Grace Gold's career is somewhat of a "dream is a wish your heart makes" story. While attending New York University to obtain a degree in journalism, Grace picked up a side job working as a beauty representative for Lancôme. It was through this position that she decided a career that fused beauty and journalism was in her future. Not being one to shy away from hard work, Grace worked tirelessly as an intern before landing a killer gig. But here's where Grace turns into a modern-day role model. She decided the job, as fabulous as it was, just wasn't the right fit for her. Why? She wanted to be on her own. She knew something better, something that fit just right, was out there for her. But the only person who could create that dream life was herself. So, she embarked on her own career and hasn't looked back since (aside from the time she takes to reflect on her path).
Grace is now a freelance beauty reporter for "The TODAY Show," People, People StyleWatch, Harper's Bazaar, Redbook, Elle.com, AOL.com, StyleList.com, The Daily Front Row, The Huffington Post and numerous other glamorous beauty outlets.
She's also a Fashion Week regular, author of "The Boob Job Bible: 10 Steps to a Sexy, Safe Breast Augmentation," and contributor to PBS's nationally syndicated "Healthy Body, Healthy Mind" migraine special.
A former competitive figure skater for 10 years, Grace still finds her zen on the ice when she needs to escape and relax. This former Miss New Jersey USA pageant semi-finalist also enjoys staying in shape and smart documentaries.
“Everyone has a story to tell, and every person has a lesson to teach you.”
How did you discover your current job?
I created it. When I was studying journalism at NYU, I took on a side job working as a makeup artist for Lancôme to make some extra bucks. But I had such a blast doing it that I decided I had to combine my two loves of writing and beauty together to create the ultimate career. Getting into magazines seemed the logical route to take, and so I went the extra mile in my internships and landed a prestigious job after much persistence and hard work -- a perfect start, so I thought. Yet I felt stifled working in an office environment. I had a distaste for navigating office politics daily, and I felt my most unique talents were going undeveloped while I was tasked with details that didn't have relevance to the big picture. Let me make it clear, though, that everyone I have ever worked directly for has been tremendous. And I don't just say that -- really, I was incredibly blessed in that sense. The typical office environment just wasn't for me. So I knew I had to become independent, at whatever cost.
What is your typical day like? What types of things do you do in your job?
Every day is different, and that's what I love most about what I do! Some days I'll hit a bunch of events (which usually take place throughout Manhattan) to see what new products and brand initiatives are launching, as well as what trends are emerging. I cover Fashion Week and interview celebrities and newsmakers for assignments. I try out beauty products and treatments for story consideration, which is definitely the best perk. I put together on-air beauty segments for television. I often meet for lunch or coffee with industry experts and publicists who have news to share, so I can stay on top of the latest technology. I occasionally travel for press events, which I love to do. I put aside time to assess where I am, where I want to go and to build mentoring-type friendships with other independents -- all essentials to being a successful freelancer. My most work-intensive days are dedicated to writing and churning out content on deadline, as well as pitching stories to the outlets with which I have writing relationships. I write from the peace and quiet of my home.
What is the most rewarding part of your job? The most challenging?
Nothing compares to the feeling you get when a reader reaches out to let you know something you've written has changed their life. You may think that's incredulous with beauty such a seemingly "superficial" topic, but the truth is it's inextricably linked to our identities as humans, and it can really transform peoples' lives. I also love to hear that a small business or start-up (often woman-owned in this industry) has grown, or a charity has raised funds as a result of my featuring it.
The most challenging part is the uncertainty of being a freelancer. Really, "security" is more a state of mind than it is a job, in my opinion, and I think the recession has especially shown that. But it's easier to slip into feelings of vulnerability and uncertainty when you're on your own.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you have to make because of your job?
I'm never really "off." Unlike someone who comes home from a 9 to 5 and is off' until they're in the office again, my work and strategizing never takes a break. Building a personal brand or small business doesn't happen between tidy, convenient hours -- especially when it's your goal to grab every opportunity that presents itself. My private and professional life are basically the same. It's really less of a permanent sacrifice, and more of something I need to learn to transform for myself as I continue down this path.
What is one lesson you've learned in your job that sticks with you?
Everyone has a story to tell, and every person has a lesson to teach you. Don't ever think you're above someone. You're the one missing out if you do.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge for women today, particularly females in your industry?
I feel like it's the big challenge for women everywhere, regardless of what they do: How do you balance your private life and career? We've come light-years ahead in terms of what women today are doing, but the social roles and expectations we still have of women are seriously lagging behind.
Who are your role models?
Hillary Clinton, Christiane Amanpour, Lisa Ling and Maya Angelou. All are women who push the boundaries and personify fearlessness -- in their own, unique way.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Stop taking life so personally. Really, it's not about you. Once I really got this, my professional life took off. But I'm not saying it's an easy one. I have to coach myself on it DAILY.
What advice do you have for girls who want to be in your industry?
Don't view other women as your competition. Your only competition is time. Find like-minded girl friends, support one another, grow together and dominate.
Where do you see yourself five years from now?
I'd love to tell you I've figured out how to get rich as a journalist. Why shouldn't that be possible?
Is there anything else you would like to add?
Always take the time to write hand-written thank you notes and buy the quality paper. Gratitude is a scarce commodity, and people truly appreciate it when you show it. A heart-crafted thank you card has opened many a door to me.