Welcome to my new interview series featuring some of the brightest and most hard-working women I know. My goal for this series is to collect stories from women in all levels of their career. The hope is that their journey and their advice will trigger something in you, and help you take the jump you need to achieve your personal level of success. Whether they are freelancers, founders of their own business, corporate employees, or students, this #LadiesWhoHustle series will showcase their unique talents and help you unveil yours.
Jessica Matlin is the beauty director at Harper's Bazaar and co-host and co-founder of Fat Mascara, the podcast about beauty. She lives in Manhattan with her husband and cat, Janetta. Jessica has been working in the beauty industry for 20 years, interning throughout college, and has always been obsessed with the business. She is also a huge animal advocate and spends some of her free time volunteering with the animal charity City Critters. Read below to see how Jessica has paved her own path in the beauty industry.
Beauty director at Harper's Bazaar and co-host and co-founder of Fat Mascara.
Why do you do what you do?
I've always loved the glamour and creativity of the beauty industry, but moreover, how accessible it was. One could go to the counter or a spa and access a world that if done well, could inspire the same feeling of pampering and care that purchasing a $10,000 dress might give you. Also, the people in the beauty business are some of the most brilliant I've ever met: from makeup artists who can transform your look, to plastic surgeons who can rebuild your self-image, I'm truly in awe of the talent I get to meet every day.
What was your dream job at 10 years old?
I knew I wanted to be in the fashion and beauty business.
If you could have anyone's job, whose job would you choose and why?
I'm not sure the perfect job exists anymore - I think you need to be creative and carve your own path.
What is one thing people out side of your industry get wrong about your job?
That beauty editors test products and treatments all day. If only!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
10 years ago, people weren't really talking about podcasts. Now I'm hosting Fat Mascara. It's hard to say what will happen 10 years from now, because media is changing so quickly.
What has been your biggest career struggle so far?
My biggest career struggle has probably been staying focused on what I'm good at. As media changes, it's tempting to want to focus your energies across lots of different platforms and do everything or be all things to all people, but that's not realistic. I think it's important to lean into what my strengths are and invest my time and energy in that, versus trying to be a little bit of everything.
What about your biggest career win?
Fat Mascara: we created an entirely new platform to talk about beauty and share brand stories. At the same time, we've grown a community of thousands who not only love the show, but are connected with each other.
What's the best piece of career advice you've received?
Don't worry about other people - stay in your lane, and keep going .
And the worst?
Your boss won't appreciate you doing outside projects. (I think the person who told me that was just being cautious and trying to make sure I didn't rock the boat at work, but at the same time, I think is a time to make sure you definitely have something else going on outside of the office. It's good for you, and will set you apart!)
What are you most proud of?
My work relationships and Fat Mascara.
Who motivates you the most?
I feel the same way about the business that I did when I was about 11, 12: I want to be a part of it. I want to talk to the best people. And, of course, I want to bring the most exciting news to my listeners and readers. I approach the industry as both an authority but also as a fan, and that's what keeps me going.
What advice do you have for those looking for a career in your field?
Seek the advice of people in positions that you'd like to be in, but make the most of their time. Don't just ask for broad advice; ask pointed questions or, if appropriate, a real favour.
When do you feel the most confident?
When I'm given autonomy.
How do you relax?
I love to get spa treatments (massages and facials are my favourite), but I also love chilling at home with my husband and cat, watching a movie, eating really good food. (My husband is a great cook!)
Currently coveting: a new bed frame. I want to turn my bedroom into the ultimate cozy zone.
Favourite way to sweat: Soul Flow Yoga at Equinox. The instructor, Leo Rising, is the best yoga teacher I ever had.
Favourite book: I love Augusten Burroughs. His writing makes me laugh. He's so terrible but honest.
Morning bird or night owl? Neither. 4pm is probably my best. Dying to be a morning person, though.
Favourite '90s jam: so many! A couple: Unbelievable by EMF is pretty solid for me.
Favourite city: London - easy.
Spirit animal: cat
Get in touch with Jessica!
LinkedIn: Jessica Matlin
Know anyone that would be great to feature in the #LadiesWhoHustle series? Connect with me on Instagram to nominate them - or yourself!