Friday, January 2, 2009

Quick Questions - Monica Herrera '02

by Leta Malloy '02

Where are you working now? What is your title? What does your job entail?
I am an Online Editor for, the leading web destination for acculturated Latinas. Along with one other colleague of mine, I'm responsible for writing about 50-60% of the content that we publish online--which runs the gamut from entertainment, fashion and beauty to politics, food and travel--and editing the rest, which is written by staffers and freelancers. We update the site with approximately 18-20 stories per day, so it moves quickly! And my primary focus is on music and entertainment - I do Q&As with celebrities, write our bigger packages (holiday movie guides, fashion week packages) etc., and update my own music blog on the site twice a week. I also write for the entertainment section of the magazine pretty often, and I did my first cover story in the summer of '08.

Tell me a perk or highlight of your job
I'm a big fan of live music, so one of the best perks for me is the chance to see concerts for free. No matter how big or small the artist is, if they're Latino and playing in NYC you'll probably see me there, because I need to constantly keep tabs on the whole scene. And yes, I do get to interview and meet celebs...though the thrill of that has mostly faded. The biggest perk, though, is definitely seeing my byline in print and on our website and getting feedback from our readers. Nothing beats that.

How did you come to Latina magazine? What has your career path looked like?
Actually, my first full-time job was as a publicist. I was hired following a post-grad internship that I landed after attending, of all things, a Learning Annex seminar about PR. I worked at a pretty well-known agency in NYC that handles the media campaigns for music artists and executives, nightclubs, restaurants, non profit organizations, etc. After spending two years pitching my story ideas to writers and producers, I realized that what I really wanted was to be on the other side of the media industry. So through a friend at MTV who had previously worked at Latina, I was able to land an interview for a job as an Editorial Assistant. I had to take a pretty big step back in order to switch careers, but it was completely worth it. Even though I work just as hard as I did in publicity, I'm much more gratified by what I do, so it hardly even feels like work most days.

What experiences at Brown helped you to get to where you are today?
Well I did take advantage of the career counseling services at Brown--they truly go above and beyond there to help you--so that came in handy when I was trying to make my resume stand out from the rest. But really, I'm defined by my experience at Brown in ways that I think I'm still realizing to this day. The most valuable thing for me was my network of classmates and friends, many of whom are now working in NY and have always provided me with a support system. And with its open curriculum, liberal arts roots and just overall independent spirit, Brown gave me the courage to take an unconventional path towards discovering what's become my dream job. Not many people would think that doing a post-grad internship--or attending a Learning Annex seminar in order to get it--would be the smartest way to get started on a career in media. But I figured, why not? That spirit and sense of fearlessness is something I definitely discovered in myself while at Brown

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