It’s 9:00 PM on a Monday, the room is dark, and Devon O’Brien is lying in bed exhausted. She apologizes, and somehow it’s hard to believe.
Devon has spent the past three days at the Firefly Music Festival. Monday morning she caught a 7:00 AM train for a 9:00 AM Penn Station arrival and a 9:30 AM workday at Food Network Magazine. Sunburned, she points to several scars she acquired walking to and from her campsite, then springs up to read the festival’s line-up, then collapses back in bed dramatically: “Don’t even talk to me about the Black Keys.”
So it’s hard to believe. Not the exhaustion, or the apology, but that this is what anyone’s exhaustion—vibrant conversation peppered with meandering anecdotes and seizure-inducing laughter—looks like.
Born an hour outside of Philadelphia, Devon moved to Pella, Iowa when she was six. She is a journalism major and culinary science minor at Iowa State University, where she edited the paper’s food section for two years and is the incoming editor-in-chief of Ethos Magazine. Devon insists that she hasn’t had the Iowa cornfield experience, if that exists. “I grew up in a neighborhood where all the houses were really close together and there was a golf course in my backyard,” she says. And what about the lingo? “I don’t say pop and tennis shoes. That’s weird. I say soda and sneakers.”
When the opportunity arose to work at Food Network Magazine, she was ecstatic. “It was like my dream,” says Devon, whose more gritty food dream would be a combination of her two favorite foods, mac + cheese and crème brulée. Which doesn’t mean she wasn’t without reservations upon getting her ASME internship and moving to New York. When asked about her immediate reaction, she recalls her initial fear: “Oh my god, I peaked at 21.” Somehow, that’s hard to believe.
-Michelle Timmerman, ASME Intern, Glamour