Everybody (Else) Is Perfect: How I Survived Hypocrisy, Beauty, Clicks, and Likes (Paperback)
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From the former editor-in-chief of Nylon comes a provocative and intimate collection of personal and cultural essays featuring eye-opening explorations of hot button topics for modern women, including internet feminism, impossible beauty standards in social media, shifting ideals about sexuality, and much more.
Gabrielle Korn starts her professional life with all the right credentials. Prestigious college degree? Check. A loving, accepting family? Check. Instagram-worthy offices and a tight-knit group of friends? Check, check. Gabrielle’s life seems to reach the crescendo of perfect when she gets named the youngest editor-in-chief in the history of one of fashion’s most influential publication. Suddenly she’s invited to the world’s most epic parties, comped beautiful clothes and shoes from trendy designers, and asked to weigh in on everything from gay rights to lip gloss on one of the most influential digital platforms.
But behind the scenes, things are far from perfect. In fact, just a few months before landing her dream job, Gabrielle’s health and wellbeing are on the line, and her promotion to editor-in-chief becomes the ultimate test of strength. In this collection of inspirational and searing essays, Gabrielle reveals exactly what it’s truly like in the fashion world, trying to find love as a young lesbian in New York City, battling with anorexia, and trying not to lose herself in a mirage of women’s empowerment and Instagram perfection.
Through deeply personal essays, Gabrielle recounts her struggles to reconcile her long-held insecurities about her body while coming out in the era of The L Word, where swoon-worthy lesbians are portrayed as skinny, fashion-perfect, and power-hungry. She takes us with her everywhere from New York Fashion Week to the doctor’s office, revealing that the forces that try to keep women small are more pervasive than anyone wants to admit, especially in a world that’s been newly branded as woke.
From #MeToo to commercialized body positivity, Korn’s biting, darkly funny analysis turns feminist commentary on its head. Both an in-your-face take on impossible beauty standards and entrenched media ideals and an inspiring call for personal authenticity, this powerful collection is ideal for fans of Roxane Gay and Rebecca Solnit.
About the Author
Gabrielle Korn is a journalist, digital media expert, and the former editor-in-chief of Nylon Media, an international lifestyle publication focused on emerging culture. Under her editorial leadership, Nylon became a fully digital brand with an ever-growing audience and original, politically-driven, thought-provoking beauty, fashion, music, and entertainment content. She spent three years working on Nylon’s digital presence before her promotion to editor-in-chief, working across platforms and growing traffic. Prior to that, she was an editor at Refinery29, overseeing beauty content during a period of explosive traffic growth and working to expand the brand’s concept of what beauty means to the millennial reader. She graduated from NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study in 2011 with a concentration in feminist/queer theory and writing. She lives in Brooklyn.
“A captivating page-turner that feels exclusive without resorting to cattiness or cheap gossip. . . . She simultaneously digs below the surface of an industry that often feels skin deep, while divulging integral parts of her own history along the way. Granting front row access to an exclusive world many of us will never experience firsthand, she makes feminism and fashion feel like cohorts in her compulsively readable book.”
— Tegan Quin, New York Times bestselling author of High School
“Gabrielle perfectly captures the feeling both of growing up as a woman in the early aughts as well as working in the digital landscape during the boom period of the last decade . . . She candidly shares personal anecdotes about discovering her sexuality, dealing with assault, and coping with an eating disorder, weaving together both a keen self-awareness and a frank analysis of the society which helped shape her experiences. Everybody (Else) Is Perfect is, well, perfect.”
— Tyler McCall, editor in chief, Fashionista
“Gabrielle’s commitment to taking fashion and beauty seriously—in ways that presaged much of women’s media at the time—has been a true through-line of her career. I have learned so much just by getting to hear Gabrielle speak, and I am so excited that readers will get to hear her voice—in its unadulterated, sometimes comical candor—with this book. By the end, you’ll be calling her your friend, too.”
— Phil Picardi, editor in chief of Out magazine and former editor in chief of Teen Vogue
“An honest, unflinching, and yet unfailingly compassionate memoir, Everybody (Else) Is Perfect tackles fashion media, lesbian identity, eating disorders, and gender justice with vision, ethical commitment, and uncommon grace . . . [It] reads like one of those long, late night conversations with your best friend. It will leave you stronger, and fortified for the feminist fight.”
— Moira Donegan, columnist for The Guardian
“Filled with insight, wisdom, wit, and a clingy Scorpio ex, Gabrielle Korn’s Everybody (Else) Is Perfect is a bracingly candid look into what it’s like to navigate the often ugly realities of women’s media. Korn is fearless in her exploration of her professional and personal life, and has written a queer, feminist bible for all the millennials who haven’t yet figured out that we are enough, just the way we are.”
— Kristin Iversen, deputy editor at Refinery29
"In this collection of essays, the former editor-in-chief of Nylon candidly discusses the challenges of navigating the New York media scene as a lesbian and, in the process, provides a roadmap to other marginalized people working to make their way in industries that don't have a history of embracing them."
“It feels good to read about a young lesbian taking NYC by storm. Korn gives us a funny, dark commentary from takes on the L Word to battles with anorexia. She makes the argument that personal authenticity is more powerful than you think, and that the hard-won battle of self-acceptance is worth more than gold.”
— Real Simple
“Former Nylon editor-in-chief Gabrielle Korn recounts the good, the bad, and the ugly of being an elite member of the fashion industry in this fearless collection of essays. To those on the outside looking in, Gabrielle had it all: A successful career, an envious social life and a closet full of swag. In her personal life, however, Gabrielle struggled with anorexia, self-doubt, and the challenges of dating in New York City. Everybody (Else) Is Perfect shares the poignant story on how Gabrielle lost—and later, found—herself while working in a trade obsessed with beauty.”
— OK! Magazine
“A confident, confessional modern account of breaking free from image obsession.”
— Kirkus Reviews
“A candid glimpse at the fashion media industry in the era of diversity and inclusion.”
“Gabrielle Korn’s collection of essays offers a provocative—and at times scathing—look at society’s obsession with perfection...Weaving in tales of love, sexuality and ambition, Korn’s insights are searing and make for an addictive read.”
— Glossary Magazine
“For fans of The Devil Wears Prada . . . Get this book . . . that’s all. Korn’s the former editor-in-chief of Nylon and is letting you in on a secret: everything in fashion is not as it seems. In this collection of confessional essays, she opens up about coming out, her time in the magazine industry, and her battle with anorexia. It’s perfect for anyone who wants searing honesty about women’s magazines, social media pressure, and the commodification of feminism.”