Gabrielle Korn, former EIC of nylon and author
Gabrielle Korn, former EIC of Nylon magazine, speaks exclusively to thecnnekt about her journey as a young editor challenging media norms. We have been following her work for a while- not only because of her unique views, but because of her courageousness to be truly and authentically herself in a world that may not have been ready for it. YES, QUEEN. (First and hopefully not last time we use this expression).
Gabrielle, you are a young editor challenging traditional media ideals. Can you tell us about your journey?
I started off as an activist—I used to help plan the NYC Dyke March, and volunteer at The Lesbian Herstory Archives. In college I worked at Babeland and my first job was at an abortion clinic. I came to fashion in a very roundabout way, and have been lucky enough to always have editors who supported my unconventional approach to it: mainly that I'm interested in dismantling the fashion and beauty industries. I eventually went to Refinery29 as a production assistant and stayed until I became a beauty editor, making a name for myself by writing about queer signifiers and generally shaking up how the brand approached what beauty means to millennials. I went to Nylon in 2014 as a senior editor, and helped create a strong digital presence. I became the digital director within a few years and became the editor-in-chief when the magazine folded in 2017. I restructured the editorial strategy to be values-driven, centering our content around anti-racism, queer inclusivity, and body positivity, while still focusing on emerging pop culture. I left the company this past August after two years as EIC, and since then have finished my memoir and begun freelance writing again.
Because of your age, gender and openess about being a lesbian, have you experienced discrimination for this? How did you overcome and push forward?
Yeah, of course. Everyone always wanted to tell me that I was too young to have my job.
I was the only lesbian EIC and the youngest woman to have the position, so I had a lot to prove. I overcame it by doing my best and trusting my own work to speak for itself.
Speaking of gender, you are known to address your audiences as “they” versues the past of “she”. We at thecnnekt have done the same. However, both of our brands are clearly passionate and genuine about this transition. Have you noticed others using it for “trend” sales or relevancy?
I think brands have noticed that women are more likely to share their content if they see themselves reflected on it. Regardless of the intention of those changes—if it's for revenue purposes or because it's the right thing to do—the outcome is positive.
You were a major part in bringing NYLON into the digital space. Do you see the value in print still and if it will make a comeback? And how is digital changing how we consume information and content?
I think it's important to meet readers where they are at. If you're making content in a format that no one cares about, what's the point? Who are you making it for? Certainly not the readers, because they aren't reading it. I don't think print will make a come back. I think there will be a new way to consume media that hasn't even been dreamed up yet.
You have recently stepped down from NYLON’s EIC after an amazing 5 year legacy. You are missed, however, we know BIG things are in your future. What can we expect next from YOU, Gabrielle?
Thank you. My book comes out June 1 and in the meantime I'll be writing my heart out—something I didn't have time to do when I was EIC.
interviewed by Emily