Writing Jokes with Taylor Bryant

Hey, we went to school together! How have you been since graduation?

Hey, we did! Fuck, it’s weird that we’ve been out of school longer than we’ve been in school at this point. Anyway, I’ve been good! I feel like this is a loaded question. Good as of late because I have a job I love and a life I’m molding into something that I love. Ask me this a couple of years ago, though, and my answer would be very…different. Not bad, just different.

Would you change anything about how you navigated college?

Hmm, I don’t think so. Maybe paid better attention in Spanish class because I should absolutely be bilingual at this point? I do often wonder why I didn’t consider going somewhere warmer for school. Or even abroad! But, overall, I think different things happen for different reasons. You know, destiny and all that. I do wish I visited Canada. That’s something that didn’t even cross my mind while I was there.


Me too— and the Niagara Falls we’re right there. How did you end up working for NYLON?

The short version: My boss now was my colleague while I was at Refinery29. We kept in touch when she left and, one day, a gig opened up for the web editor position and she reached out. I guess I was also qualified.

What’s involved in your day-to-day there?

I’m kind of the overseer of news. So, every morning, I’m in charge of assigning the first news stories of the day and sending out a digest, which basically includes a rundown of what people are talking about on the interweb. Then, I make sure that we’re jumping on those more timely/on-brand stories throughout the day.


You know when people say everyday’s different? I always thought that was a cop out, but it’s really not. I write two news stories everyday, so that’s consistent, and I’ll either conduct interviews for upcoming stories, work on a feature story, go to a press preview, edit some stories; it really depends. There’s also a lot of tedious email answering and internet browsing thrown in there.

I don’t want to get too in the weeds, but how do you actually go about structuring a story?

Oh! Well, I suppose it first starts with an idea. Then, that will dictate what kind of story it’s going to be — a feature, personal essay, review, interview q+a, etc. Let’s talk feature. I tend to start with doing a shit ton of research, which helps me figure out what direction I want to go in. Then, you do interviews if interviews are necessary. Then, you somehow manage to pull it all together and make something of quality out of it. I don’t know, this the point where I usually blackout.

“Future was gracious enough to fly us home on his private jet. Who says chivalry is dead??”

What kind of things did you do at Refinery29?

I started out as the beauty assistant there, so I did a lot of assisting, writing, some complaining, helped with social media at one point, a lot of beauty product testing, some photo things. I eventually graduated to beauty news editor where I basically did the same things, minus the assisting and double the writing.

What’s the best part about your job now?

I will be forever indebted to the beauty space because going that route is what allowed me to become part of the media world, but my favorite part about my job, now, is that I get to write about basically anything (music, art, fashion, politics). I’m not an expert in everything by any means, but I think that’s a good thing. It allows me to challenge myself creatively and stretch my writing capabilities.

What advice would you give someone who wants to do what you do?

This is always a weird question because I don’t feel like I am in anyway qualified to give out advice. But I’m going to pass along advice that someone once told me which is to take every single interview you’re offered, even if you’re not interested in the job. You don’t know what might come out of it. 83% of the jobs you get are going to be through someone you know or meet. So, go out and meet people. And try not to burn bridges with people. If that doesn’t work, forget I said anything.

Any thoughts on that Pepsi ad?

Wouldn’t have happened if Obama was in office. Kidding. It was incredibly tone deaf and is a prime example of what happens when few to zero people of color work at these bigger companies. Or, when few to zero people are listening to the opinions of people of color at these bigger companies.

What makes something funny?

I guess it varies by person, but I think how much you can relate to something is key. For something online, the choice of meme is essential. In person, the delivery.

What do you want to do next?

This…is an interesting question that I’ve actually been thinking about a lot. I’m not sure, career wise, but I do know that I want to travel. Like, quit my job for a couple of years travel, not that two weeks mess. And/or, move to a new city. This is all hypothetical though so, boss, if you’re reading this, please don’t hold it against me.


 Taylor is a web editor . She doesn’t take life too seriously.

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