April Long – Senior Beauty & Fitness Editor, Elle
After earning her master’s degree in art theory from the Art Institute of Chicago, April Long was convinced of one thing: she did not want to be an art writer.
Instead, she jetted off to London for an internship with “a dinky little magazine that doesn’t exist anymore and, in fact, barely existed then,” Long explained.
But as an intern she got to try a little bit of everything, and soon took to music writing.
“It wasn’t something I had considered seriously as a career option by any means,” Long said. “But I had always loved music, as many of us do, and it just really clicked with me.”
So she sent in submissions to NME, the U.K.’s largest weekly music magazine, and began freelancing for them until they brought her on as assistant live reviews editor. This new gig was a dream come true for Long.
“I was going to shows every night and doing interviews with everybody that I had ever wanted to do interviews with,” she explained. “My first cover story for them was the Beastie Boys, and it was absolutely terrifying.”
While still working for NME, Long heard from a friend that a British version of VH1’s Pop-Up Video was in the works. He recommended her for the show and after writing a knockout sample script, she landed the job, but the show only lasted one season.
“It didn’t really resonate over there very well,” Long explained. “Here it was such a huge thing, so they brought me over here to New York to work on the regular show.”
Back in the states, she continued freelancing, predominately sticking to music coverage. Long stayed with Pop-Up Video until its cancellation, and in 2004 she joined the staff of Nylon.
“Initially when I started at Nylon my main focus was music,” Long said. “But being such a small magazine, there’s a lot of latitude to write for whatever department you want to. That’s where I started to do a lot more celebrity stuff, a lot more beauty, a little bit of fashion. It was pretty easy to figure out what I liked.”
This summer, Elle magazine snagged her from Nylon, naming her senior beauty and fitness editor. Long’s first day was August 4. Since then, she has immersed herself in the world of beauty. Though the majority of her career has been spent covering music, she welcomes the challenge of her new beats.
“It’s incredibly refreshing to me. It’s almost like learning a new language in some ways,” Long explained. “A lot of beauty stuff is kind of intrinsically not particularly interesting or is something that everybody’s seen before, so it kind of forces you to think of it in new ways and be more creative in order to present it in a new, original way, and I really love that.”
And for Long, simply working for Elle is a beautiful thing.
“Oh, I love Elle!” she said. “It’s long been the only women’s magazine that I sort of devoured cover to cover. They take very interesting and unusual paths into the topics that all magazines cover, but Elle has a very distinctive approach that I really love, so obviously I was sold as far as coming here. ”
“I like pitches when they’re short and sweet. When it’s too much, even if it’s really good, because I’m so busy I’ll shelve it and say, ‘Oh, I’ll look at that later,’ and then I don’t because I have so much going on,” Long said. “It’s nice to get e-mail pitches that are short and to the point.”
She underscored that the key to pitching the magazine is to really know the magazine. Make sure the pitch is appropriate for the publication.
“When I was at Nylon I used to get the craziest pitches,” she said. “It was like, ‘Really, have you ever seen Nylon?’”
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