Q&A: Dawn Gregory of Foam Magazine By Izzy Gut February 2014 The current polar vortex in the Midwest has got even Chicago natives in chills, dreaming of paradise. Foam Magazine, a California-based publication, has been a beacon of hope for warmer days as spring approaches. Let Dawn Gregory, the managing editor at Foam, distract you from the cold as she discusses her career and why Foam is unique among the swarm of magazines on newsstands.
Q: Describe your job. A: I mostly deal with shoot production. That includes booking photographers, models, hair, makeup and locations. Coming up with concepts and inspiration for the shoot. I also manage our interns and the budget, but my main thing is shoot production. And we’re a really small staff, so we kind of do a little bit of everything. Q: I’m sure there’s no such thing as a typical day, but what has today been like? A: Today we’re on our first round of changes, which means that everything’s shot and written and laid out and designed. Our editor-in-chief and executive editor print out the magazine, read it and make actual grammatical edits on the paper. Then we sit down with our art director and go page by page and input any changes. It’s a very tedious process.
Q: Would you say today is the most challenging day compared to other days? A: No, it’s just tedious. We’re a small staff and work with a small budget, so challenging would probably be just finding ways to make things work for us and finding creative ways to come up with brand new content. Q: What’s your favorite thing to edit or the best part of your job? A: I love being on set at photo shoots and contributing to the art direction, whether it’s the poses or how I envision the hair and makeup or booking the models I think will make the story look exactly the way it’s supposed to. Q: What parts of your personality make you good at your job? A: I’m very… nice [laughs]. I’m a people person. I think that makes it easy for me to work with so many different creative people and be able to book people over and over again because I’m understanding and respectful of people’s art and opinions. I’m pretty organized also because I’m a Capricorn. Q: Best advice you’ve ever gotten? A: No one else is going to make your career for you. You have to make it happen for yourself. Q: Is that the kind of advice you would give for interns or aspiring interns? A: Absolutely. And just to be patient because in this day and age it’s really hard to come up in a company. I started as an intern, and I’ve been here for six years now. Q: How did you get the position you have today? A: I went from intern to assistant editor which is a few days a week, then associate editor which is part-time. I came on full-time for managing editor about over a year ago.
Q: Was what you studied in college related to journalism or communications? A: No, I actually studied fashion merchandising. I met the former editor-in-chief of Foam at an event and she mentioned she needed interns, so I talked to her about it and I started interning. I really liked it and just stuck with it. Q: What would be the range of salary for someone in a similar editing position with your skillset? A: It really depends what kind of publication you’re working for. Honestly, it can be anywhere from a starting salary of $25,000 a year, which is nothing, to a luxury magazine editor-in-chief salary around $150,000. Q: Why do you like Foam? What makes it so special? A: I’m from Southern California born and raised, and I feel like Foam really embodies that girl and her lifestyle. We’re sold nationally, but I do think we have a certain West Coast vibe that I appreciate. Even the fashion is a little more laidback; we’re not doing high-end fashion editorials. We have cute clothes that girls in their 20s can afford. I find it really relatable and I always have.
Q: Foam stands for Fashion, Ocean, Art and Music. Which one do you feel you lean towards more? A: I can’t pick one, so probably ocean and music. We’re starting to make ocean more outdoors-y instead of just ocean, so it’s more about having an active lifestyle and going out and doing things. And music because I’ve always really loved music. I’m constantly looking for new bands and songs for mixtapes. Q: What’s your favorite part of the current issue [January/February 2014] with cover star Jena Malone? A: Let me look really quick because I don’t remember! [laughs] I really do love the cover story with Jena Malone. She was probably the best cover we’ve ever shot. We’ve shot some really high profile models, and [Jena] was the most comfortable person I’ve ever seen in front of a camera. She just knew how to pose and how to make her personality shine. Cover shoots and working with publicists can be difficult, but she showed up by herself and was totally fine and really low maintenance. I also enjoyed the L.A. artist features. I really resonate with anything having to do with L.A. since I’m from Southern California, and I think it’s awesome that there’s a group of girls who are really making a name for themselves in the art scene who are also all from L.A. It was cool to meet them, see their work spaces and shoot them around their art.