Now, that was some really high-strung headline, wouldn’t you say? With good reason! I reached out to fashion journalist star Anna De Souza and the generous dear poured her heart out about working as a fashion and trend reporter. Ms. De Souza’s triumph-filled is a stellar example of how the love of fashion and journalism can be knotted into perfect harmony. Come glamniacs, accompany me as she throws strings and strings of hard-earned wisdom upon us.
Were you pretty stylish growing up?
I must admit, I was definitely the classmate with a penchant for mixing prints from as young as junior high. My style philosophy: Most things match! Be brave—it’s only fabric!
Can you give us a behind the scenes look at what it’s like to be a fashion journalist? Take us down one of your most hectic days.
The most hectic days aren’t even during New York Fashion Week; it’s pulling together a TV segment! From building the concept—the kookier the better for morning TV—to calling in all products, rehearsing, figuring out what to wear, slapping on a face mask the night before and waking up at 4 or 5 a.m., I’d say the 24 hours before the segment are the most hectic. There are times where I don’t even have a 24-hour heads up. Just this week I got booked on CBS-NY at 11AM on Monday for a Tuesday 8:20 AM hit. I dug through my closet and pulled together a beauty innovation segment on the fly. Being flexible is key – and no complainers allowed! You do what you need to do to get the job done without dragging others into your drama. Need a last-minute product? You just run to CVS or H & M and take care of business.
What are some trends that you feel will never die, no matter the era?
White button downs. Hands down. I’m wearing them now knotted in the front with pencil skirts to make them a bit more casual.
Is it a must to major in English or in Communications?
Absolutely not! I was a Psychology major. I began my career in public relations and transitioned over. Impeccable writing and an eye for a good story are a must though. Read every single thing you can get your hands on. I’m addicted to Flipboard where you can create custom magazines from a topic of interest. Headlines these days are key, learn the formulas and oftentimes the stories can follow – instead of the other way around!
How did you develop a writing style?
I definitely developed it through my experience as a PR rep. Sometimes one must call on surprising, alarming angles to get attention. And if you think about it, producers are doing the same to get you to tune in to the 5PM news!
CBS NY, NBC, ABC News are just three of many networks that have called on you to be featured as a trend expert. How can trend and fashion experts best position themselves to get such opportunities?
Write, write, write! Start with your own blog, then try to get a guest blogging gig for a larger publication. This is key. As you develop your writing style and unique personality—both in written form and how you would present on-air—start reaching out to TV producers locally with your articles. Let them know you’d love to come on the show to demo and chat about your articles. Certainly the more exciting, the better, so always keep visuals in mind when you’re creating a story!
Watching some of your segments, it’s obvious to anyone with the slightest knowledge of fashion that you are someone who knows what she’s talking about. How do you manage to exude such confidence on camera?
I am always nervous on-air, most specifically the 20 seconds before going live! I watch hosts and anchors all the time on-set and on TV and envy their calm, cool and collectiveness but what I do prior is prepare! I rehearse in my head, rehearse out loud. I write out notecards with bullet points, but I must say that most importantly, I not only memorize, I learn about that product. If it’s a beauty product, I learn what it does topically, on an intercellular level, too. Also, what does it feel like, how does it smell. It really truly helps and is a wonderful segue to interact with the host.
What would you say as been the biggest contributor to your growth as a fashion reporter and journalist?
Perseverance and drive for sure. Challenging myself creatively. If I’m excited about a segment, producers and editors get pretty psyched about it, too.
How can aspiring fashion experts make the most out of internships?
Throw yourself into opportunities. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. Never say no. Don’t worry, you’ll learn boundaries later, for sure! Ask to help rehearse, ask how to properly write an email, ask how you can take steps to personally brand yourself. Don’t ever stop at pulling samples. Anyone who’s been in the business for longer than 10 years, and trust me when I say this, loses a bit of sparkle in their eye. An intern who is super eager to learn and really resourceful really helps us get back into gear, too, and serves as a reminder of how we were and as a source of inspiration for what’s to come. Stay hungry.
What are some of your favorite beauty products?
I have so many! My go-to pre-segment product is Kate Somerville’s DermalQuench – I spray and massage that puppy around my eyes and it plumps everything up nicely. I also love Tarte’s EmphasEYES Waterproof Clay Liners – it gives you a super long wear cat eye – in a sophisticated matte that’s perfect for TV. Obsessed now with Omorovicza Thermal Cleansing Balm and with taking a good 20 minutes to properly remove my makeup each night. This is a great cleansing pomade that I massage onto my face for 5-7 minutes. So delicious!