KATE WILLIAMS, WRITER & EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Kate Williams is a writer and editorial director, currently living in Los Angeles. She has more than 10 years experience in content publishing in New York (as Senior Editor at NYLON magazine), Philadelphia (as Editorial Director at Urban Outfitters) and Los Angeles (as Editorial Director at Nasty Gal). She is currently the Womens Online Editor for Vans, and also writes cover stories for the likes of NYLON, ELLE UK, and Cosmopolitan.
Writer & Editorial Director
WHAT’S THE BEST THING ABOUT YOUR JOB?
Getting to meet and talk to interesting people. Interviewing someone is a license to ask them really serious or personal questions—you sit down to coffee with a stranger and open with “So, tell me about your childhood.” I’ve interviewed pop stars, porn stars, rappers, actors, artists, supermodels and entrepreneurs, and some of the most enlightening and memorable conversations I’ve ever had have been in the name of an assignment.
AND THE WORST?
I do a lot of social media work, and sometimes the comments are really depressing. I will never understand why someone would take the time to follow and comment on something they don’t like, or why people think they have the right to criticize and make judgments about someone else’s body. I especially don’t get it when it’s one girl calling another girl ugly or fat—shouldn’t we all be in this together?
WHAT IS YOUR PROUDEST PROFESSIONAL ACCOMPLISHMENT?
Honestly, it’s having a career at all. When I was 22, I wanted to write the great American novel, but now that I’ve been in this business for 12 years, I realize how grateful I am to be getting paid to write in any capacity.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU’D KNOW ABOUT YOUR CAREER OR INDUSTRY WHEN YOU WERE FIRST STARTING OUT?
That being “cool” only counts for so much. Publishing and fashion can both feel like name-dropping contests, and when I was younger, it’d stress me out, like: “Why can’t I just be BFFs with the Olsens?” That’s like the adult version of wishing your dad was a baseball player so the other kids in your class will want to play with you. Thankfully, I finally realized that just being nice and working hard counts for a lot more than who you know, who you date, or what club you went to last night.
WHAT DOES YOUR DAILY UNIFORM CONSIST OF?
Ugh. I wish I had one. As I type this, I’m wearing a sweatshirt with a weed leaf on it and a pair of $5 pants I bought in Thailand. On a good day though, I’ll wear dark jeans, heeled boots and an oversize blazer.
THE INDISPENSABLE TOOL OF YOUR TRADE (EQUIPMENT/BOOK/SOFTWARE/PERSON)
Wifi and a nice person willing to give me the password.
WHAT’S YOUR GO-TO SOURCE OF INSPIRATION?
Walking into a bookstore.
WHO’S YOUR PROFESSIONAL HERO (AND WHY)?
Joan Didion. She’s the apex of cultural criticism, pop culture, wit and intellect. She’s the pie in the sky though—I don’t think anyone will even come close to a writing career like hers ever again.
WHAT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING YOU’VE LEARNT ABOUT MONEY AND FINANCE?
Simply: It’s important. I spent the first several years of my career not caring about money or how much I made. Suddenly, I was pushing 30 with a ton of credit card debt and no savings account, yet working 60 hour weeks. I started to be insistent about raises and promotions. It was kind of amazing how much things changed when I started to negotiate my salary, as opposed to just taking whatever was offered.
I think women especially have a tendency to think that if they work hard and do a good job, someone will notice and reward them. Sadly, that’s not how it works. You have to advocate for yourself and make sure that a job is working for you as much as you’re working for it. It’s a two way relationship—if you’ve been working your ass off for years at a place, yet they keep coming up with reasons why you can’t have a raise or a title change, then no matter how much you love your job, it does not love you back. Move on.
HOW DO YOU STAY ORGANISED? ANY TIPS OR TRICKS OR ‘HACKS’ TO SHARE?
Um—anyone wants to share with me?
HOW DO YOU WIND DOWN?
Lay on the floor and stare at the ceiling? I should probably find a better way.
WHAT’S THE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN?
I get most of my life advice from this song.
WHAT’S YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS?
Being happy, confident and grateful.