For most journalists, being on the receiving end of an interview is a nerve-racking experience. Suddenly, they are no longer the ones in control. Grace Gold, however, does not flinch. Eight years as a freelance writer have given her an undeniable poise, and have taught her to expect the unexpected.
Gold began her journalism career in the undergraduate program at New York University. Journalism was always a passion for her. However, when she found herself short of cash during the school year, she took a part-time job as a makeup artist at Bloomingdale's to earn some extra money.
“I could not believe that someone was paying me to play with makeup!” said Gold with a laugh.
It was then that she fell in love with the beauty industry, a far cry from the hard news track she pursued in her university classes. So, instead of picking one of her passions over the other, Gold chose both.
“I decided to combine journalism and beauty,” she explained. “It didn’t feel serious enough [at first], but I got over it.”
Gold has the same attitude toward critics of the beauty industry and “beauty writing.”
“At this point, it doesn’t even bother me,” she said. “[Their negativity] is a reflection of them, not me.”
Gold broke into the world of beauty journalism with an internship at Harper’s Bazaar, a women’s fashion magazine, while she was still at NYU. During her time at the magazine, she met the woman who became her journalistic idol, then editor-in-chief Kerry Diamond, who is the current editorial director of Cherry Bombe magazine, a “bi-annual indie publication about women and food.”
“She was so good at everything she did,” Gold said.
From Diamond, Gold also learned some valuable lessons about dealing with the difficult people and situations that would no doubt cross her path.
“If someone blasts you off, take the higher ground, get past your ego, and don’t burn bridges,” Gold explained.
Now, when faced with a journalistic dilemma, Gold simply asks herself, “What would Kerry Diamond do?”
Making quick and solid decisions is essential for Gold to stay on top of her career. As a freelancer, there is always uncertainly as to where her next story, or employment opportunity, will come from. For this reason, Gold insists on maintaining a robust online presence and strong relationships with influential people in the journalistic, beauty, and wellness worlds in order to get the latest scoop about what’s happening in her niche market. It is a strategy she recommends for anyone interested in doing freelance journalism.
“Relationships are everything in this business,” she explained.
What topics she chooses to write about, which include everything from makeup to cosmetic surgery, also have an effect upon her image and career, so she chooses them wisely.
“I ignore what I don’t like,” Gold said. “I only write about something if I like it, or if it’s dangerous and people need to protect themselves.”
The passion and love for the stories she writes, as well as her willingness to recommend other freelancers for stories she doesn’t want to write are what Gold believes keeps the editors coming back.
“Bottom line, you have to understand who you are and how you work,” she said, “It’s about being honest with yourself.”