Nov. 7 2018
#WomenWhoTweet is our November weekly segment, in collaboration with Twitter, celebrating inspiring women who are using the platform to forge connections, market their personal brand, and interact with other females from anywhere in the world. Through this 4-part series (this is part 2!), these impressive women are sharing their tips on how to find success on Twitter, so that you too can use the app as an extension of your resume. Today, we’re chatting with Chrissy Rutherford, Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar, who is not only a front row staple at the world’s most exclusive fashion shows, but has also managed to create an incredibly strong personal brand within the iconic publisher. Below, Chrissy shares how she got her coveted position, how she became empowered to use her voice, and her tips for making connections.
Can you briefly describe your journey to becoming Senior Fashion Editor at Harper’s Bazaar? What was your first job? What led you to pursue a position at a magazine?
Since I was a teenager I knew that I was going to work in fashion. I loved clothes and I loved magazines even more. I would literally read and study fashion magazines cover to cover. After having two summer internships in the fashion closet at Harper’s Bazaar, I graduated from college feeling pretty confident that I would land a great job. However, a few months into enjoying my post-grad summer, the economy took a nose dive, and everyone was getting laid off. My first paid gig was working as a freelance sales assistant at a multi-label showroom—I’d do it for a few weeks during the fashion month period. It was far from my dream job, but still gave me great insight into an industry I was dying to become part of. I eventually landed a perma-lance job with InStyle.com. A former editor I worked with at Bazaar was the fashion director there, and hired me to assist him and the fashion news editor. This is where I really honed my digital skills. InStyle.com’s fashion news editor eventually left to reinvent Bazaar.com. About 6 months later she called me to come work there, bringing my career full circle!
As Senior Fashion Editor of Harper’s Bazaar, your job requires you to make appearances and network with others in the industry. How do you think Twitter has deepened and expanded the connections you make with people you may not have gotten to connect with otherwise?
People are sharing so much about themselves online, and thanks to social media it’s easier than ever to connect with someone who shares that same interest or point of view or loves the same memes as you. We also spend so much of our lives on social media, that when you do run into an acquaintance or someone you recently started following online it feels like you know them a bit better. You already have the ice-breakers or talking points… “oh I saw you were just on a fabulous vacation?” Or “congrats on that great piece you just posted!” I don’t even try to pretend like I didn’t see them posting photos. If your accounts are public it’s fair game for in-person conversation.
You have managed to become an authoritative and authentic voice in the fashion community. How have you built your own personal brand while working at such a big media company? How did you find your authentic voice?
That’s extremely nice of you to say! I’ve always enjoyed social media, and I consider myself to be quite an open person—so the two really go hand-in-hand. Luckily, my company has also afforded me a great platform, and so many incredible opportunities have come my way that I’ve always wanted to share with others. Not to mention, when I was growing up I didn’t see many black women who were prominent in the fashion industry—so I think it’s important that girls today are able to see women like me (and so many of my peers like Lindsay Wagner Peoples and Nikki Ogunnaike) in these roles. As far as my voice goes, well I think being anything less than authentic feels like a waste of energy. I have a pretty good grasp on who I am and I try not to get caught up in how I’m perceived by others or what people think of me.. it’s a trap! Of course I can be weird and boring, just as often as my life seems cool and glamorous. I just share what I like and what’s important to me.
You do an incredible job at showing your personality and growing your influence via social media. Can you give our readers a few tips on how they can use Twitter as an extension of their resume to grow their career? What may set them apart when looking for a job at a place like Harper’s Bazaar?
I think it’s important to just be on there, and be part of the conversation. Make sure you’re following people that are in your industry, or people you look up to, and engage with them. It’s such an easy place to share the work you’ve done for everyone to see. Talk about the things that matter to you, share your opinions, and your likes/dislikes. Isn’t that why we’re all on social media? For someone who is interested in a job as an editor, I’d love to see people that are sharing their opinions on fashion collections more, instead of just talking about how they want Kendall Jenner’s new boots. Are you paying attention to Hedi Slimane at Celine? How do you feel that the brand has done a 180? I think people get scared to share real opinions online sometimes, for fear of backlash, but those who are bold enough to do it get my respect.
Who are a few people you follow on Twitter that you believe are doing a great job using their voice and platform?
What is your favorite and least favorite hashtag? Who is one person you follow that you’d love to power brunch with?
My least favorite is #couplesgoals when used by the people who are actually in the couple. My favorites are always the “parties” like #TaylorSwiftIsOverParty and #RihannaHasAManParty. They’re fleeting, but I think that is when the internet is truly at its best. People are just so funny, I can just go through those threads and laugh until I’m in tears.
I’d love to power brunch with @angela_rye. I think she is incredible, she’s so intelligent, so beautiful and knows how to throw some major shade on social media and live TV.