Around three years ago, I was at that oh-so-pleasant point in life where I had absolutely zero inkling about where I wanted to go or what I wanted to do. To be fair, I was only 19 at the time; I don’t think anyone was expecting me to have my life properly planned out. Still, I was feeling utterly and completely lost. I was attending a college I wasn’t happy at, I was fresh out of a break up, and I had no clue where my future was heading. All I knew at the time was that I loved to read and write. As I clung to these passions during this difficult period, I also stumbled upon my dream career: literary publishing. It should have been obvious to me all along, I simply needed to turn my love of books into my job! I then had to ask myself: Where is the home of literary publishing in the United States? New York City, of course.
When I realized that this dream would involve me moving to one of the largest cities in the world and entering into one of the most competitive industries, I doubted myself. I had lived in Louisiana almost my entire life. I barely knew how to navigate downtown Shreveport, let alone having to figure out New York freaking City! I wasn’t sure that I could make it, but I am not one to back down from a challenge. So I set my sights on NYC and started taking the steps to get there.
Cue the arrival of Lola Magazine. I knew I didn’t stand a chance in New York if I didn’t have some real-world experience, so I searched for a publishing position in Shreveport. Somehow, I got hold of Carie Hart’s phone number and I called. And I called. And I called, each time asking if they needed an assistant on their team. Finally, I pestered Carie to her breaking point and she gave me an interview. Sitting down with Bevin and Carie, I told them about my dreams for publishing, my educational background in English, and my determination. They gave me the chance I needed and it was a match made in heaven.
I adored working with Lola. Whether I was writing and editing articles, working alongside the wonderful Brittany Strickland in photoshoots, or organizing wardrobe for the next fashion spread, I enjoyed every second of my work. Along with my new job, I also threw myself into my schoolwork and graduated with highest honors, I took on side jobs with my college’s publishing press, and I somehow managed to meet and fall in love with the one New Jerseyan guy in all of Louisiana who had equal dreams for a career in New York. As the years passed, I saw the magazine grow and I saw myself grow with it.
Fast forward to May 2019. As much as I loved my job with Lola, it had to come to an end. I said my goodbyes and hopped on a plane, hand in hand with my boyfriend, as we flew up north together. While everyone else from my graduating class spent the summer lounging on beaches and soaking up the sun, I spent the summer applying to endless jobs and seeing constant rejection letters. By the time the end of July rolled around, I started to think that I would never get my foot in the door with New York publishing. Finally, however, I got a response from an independent but international publishing house, Austin Macauley Publishers. After two interviews and a lot of nail biting, Austin Macauley offered me a position as an Editorial Assistant. I had achieved what had been my goal for years: I had gotten into a publishing house! Still today, there are times where I just sit back and think to myself, “I can’t believe I actually did it.”
I miss Louisiana. I miss walking down my street on summer evenings, when the unbearable heat has finally loosened up and I’m serenaded by the cicadas in the pecan trees. I miss the smell of burning leaves. I miss sitting on the banks of the Red River with my friends. I miss the FOOD, gumbo, crawfish, jambalaya, dear Lord please give me something with Cajun spice!
But I love New York. I love the bustle, I love the grime, I love the endless amounts of scaffolding. I love how everyone packs into one subway car like sardines and how people blatantly ignore the crosswalk signals. I love the lack of southern hospitality yet the unspoken loyalty and even begrudging love New Yorkers hold toward their city.
I don’t know where the future will take me. I mean, I’m only 22 and I am in no rush. Whether I stay in New York for the rest of my life, move back to the south, or go somewhere different altogether, the one thing I know for sure is that I will always be proud of achieving this step in life and grateful for the people who helped me get here.