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Amelia Diamond

meet-amelia-diamond-man-repeller-8Amelia Diamond (Photo courtesy of Amelia Diamond)
About three months ago I got the opportunity to interview Amelia Diamond. She has and always will be one of the people I look up to most in the journalism world. She is the Senior Editor at the Man Repeller, which was founded by Leandra Medine, another one of my favorite people. (It's fitting that the two of them are best friends). Amelia is funny, serious and loves to talk almost as much as I do so we got along quite well. From growing up in San Francisco to discussing Amelia's love of sailboats and Nantucket. We covered just about everything there is to know about Amelia and her path to becoming the Senior Editor at Man Repeller. Read below to see how Amelia got to where she is today and so much more.
The Beginning
It’s kind of a funny story. Amelia Diamond grew up in San Francisco and New Jersey. Her parents were divorced so she spent most of her time in San Francisco with her mom during the school year and traveled to New Jersey to be with her dad during the summers. When reflecting on her experience in San Francisco, Amelia appreciates how enriching of an experience it was to live there.
Amelia loved being in the city. She became aware at an early age of how diverse and unconventional San Francisco was as a city. “Everything felt different there” in comparison to anything else…it definitely wasn’t your traditional high school experience, it was much more blended,” said Amelia.
New Jersey, however, was the polar opposite. It was the suburbs. It was kids hanging out at the 7/11 gas station because there was nothing else to do. She described her experience there as something much more akin to what you see in the movies. It was the typical scene when all the kids rode past their crush’s houses on their bicycles.
By the end of her high school years, Amelia felt like she needed to get away from both of her home cities. She was excited for what was next. Amelia attended college at St. Bonaventure University, a small liberal arts college near Buffalo, New York, where she got a B.A. in Journalism. At St. Bonaventure, Amelia got a strong journalistic education. St. Bonaventure had “old school teachers who loved print and really taught me how to find the heart of a story,” said Amelia.
Leandra Medine, the founder of Man Repeller, was a year below Amelia in school. The two of them met while working at an internship in New York City the summer going into Amelia’s senior year of college. Leandra was known for starting many blogs, so when Amelia heard Leandra started another one called Man Repeller, she didn’t think much of it. That is, until the end of Amelia’s senior year when the Man Repeller slowly started picking up steam. Everything was happening so fast, and by the end of the year, the Man Repeller was becoming a real thing. There were articles being done about Leandra and Man Repeller by Refinery29 and Urban Outfitters. Even the New York Times did a profile on Leandra back in 2010.
Around this time Amelia would hear Leandra’s name a lot, but Amelia wasn’t on board with the whole blogging thing yet, after all, print had always held her heart. Online media was not her primary source of news, so it wasn’t until later that her love of blogs and, in turn, “blogging” for the Man Repeller came to play.
Amelia was working at an internship in New York when Leandra invited Amelia to come visit her in Paris, where she was studying abroad during her senior year of college. Amelia was all for it, but before she could go; she had to ask her dad to buy her a plane ticket. This entailed writing an essay for why she should get to go and stay in Paris. It worked. Her dad bought her the ticket, and she was off, the rest was history.
The Jack-of-All-Trades
After college Amelia got another internship, this time at a public relations firm called Black Frame. The firm had some well-known fashion brands under its umbrella, and it was Amelia’s first real learning experience in the fashion world. Amelia wasn’t particularly fond of Fashion Public Relations, but she needed a job so she decided to do everything she could to become the best intern they had. She did everything she could to stand out, and that kind of mentality is really important to her when giving advice to other interns and students wanting to work in the industry.
One of Amelia’s bosses at Black Frame put her in touch with someone at VOGUE. Being out of college, she felt like the world’s oldest intern, but she was still determined to be the best intern. She wanted to become the go-to person for anyone who needed something done. Amelia began absorbing as much information as she could about the fashion industry and journalism. “There is so much that you don’t know, I always felt like I was packing my brain with all of these things,” said Amelia.
At VOGUE, Amelia was Virginia Smith’s assistant’s intern. She was directly in touch with the fashion side of the industry, and she was very fond of her time and experiences while there. Her connections at VOGUE later helped her get another job in the public relations industry, and eventually she ended up at Ralph Lauren working for their in-house public relations team.
Amelia decided to leave Ralph Lauren and went to work at New York Magazine. She was frustrated while working in public relations because she felt like as an assistant all she did all day was shift things around. This required a lot of hustle, and not a lot of return. “You have to look at your boss's job, because if you want that job then you like what you are doing, but if not, you should leave,” said Amelia.
She was hired as a fashion assistant for New York Magazine. Her move to New York Magazine was the “best career change decision I ever made,” said Amelia. At New York Magazine she was surrounded by people who were really passionate about their jobs, and that made it a great place to work. It was also the first time in a long time that she realized it was OK if she had an interest outside of fashion. She had some great mentors there, “women at The Cut represented a total utopia and they were all really cool,” said Amelia. She felt lucky to work there.
Nearing the end of Amelia's time at New York Magazine, Leandra was looking to expand Man Repeller. Leandra really wanted Amelia to come work for her, and Amelia felt like it was time for a change so she said yes. Amelia had finally taken the step to becoming the Senior Editor at Man Repeller.
Homepolish-5075-interiors-27705a00-1350x900.jpegLeandra Medine at Man Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
“Working at Man Repeller is quieter than people think it is,” said Amelia. The culture itself is constantly changing because we are continuing to hire new people and expand Man Repeller. With that being said, the environment there is still “very lively and it definitely has a sense of sisterhood with being a positive, happy place,” said Amelia. “It’s a great place to work and there’s a lot of ways to soak up creativity and have fun.”
Homepolish-5075-home-design-d087346e-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Amelia’s days working for Man Repeller can be different, but they usually start off with market appointments or work breakfasts. Other days might start off with email.
“I divide my time between writing, being in various meetings, doing a lot of brainstorming, editing, lots of interviews and research, working with our internal brand and partnerships team, working with contributors, working with the visuals team, helping out the social team however I can, messing around with SEO, styling shoots” and so much more, said Amelia.
It’s clear that Amelia’s job as the Senior Editor at Man Repeller entails more than just editing and writing. Like Amelia, all of the writers and editors at Man Repeller wear many hats.
Homepolish-5075-interiors-f9a39cb3-1350x900.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Being an editor at Man Repeller has its challenges just like being an editor at any other publication. Time management is one thing that Amelia finds to be the most difficult. You have “the to-do list you’d like to accomplish, the to-do list you’d like to burn, and the to-do list of items that comes up every single day and disrupts the plan you started your day with,” said Amelia. The best strategy is learning how to prioritize and be strategic in planning out your day, and learning what to leave for the night. Sometimes working on something with “fresh eyes” can make all the difference, said Amelia. As an editor,  Amelia is always striving to give feedback that is constructive and helpful to the writers. “It’s not about re-writing the story because it’s easier to do it yourself…that doesn’t help anyone,” said Amelia.
Homepolish-5075-interiors-af305b82-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Many people admire Amelia’s way to include sarcasm in her stories. It seems as though it’s the signature of her voice and writing style. The Man Repeller pieces, however, are more than just fashion satire. A lot of work goes into each of the pieces written at Man Repeller. Whether it’s a funny story about Amelia embracing the role of Miranda from “Sex and The City” for a week, or Leandra’s emotional story about losing her baby due to a miscarriage, a lot of planning goes into what will be written and why it will be relevant to the readers at Man Repeller.
Homepolish-5075-room-design-8ad248d7-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Timeliness is everything, and writing for Man Repeller means bringing new angles to stories that will be interesting and will ultimately work for readers. Another task is to find who will be the best to write a particular story. What would be more interesting, a college student keeping track of their spending habits for a week or Leandra’s mom keeping track of her spending habits for a week? They’ve done both and each of the stories worked for different reasons.
Homepolish-5075-interiors-833b7990-1350x900.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
The story process starts with the whole team meeting and pitching ideas. Next, the editorial director, senior editor (Amelia) and Leandra get together to figure out what works and what doesn’t. The editorial team’s job is to meet once a week with the social and analytics team to make sure they are covering timely stories that keep Man Repeller involved in the “larger conversation,” said Amelia. The key is to “ALWAYS keep your eyes and ears open,” Amelia said. Everything has the potential to be a story, it’s interesting to listen to what people are talking about in your friend group, whether they are disagreeing or agreeing on something, there are always stories around us. “If I feel something, experience something, if something makes me laugh or annoys me – it’s all a story…you just have to find the right angle and tell it well,” said Amelia.
Homepolish-5075-interior-inspiration-a2211838-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Style and fashion play an important role at Man Repeller, but when it comes to their team everyone is unique. Everyone at Man Repeller has their own sense of style, but what’s nice is that people still appreciate what everyone else wears even if it might be different from their own style.
Homepolish-5075-room-design-84319d02-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
One of Amelia's favorite things about working for the Man Repeller is getting the opportunity to talk to the readers. She likes to see what they have to say, and hearing what they think consistently reminds her of why she’s privileged to get to do what she does as the Senior Editor at Man Repeller.
homepolish-5075-interiors-949ac653-703x1056Man Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
When asked what it’s like essentially working with one of her best friends, Amelia said, “It’s great. It’s like a marriage. We have to learn how to communicate, trouble shoot and separate work from our personal lives.” However, it’s also “nice having someone next to me who I can confide in or use as a sounding board...our goals are aligned and we think similarly, but we also embrace our individuality,” said Amelia. Working with your best friend can be beneficial because in Leandra and Amelia’s case they can tell each other when they disagree. They can say “I disagree, here’s why,” said Amelia. It's important to help each other grow as writers and editors by giving constructive feedback to one another. Just saying yes won't help you become a better writer.
Homepolish-5075-room-design-88de08dd-703x1056.jpegMan Repeller Headquarters (Claire Esparros, 2016)
Sailboats Are A Girl's Best Friend

Amelia loves sailing. "It is the only thing besides horseback riding that calms me down," she said. Something weird about Amelia is that she knows what everyone's hands look like for some odd reason. She cannot parallel park a car, but she does have a driver's license. Amelia has always had a thing for New England, and she's always loved boats in the way that most little kids love trains.

When asked about how she got her love for Nantucket, Amelia said, "Nantucket just sounded like fun so my friends and I went for the 4th of July one year while in college, and now it's something that we do together every year." She's even seen Kiel James Patrick and his wife Sarah (it's like the Ralph Lauren catalog of my dreams come true). What better way to spend the patriotic holiday than exploring New England and getting sun kissed by the ocean? 

Advice
(Madison Rodick) - Is it hard living in NYC as a journalist, many people that I have met and/or talked to say that they want to move there but it’s super expensive?
(Amelia Diamond) It is an insanely expensive city, and every day is a "grind." I am very lucky that I had parents who helped me when I was getting my feet on the ground after college, and you definitely do not go into journalism for the money. The city and this industry can be exhausting, and it's easy to get disheartened. It's really easy to question yourself. It's also REALLY OKAY TO NOT LIKE NYC OR JOURNALISM OR WRITING. I think that's important to know. It's okay if you try it and hate it! But if you feel that giddy sense of accomplishment after having your first story published, or after someone other than your mom and dad tells you that they read what you wrote, and then you look up and it's a sunny day in New York and you've successfully navigated the video game of your morning commute and arrived to work early enough to get a coffee from the place that is now "your spot," and you feel genuinely happy -- even if it's fleeting, before stress kicks in, then it's worth it.  I think it is, at least.
(MR) - What do you see happening in the next 5-10 years for journalism and digital media?
(AD) Leandra's so much better at predicting this stuff than I am. I don't think print will die. But I do believe in Darwinism, and that the strongest, smartest print publications will survive because of their ability to tell their stories and communicate NOT JUST in print, but online and beyond. Websites/digital media will be faced with the same question: what's beyond "the web." Or our screens? A few years ago we were glued to our laptops, now it's our phones, and for sure in five - 10 years from now, it will be somewhere else.
(MR) - What advice do you have for college/and or journalism students?
(AD) You can roll your eyes, sorry: GO TO CLASS. Seriously. All of them. Take extra classes if you can. Learn everything. Be a sponge. You will miss school so much when you are done. The opportunity to sit in a room and learn is such a luxury, I cannot stress it enough. You will be sitting at your job one day and realize how lucky you were. Also, get as much experience as you can. DO NOT BE AFRAID to intern at the small companies. Don't worry about the brand name. Direct your attention and focus somewhere that you can get real, hands-on experience (or as much as they will give you as an intern). Be a mind reader and problem solver at your internships. Be the first one in, last one out. And don't worry if, even after all of this, you don't have a job when you graduate. You will get one. Go on every interview, work every connection and take a job that sets you up on an interesting path, if not the ideal big name dream job. You'll get there! But you gotta start somewhere. Oh and avoid clichés in your writing even though I am pretty sure I just used a million of them.

All Man Repeller Headquarters Photos from Claire Esparros, 2016 & HOMEPOLISH
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