What is “low-maintenance ladyswagger”?

It originated in a parody I wrote of an article about hip young male editors. The original piece quoted someone as saying, “There’s an appeal to editors who have their feet on the ground and who have confidence but not an outlandish sort of confidence. Swagger — low maintenance swagger — is having a moment.”

Here’s my gender-flipped rewrite: “There’s an appeal to editors who have a ton of estrogen but are still smart and confident. Lady-swagger — low maintenance lady-swagger — is having a moment.” I see lady-swagger as being bold and confident and sometimes aggressive, but not ashamed of your gender or your femininity. It means being great to other women, especially at work but in all contexts, really.

How did you get your start in journalism?

I went to undergraduate journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia. After graduation I couldn’t afford to take an unpaid magazine internship, and I wasn't interested in a newspaper reporting job. So I found a non-journalism job and saved money for a year, then applied for the Mother Jones internship program, which is where I got my start in magazines. It was a great experience. I highly recommend it to aspiring journalists.

I’m a new journalist and I’m worried there are no jobs and I only have like six Twitter followers and our industry is dying and I will probably never ever get my dream job as a New Yorker staff writer and HELLLLPPPPP.

Put your head between your knees and take six deep breaths, one for each of your Twitter followers. (Kidding! Kidding!) Here are some tips for the first few years of your career. It’s gonna be ok.

How should I read your pie charts for maximum comedic effect? Clockwise or counterclockwise? Starting at the top?

Do what you feel. There is no right answer.

Can I interview you for my school project / national magazine / niche website / moderately popular podcast? 

Yes, if you're flexible and patient. Email me to set something up.

Can I pick your brain? 

Listen, there’s a lot of stuff in my brain. It’s not all super organized. I’ll be more responsive and helpful to you if you ask me a specific question. I answer most friendly emails eventually, but you'll have to be patient. (Like, it might take me months.) If you're asking for a lot of my time and attention, you might want to set up a consulting call.