Caroline Vazzana on the ‘influencer’ label and making it in the fashion industry

Tune into We Should Talk every Thursday, where In The Know’s Gibson Johns interviews your favorite celebrities and influencers. Subscribe to We Should Talk here.

Caroline Vazzana has seemingly already done it all in the fashion industry, and she’s hoping that some of her followers learn a thing or two from watching her journey so that they can follow in her footsteps and make it themselves.

The Staten Island native worked at InStyle, Teen Vogue and Marie Claire before breaking out on her own, writing a book called Making It in Manhattan and becoming a full-time content creator. For the latest episode of In The Know’s pop culture interview series We Should Talk, Vazzana opened up about the labels that people give her in the fashion industry, the experience of sharing career advice with her fan base, not worrying about hateful internet trolls and more.

“If people want to say I’m an influencer, I’ll be like, ‘Sure, thanks!'” Vazzana told In The Know. “Whatever it might be, I’m complimented by it. I’m not insulted by it in any way. In this industry, I wear so many different hats, so I’m okay with the labels people give me. As long as they’re saying my name, I think it’s good.”

Listen to Caroline Vazzana’s full episode of We Should Talk below, and keep reading for highlights from the interview:

On sharing secrets behind making it in the fashion world: “That was one of my biggest goals: As I’m sitting at my desk at InStyle, thinking about everything that I’d gone through to get there, I’d learned so much. There was so much that I did not know. I was like, ‘If someone had just told me that! If someone had just informed me of this certain thing as an 18-year-old in college — you have no idea.’ Like, let’s tell them. Let’s help people to know what’s going on and know how to break into the industry in a fun, casual, informative way. It’s not like you’re talking to someone so much older than you and it feels scary. It’s like a friend or your best friend’s big sister. That’s how I always want it to feel.”

On getting over the anxiety of people judging her for influencer content: “When I started on Instagram, it was earlier on, like 2015 or 2016, so there wasn’t as much judgment. Now the saying is, ‘I’m going to start posting like an influencer,’ and that’s the mindset. Like, ‘I hope my college friends don’t judge me because I’m posting like an influencer.’ The word ‘influencer’ didn’t even exist! I was just posting. I was like, ‘Here I am, world! I love color! I love craziness! This is me!’ Definitely thoughts of, ‘What will people think?’ at times, but I was always this exact way. Even in college, I was this exact way, and I would wear crazy, colorful outfits to college. I know people were saying mean things about me behind my back … I know people were absolutely making fun of me behind my back, and I did not care at all.”

On how she landed a dream internship at Teen Vogue: “My boss at Marie Claire was just like, ‘Reach out to every editor. When you’re about to graduate, email every editor!’ I don’t know if it’s still relevant now, but there used to be an email format for Condé Nast and for Hearst. I don’t know if it’s still relevant, but there was. So what I did when I graduated was go to my grocery store. I bought every single magazine I wanted to work at, and I went to the mastheads and went down the lists, and I emailed every single person. I got tons of ghosting — nobody answered — but sometimes, I was brought in for an informational interview. There was rejection, and then finally, I did get an email back from someone at Teen Vogue. They were like, ‘In a month, we have a role opening and will keep you in mind.’ I was like, ‘Oh, I’m never hearing from you.’ Funnily enough, a month later, they reached back out and said, ‘That job is open. Do you want to come in for an interview?’ I joke that as soon as I got my foot in the door, they couldn’t get me out.”

On what she thinks about the term “influencer”: “To an outside person, if I meet somebody who’s not really in the industry and they’re like, ‘What do you do?’ and I start being like, ‘Oh, I work in fashion, I do styling, creating, and I wrote a book,’ they’ll be like, ‘Oh, do you have an Instagram? Let me follow you!’ Then they’ll see and say, ‘Oh, you’re an influencer!’ And they think that’s cool. Then, in the industry, there’s this sometimes negative connotation. Like, ‘Oh, those are the influencers.’ I feel like it’s a loaded word, and sometimes it’s a badge, but I think I’m more than just an influencer. I guess I’m influencing people’s lives and impacting them — not just to buy something. I’m impacting their entire mindset about their life and the way they live and the way they feel about themselves and about the way they dress and about going after their dreams. I like to think I’m influencing people’s lives rather than just being like, ‘Shop this shoe!’ That’s not what this is about here.”

Watch In The Know’s full interview with Caroline Vazzana below:

If you enjoyed this interview, check out In The Know’s recent chat with the co-founders of Betches Media here.

More from In The Know:

6 clean beauty brands you can buy at Walmart

We tried the viral vegan meal replacement that's all over TikTok right now

TikTok shames first-time mom for her 12 'insane' delivery day rules: 'Please tell me this is a joke'

Salsa recipes to savor on Taco Tuesday and beyond

Listen to the latest episode of our pop culture podcast, We Should Talk: