#ImAGirlBoss: Bethany Heitman

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NAME: BETHANY HEITMAN
AGE: 31
CITY:
 NEW YORK
HOMETOWN: MUKILTEO, WASHINGTON 
INDUSTRY: EDITORIAL
TWITTER: @bethanyheitman
INSTAGRAM: @bethanyheitman
WEBSITE: bethanyheitman.com

Tell us what you do!

I’m a magazine editor! I’ve worked at Cosmopolitan, Seventeen, and now People StyleWatch.

Did you go to college? If so, where?

Yes, I went to Fordham University.

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?

A doctor. In high school, I volunteered at the local hospital and loved it. I was also obsessed with the ER. I didn’t want to date Dr. Ross (aka George Clooney)—I wanted to be him!

How did you get to where you are now? Tell us your story!

When I started college, I joined the pre-med program, but quickly realized it wasn’t for me. I was devastated. I had always thought I’d be a doctor, and had never explored other interests. So, I began thinking about what else I liked to do. I had always been a voracious reader. I burned through books (I still read about a book a week!), and would devour any magazine I could get my hands on. So, I decided to join the school newspaper to see how I liked writing. I loved it. I applied to be an intern at Cosmo (my fav magazine at the time!), and they hired me. After I graduated, I did a short stint at Starbucks while I searched for jobs in the magazine industry. A few months later, an editorial assistant position opened at Cosmo, and they hired me.

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Any obstacles along the way?

The biggest obstacles were the ones I created in my own head. I’d convince myself I couldn’t go for certain fashion magazine jobs, because I wasn’t petite with perfect, blonde hair (what I thought everyone expected a magazine editor to look like). Or, I’d stay quiet in a meeting, because I was convinced there were smarter editors in the room, and I worried someone would think I was stupid. Of course, those were just my insecurities getting the best of me. I realized that I had to let that negative thinking go, and—poof—suddenly there were no obstacles in my way.

Who is your idol?



I have two—Buzz Bissinger and Truman Capote. My all time favorite book is In Cold Blood. And I fell in love with Bissinger’s Friday Night Lights before it was a TV show! I have so much respect for the way both writers moved to small towns and really embedded themselves into the cultures there.

What are three personal traits/qualities that helped you get to where you are?

Persistence, tenacity, and a willingness to do anything—from making coffee to relentlessly tracking down hard-to-reach experts.

Where would you like to be in five years?

I have been planning ahead my entire life, so, recently, I’ve been trying to focus on what I want right now. I’ve realized that when I start planning so far into the future, I forget to check in with how I’m feeling in the present. I won’t stop and think about whether what I’m doing is actually making me happy, because I’m so focused on accomplishing that 5-year plan. That said, I really hope I am continuing to create great content for smart women.

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Define “Girl Boss” in your own words.

Someone who isn’t afraid to go after exactly what they want.

Describe your style/fashion sense:

A work in progress! I wear a lot of black, and realized that all of my clothes look the same. So, I’ve been trying to pick pieces with different textures to add interest.

Fav clothing item/accessory right now?

A pendant from VERAMEAT in the east village. It’s a gold hand on a long chain—it’s the perfect mix of delicate, edgy, and just a little weird!

What’s your can’t-live-without beauty product?

I have so many! But I love BY TERRY Ombre Blackstar Melting Eyeshadow in Bronze Moon. It’s a shadow stick in the most gorgeous color. I just swipe it on in the morning and go.

Go-to nail color?

Sand Tropez by Essie—it’s the perfect nude!

Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS inspired me. What book has inspired you?

As I mentioned before, In Cold Blood and Friday Night Lights. I also recently read The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace: A Brilliant Young Man Who Left Newark for the Ivy League by Jeff Hobbs. It’s about a smart young man who grew up in Newark under tough circumstances and got himself into Yale. He ended up moving back to Newark after he graduated and started dealing drugs before being murdered. The book investigates how the life of a kid who worked so hard, and was so inspiring, ended so tragically. I love fiction, but it’s these investigative non-fiction books that stay with me. Writers who investigate and delve into different situations and events inspire me.

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No Girl Boss is perfect. What’s your vice?

Vinho Verde and salty potato chips. It’s embarrassing how not classy my answer is.

Which artist/band/DJ are you really into right now?

Sia—I want to be her friend!

What song makes you feel like a Girl Boss?

“What Have You Done For Me Lately” by Janet Jackson.

What’s a quote that inspires/motivates you?

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent. —Eleanor Roosevelt

Best advice you’ve ever received? And who gave it to you?

My mom would always tell me, “You can do anything you want to.” It’s simple (and such a mom thing to say!), but it’s helped me so much over the years. The only real barricades in my career are the ones I have created. If you want something badly, you may have to work hard to accomplish it, but you can do it.

I also read an interview with Sheryl Sandberg where she said that one of the smartest business decisions a woman can make is who she marries. I’m not married, but that really resonated with me. I have big plans for my career and need to be with someone that supports that. He has to be okay with me working late and understand that, just because I am a female, cooking and cleaning duties don’t just fall on me—those are shared responsibilities! Luckily, I am with a guy who is ridiculously supportive of my career.

Advice to future girl bosses:

Surround yourself with smart, amazing, career-driven women. I am so inspired by my friends. Seeing how incredible they are in what they do, pushes me to work harder. I want to impress them! Plus, when you surround yourself with successful women, there is always someone to call when you need work advice!

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Follow Bethany’s Girl Boss journey on Twitter + Instagram

Do YOU know a Girl Boss? Nominate her in the comments! And, HEY — if you share this article, be sure to use #ImAGirlBoss!

 

 

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