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I promised more Breaking into Fashion interviews for 2014, and I’m going to deliver!
Next up in our popular series is Rajni Lucienne Jacques, the Fashion News Editor for Glamour Magazine.
We’ve taken her picture several times for our street style segments during International Fashion Weeks, but have never gone behind the glam to get insight on her story and how she arrived at her esteemed position. Thankfully, she took time out of her busy day to answer a few questions for you industry hopefuls!
She said, “My parents are from Haiti and moved to America in 1979. We lived in Queens, New York before moving to New Jersey. I grew up in a small town called Manalapan, New Jersey. After high school I attended Rutgers College and majored in Journalism and Communication and minored in Political Science. At the time I thought I had a clear path to what I wanted to pursue as a career. But I’ve learned that things can quickly change! After college I moved away to Paris, and upon my return I decided to go to grad school at Columbia University. I wanted to be well rounded no matter what field I [ended] up in.”
She continued, “Fashion was never something I thought of as a career choice. Growing up, when the word profession came up, the only ones that popped into my head were doctor, lawyer, teacher, engineer, etc. Working in fashion was more of a lala land fantasy. When I was younger I would scour through French Vogue, W Magazine, Sassy, and so many small indie magazines imagining what the process was like to work at a magazine and thinking “how does one even try to work at a magazine?”
She got her first break with an internship at Honey, where she came under the tutelage of the magazine’s then Fashion Director Sydne Bolden Long. Jacques said, “Honey was the first magazine I read that truly spoke to me. But, even in the internship I wasn’t entirely sure that magazines were the thing for me. [Still], working with [Sydne] made me fall in love with print media. Her intensity and passion really inspired me. While interning at Honey, I formed a bond with [her]. From there, I was able to connect with people, who [would] in turn hire me for other projects.”
Her internship at Honey led to other internships at Instyle, Fader, and Dime magazines, and then to jobs at Vibe, Nylon, and now Glamour. Her current position involves editing, writing, and conjuring up new ideas for the magazine, and traveling abroad to Fashion Week to cover trends and discover new designers.
Her advice for breaking into the industry? She says, “Always know that your employer will learn just as much from you as you will learn from them. Also know your stuff. Never go into an interview or even go up to someone in the business without doing your homework first.” For women of color, she adds, “Never allow yourself to be pigeon holed or marginalized. Don’t let other people set the boundaries for you.”
And lastly, any beauty or style tips? She offered, “Always make sure your look is authentic to you. Anyone can spot a fake.” Well, alright!
One thing I can say about Rajni is that she always stays true to her sporty chic style, and pulls it off effortlessly.
If you want to be further inspired, follow her on Twitter and Instagram @Rajni_Jacques, and see her work on Glamour.com.
What do you think of our latest Breaking into Fashion interview?