ON CONFIDENCE: When I was a teenager, I never thought I’d be in magazines. I played the drums and would go see shows at the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C. My friend Wendy had every issue of Vogue, and I didn’t think it was interesting; I was a tomboy. I was also very into horseback riding, so even though I was an alternative, punk-rock-ish girl, I had a serious side. Competitive riding is an all-encompassing, almost militaristic sport. If your horse isn’t warmed up or you haven’t picked his hoof or given him the right food at the right time, then you’re in trouble. You’re taking a 1,200-pound animal over a 4.5-foot fence—you’ve got to be prepared, and you’d better be confident.
ON BEGINNINGS: After college, I started writing a book called A Girl’s Guide to Muscle Cars while I was bartending in the East Village. Paper magazine published a version of it, and when I saw my story in print, I was like, “Woah, I got paid for that! That’s so cool.” My parents wanted me to go to law school, and then I found this other thing that I loved. Before that, I had no idea I was interested in magazines. Then I fell into fashion by working at a trade magazine in the industry. I was never fashion-crazy; I wasn’t a super fan-girl. My take was, “Let’s see what these clothes can do for us.”
ON LEADERSHIP: I had some great bosses over the years. When I was working for Cyndi Stivers to launch TimeOut New York, I remember thinking, “If she cracks, this whole thing is going down.” And she never flinched. She was confident that we were going to get that thing out the door when none of us believed we could. I had another boss at a tiny magazine who would rip my writing to shreds, which taught me to not fuss over it—just keep going, keep going, keep going. She’d write in the margins, “This is bullshit.” That kind of strenuous editing makes you better.