Hey Daise! Tell us a little about you...
Oh man, this question always throws me into an existential loop! But let’s get to it: I was born in Guanajuato, Mexico and moved to the United States when I was six years old, now twenty years ago! I grew up in a small town in Pennsylvania that’s mainly known for its mushrooms (like the kind you find at the grocery store, not shrooms … this is a very common question people ask me!). I was that kid obsessed with writing — stories, poems, in my diary, you name it. I moved to New York eight years ago for college and worked my way to New York magazine, where I am now The Cut’s Social Media Editor and a beauty columnist — I write our Why Is Your Skin So Good and Auto-Refill series, in which I talk with people about their beauty philosophies, habits, and purchases. Also on the list of things I love: music (the new Kali Uchis album is on repeat), cookbooks (but reading them more than actually using them to cook), and telling the story of my encounter with Rihanna at the 2017 Met Gala (I promise it’s good).
I wanna hear more about your time as a social media expert, writer, and editor? How did you end up here?
A lot of getting here has been making it up along the way, hard work, and trusting my gut, and it might be cliche, but it all began with my first trip to NYC. A then-mentor (that I was assigned in fourth grade because I was so shy … or so they tell me!) brought me to the city to see The Lion King on Broadway for my thirteenth birthday. It feels dramatic to say that it changed my life, but it truly opened me up to what my life could look like. For the train ride home, she bought me a copy of Teen Vogue (I’m fairly certain it was the September 2007 issue with Anne Hathaway on the cover), and it clicked that working for a magazine was an actual job people had. It was inconceivable to me before then honestly — I didn’t know anyone who lived or worked in New York, let alone for a magazine.
All throughout college, I was told that getting hired in the media industry would involve a combination of hard work, determination, and luck — basically, that you need to have the work ethic to back up an opportunity when luck strikes. I still think that’s true (even beyond media), and after interning throughout college, I joined Vogue as an Editorial Producer. Then when The Cut was looking for a new Social Media Editor, it felt like the perfect fit.
I feel really lucky to be able to do social and write about beauty at the same time for The Cut. I didn’t feel like I had examples of people to look to in this industry when I was younger — part of it was that the industry was just so foreign to me — and now it’s important to me to talk to and feature people who don’t always see themselves represented either. Even when you’re talking to people about something like the type of face cream they use, it goes a long way to see yourself in their experience, their voice, and their background. That’s honestly what makes me really excited and proud to be an editor.
Who inspires you most in the industry?
Right now, everyone on TikTok! I’m always in awe of how creative people are on the platform. I’m obsessed with a hilarious account called Sylvanian Drama. Must-follows if you’re also on skin care TikTok: Charlotte Palermino and Amy Chang. Besides TikTok, I especially look to Latinx women who are advocates for other Latinx women in media and who aren’t afraid to speak up when it matters like Daniela Pierre Bravo, Lilliana Vazquez, and Cristela Alonzo.
As you know – we're all about community. How has your community helped you personally?
I always hear that it takes a village to raise a kid, but I think the same can be said for building a career! I was the first person in my family to go to college so from the moment I began applying to universities, everything was a new and foreign experience for both myself and my family. It was only through people’s generosity that I learned about building a “network,” that I was supposed to apply to internships, how to search for jobs in the media industry, how to negotiate salaries, and so much more. I can’t count the number of people who’ve offered to introduce me to a friend of theirs or let me ask them questions about their own career or given me advice. I’m still at the beginning of my career, but I know that the smallest amount of time and advice can make a big difference, and that’s why it’s so important to me to be open about my own experience in the industry.
How do you set yourself apart in an industry that's so saturated?
I speak to what I know and what I love. I always have to remind myself not to diminish my perspective or any one part of myself. That can be really tough, but I think when you’re authentic and clear about who you are, people take notice.
What's the key to a successful column?
The best interviews are the ones where people are totally open and don’t hold back. When I’m interviewing someone about their beauty habits and philosophies, I love when people aren’t afraid to discuss every single part of their routines and philosophies. Transparency is key! Especially if we want to change problematic beauty standards. For example, my friends and I have this running joke about how you’ll ask some people (usually celebs) for skin tips, and they’ll tell you to drink warm water with lemon. By now, we probably all know of the importance of drinking water, but what else? Especially if you’re handing out tips or advice, be open and transparent about everything else you use, do, and take, too, so we’re not creating false expectations for people, and simultaneously, perpetuating beauty myths. Obviously, this conversation is very layered and there are so many societal constructs at play, but transparency is crucial, and time and time again, I’ve found that the best columns are the ones where subjects come in with a no holds barred attitude.
How do you keep up the creativity when planning and crafting articles, especially with the constant change in trends?
People probably don’t need me to remind them of the importance of disconnecting, but especially as someone whose job is on social media, I’ve found that taking even the smallest of breaks is so important. Especially over the last year, when we’ve been overloaded with (often heavy) news, stepping away from it all for even a few hours is key. I love this article.
Josh Gondelman wrote for the Cut called “Sitting on the Couch Is My New Favorite Hobby.” I know a lot of people feel guilty for just lounging and doing nothing — I’m one of them — but it’s so nice to just give into the nothingness sometimes.