Kristie Dash is an integral part of the platform you likely spend hours a day on: Instagram. Kristie is on the fashion partnerships team of the extremely popular platform, with a focus on beauty and lifestyle. And, if there was any question that this is a dream job, just take a look at her travel and celeb-filled feed. Wondering how someone lands such a coveted role at one of the biggest tech companies in the world? Below, Kristie tells us how she got there – and what it actually means to manage Beauty & Lifestyle Partnerships at Instagram. 

What does your job entail?

At the core, it’s my job to educate the industry on best practices and new features in order to help them tell their stories on the platform. We do a lot of this at scale to reach as many people and brands as we can, especially when we’re traveling internationally with limited time, but I love meeting directly with top accounts as well as emerging talent to make a deeper connection and to be a resource to them on their Instagram journey. Another lesser-known part of my role is that I work pretty closely with the product teams that build new features, serving as a sort of advocate for the fashion and beauty industry. I want to make sure we’re creating tools to meet their needs, so it’s cool to feel like I’m helping to shape the way the app looks!

What was your first job out of college? How did you get it?

My first job out of college was at Lucky magazine (RIP!) as the assistant to the editor-in-chief, Eva Chen. I had interned for Eva at Teen Vogue and we stayed in touch through the years, so she reached out when the role opened up and, as you can imagine, I was beyond thrilled to accept. Only problem? I actually still had a semester of school left! Somehow I was able to make it work by taking the rest of my courses online at night, but it was hands-down the craziest thing I ever tried to do. I spent way too much money at Starbucks that year, but it was worth it.

What was your college major? Did you feel like you needed to be a journalism major? 

Communications and Media Studies. Truthfully, I picked it because I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. Although writing was always my strong suit in grade school, I didn’t know I wanted to be a writer and editor until I interned at a magazine. In fashion and beauty, I find that while an education is definitely valued, no one really cares what you major in. It’s almost more interesting to me when I meet a job applicant who has an untraditional background.

What internships did you do prior to your first job?

Many, hah. I was one of those psychotic, workaholic NYC college kids who did a zillion internships. I am so grateful my college Pace University supported me in doing so! I was obsessed with TV—well, I still am as you know if you follow me—so I tried TV development at NBC and production at E! but I didn’t love it. Working in the Harper’s Bazaar fashion closet taught me fashion 101 but I knew I didn’t want to be a stylist. It all clicked for me in the beauty department at Teen Vogue and then Vogue. I loved the fact that as a beauty editor, you could cover a wide range of topics in your writing while still having your hand in the creative aspects of a photo shoot.

How did you land your current job? What were the steps you took?  

As I was working my way up magazine mastheads, social media was also becoming “a thing” and so it was pretty natural for my editorial roles to evolve. By the time I got to Allure as Digital Beauty Editor, I also ran the Snapchat account since I was going to so many crazy events all the time and loved capturing the madness around the office. That led me to Clique Media Group to launch a publication that lived entirely on social media which was really cool because it flexed my creativity to think of interesting ways to bring stories to life, primarily on Instagram Feed and Stories. I left that job to freelance write and consult brands and public figures on their digital and social strategies, which prepared me for this role at Instagram, since that’s essentially what I do now.

What was the best/worst piece of advice you ever received? 

It’s natural to have the urge to try to plan your whole life out, but it’s impossible considering how fast the media landscape is changing right now. Follow the jobs that spark joy in the present moment. I never originally would have guessed I’d end up in tech—mostly because this role didn’t exist a few years ago—but I followed my instincts and I’m so grateful for my path.