Dawn Davis is the 34 year old Beauty Director at Total Beauty, the digital resource for beauty advice, product reviews, beauty tips, makeup samples, cosmetics, and hairstyles. The Connecticut based editor is an alumni of Colby College (B.A. English) who started her career with coveted internships at NARS Cosmetics and in the beauty department of Harper’s Bazaar. And since then, she’s held posts at many of our favorite magazines, all the while solidifying her role as one of our most favorite editors to work with (fun fact: Allyson has known and worked with Dawn since the mid-2000s when she was at Shiseido Cosmetics!). Her career led her to the digital publishing space in 2009 (just when the publishing landscape began shifting), and ultimately to Total Beauty in 2012, when she accepted the role of Beauty Director. Since then she’s been covering the latest and greatest in beauty, meaning everything you need to add to your Sephora cart right now. Dawn is one of the kindest, most genuine people we’ve ever met who’s hard working, detail-oriented, dedicated to her craft (she takes the train into New York City from Connecticut every day for work!), and beyond graceful to boot. Plus she’s a dog mom (hi Luna!) and a runner (you know we love that) with mad latte art and pancake making skills. And did we mention that she’s an expert packer (follow her on Instagram if you want to change your life)? From sharing the best piece of career advice she’s received and the character trait vital to her success to her favorite beauty hack (we couldn’t help ourselves), we’ve charged Dawn with 20 of our favorite questions.
1. What was your first job out of college?
I was an editorial assistant at Harper’s Bazaar. I picked up a lot of lunches, answered phones, and wrote thank you notes. And Kerry Diamond, the Beauty Director at the time, would let me sneak into the beauty closet to help organize products.
2. When you were in college, what did you think you’d be doing today?
I don’t think I ever thought that far ahead, but I knew I wanted to be a writer.
3. What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Be nice to people and write thank you notes. You never know how people you meet along the way may be able to help you out later on in your career.
4. Can you recall the moment you felt like you hit a groove in your career?
Publishing has changed so much over the last 10 years. I transitioned from print to digital in 2009, and I see that as an important move at the right time.
5. What’s the first thing you do when you get to the office every morning?
I rarely go straight to the office because of breakfast meetings and events. I generally spend some time sifting through beauty products and press releases before I settle in behind my computer.
6. What’s one thing you do daily to stay organized?
Put away beauty products. If they accumulate for more than a week, the task becomes very intimidating.
7. How do you sign off emails?
“Thanks!” to acquaintances; “XO” to friends.
8. What’s the one character trait that’s vital for success in what you do?
Speed. In the digital age, you have to do so much, and you have to do it quickly.
9. Can you share a career goal for 2017?
Learn to delegate.
10. What’s your favorite magazine?
domino. It’s good to branch out from beauty every now and then.
11. Do you have a can’t-live-without beauty product?
This is boring and practical, but a tinted mineral sunblock. I have many favorites (Skinceuticals, Skinmedica, Karyng, Alastin, Avene, La Roche Posay…).
12. What’s your go-to cocktail?
13. Do you have a wardrobe staple?
I have about 10 different floral dresses I love and wear often.
14. Do you have a spirit animal?
15. Do you collect anything?
Beauty products, of course. Other than that, I try to minimize clutter.
16. How do you stay healthy?
I run and hike outside with my dog. And I eat a balanced diet of 90-percent good stuff, 10-percent cookies (maybe 80/20).
17. What’s the best hashtag of all time?
18. What’s your decorating style?
Modern Moroccan. (In my mind if not reality.)
19. What do you eat for breakfast most days?
Oatmeal with chia seeds and slivered almonds in the winter; a green smoothie in the summer.
20. Favorite beauty hack and why?
Keep your travel products packed at all times. I love to travel, and I’m a little nutty about efficiency. If all my minis are ready to go, it’s one less thing to think about the night before a trip. If I use something up while I’m away, I refill it when I unpack.