Photo Credit: James Cave
This week on Meet the Media, we are so pleased to introduce Jamie Feldman, fashion and lifestyle reporter at HuffPost. Jamie started her career in journalism as a successful fashion blogger, launching The Real Girl Project in 2012. From there, she secured a position with HuffPost in 2014, and has become an esteemed fashion and lifestyle editor that covers everything from trending fashion to personal essays to market roundups.
Please welcome Jamie to BLND!
Hi! I’m Jamie Feldman. I’m a fashion & lifestyle reporter at HuffPost, where I’ve worked a bit over six years.
How did you get into journalism? Was this always where you saw yourself?
I have always loved writing but I wouldn’t say I always saw myself making a job out of it. As a kid I was a singer and wanted to be a performer. I attended a performing arts high school in NYC. By the time I graduated, however, I felt like I was ready for something else but I didn’t know what.
I’ve always loved great storytelling and connecting with people, and I wrote a ton in college for myself and for others for a little extra cash (really hope none of my former professors are reading this 😉 ) but it wasn’t until after I graduated and got a job in a totally different field and found myself feeling pretty miserable (as many people in their first jobs do) that I realized how important it was for me to pursue this path — and how writing could satisfy my hunger for creativity the way singing did before.
I started blogging about fashion in my spare time as a release from the stress and pressure of my job. I quickly realized that (at the time in 2011) most successful and popular fashion bloggers were typically: thin, rich and white. It was discouraging to see that on top of magazines and media not being reflective of the images we see in the mirror, fashion blogs weren’t, either.
I emailed a loooong list of grievances to Leandra Medine of Man Repeller and she (graciously) responded. At the end she suggested I just start my own. Once I started doing that, I used it as a portfolio of my work. Even though for the most part very few people were reading it — and it ended up helping me in the long run.
One day I was scrolling Twitter, and I noticed someone from AOL tweeted information about a senior travel editor position. I immediately emailed him my (wildly under-qualified) resume and for some reason, he wrote back to say that I was, as mentioned, not qualified, but that they’d keep my resume on file for any future opportunities, and included another person from HR on the email.
When I tell you I emailed that HR person every month for — I don’t even want to say how long — it was a long time. Finally, after another meandering update and link to my (still not very wide reaching) blog, she told me there was a fellowship opportunity in the Style department at HuffPost. I jumped on the opportunity FAST. My blog, a catalog of my clips and vision to democratize fashion, is what ultimately got my foot in the door. That was 6.5 years ago!
From your experience, what makes a great story?
It depends! I write a little bit of everything, from quick news hits to reported pieces to interviews to essays and everything in between. To me a great story, no matter the length or the topic, has heart, humility and humor (where appropriate).
Right now, as we’re dealing with the coronavirus outbreak, I wrote an essay about how worried I am about my 88-year-old grandmother and had tons of people message me to say they saw their own stories and emotions in it. Then I interviewed two strippers whose club has employed them as doing food delivery workers to continue earning a paycheck and spread joy through these dark times. I love when a story can connect us to one another — or on the flip side, give us insight into a world and life completely different from our own.
What’s an accomplishment you consider to be the most significant in your career so far?
Honestly, getting my job. I didn’t have a background in journalism. I hustled my ass off to get in the door here with no connections.
What is one thing you wish the public knew about your job?
That I am a person behind this screen! I am far from the bravest of my colleagues and other people in the industry on the frontlines of reporting and becoming vulnerable to things like trolls, doxxing, etc. But anytime you put yourself out there for people to judge, they are going to judge. Especially when they can do it from the safety of their own screens. I don’t read comments as a rule, but every now and then I’ll get directly tagged or emailed and it, to be frank, it f*cking blows.
What’s one piece of career advice you’d give a young person looking to follow in your footsteps?
Be persistent and creative and don’t let your background dictate your future. I would have never expected I could have ended up at my job coming from my path. But with hard work, relentlessness and (probably a few too many) emails, I got here — and don’t stop once you get the gig. My first year at HuffPost was a crash course in writing effective and efficient copy. I continue to learn every single day from my amazing colleagues and editors about great storytelling.
It looks a little different right now as I’m working from home!
But usually I try to go to the gym every morning. I go to a studio called Core Rhythm Fitness in Soho, which I commute to from my place in Brooklyn. I’d love to say that I take my time getting ready, drinking coffee and relaxing before a busy day. But usually I wake up with 10 minutes to spare, throw my sh*t in a bag, and I’m out the door. My gym is small but mighty — I found it on ClassPass and loved it so much I started going there full time.
It’s a kickass workout, but the community is amazing and it always makes me feel better to start my day there. There is a gym in our office that I usually shower / get ready at. Afterward, I grab a black iced coffee to drink at my desk. I try to do intermittent fasting (also not as heavily enforced right now) and get cracking on my emails.
When you’re not writing, what can we find you doing?
Right now? Posting (too much) on my Instagram stories. I am currently learning guitar and Hebrew. In normal times I spend a lot of time (and money) going to the movies and trying new restaurants and recipes. I run, but I like taking long, long walks around the city even more. I spend a lot of time with my family who are local. I’m thinking about writing a book (‘thinking about’ are the operative words here).
Three words that describe you? Kind, Funny ( I hope), Loyal
#1 place on your travel bucket list? Japan
Go to drink order? Old Fashioned. I mean, honestly, there aren’t a ton of drinks I would say no to. But that’s probably the go-to.
Favorite restaurant? Wowza, who could even answer that? I grew up eating at Wo Hop in Chinatown with my parents, so that is on the list for nostalgia purposes. I had probably one of the best meals of my life at Zahav in Philly a year ago. Mike’s Coffee Shop in Clinton Hill is a perfect old school diner with delicious, affordable food. I love Pastis, Sugarfish & Corner Bistro. Right now I’m worried about just about every restaurant in NYC and around the country & world so I’m throwing my support behind every single one and donating where I can. I can’t wait to get back out into the world and visit as many of them as possible.
Where can people follow you? On Instagram, Twitter and TikTok (just barely) — all three under the name @realgirlproject.