Tracy Perez is the beauty director for Parents and American Baby magazines. She has been working in the editorial industry for twelve years and has always had a passion for writing. Perez double-majored in Journalism and Spanish at Syracuse University and even wrote for her school and hometown papers while in high school. In addition to the print version of Parents, Tracy works on the tablet edition and blogs for Goodyblog.com.
Besides using her gift of writing, Tracy is passionate about her volunteer work with Girls Write Now, a non-profit organization that provides Latinas and other diverse young women a safe place to help them pursue their dreams of becoming writers. We spoke to the beauty director about her career, volunteer work, and advice for Latinas who want to pursue a career in the beauty and magazine industry.
What do you enjoy most about being a beauty director?
I love that no day is the same. I definitely spend less time at my desk than other editors. I regularly go to events for product launches and meet with the creators of beauty brands. I love that I’m constantly exposed to new things and creative people. And hey, it’s fun to play with makeup!
Was it hard for you to break into the editorial business being Latina?
The magazine industry is a great place to find strong female role models, so for that reason, I don’t think I was at a disadvantage trying to break into this business. In fact, I think that my “fluent in Spanish” bullet point on my résumé was a huge plus. It’s an important skill to have, especially when your job is all about communication and you’re living and working in a city as diverse as New York.
What inspired you to work with Girls Write Now?
Girls Write Now (girlswritenow.org) is a fantastic non-profit organization that pairs writing professionals with high school girls in underserved communities who have a strong interest in writing. I wanted to become a mentor because I remember how tumultuous those teenage years can be, and I hope that in some way I’m helping my mentee become more confident, not just in her writing ability, but in other areas of her life as well. My mentee and I meet up once a week one-on-one and do different writing exercises. Then once a month, GWN gets together as a group for writing workshops. So this experience has also helped me grow as a writer. For work, I have to stick to the journalistic style of writing. But thanks to the variety of genres we’re exposed to at the workshops, I’ve been able to dabble in poetry, memoir, and even science fiction.
Why is this organization important for the Latino community?
Even though our numbers are growing by the day, Latinos are still considered a minority. And minorities (and teenage girls!) often feel they don’t have a voice. Girls Write Now gives Latinas and other young women from diverse backgrounds a safe place to talk about their unique cultural experiences while helping them pursue their dreams of becoming writers.
What advice do you have for other Latinas who want to pursue a career in the beauty or magazine industry?
Be active on social networking sites and follow the movers and shakers in both industries to stay on top of the latest trends. Remember that the beauty and magazine industries are extremely fast-paced. You’ll need to hustle if you want to keep up, but it’s worth it if you’re doing something you love.
What gives you the most pride about being Latina?
I love that Latina women are celebrated for having curves. We’ve created our own definition of beauty, and to me, that’s beautiful.
Do you know someone who is an inspiring Latina? Nominate them by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!