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How I Got Here: Adore Beauty’s Senior Editor on saying yes to opportunities even when you’re scared

WORDS BY CAIT EMMA BURKE

“Say yes and put your hand up for every and any opportunity, even if you don’t think you’re qualified or you’re scared to try something new.”

Have you ever stalked someone on LinkedIn and wondered how on earth they managed to land that wildly impressive job? While the internet and social media might have us believe that our ideal job is a mere pipe dream, the individuals who have these jobs were, believe it or not, in the same position once, fantasising over someone else’s seemingly unattainable job.

But behind the awe-inspiring titles and the fancy work events lies a heck of a lot of hard work. So what lessons have been learnt and what skills have proved invaluable in getting them from daydreaming about success to actually being at the top of their industry?


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Welcome to How I Got Here, where we talk to women who are killing it in their respective fields about how they landed their awe-inspiring jobs, exploring the peaks and pits, the failures and the wins, and most importantly the knowledge, advice and practical tips they’ve gleaned along the way.

This week we chat with Amy Clark, Adore Beauty’s Senior Editor. After two-and-a-half gap years post-high school, Amy ended up studying journalism while doing freelance jobs here and there.

While still studying, she took on a two-week internship at Mamamia, which eventually led to a role with the publication as its editorial assistant. What followed was a dedicated grind, as she worked her way up the ranks of the company, eventually landing a hosting role with its You Beauty podcast.

Her impressive work was eventually noticed by Australian beauty retailer Adore Beauty, who nabbed her for the role of Senior Beauty Editor. Now, Amy has become a familiar face to many Australian beauty fans – she writes, edits and appears on Adore Beauty’s podcasts, YouTube channel and socials. Here’s what she learnt along the way.

What do you do and what’s your official job title? 

My official title is Senior Editor at Adore Beauty. I strategise, manage and execute all of the content that lives on the Adore Beauty website, including our Beauty IQ articles and live streaming. I also get my mug in front of the camera for YouTube and social content, and a mic for the occasional podcast appearance!

Take us back to when you were first starting out. Did you study to get into your chosen field, or did you start out with an internship/entry-level role and climb the ladder? Tell us the story.

I wanted to be a doctor in high school, but two fainting spells during work experience at Royal Adelaide Hospital ended that dream real quick. I’ve always loved writing, talking and ‘performing’. Like a lot of other journos and beauty editors, I grew up obsessed with newspapers and magazines. But doing that as a grown-up career felt a bit silly and superficial.

I took two-and-a-half gap years after Year 12. [After that] I started a double degree in Media and International Relations at Adelaide Uni, but deferred after a year because I just hated it. I eventually transferred into a Bachelor of Journalism at Uni SA after travelling for another six months. I felt on the backfoot being in my mid-20s in classes with other students straight out of high school, so I did the bare minimum and spent my time working odd freelance jobs.

 

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A post shared by Amy Clark (@theamyclark)

While at uni, I interned at a few digital marketing and advertising agencies in Adelaide before flying to Sydney for a two-week unpaid internship at Mamamia. I applied for an editorial assistant role there at the end of 2016, but didn’t get it. I got a phone call from their HR two months later saying the person who was originally offered the role hadn’t worked out, and how soon could I move to Sydney.

From there, I relocated to Sydney having only been once before and knowing no one. I worked my way up from editorial assistant to content producer and then senior lifestyle content producer, before having the opportunity to host the publisher’s You Beauty podcast and work with my mentor, executive editor Leigh Campbell, on building out the beauty vertical.

Mid-2020, I saw a post about a senior editor vacancy at Adore Beauty posted on then-brand and content manager Hannah Furst’s Instagram stories. Turns out, she was headhunting me and I took the bait! I worked at Adore remotely from Sydney for seven months before relocating down to Melbourne permanently.

What challenges/hurdles have you faced getting to where you are now? Can you tell us about one in particular? 

Probably the biggest challenges have been navigating career and big personal changes while living away from family and friends, and convincing traditional marketers and journalists to take beauty seriously. Working in beauty isn’t brain surgery, but that doesn’t mean writing about beauty and lifestyle are any less ‘worthy’, important, helpful or commercially viable than news, true crime or entertainment.

I’m extremely fortunate my starting salary was enough for me to afford to rent a room in a sharehouse in a Sydney suburb – if you know, you know – but that first year or two in a new city with no connections was a mental challenge.

Layer that with discovering working in women’s digital media is nothing like The Bold Type, and I wanted to pack up and move home a bunch of times. I rely heavily on the emotional support of my loved ones, a great female GP and very supportive managers who value prioritising mental health.

What do you want people to know about your industry/your role?

Yes, beauty is a commercial industry, but it’s also about connection. It can be light and fluffy but also deeply personal and vulnerable, especially when it comes to talking about appearances. It’s not a serious job, but I take my responsibility as someone who recommends people spend their money on beauty products pretty seriously.

 

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A post shared by Amy Clark (@theamyclark)

What’s the best part about your role?

The best part is working in a team to build something together – Wing Attack netball player here from way back! Also, hearing from someone who consumes your content about how it fits into their life is very cool.

What would surprise people about your role?

90 per cent of my time looks like sitting at a computer with terrible posture, working on all the unsexy things behind the scenes like commissioning, contracting, data and admin you don’t see in the finished product. No complaints though, because doing that is what allows me to spend the 10 per cent creating.

What skills have served you well in your industry? 

Strong communication and networking. [The] beauty and media industries in Australia are relatively small, and your reputation is everything. You’re going to be working with and seeing the same PRs, brand reps and journos on a weekly basis at events and briefings, so be easy to work with, make the effort to remember people’s names and details, and have some small talk up your sleeve.

The awkward chatting is horrific, but it’s a skill you get better at with practice. Remember everyone’s in the same boat, and you can always sit on the loo to kill time.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a role like yours one day?

Say yes and put your hand up for every and any opportunity, even if you don’t think you’re qualified or you’re scared to try something new. Putting yourself out there is always risky – I’ve been shit scared, sweating and shaking during interviews, and I’ve definitely cried over surprisingly personal and nasty DMs, FB comments or podcast reviews.

But most of the small amount I’ve achieved in my career so far has come from stepping in to fill a spot last minute or offering to be involved. In my experience, it has a domino effect, and you’ll never not walk away with some kind of skill or learning you didn’t have before. Also, no matter the industry, being the person who presents solutions to problems will get you far.

What about a practical tip? 

If you want to be a creator, create! I’d also say for aspiring writers pitching story ideas, do your research on the publication or brand and tailor your pitch accordingly.

A short, snappy subject line with the hook of your pitch, along with a headline suggestion and three to four dot points on what the story is and why it’s worth you telling it makes the editor’s job much easier. They’re always looking for stories, so give one to them on a silver platter.

@theamyclark

Read the rest of the How I Got Here series here.

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