BEEN THERE: Celeste Perron

BEEN THERE: Celeste Perron

senior editor, Cosmo

The pay is peanuts, your desk–if you have one–is puny, and your closest relationship may be with the fax machine. No wonder it’s tempting to just skip the whole editorial assistant gig.

But don’t, advises Celeste Perron, who worked as editorial assistant and associate editor at Hearst for more than two years before being promoted this summer to senior editor at Cosmopolitan.

“I’m a big believer that entry-level work is really valuable,” says Perron. “People try to rush through it and get promoted right away. But I learned so much.”

The 27-year-old, who graduated in 1995 from the University of Pennsylvania with a degree in communications and journalism, credits much of what she learned to her bosses — Abby Greene, then managing editor of Redbook, and Kate White, editor-in-chief of Redbook and later, Cosmo. Working closely with both women, Perron says, gave her a good overall perspective on the job of editing a magazine.

At Cosmo, it’s common — expected, even — for EA’s to move up through the ranks. “I like to think of it as Cosmo University,” says Editor-in-Chief White. “Today, with the turnover and the issues we face with trying to attract people to magazines, it works out terrifically for us if we groom people here.”

White said she was impressed by Perron’s enthusiasm and her willingness to gracefully accept the sometimes mundane tasks associated with the position. “It was that maturity along with a sense of her enormous talent,” White said, that set Perron apart.

In between fetching taxes, trafficking expense reports, typing and other tasks typical for editorial assistants, Perron found time to write. She’s authored pieces on co-worker relationships, celebrity men who marry makeup artists and the most convincing pick-up lines. “I have a fantastic job where the same things I talk about with my friends at parties on the weekend are what I get to talk about at work,” she says.

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