When I met Rachel Hislop, the style editor at Global Grind, earlier this year at a client’s video shoot for the site, she was the epitome of grace under fire. Even though New York Fashion Week had just ended, there were still dozens of other events and presentations to attend and Rachel was scheduled to be in at least two other places at the time of our interview. There are a number of ways she could have handled that situation, but Rachel was patient, super flexible and extremely professional.
Which is probably why for the last two years, she’s been tasked with shaping the style and culture content that millions of visitors are reading on Global Grind each month. I caught up with this self-professed shoe addict to learn more about her role at Global Grind, her PR pitch preferences and to find out what she thinks of the proposed changes to fashion week by IMG.
Hashtags + Stilettos (H+S): What are your day-to-day responsibilities as the style editor at Global Grind
Rachel Hislop (RH): As the style editor at GG I am responsible for covering all the news, features and exclusives in the style, tech and red carpet realms. The workload varies by the season, but for the most part fashion week and award season are the busiest times for covering style. It requires a lot of attention to detail and a great visual memory; with one look at an article of clothing I should be able to have some sort of guess to the designer in addition to knowledge about what major celeb was seen wearing it etc.
H+S: What inspired you to become a writer?
RH: I honestly cannot say that I knew a point where I said, “I am going to be a writer.” I was blessed enough to always know that I had a knack for words and being a overly emotional teenager (damn hormones) with dramatic journals and blogs helped me hone that skill. But, being the first in my family to go to college meant I had to figure out what a career as a writer even meant on my own with little idea of what it was I was chasing. Thankfully, with mountains of hard work, thousands of blank word docs with a blinking margin, and by the grace of a few amazing Journalism professors, I am collecting coins for my passion…but I am still learning.
H+S: What do you think about IMG’s recent announcement that they were going to ban fashion bloggers from New York Fashion Week? Smart strategy or ill-advised?
RH: I actually attended a private lunch at the end of fashion week with a few other influencers in the industry and someone who was instrumental in the decision, and we talked about the stresses of fashion week. She noted change would be coming, but I didn’t anticipate it to this degree.
I think the word “blogger” is looked on in an ill light, but they are the cultural arbiters that people are looking to for fashion inspo, sometimes before the editors of the bigwig publications, simply because of their reliability. Either way, we still have the live streams!
H+S: What do you think is the biggest misconception about style writers and bloggers?
RH: That we live a life of high paid Carrie Bradshaw glam that is all fun, freebies and fab parties in a world flocked with Mr. Bigs. Yes, that’s’ a part of the game, minus Mr.Big, but it is a very small morsel of the grand scheme when paralleled with the hours of work we put in.
H+S: What advice would you give to someone who wanted to follow in your footsteps?
RH: I always start by telling someone who wants to do this that if they are looking to make a lot of money, this is not the place. The thing about writing is this: it is something that everyone can do but it is not something that everyone is good at.
You have to remember that writing well is an art, and artists struggle sometimes, and not everyone appreciates art in the same way. Oh, and be ready to grind. I am known for having high expectations of my interns without apology. With the exception of a few, they have become some amazing women who continue to chase their dreams (Hi Court, Demara, Day, Maleana and Ashley!)
H+S: How do you prefer to be pitched? Phone/Email/Social Media? No Preference?
RH: Email pitches are definitely most effective. Social media works best to contact editors if you need [my email address] but reading 5 DMs on Twitter is just not visually pleasing or effective.
When it comes to email pitches, I prefer for them to be thought-out. If you took your time to write it, I will take my time to read it. Keep it short and to the point.
H+S: What types of stories, content or projects are you looking for?
RH: I always look for pitches from PR reps who actually know what we are doing at Global Grind and know how their clients can work for our publication.
H+S: When is the absolute worst time to send you a pitch?
RH: Late nights, Friday nights, Saturdays and Holidays. I am literally connected to my computer/email 16 plus hours a day, 5 days a week so chances are if I am not in “work mode” (we’re all human!) I won’t be as quick to respond.
H+S: Biggest PR pet peeves?
RH: Asking for coverage of an event I was not previously invited to. Unsolicited mass emails that have nothing to do with anything that I cover (I really don’t want your struggle rap links to “The Next Jay Z” all in caps, I promise.)
H+S: Name one thing journalists can do to have a better relationship with PR people?
RH: Understand that they have a job they need to do as well. I make it a point to make personal relationships with PR people because the reality is that we need them just as much as they need us. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship.
H+S: How can a PR person or brand get on your “always respond” list?
RH: Be consistent. If I know a PR rep always sticks to their word, makes it possible for me to get good access and makes it possible to get my job done, I will always make it possible for them to do the same. I also tend to gravitate towards the fellow movers and shakers who get shit done.
H+S: Complete the following sentences:
I had the most fun writing or working on… Every article is like giving birth to [a new baby]! Don’t make me choose!
I’m most proud of… The moments where others tell me they are proud of me.
My dream interview would be with…This is a hard one. I feel like everyone’s story is worth knowing. My favorite to date, however, would be Marc Ecko.
iPhone, Android or Blackberry? iPhone, with 0GB left of memory because I take too many photos of shoes.
My 3 favorite mobile apps are… Instagram, Pinterest and Google Voice, because phone interviews that need to be recorded can happen at any time.
I have … unread emails in my inbox right now… 1,254 on my work email and 204 in my personal email. Email numbers give me anxiety.
A fun fact about me is… I listen to Kings of Leon’s “Only By The Night” album at least twice a week. Oh, and I am the bargain hunting QUEEN.