image via Man Repeller - shot by Edith Young
I have been collecting internet friends since my angsty Tumblr days, during which life story confessions to strangers were aided by dark and distance and abetted by similar aesthetics. Although it may have been everything my parents warned me against in my early internet days, those relationships were valuable parts of my adolescence. Siphoned through a screen, conflict, crushes, issues all found their way to unprejudiced ears, ones that didn't know enough to judge and had enough distance to comfort and advise.
More recently, my job has allowed for a rekindling of these types of friendships. I've befriended women I have never met IRL but with whom a spark was lit by a witty caption or shared taste. Admittedly, recourse to these friends is less motivated by angst this time around. But in a time where social media can feel so exclusive, it's worth remembering that connection is possible - and that the result (of shared stories, experiences, photos, or memes) can be just as cathartic as it was back in those Tumblr days.
Amalie MacGowan and I initially connected over a Mango blazer. Since then, we've covered heartbreak, bagels, work, writing, a shared love for those insanely good Loewe sunnies, and of course TikTok - and whether or not it's the future. She is a muse in so many ways and truly epitomizes what being a neophyte is all about.
Until I can make it to NYC to actually meet her, I satisfied my itch by sending over questions all about her creativity, her work, and of course... what she's a neophyte at. She so generously answered them all and made me love her even more. Scroll and see!!
NEOPHYTE JEWELS: I know that we have some avid Man Repeller readers here but for those who may not know who you are - can you describe yourself in a few sentences?
AMALIE MACGOWAN: Hi! I'm Amalie MacGowan, and I live in the internet. (I'm the Social Media Manager at Man Repeller, which means my morning noon and night is spent on Twitter, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and a medley of news sites, soaking like a sponge.)
NJ: As a social media manager/creative, what does your day-to-day look like?
AM: My day-to-day involves reading all of Man Repeller's online content and planning out editorial calendars for all platforms. This means piecing together and strategizing content for various platforms, from imagery to copy. BUT it can also mean really fun stuff like behind-the-scenes at shoots and coverage of our wild and amazingly-produced events.
NJ: We first connected when you started working at Man Repeller, and were going through a similar phase - you starting at a new job and me launching a business! I know I've gone through a massive and intensive education over the past 10 months. Can you talk about what you've learned since starting at MR?
AM: I know, I feel like watching you grow and learn all these new tools has been so incredible! Yes, this is technically about me, but I am truly so proud of *you* for everything you've accomplished in the past 10 months. It boggles the mind.
In terms of my own growth, I feel like I've really come to understand how to run social for a brand that is constantly shifting and expanding, (in such exciting ways). Working across the verticals of editorial, product, events, community and being the main touchpoint for the audience outside of the site has been such a gift, creatively. It has allowed for so much versatility -- every day is new and exciting, and I'm constantly on the lookout for what's going to be served up next. I've never been more on my toes, and I love it. Also video editing! I'm learning and it's slow going, but I'm proud of what I know right now.
NJ: On another learning note - now that you're working in the fashion industry - any shopping tips you've picked up on?
AM: Omg so many. Download The RealReal app so you can star items and get updates on when they go on sale. All the major luxury online purveyors have big sales in January and in July so STAY POSTED and shop them immediately before the good goods run out. Shop bigger sizes and then get things tailored by someone you trust. Scour Instagram for smaller brands that you can support. And lastly: I'm a maximalist and I know when I love something and when I'm lukewarm on it. My advice is: Don't convince yourself of the lukewarm, and bite down on the hot.
NJ: We love talking to multi-hyphenate creatives on here so when I heard the video of you signing (like a 1950s angel) I knew I had to reach out! Can you talk a bit about your other creative outlets?
AM: Yes! Before I went to college, I heavily considered going to conservatory for classical singing/opera. I trained with a classical voice teacher for about 5 years. I truly believe, though, that it wasn't in the cards for me. At the time I was self-conscious and hated being on stage, even though my vocals were strong. To this day, it's something that I enjoy quietly for myself. I have a subscription to a practice room in the city and I occasionally try to get out there to play piano and sing with myself. In another life, I think I would have liked to be a jazz singer, but I know it's not this life.
NJ: This is something I've struggled with, especially since launching my own business - but when you start monetizing your creativity in one arena, it becomes tempting to try to pursue other creative pursuits professionally. How do you see intrinsic vs. extrinsic creative hobbies? Do you ever find it difficult not to try to monetize it?
AM: This is a very interesting question! I think about it occasionally when I'm offered freelance work, or when I find myself writing fiction (with no presumption that I would actually be able to monetize it). There was a good article about this that came out on Man Repeller from freelance writer Molly Conway about the trap of feeling obligated to turn hobbies into hustles. I largely agree with the writer, in that I enjoy my singing, my writing, my personal social, for the value it gives me. Though I am tempted to think about ways I can monetize them, at the end of the day I could never sacrifice the way those creative activities feature in my life as an act of self-care.
NJ: As a writer and now a copywriter as well, I know how taxing it can be to put out content that feels fresh every. single. day. How do you refuel your tank and what do you do when you feel like you're in a creative rut?
AM: I always try to read inspiring content! Whether that's good prose... or memes. I try to read a good book on my commute every day, and of course scour good twitter and Instagram accounts for fresh perspective. Otherwise, the best way to recharge is to indulge your other senses for a bit. I'm a very sensory person, so I like to apply lotions and light candles and eat good food and watch good tv/film (very into the Criterion Collection on Hulu). I know the self-care industrial complex has gone way overboard, but I do believe in rituals and taking care of the mind and body.
NJ: What are you reading at the moment?
AM: I'm reading the new book by CJ Hauser, "Family of Origin". I bought it after I read her beautiful personal essay in the Paris Review, "The Crane Wife." She really does gorgeous things with words.
NJ: Can you share your all-time favourite fashion purchases?
AM: Oooh this is so tough! I think it's a toss up between by new Loewe x Paula's Ibiza sunglasses and my Prada handbag from The RealReal.
NJ: What are you a neophyte at?
AM: I'm a neophyte in terms of my personal style! It's something that still feels like it's changing, but that *maybe, hopefully* I'm finally starting to settle into.