It’s not every day that one gets to dine alongside Drew Barrymore while overlooking the New York City skyline. But for April Franzino, an NYU alumna and the current Beauty Director at Good Housekeeping, Woman’s Day and Prevention magazines at Hearst, American mass media conglomerate, this is her reality.
At the time, the actress came to Good Housekeeping to discuss her new beauty line and appear on the cover of the magazine’s annual beauty issue. Franzino had the opportunity to visit the photoshoot with her Editor-in-Chief and later attend a private dinner at Hearst to celebrate Barrymore’s cover.
“It was one of the most pinch-me moments of my career: sitting at that stunning table overlooking sparkling New York City across from Drew herself, chatting the night away,” Franzino said. “I couldn’t believe a humble girl from New Jersey could end up in a place like that — I felt like I’d truly made it.”
So, how does a small-town girl from New Jersey earn the coveted role of a Beauty Director of such distinguished magazines? April Franzino credits much of her success to her time as an NYU student.
“My education at NYU, and especially journalism school, taught me how to think critically, the importance of attention to detail and the fundamentals of how to report and edit on a professional level that I still use to this day in my position,” Franzino said. “Many of the most challenging assignments and exercises also showed me how important stepping out of your comfort zone is for growth, both professionally and personally.”
NYU opened the door for five editorial internships Franzino held while completing her undergraduate degree. Before having NYU Handshake as a resource, sending cold emails was the only way to secure an internship. So Franzino gathered her favorite magazines, tracked down the names of the assistant editors and did just that. One of those emails landed Franzino her first internship in the beauty department of Lucky at Condé Nast.
She also interned in the beauty department of Good Housekeeping and Glamour magazines, as well as in the fashion departments of Allure and Jane magazines.
Though Franzino knew from a young age that she wanted to be a magazine editor, she did not know beauty would become her specialty. By chance, her first internship was in the beauty editorial department, and she quickly fell in love with the industry.
Franzino graduated one year early from NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism in 2006. Upon graduation, she worked as a Beauty Freelancer at People Stylewatch, Beauty Assistant and Assistant Beauty Editor at Good Housekeeping, Associate Beauty Editor at Fitness magazine and Beauty Editor at Self magazine.
“Beauty is so amazing because it is universal,” she said. “And the subject itself is what I like to think of as a perfect circle: a combination of art and science — both the creative and the analytical sides of the brain.”
As one might imagine, the position of Beauty Director at Hearst Magazines is an exciting one, with opportunities to travel and work with renowned brands. Because of this, Franzino has met leaders in the beauty industry, from scientists to CEOs to brand founders.
“I’ve been blessed to work with inspiring, smart, kind and overall amazing colleagues all along the way across the board, and I try to carry the best pieces of them with me, as I do with everyone in my life,” says Franzino. “Some of them have become integral and irreplaceable parts of my life.”
Nonetheless, the industry doesn’t come without its challenges. The job requires more than the standard 9-to-5 workday. After hours, Franzino attends events, meetings and other networking opportunities, which is why she finds it important to consciously establish secure boundaries between her work and her personal life.
“When I’m on work hours, I’m going at full speed and giving 100%, so I’ve made a decision at this point in my career to turn work off as much as possible when I’m done with my day,” says Franzino. “I need that time to fully recharge and focus on my family, friends and interests, otherwise I would not be physically, mentally and emotionally able to give my all at my job.”
She realizes the importance of allowing herself to do nothing without feeling guilty; whether that means curling up on the couch, reading or reflecting.
“It’s very restorative to take time for myself to bring me back to earth and adjust my perspective from being caught in the swirl of daily life.”
And what else restores this busy bee?
“Moisturizer! For face, body, lips, eyes — all over,” says Franzino. “My dry skin would feel so uncomfortable and look so dehydrated, without it.”
Email Marielle Marlys at [email protected]