Alumna spotlight: Kristina Rodulfo

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Photo courtesy of Kristina Rodulfo

Having graduated as a part of the Townsend Harris Class of 2010, Kristina Rodulfo is now the Senior Digital Beauty Editor at ELLE magazine. As the Senior Beauty Editor, Kristina “[oversees] all of ELLE’s beauty coverage across online editorial and multimedia (video on FB, youtube, social, original photo shoots for web, etc).”  

Kristina returned to THHS for Career Day 2018, where she inspired many who aspire to go into the field of journalism.

Kristina feels that Townsend prepared her for not only the educational world of college, but also for its social aspects. “Townsend prepared me for how to think critically and make interdisciplinary connections,” she said. “I was trained to not live and learn in a bubble, but to take what I’m learning and contextualize it with what’s happening in the world, news and politics-wise. I was also encouraged to embrace all the pieces of myself, from the athlete on the track team to the singer-songwriter performing at Harrisfest, to the poet doing a reading at the Phoenix. It was a really creative environment, which made me thrive not only as a student but a writer.”

Getting to where she is now was no simple task. Straight out of THHS, Kristina was determined to make it into the beauty community by starting with internships and working her way up immediately after high school. “I got ⁅an internship⁆when I was 17 right after graduating from THHS,” she said. “I was a fashion closet intern at StyleCaster.com.” She continued, “From there, I did a semester in the closet then I transitioned to their editorial team. Then, I spent 8 months interning at Time Out New York’s shopping & style section, then moved on to RealBeauty.com (a Hearst website), then to ELLE.com for one year (my supervisor at Time Out brought me along with her to all these jobs because I made such a good impression). Then, I got my first job at StyleBistro.com and eventually landed at ELLE.com where I always wanted to work since I was a teenager subscribed to ELLE magazine. I still pinch myself everyday.”

After graduating from college, Kristina was able to land an editorial position in the March before her graduation. “I started one week after my commencement, and have been nonstop since,” she said. “Because I spent my entire college experience interning at different publications, I left with four years of experience and seamlessly transitioned into the workforce. Of course, there was a steep learning curve but I came in with a lot of confidence and that’s key.”

Kristina credits her younger self for getting her to where she is now. “I guess the common thread here is that I made connections where I worked and always put myself out there,” she explained. “Even if I was an intern, I made sure to pitch big ideas as if I were a staff writer and, you’d be surprised, people are really eager to hear good ideas if you have them. So, I pitched a ton and proved myself.”

Regarding what a typical day looks like, Kristina explained, “As the Senior Digital Beauty Editor at ELLE magazine, my days are totally unpredictable and can go from being all day at a video shoot, to sitting in the beauty closet and testing out unreleased products to write reviews, to interviewing major celebrities about their beauty routines, to traveling across the world with beauty brands on press trips, to writing and reporting big features on the beauty industry.”

Being a part of the beauty community gives Kristina’s job a meaning that she values. She explained, “The most rewarding part of it is how universal beauty is—it’s not just how you do your hair or makeup. It’s deeply tied to identity. Everyone thinks about the way they present themselves to the world: How they wear their hair, or how they take of their skin, or workout, or wear a bold lipstick color. Beauty is a tool of expression and it’s a privilege to get to share that with the world and create conversations about self improvement and constantly taking a critical look at what’s considered “beautiful” in society today. What does it say about us? Who is missing from the conversation? Is this trend helping or hurting women? These are just a couple questions I think about everyday.”

For those wanting to enter this similar field of beauty and journalism, Kristina once again stressed the importance of interning, following you dreams, and being driven. “There is no straight or easy path to get here,” she said. “You just have to keep focused, do an insanely good job—more than you’re expected to or asked to do—and make sure the important people remember you. It’s a field where you definitely have to pay your dues but all experience is good experience, whether you’re just starting out in the fashion closet filing clothes for a shoot or doing a big A-List interview.”

Kristina encourages students to use THHS to the best of their ability and really take in all of the communication skills it gives you as “Networking is key— and not only networking up but “across”—your peers starting out with you are among the most important people you will know in your career. Get really, really good at working a room. Being friendly and able to engage in conversation with anyone helps me a ton whether I’m interviewing a celebrity, presenting at a big sales meeting, or attending industry events.”

Kristina has one simple piece of advice for all students to take into account when entering college and preparing for the workforce, no matter what field you want to go into: just remember that “internships are so important.”

 

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