Name: Akesha Reid
Job title: Acting Editor
Time in current role: 9 months
Alesha is the Acting Editor at Blackhair Magazine. Visit her blog – www.keeksreid.com and follow her on Twitter @keeksreid
How did you land your current job?
I always knew I wanted to be a writer so as soon as I got the chance I did my first bit of work experience at the now defunct Sugar Magazine, which completely cemented my interest in the industry.
I did more work experience throughout my teens at Instyle, Hair and Notebook magazine, which is where I went back to after finishing university in 2013. My plan was to stay there until I got a permanent job, because at the time I’d only work as and when they needed me.
I was only applying for internships at that point until I came across the advert for the role of Editorial Assistant at Blackhair Magazine. I never thought I’d get the job as I’d just left uni but I think the editor felt how passionate I was and decided to give me a chance (I was so fresh out of university that I had to take annual leave to go to my graduation!). A year later my editor announced that she was pregnant and I was promoted to Editor to cover her maternity leave.
What are the key functions of your role?
As the editor I oversee everything that goes into the magazine each issue. Our writers pitch me their ideas and I choose the ones that will fit best in the issue we’re working on. We’ll then sit in an editorial meeting and talk the ideas through so we are all on the same page and I address anything that we need to work on and give them any feedback from the last issue.
I also have to work closely with our advertising manager so I’ll talk with her about brands we should be reaching out to and attend meetings with her and external brand managers. As I’m a bit of a social media addict I schedule a lot of the magazine’s Facebook and Twitter posts.
Then there’s the admin side which is basically just making sure I stay in budget each issue.The best part about being the editor of such a small team is that writing is still a big part of my role. At the end of each issue I’ll sit with the magazine designer and go through all the corrections made by the external proofreader, before sending the magazine off to be printed.
Talk us through your typical day at work
I have two types of days at work as I work from home two days a week. On these days I’ll wake up at about 6.45am, make myself tea and visit some of my favourite sites like refinery29 and The Debrief. When I work from home I try to get out of the house before I start work as it really helps my productivity, so I’ll either go for a jog or go for a coffee depending on how active I’m feeling.
When I’m in the office the first thing I do is catch up with my team and talk about what they’ll be doing that day and then I make a start on a feature or do some research. Our office is really chatty and we are always joking around and working concurrently. At lunch we’ll eat and then do something fun – if it’s warm we’ll go outside to the park, otherwise we’ll do a silly online quiz or game. It’s such a relaxed vibe 90% of the time. We finish at 5.30pm but after my commute I’ll be home at about 7.30pm.
How would your colleagues describe you in three words?
Eeek…I’d like to say ‘happy, ambitious and funny’ but it would probably be ‘crazy south Londoner’.
Your favourite part of the job?
My colleagues. I couldn’t ask for a lovelier, harder-working team, they make me excited to go back into the office on a Wednesday. I’m the youngest person in my whole company so when I was promoted to Editor it meant that all my team was older than me, even my new Editorial Assistant! But they made the step up so much easier and I literally couldn’t do my job without them. Also, I love the feeling that comes when you send an issue to the printers – it’s like handing in your dissertation, that feeling of completion. And when you see a stranger reading your magazine that you created – that’s amazing.
…and the part you could do without?
This is the most responsibility I’ve ever had, which is quite daunting at times. I’m 24, single with no kids – I’m even the youngest child in my family, so I’ve always had decisions made for me. As an editor everything falls on my shoulders and a bad decision can have big ramifications. It’s definitely something I’m getting used to now, but at first it was a big shock.
Plans for the future?
I would love to have more of an online presence. As I mentioned before I am a social media addict so that side of things comes quite naturally to me and I’d love to contribute to more online platforms and websites. As much as I adore physical magazines and literally buy and subscribe to almost every woman’s monthly magazine, I know that it’s a dying industry so I’m all for it being reborn online. Also fictional writing is something that I’ve always done but have never shared so I would love to write a novella one day. Teenage coming of age stories are my favourite.
Do you have any advice for others aspiring to break into your field?
The main thing I’d say is ‘believe in yourself’. So, so cheesy but I think that it’s the best thing you could ever do for your career. It’s really easy to think like I did and doubt yourself, but if you don’t believe in your own ability why would anyone else? If you think you have something to offer then be confident in that. LLY