In my world, beauty editors are magicians, so able to influence the trajectory of my brand and the success of my products that they sometimes seem intimidating. Alexandra Gonzalez, Beauty Assistant at Real Simple magazine (to which I have subscribed since the very first issue), is absolutely a magician. Having had the pleasure of getting to know her better, I realized that while she is indeed all-powerful, she is also kind (I love her last piece of advice), endearing (in particular in her state of bliss over being engaged and wedding planning), and truly fascinated with our industry, always trying to learn more (during her facial in my Georgetown showroom she couldn’t help herself but pick the brain of my aesthetician Rosario – in her native Spanish – rather than relaxing). Cherry on the cake? She is native to the DC area!
AP: What city were you born in? AG: A suburb of Washington DC, Bethesda Maryland.
AP: What city to do you live in? AG: New York City. I moved here for college (I went to Fashion Institute), fell in love and never left.
AP: What is your middle name? AG: Rebecca, my brother picked it out. He wanted it to be my first name so we’d have the same initials but our mom and dad compromised by making it my middle name.
AP: What is your astrological sign? AG: Aquarius.
AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? AG: I have to admit, I love seeing new products before they hit the market. Meeting these creators who are passionate is fascinating. It’s also such a happy industry… I also really enjoy writing or pitching a product, then hearing that it made a difference for a reader.
AP: Least favorite thing? AG: There isn’t a real routine, every day is different. That keeps me focused, but it can be frustrating when emails are piling up and need get answered.
AP: What is your most prized possession? AG: Probably my grandmother’s cross and engagement ring. Well, and now my own. They just symbolize so much more than what they seem.
AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? AG: Most people would probably be surprised to know I am completely obsessed with CSI–yes, the cheesy TV show. I can watch any of the seasons. The marathons on SPIKE TV are my favorite pass time on a rainy or cold Sunday afternoon.
AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? AG: Nope, I’m such a child of my generation and only carry around my phone. I would be lost without my iphone–literally and figuratively.
AP: Diamonds or pearls? AG: Diamonds! Who doesn’t like a little sparkle in their life?
AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? AG: Can I get a few people? Ha! J For example, a round table of Editor-in-Chiefs from publications I admire… That would be delightful. I’d ask them a million questions.
AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? AG: I don’t have a balance…I’m still figuring it out. But the weeks that I do, I make sure that it’s a combination of dinner with friends and relaxing.
AP: What are your three top tips for travel? AG: 1. Don’t bring a map. 2. Eat way more than you need to. 3. Visit at least one unknown museum in every city you visit.
AP: What is your favorite book? AG: Anything by Jodi Picult. Her stories completely transport me to a different place. And I have to admit… who doesn’t love a little Harry Potter?
AP: What is your cocktail of choice? AG: Cava; there is always something to celebrate.
AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? AG: All natural virgin coconut oil. It hydrates, cures blemishes and refreshes all in one night. I am all for oils of all kinds–hair, face, cuticles.
AP: What fragrance do you wear? AG: Mademoiselle by Chanel. My aunts, grandmothers and mother all wear Chanel perfume. They were the ones who ingrained in me my love for beauty, so I can’t part with it.
AP: Botox or not? AG: Not now, but maybe later.
AP: Hair color: natural or not? AG: Absolutely not. My natural color is so dark it makes my features look weird. When I was thirteen I really wanted to color my hair, so my mom took me to her hairdresser (absolutely love Manual in Georgetown!) and I haven’t stopped since.
AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. AG: I listen to my Pandora Stations, so whatever is playing on the Adelle station these days.
AP: Quote to live by. AG: “We live not according to reason, but according to fashion. ~ Seneca, Roman Philosopher.
AP: Who is your mentor? AG: Didi Gluck, our beauty director at Real Simple. She is an amazing person and manager. I go to her for everything, probably more than I should considering she is my boss. I learn something new from her every day and she makes work so much fun.
AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. AG: Never assume you have learned everything or that you have the job in the bag, always continue to try to impress people without being pushy. Also, find a balance between confidence and humility. Finally, always open doors and smile at people. Being nice can go a long way.