Friday, July 18, 2014

Show and Tell Never Ends

Think back. Way back. To first grade show and tell: your messy hair, grass-stained clothes, and hands tattooed with paint, sitting in a circle ready to see what “out of this world” surprise your classmates had to share. Perhaps it was a new puppy, a toy, or a handmade craft.

Not for Gabriela Riccardi. The 7-year-old slung her backpack over her shoulder and lugged around a tattered magazine for all her peers to see, because it wasn’t any old magazine, it was one where she was a star.

At 2 years old, Riccardi was already getting her face in the magazine industry—literally. It wasn’t too hard for her, with a mom as a fashion editor back in the early '90s at the height of fashion, according to Hadley Freeman, she says.

When some child models were fussy on set for a baby wear spread, her mom and coworkers pulled her into the fashion shoot. And her dreams to stay in the business never really faded except for a few short-stinted aspirations to be a waitress on roller skates.

Though that dream never worked out, she’s still skating along her way to be a journalist, landing her first double axle at Syracuse University where she studies magazine journalism, and has moved on to her triple axle this summer, earning a spot in the ASME internship program.

When she heads back to Cuse (as she calls it) this fall, she’ll be rolling up her sleeves to be co-EIC of Baked, Syracuse’s food magazine. The university has more than 10 magazines that publish once a semester.

“We plan to indulge in post-edit wine sessions and pledge to sample every brownie recipe fit to publish,” the 21-year-old says. “It’s basically my dream come true.”

Previously she’s been EIC of Medley magazine, a culture-based publication at SU where she “learned how to dive in” when she wasn’t exactly “sure how to swim.” She moved from an entry-level editing position to EIC because of her dedication to keep the magazine running when most of the staff was graduating.

“Now I’m not so afraid to walk into a new office or take on a new assignment, because I know there’s always a way to find the right path,” she says.

Marisa Bunis witnesses just how dedicated Riccardi is to her stories and the organizations she's involved in on a daily basis. Being her best friend and fellow "Orange," Bunis says, "Perhaps the most incredible part of Gabby's personality is her humility—she's obviously a very talented writer and has had a lot of success, but she would never brag about that or expect recognition or praise."

Riccardi has found her niche in design and writing, and loves blending the two together—typography, packaging, fashion, home decorating—and working for Family Circle this summer with the ASME program has helped her do just that. She’s researched health stats for women, tackled social media, pitched story ideas, and has really gotten a feel for what the real world magazine industry is like.

“When you’re working at a college publication—especially when overseeing a small staff—your team is smaller, and everyone gets a say in any section because it’s more intimate,” she says. “While it’s been a fun experience to have a hand in it all at college, working at a national magazine has showed me how people are really specialized for their section or niche, plus how they’ve become total experts in it.”

Hailing from the New York suburbs, Riccardi doesn’t quite consider herself a tourist, but doesn’t think she falls into the city dweller category either. Though she’s not going to the Statue of Liberty, she’s discovering new art exhibits, and aspires to see the Museum of the City of New York.

Riccardi hasn’t left her footprint on many places in the country aside from the East Coast—Portland, Chicago, and San Francisco are on her list of places to see—she did study abroad in Florence, Italy and fell in love with the city.

Aside from reminiscing about Italy, you can find her indulging in sushi or watching The Office, when she’s not writing for a magazine.

The ASME program has offered a palette of opportunities and she really can’t help but get cliché about dreams coming true when she visited Glamour magazine last week.

Glamour was my first grown-up women’s magazine in high school, and I wish I could call up 17-year-old me and tell her to put her head down, because working hard will mean that she’ll one day meet the woman whose picture she sees on the Letter from the Editor page," she says. "And what has really blown me away is how every magazine visit with the program has been phenomenal.”

Now she can't wait to get back and have an even cooler show and tell about her summer, interning with Family Circle

Written by Dora Grote, University of Iowa, Washingtonian
Edited by Jessica Fecteau, Central Michigan University, People 

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