A YOUNG, AMBITIOUS LIFESTYLE EDITOR PAVING HER PATH
AS A JOURNALIST
ON FACING UNCERTAINTY IN HER NEW CAREER:
"I’m currently in the biggest transitional period of my life. Moving to Paris was a dream of mine ever since I learned of Gertrude Stein and her all-star salons. But living out the fantasies of an expatriate writer in France’s capital was much more complicated than finding the right angle on a story or navigating my way through each picturesque arrondissment. Despite two rich years of Parisian living, I struggled with an unfamiliar social code and a heightened awareness that the country's institutional racism was more complex and layered than I had thought. At the same time, I felt my career reaching a plateau. It was time for a change.
Now, three years later, I’m moving back to New York, but this time with greater career ambitions, another person at my side, and so much uncertainty. Before, I naively called this city my own, but now I’m relearning it as a professional, and learning how to share it with someone else. Sometimes getting off the subway feels like the first day of middle school all over again, and what's more terrifying than that? It’s certainly shaping my understanding of real responsibility on a lot of levels–in my new job, for another person, as a daughter and as a sister. Because of this transition, I’ve become more aware, every day, of how lucky I am to be loved by the people in my life."
FINDING PASSION AND MEANING IN AN UNEXPECTED PLACE:
"My first job after college was in French Guiana, developing language programs in schools. My original assignment, as requested, was with high schoolers, so I was disappointed when I got switched to work with elementary school kids at the last minute. Already outside of my comfort zone living jungle-adjacent, I wasn’t interested in a job that didn’t align with my experience. But those children changed me. Because of their fierce desire to learn, their insatiable enthusiasm, and their trust in me, I handled my assignment not only with verve, but also with love. I remember pouring so much soul and energy into organizing a school-wide kickball tournament, teaching rules and vocabulary with the same level of importance as I had once been taught the American Revolutionary War.
If you told me just a year before that point in my life that I’d be somewhere in South America running bases with 9-year-old children from Haiti, Suriname, France and Brazil, I couldn’t have even pictured it. Especially because, while in college, I had a very clear plan for how my life plan would unfold. But because of my time in French Guiana, I’m open to letting new job opportunities direct my career path and enjoying the ride—wherever it may take me."
"I see a big difference between heading down a new path versus diving head-on into darkness without a plan."
ON what makes her feel the most vulnerable:
"The unknown. I welcome change, especially the new people and cultures that nourish my life experiences as a result of it. But I see a big difference between heading down a new path versus diving head-on into darkness without a plan. The latter will keep me up for nights on end. I’m most vulnerable when I don’t know exactly what my next steps will be.
There was a moment in between leaving my most recent job in Paris and moving to New York where my next professional move was still unclear. I was on an island in Spain, sitting across from my boyfriend, overlooking the sparkling Mediterranean, yet my mind was consumed with thoughts about finding a job—the kind of worrying that becomes so overwhelming, you feel as though you carry it around like ankle weights. I hated being so removed from such a beautiful moment, and I still don’t know how to handle this vulnerability."
ON BRAVERY AND ALL ITS FORMS:
"I think everyone has a different definition of what it means to be brave. People told me I was brave to have lived and reported from places like the Middle East. I don’t think that makes me brave – I think I’m so fortunate to have done that. Both my parents stopped at nothing to create the lives they imagined not only for themselves, but for me and my brother. To me, that makes them brave. It’s a concept that’s very personal. You could say since I’ve never stopped pursuing my passion — despite failures along the way and the people who told me it was impractical — means I don't struggle too much with being brave. That being said, I’ve also had an incredible support system to lift me up in my moments of weakness."
"I think everyone has a different definition
of what it means to be brave."
ON her JOURNEY TO BUILDing A STRONGER SELF:
"I used to place a lot of value on what other people thought about me. I’m ashamed about how long it took me to break free from this need of external validation that kept me from growing. I became a lot happier when I established a healthier sense of self and detached from the ephemeral opinions of my peers, but it took me a while to get there."
ON LEARNING TO ASK FOR HELP:
"I used to shy away from asking people for help. I worried it was a sign of weakness or an invitation for criticism. I've recently learned the value in reaching out to people when you need them, whether it's a friend during a rough time or a coworker when something just isn't clicking. In my new job, this means Photoshop.
My relationship has also helped me understand just how much more powerful I can be when I’m honest about my flaws and let someone else in to tackle life’s problems as a team. I was doing a piece about young Syrian refugees in Paris, and my boyfriend insisted on helping me find subjects which, at the time, frustrated me, because I considered this a one-person job. But allowing him into my professional space was actually really cool, and he played an essential role in the process as my Arabic translator when we did find my interview subject."
"I’m ashamed about how long it took me to break free from this need of external validation that kept me from growing."
ON CAFFEINE AND SCREENS:
"My day cannot begin without a shot of espresso. Caffeine and I go together like Barack and Michelle: we just don’t make sense apart. But I also make sure that when I wake up, I turn over to my boyfriend and say a proper good morning before my fingers go anywhere near an iPhone. I'm trying to be better with how much time I spend unnecessarily looking at screens, and certainly won’t let my day start on one. When I realized that I went for my phone in the mornings before acknowledging the human beside me, I decided to seriously reconsider my personal tech habits."
"I'm trying to be better with how much time I spend unnecessarily looking AT screens, and certainly won’t let my day start on one."
ON HAVING A CAREER AND A PLATFORM FOR HER PASSIONS:
"I love having a job that allows me to ask people questions all day long. I'm regularly learning new things and exploring the subjects and issues that interest me the most. This often involves meeting fascinating people and being exposed to new cultures and ideas. It's a fabulous way to use the hours of my day. My favorite recent article is about menstruation during Ramadan. I must’ve interviewed over ten young Muslim women who spoke with me so openly about their faith, their families, and women’s health issues more generally. Providing a platform for their brilliant voices and opinions was really cool."
WHAT PEOPLE ADMIRE ABOUT AMANDA:
"That I own these red tiered pants from Zara. And also, that I'm a good listener (it goes with the job)."