B.A., print journalism + masters in professional writing, non-fiction - University of Southern California
Movie sets, film festivals, red carpets and A-listers make Lindsay Miller’s career as entertainment editor at PopSugar sound pretty fabulous. Admitting that her job affords her more than a few once-in-a-lifetime moments, it’s also an exercise in time management. From on-camera work for her “In Her World” interview series, to writing and editing, Lindsay’s days are filled with a variety she thrives on.
Can it get more than a little hectic? Sure. Luckily (and who doesn’t totally relate to this?) Lindsay knows that balance is all about ebb, flow and making time for yourself when you need it. Lindsay prescribes a daily, simple luxury (we like her hot bath idea) no matter how over-scheduled her appointment book might seem. “One important thing I’ve learned over time is that you have to speak up and create your own boundaries,” advises Lindsay. “No one else will do it for you.”
Try not to live by other peoples’ rules.
How did you discover your current job?
I remember writing and presenting imaginary news reports at the kitchen counter when I was in kindergarten, so I’ve clearly always had an innate interest in journalism, even before I knew what the word meant! In college, once I had made the decision to seriously pursue it as a career, I transferred from my liberal-arts college in Portland, Oregon to the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School.
Living in LA, the heart of the entertainment universe, also really shaped my career. My senior year of college, I interned for the West Coast Editor of Reader’s Digest, assisting her with booking celebrity interviews with A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Tom Hanks and getting a great education in how a magazine runs from top to bottom. That internship turned into my first job.
When my current role at PopSugar came around, I was an associate correspondent at E!. I had a great job at a prestigious company, but I was looking for a new challenge, and never regretted the decision to move to a relatively young, independent organization. PopSugar is a rare blend of media company and start-up, so it’s an energetic, ever-changing environment that moves quickly. I’ve learned more about tech industry working here than I ever imagined I would!
How do you organize your day?
Each day for me is different, but I thrive on variety. Most weekdays, I start my morning by checking my email when I’m still in bed — I’m notoriously not a morning person — sometime between 6:30 and 7:30 a.m. I’m in the office around 8 a.m. for hair and makeup and to start working with my colleagues on the lead story for our TVGN show, PopSugar Now, which we write and shoot by 10 a.m.
At that point, the day could go a number of ways. I might shoot an interview in our studios with an actor, I might work on reporting and writing a long-form story or profile, I might head to a field shoot to go behind the scenes at a singer’s concert rehearsals or awards show gala, or I might be in the office producing and editing an episode of “In Her World.” Nights and weekends are studded with movie premieres, press junkets, and red carpets, and I travel frequently to visit TV and movie sets, cover film festivals and conduct interviews.
I like keeping a to-do list but I try as much as possible to focus on the day at hand so nothing feels insurmountable. My biggest organizational tip is to keep a follow-up email folder. I wake up to hundreds of emails in the morning, so when I can’t address a note in my inbox immediately, I move it to that folder so it won’t get lost in the shuffle. I focus on tackling those emails once I have a handle on the day or whenever I have moments of downtime.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
I’m naturally curious about people, love engaging in conversation and have been writing since I learned how to put a pencil on paper. I never envisioned doing on-camera work, but now that I do, I have to admit it makes sense. I was a dancer throughout my childhood and into my college days, so my love of performing still has an outlet in my work.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
The best part of my job is the wide range of tasks that come with it, but it can also be the most anxiety-inducing part of it. I do sometimes worry about fitting everything I need and want to accomplish into the day while still doing the best work I possibly can. I also think this is an exciting but uncertain time in the online space. Everyone is trying to figure out how to adapt and change to new strategies, new platforms and the changing social media landscape, so I’m constantly mulling over ways to stay at the head of the pack and relevant in such a competitive industry.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
It can definitely be a challenge; especially during award season, which I’m in the thick of right now. One important thing I’ve learned over time is that you have to speak up and create your own boundaries. No one else will do it for you. At the same time, it’s important to realize that work/life balance ebbs and flows. There will be periods that demand more of your time and energy and others when you’re able to achieve more balance. I don’t buy into the idea that if you love your job and it’s fulfilling and challenging, you should be happy to sacrifice everything else for it, but having that passion and drive does make the incredibly stressful times much easier to weather. For me, carving out one small luxury in the day, no matter how busy I am, makes a massive difference. It might be a long, hot bath, an uninterrupted 20 minutes with a book or a quick run.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
Many of them! A recent one that really stands out is walking up those famous red-carpet steps at the Cannes Film Festival on the way to see my first premiere there. It was absolutely surreal and reminded me how unique and once-in-a-lifetime so many of the opportunities that come my way through work really are.
What are some of the rules you live by?
Try not to live by other peoples’ rules. But beyond that, be honest with people. They deserve it and so do you.
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in your line of work?
A tenacious spirit. A natural curiosity. Solid writing skills. And confidence; being a reporter is tough. People don’t always want to answer the questions you need to ask them and entertainment and on-camera reporting are especially competitive fields. You have to be direct, unwavering and sure of yourself and your skills to get through each day.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Relax! There’s so much uncertainty when you’re starting out in your career, and it’s easy to view everything that happens as a life-or-death situation. It’s not. Using your early 20s to explore, take risks, and take on a more-than-appealing share of drudgework is exactly what you should be doing. I wish I had been more present in the moment instead of preoccupied with the future at that age.
What legacy do you hope to leave through your work?
For me, I hope to be able to tell the kinds of stories that spark people to think about their world in new ways, however small, and feel something real and genuine. To have that impact on even a brief moment of someone’s day is something I consider a huge achievement and honor.