauty editors at Allure, it is constantly a big team effort. Anytime someone goes to an event, they have to send a summary to all the other people in the beauty department just so we are all aware of what is going on.

And I’m often back in our department cutting out photos, attaching them to poster boards . . . it doesn’t look very high-tech, but this is how I can see what the trends are. Then I’m also obviously editing stories. All of the beauty copy that is in the magazine has to route through me at some point or another just to make sure we’re not overlapping anywhere or reporting on the same thing in two different places.

For more of the interview, come back tomorrow morning!

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