Career Code: Zanna Roberts Rassi's Tips for Landing Your Fashion Dream Job

These days, Zanna Roberts Rassi is an undeniable force in the fashion industry—but the road to the top wasn’t easy. Rassi left home at 18 and slept on a friend’s couch while interning for a magazine in London before moving to New York City. Starting out as an assistant, she then worked her way up to her current role as senior fashion editor at Marie Claire. But her résumé doesn’t stop there: Rassi’s also an E! television correspondent, a stylist, and a brand consultant. In 2010, she married Mazdack Rassi, the co-founder of Milk Studios, and helped him turn it into the fashion mecca it is today, in addition to launching Milk Makeup. Oh, and let’s not forget she’s also a mother of twins. It’s safe to assume there’s a thing or two to learn from this powerhouse…  

Keep scrolling to see her answers to our burning career and style questions, and get inspired to kick-start a career in fashion. Don't forget to check back soon to see who was selected to be mentored by Rassi as part of the annual SOREL #SORELstyle program.

“Surreal. Glam. Relentless. Fun. Inspiring. Unique.”

“I touch the industry from many angles: as a magazine editor who selects clothing and writes for a national publication; a TV host who reports on fashion and creates content around style for people at home; a mentor who helps aspiring designers on national TV; a co-founder of Milk Makeup who creates beauty products and the messaging around them; and a stylist who helps brands create looks, campaigns, and consumer-friendly content.”

“I studied hard and left home at 18. I lived on a couch while I interned in London. I fell in love with New York, so I pursued a job and a visa. As much as I wanted it, when I got it, I had to leave a wonderful job, my family, and my friends to emigrate to NYC to take an opportunity that could have ended in tears! Thankfully it didn’t. Since then, I haven’t stopped taking new steps! I’ve learned a new craft and industry in broadcast, and launched a new brand.”

“I had to get over my fear of speaking up. I realized there was a reason I had a seat at that big table. I learned the hard way that if you don’t speak up, someone else will. Or worse, they will take your idea as their own.”

“I never wake up and have the same day twice! Yesterday I was on the red carpet at Global Citizen Festival interviewing Salma Hayek and a host of other celebs. The day before that, I was in Minneapolis at Target HQ styling out 50 looks for a spring broadcast commercial. The day before that, I was in back-to-back meetings at Milk Makeup. The day before, I was hosting the first live two-hour Marie Claire HSN show in Florida.”

“Comfort; I’m BIG on that. Plus, being a working mom means I need to get ready quickly. I don’t have time to try on three outfits in the morning. A few solid seasonal staples are essential for this. However, I’m on TV, and I attend some fabulous events. I can’t look sloppy! Easy glamour is my go-to because of that.”

“Professionally, transitioning from one career to the next—from a beauty editor to a fashion editor to TV host to a consultant to co-founding a makeup line. On a personal note, my twin girls, Rumi and Juno. We fought a long hard battle to get them here, and every minute was worth it.”

“If I had to pick one person, it would be my first editor, Marie O’Riordan, at Marie Claire UK. She believed in me as a 22-year-old and let me go out and just do things. In retrospect, I was winging it, but having someone put such faith and trust in me, along with the autonomy, pushed me to the next level quickly.”

“It was for Marie Claire UK, interviewing as the magazine’s beauty assistant. I wore black Topshop pants, a leather moto jacket, red Miu Miu heels, and my crazy mop of red hair. I got the job.”

“That I didn’t learn how to handle corporate politics and play the game. I’m a bad politician.”

“Great-fitting jeans, a chic jacket, and standout heels—always a tough look, rather than floaty and feminine.”

“I talk to my husband. He’s a pretty motivational guy. No BS; straight to the point. Failing that, I read Fast Company for business inspiration or Harvard Business Review for all-around lessons on life. Or just my horoscope, if I’m too tired to deal and want to switch off!”

“NEVER over email. An intern (who I relied upon heavily) did that to me once. BIG mistake. Always in person with grace and gratitude.”

“Show willingness by going above and beyond the ask. My first task as beauty editor was researching lipstick for my then–beauty director, Susanna Cohen (another great mentor of mine). I spent a week solidly researching all I could gather. I interviewed the best makeup artists in the business, I read up on the psychology of lipstick, I figured out its history, and I spoke to world-renowned scientists and labs. I handed in a large bound document. She was super impressed by the depth of research and trusted me with every bit of research from there on and MUCH more.”

“Write down all the good advice you receive!”

What piece of advice from Rassi most inspired you? Tell us in the comments below.

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