Award-winning beauty journalist, stylist and brand consultant who’s editorial work has appeared in the likes of Red, ELLE, Vogue, The Times and The Mail, Rosie Green is hugely accomplished in her field. While magazines and the nature of journalism are changing, Rosie reminds us that there will always be beauty and content, and her personal success is testament to the fact that there is no need to fear such changes.
You are one of the UK’s most read and followed beauty journalists. Is this your dream job? How did you end up in this career?
I have always loved magazines. One day, I came across the Vogue Young Writer Competition, which required you to submit 3 pieces of writing – so, I did it. I was so sure I was not going to win, and I left for a holiday in America shortly after. It wasn’t until I was on lying on a beach in Cape Cod when the Vogue Editor called me to announce that in fact I had won!
I ended it up spending one month interning at Vogue in London. It was so petrifying; everyone was very sophisticated. It was a world I was totally unfamiliar with and I was way out of my comfort zone.
It was the Devil Wears Prada all over. I didn’t even know how to put through a call when a very well-known photographer called, in fact I cut him off twice… in a row.
I tried to get a job at Vogue following the internship, but I did not get one. They had a position, but they just didn’t give it to me. It is actually interesting to reflect on how all these little things make your life. One door closes, and you have to figure out how to open another one. I remember myself writing dozens of cover letters after my work experience at Vogue trying to move forward.
Eventually I got an internship at ELLE Magazine where I worked for free for almost a year and a half, and by that point I really thought I wasn’t going to make it anywhere, but I did manage to find a position. I became a beauty writer and worked my way up to become Beauty Director.
If you had to break down your career into 3 main stages, what would they be?
First one would be applying to the Vogue Writing Competition, definitely. That whole initial period of moving to London from my hometown of Birmingham, learning to get by in such a competitive environment, it taught me never to give up.
Then, it was when I finally convinced someone to let me conduct my first shoot as a stylist.
And after that, I’d say it was when I stood in for my boss on the cover shoot of Sarah Jessica Parker.
I learned a lot about the politics that go on at work through those experiences, and I also learned how to shake the hierarchy gently to obtain responsibility. I’ve never rocked the boat or gone behind anyone’s back to get to where I am, but just through having confidence in myself I’ve managed to have my dream job.
I don’t think there’s luck that comes into these things per se, it’s more like you have to create your own good fortune and make sure that you are always in the right place at the right time. Be strategic about rising up!
Which of the following statements best describes the way you handle your career?
I embrace the unexpected / I make each move as a chess stroke.
I would love to give you a definitive answer, but it’s a bit of a grey area. You have to find that balance between being strategic but not being too rigid about exactly what the destination should look like, otherwise you might find yourself disappointed.
You will experience highs and lows naturally, all the time, so you have to learn how to enjoy the way down as much as admiring the view from the top! You have to learn about emotional moderation as well. You should celebrate when something works but don’t get too ahead of yourself, and likewise if something fails, you can’t allow yourself to be a defeatist.
Basically, it’s important to have a vision in mind about what you’re aiming for but be prepared to use your energy to embrace the unexpected, and make the most out of it.
Can you tell us about one woman who has helped to shape you into who you are today?
That would definitely be my mother. She was kind of a hippy, and in a way my career has been a reaction to that. The greatest gift she gave me was self-confidence, which is ironic because she herself is not that confident. Sometimes I think the beauty of motherhood or sisterhood can give you a sense of empowerment that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
What is the atmosphere like working in a female dominated industry?
From my point of view, the beauty industry is much softer than the fashion industry. I genuinely think that this industry has a reputation for being kind of bitchy, full of people stepping over each other to get to where they want to be, but I think it comes down to the individual. If you’re nice to people, then that will come back around and help you go forward.
I went through some tough times recently and I got a lot of support from people in the industry, and when I thanked them for being so supportive, they reminded me that I had done the same for them. I think there are times that call for sharpness and decisive action, but kindness is always the best strategy.
The change that I see happening is due to the younger generation who really embrace sharing, and it’s a great process to watch.
You’ve collaborated with some outstanding women, from the likes of Laura Mercier to Sarah Jessica Parker. What are the qualities that tie these sorts of inspiring women together?
Generosity of spirit. The women that I found the most inspiring were those who were willing to share – little things like where you got your manicure from, to knowledge and important advice. And of course, their genuine love of beauty and passion for the industry!
What is your advice to young girls looking to pursue a career in beauty journalism?
I would be worried about starting a career in magazines when we don’t know if there will be magazines in the future – but there will always be content – beautiful pictures and writing.
The advice I want to give is to be happy doing any little task you are doing. Always look at different tasks and jobs as an opportunity to learn, no matter how small, and look for the beauty in all that you do. If you can learn to enjoy your daily work, then you won’t have to spend your energy being frustrated and impatient for more.
QUICK FIRE QUESTIONS
Your first beauty memory?
A friend of my father who gave me a 5-pack of Estée Lauder samples. I was instantly obsessed.
Your morning routine?
I simplified it drastically because I was overloading my skin. So now I only use a cleanser, prescription creams and SPF!
You can use only one beauty product for the rest of your life, which one do you choose?
If it’s makeup, it is mascara. I got my eyeliner tattooed on, so that’s one less thing to worry about! I love Charlotte Tilbury as a brand. Charlotte Tilbury (the woman) and I actually had our first business trip for ELLE together. I was an assistant on a shoot in Marrakech at La Mamounia. We did not know each other at all and yet we had to share a room together! We were told not to take anything from the minibar, but we were so excited, we took everything! We felt so fancy doing that, until we got charged for it…
A beauty trend you don’t understand?
Very thick eyebrows.
A beauty trend you would say came way too late?
SPF! There is a whole generation of people with very bad sun damage.
You have one piece of beauty advice to give to your daughter. What do you say?
Don’t mess with your eyebrows!