Sze Tang is the beauty and health editor at FLARE,
and has been working in magazines for more than nine years. She started out as
a grammar cop (a.k.a. copy editor) and still cares about the smallest
details. Back in her freelance writing days, she contributed to Fashion, Elle Canada, Best Health,
Travel + Leisure and Marketing Magazine. She appreciates when
people pronounce her first name correctly (hint: the Sze sounds like “See,” but calling her just Wing is
perfectly cool, too).
not, what other careers were on the horizon?
heading in this direction. Words make sense to me (numbers do not!). I studied
English at the University of Toronto, and all my “grown-up” jobs have been in
of disparate interests and ideas, so who knows what the future will bring.
enough to set you apart. While it’s essential, know that everyone else
clamouring to work in this business feels the same way. Work harder than them.
If you feel insecure about your experience or skills (we all do sometimes), don’t
let that hold you back; use it to drive your ambition to get better. If you
want to write, read – everything. Figure out what makes great writing great. And
then write. Learn from your editor.
including your own? (i.e.: what do you read/listen/watch?)
fashion/beauty and health beats, since of course I keep tabs on my competitors.
Beyond that, my reading list is eclectic – everything from Toronto Life, Wired
and Gawker to The New York Times, Outside and The Atlantic. I also love the
serendipity of finding a great story via the smart people I follow on Twitter.
I have terrible taste in TV.
health, I get to talk to lots of different people – movie stars and scientists,
makeup artists and MDs, athletes and business execs. The variety keeps my job
interesting. I love interviews that feel like natural conversations, not
interrogations. And I love getting answers I didn’t expect and learning things
I didn’t know.
minutes. Or where the interviewee delivers coached or rehearsed lines.
(see: the masthead). If you email your pitch to everyone on staff when I’m the
one who handles the section, I’ll assume you don’t read the magazine. Sometimes
we get packages addressed to people who haven’t worked here in YEARS.
and sweet. Some of the ones I get rival book manuscripts. But deliver the
relevant details (e.g. specifically what’s innovative/new), not fluff or
over-the-top claims. If your pitch has a whiff of B.S., I’ll doubt if I can
trust any of it (or you).
reveal the information because you don’t know it, or you’ve given another
publication the exclusive, I’ll understand. But I’d rather hear no than wonder
why I’m getting the silent treatment as my deadline looms.
We love to hear about #wins.
before my deadline and decided he was too swamped to do an interview. Without
missing a beat—in fact, within half an hour—the PR reached out to two different
sources to see if she could secure an equally appropriate alternative for me. I
interviewed one of them later that afternoon. The PR deftly turned a
near-disaster into a win, and I couldn’t have solved the problem faster myself.
paragraph. Dealing with people who are bitchy for no reason.
Reaching the finish line. Collecting lipsticks and skin-care potions. Escaping
to the movies. Hanging out with my dude and my dog.
my Instapaper archive of long-form nonfiction articles. I wish I had time to
read more books for fun.
home, or far away.
almost single-handedly. We’re very different people, but she taught me that it’s
possible to defy the odds through hard work and sheer will.
downloading these days)?
tweet sparingly but listen all the time. (Say hi: @wingszetang.)
life goal to learn. Till then, you’ll find me on the beach under an umbrella, dodging
everyone. I do answer my phone, but don’t call to read me the press release.