Cover Letter Refinery29 San Francisco

Tell us the true-life tale of the last completely awesome thing you did.
“While I was an undergraduate, I spent parts of my sophomore, junior, and senior years working for The New York Times’ Southeast Asian bureau in Jakarta, Indonesia. In December 2004, a major earthquake ripped through the Indian Ocean, leaving hundreds of thousands dead and injured, especially in Banda Aceh, Indonesia, which was near the epicenter of the quake. A few days later, while I was watching CNN in my pajamas in the living room of my parents' home, I got a call from my mentors at The Times asking, ‘How fast could I get to an airport?’ Soon after, I was on a flight bound for Indonesia and into ravaged Aceh. I navigated the destruction, speaking to people who lost dozens of family members, fisherman who saw their homes engulfed by the waves as the tsunami pulled their boats in, separatists who were still wary of the military and government, and children who were suddenly orphans. The time impressed upon me just how important this job is. Here, from the rubble, it was our responsibility to piece together and share the narratives of these people from the front lines.”

The Editor: Katie Hintz-Zambrano, Senior Editor, West Coast of Refinery29

What exactly do you do all day?
"I was the founding editor of the San Francisco edition of Refinery29, so I still direct coverage on that local channel, along with our new San Francisco Editor Angela Tafoya. I top edit all the copy coming out of the San Francisco and Los Angeles channels and help out on bigger-picture things like monthly newsletter lineups in both cities and I also direct photo shoots in San Francisco, attend events, and I'm constantly scouting for interesting subjects and article ideas."

How did you get to where you are today?
"I'm lucky in that I knew I wanted to be an editor ever since I was a teen in Nebraska. So, I got accepted into NYU, studied journalism there, interned at a bunch of magazines, and ended up getting my first full-time job at Marie Claire. After that I went to Details, and started moonlighting as a party reporter for I also freelanced (while holding a full-time gig) for places like Nylon, The Cut, i-D, ESPN The Magazine, XXL, King, and Vibe. Yup, that's right, I wrote about hip-hop and sports! Once my husband's tech job moved us to S.F., I was freelancing full-time for AOL's, and then became the San Francisco Shopping Editor at NBC's now-defunct Then, Refinery29 launched in San Francisco and the rest is history!"

What would you consider your big "break"?
"At NYU I had an amazing adjunct professor, Gary Belsky, who was also the Executive Editor at ESPN The Magazine (he went on to become Editor in Chief). At the time, I was a huge NBA geek and we had to fake pitch articles in class and I pitched something about the history of the slam dunk. Gary told me that I should pitch him that same idea for real for ESPN. I did, and that was my first really big published clip and I wasn't even out of college. I was able to show that to the editor of the hip-hop magazine I was interning for and began writing for them more, and then it was sort of a snowball effect."

Photographed by Anna-Alexia Basile

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