I grew up in Manhattan—the Upper West Side. My mom still lives there. The whole area has changed quite a bit. When I was growing up, it was like the “bad” neighborhood started across the street, but now it's the “good” neighborhood. There's a Whole Foods on my street now; before it was like a shady deli.

I went to Nightingale, which is an all-girls school. It's tiny. There's like 30 people in a grade, so you know everyone. And those people are still my best friends.

My mom wanted me to go there. I don't think she needed it to be all girls, but she wanted me to get a rigorous, awesome education, and I really did. Eight hours of homework a night. They bombard you with great messaging, like, “You can do anything.” They really build you up. It's a bubble for sure, but it was a good bubble for me. I was on financial aid, but I didn't even think of it as “I have to do well or I'll get kicked out,” you know? Somehow my mom warped me in such a way that it was like, you have to do well because you want to do well.

High school was so intense that you feel prepared for anything by comparison. It certainly wasn’t easy when I got to college—I went to Amherst–but I was prepared. That was also just being from New York. You’ve been to a bar. You don’t necessarily go off the rails with drinking and partying because you’ve done that in high school. We hung out at clubs. Not totally bad, but we did some stuff.

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In first grade we got an assignment to write about an “amazing experience.” I wrote about my umbilical hernia operation.

My mom’s worked at the New Yorker forever. Like 25 years. She's a copy editor. She’s so literary. We're very much opposites. We get along amazingly, and we're closer than can be, but she sort of dresses and speaks like an old British governess. Her diction is perfect and she enunciates and she's obsessed with grammar. Not obsessed in an annoying way, but we'll be arguing over text and she'll correct something I'm saying, you know? She's really into it.

Growing up, she would post vocab words on my bathroom mirror to the point where I couldn't even see myself. There were so many. She always impressed the importance of words on me. I didn't read the New Yorker for so long because she would inundate me with copies and so to be perverse I wouldn't read them. But jokes on me because, well, it’s the New Yorker.

In first grade we got an assignment to write about an “amazing experience.” Kids wrote about things like cool vacations they’d gone on, going to the zoo, birthday parties, sticker collections, etcetera. I wrote about my umbilical hernia operation. I delighted in going into the gory details—how the doctor had put me to sleep to slice me open, the alarmingly crusty scab aftermath. I may have embellished and worked in somewhere how I could’ve died. We had to read out loud what we’d written, and I loved the reaction my story got. For the rest of the day I was the queen—kids came up to me and begged me to show them my scabby hernia scar. The power of storytelling! So, yeah, I always wanted to work at a magazine.

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I got my start at Lucky as an Associate Beauty Editor. But before that I was a production assistant, I was a waitress—things I didn't want to do but needed just to pay my rent.

I was a P.A. for this show on A&E called Manhunters. Ugh, I hated it so much. It was about U.S. Marshals catching criminals. It was a fine show but it just wasn't what I wanted to do. It would've been super exciting for someone who wanted to become a producer and they were getting their start in that industry, but I didn't want to do that. I was pretty miserable there. I remember wishing that I'd get hit by a car, not to die, but just to not have to go to work.

I was the lowliest of assistants. Part of the job was that I would have to drive to Costco once a month to get snacks for the office. So one day they were like, “Okay, maybe you can go to Costco on Tuesday.” And I was like, “Sure.” And Tuesday came and they were like, “Here’s the money and here are the car keys.” And I was like, “Oh, I don't know how to drive.” They just assumed that I had a license. And so it was a huge fuck up on someone's part that the lowliest assistant they'd hired couldn't drive.

I still don’t have a license. That's a summer goal. I need to get on that. It seems terrifying to me to drive. It's so funny because New York City kids grow up and they're so savvy to the world. And yet we can't do the simplest things.

I was at Manhunters for a little over a year. The day I left, I threw everything into the trash, like in a movie. It was so rude. I didn't storm out, but it was just insensitive. I got a gig with People as a stringer, going to red carpet events and writing little newsy bits. And then I got the Lucky job.

I never cared about beauty.

After I graduated college, I went for an informational interview at Lucky with Jean Godfrey-June. She was the coolest. I really wanted to work there, but there were no openings.

I followed up with her for five years. I’d send her an email once a year for literally five years. And she'd always write back and be like, “Oh, I'll keep you in mind, we've don’t have any anything right now.”

And on the fifth year, I'm not kidding, I shot her an email and she was like, “Actually, my associate beauty editor is leaving, would you want to come in and interview for the position?” And I went in and I got it. I'll forever be grateful for her because she hired me as an associate. I mean, I'd done freelance writing, but I hadn't had a magazine gig before. So it was a leap of faith on her part.

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I'm really into the connection between beauty and wellness. Just the simple connection that if you want your skin to look great, eat well so you don't break out.


I never cared about beauty. I cared about it in the sense that everyone sort of cares about it. I had my favorite lip balm, I loved Kiehl's lotion, you know, but I never thought about it and I didn't really know that beauty editing—or beauty writing—was a thing. When I read magazines, it was for the fashion and pop culture. But beauty writing is cool because you have to be really creative. You're writing about things that are potentially very boring. It's not just writing about makeup and lipstick, but the mood behind it. And now beauty is wellness. Those are intertwined, so that's a whole new genre that's emerged. And I'm doing a lot of wellness editing, which I love.

It’s something I think about a lot in my personal life. My mom has always been sort of a natural freak. She's Jamaican—maybe that has something to do with it. We didn't take Advil or Tylenol growing up; we suffered through our headaches. I still don't take a lot of medicine. I mean, if I'm sick, antibiotics are amazing, but I don't do Tylenol and Advil that often. I'm definitely a purist. My mom made us drink raw vegetable juices and eat salmon for dinner. We had Pop-Tarts too, but she was into health.

I'm really into the connection between beauty and wellness. Just the simple connection that if you want your skin to look great, eat well so you don't break out.

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Beauty is so personal. I hate getting a blowout, or getting my hair done, because I just think it looks too perfect for me. I like to look a little rumpled. I love vintage clothes, and things that are worn because they're soft and they have a certain melody to them. For example, one of my beauty tricks is I always try to go for a run before a wedding because it just gives you this nice flush and energy. And your hair is sweaty and it sets in a nice way.

I really love working at Goop. I’m not just saying that. Lucky was so specific because it was a shopping magazine. You really had to make the captions and the writing sing. You were selling things. But at Goop, it’s different. We write about things we sell, obviously, but we write about more than that. You can wax poetic more at Goop. It's the internet. There's more space. It makes all the difference.

People always ask about Gwyneth, like, “Oh, is she ever in the office?” And yes, she’s in the office! She’s one billion percent the boss. She signs off on absolutely everything, she leads the staff meeting every Tuesday, she is totally hands on. She’s also funny and vibrant. It’s very much her company, and it’s her brilliance that’s powering Goop. I also look forward to seeing what cool things she’s wearing.

I think we’ve been really open to covering weed at Goop because it has proven benefits. If you need it, it can be hugely therapeutic. And it can be done in a chic way, like with the Dosist pens. We featured those in the magazine—they come in a beautiful array of formulations. I think the point of Goop is to present alternative therapies. It's nice to know alternative ways to make yourself feel great.

I used to smoke weed, and then, like every idiot, I ate too many brownies one day—way too many—and it just put me off forever. It was that bad. I’ve tried some of the newer products, but I proceed with caution. I have some 1906 chocolates that I love. That brand is awesome. They're great and strong. But dosing is so individual.

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There's no way of making stress go away, so I'm really determined to figure out a way to live with it.

The last year since the election has been extremely stressful. I think you have to do things in your home—amp up the rituals—that are soothing and de-stressing. Take more baths, aromatherapy. Baking is definitely one of my rituals. I also just wrote a story about how I go to delis in New York and buy those abundant eucalyptus bushes and then you string them from your shower head, and the steam bubbles up and infuses the whole room with this amazing eucalyptus smell. It's like a hamam. It's amazing. They can get stinky though. You gotta switch them out. But you could also use eucalyptus essential oil. Just put a few drops in the shower when it’s steamy and it has the same effect.

If you're bad sleeper, there're a lot of things you can do. My husband is an insomniac. I'm actually a rare, amazing sleeper. It's like a joke, or a super power. Even if I'm stressed, I fall into a coma. A fire would not wake me up; I'd be burned alive. But my husband sucks at sleeping. He wakes up all night, can't turn off his brain. So we do massages a lot, with oils. And it just feels heavenly. It's in your bed, so it's not like a real massage where you emerge bleary eyed from the treatment room and have to get home after.

I do get stressed though. I think I'm good at turning it off at intervals. I'll be stressed, sitting at my desk, and then I'll decide to go take a walk or leave for lunch, and I can leave it there. And then I walk right back into it, but I can go outside and be, and forget my worries for half an hour. I feel like I'm not gonna survive in my industry, or in this world, if I can't do that. There's no way of making the stress go away, so I'm really determined to figure out a way to live with it. Because I'd be miserable otherwise.

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Beauty editors get sent a lot of stuff. It's so overwhelming. I'm buried in stuff. It's awesome. Anything you can imagine. Beauty, wellness potions, powders, supplements, balms, muscle soothers—everything. I got a car seat last week. The week before I got taco heater. You get a lot of stuff. So much stuff. But you have to write about it. So it’s work.

I try to test everything I get sent. I really do try a ton. I haul things home on the subway and I try it. But there's always more to try, so I either hoard it some back closet—literally my closet is full of beauty products–or I have a friend come take it. It's a cycle.

You have to give things a little time to work. But that said, when something's spectacular, you see a difference. Not immediately, but you can tell when something's spectacular. Maybe it makes you instantly gleamy, or maybe it just smells insane.

I would write about anything. But I didn't know I liked beauty until I did it. I guess some people think beauty is frivolous. It is most definitely not. Anything you do—putting on lipstick, getting a blowout, painting your nails, creating a steadfast skin regimen—to look and feel beautiful is important. You walk a little differently when you love how you look.

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This conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity. Megan O'Neill photographed by Meredith Jenks at her home in New York City.