photo cred | Into the Gloss
For the past several years, I have been following a blogger who goes by the name of Molly Young (AKA Magic Molly) – Molly is an extremely talented writer who freelances for GQ and New York Magazine, but on top of that she’s also an employee working for one of my favorite brands – Warby Parker – over in New York. Over the last few years, I have followed her writing, but also pieces in which she has been featured in by others who are just as intrigued with Molly as I am. She’s a gorgeous 20-something who has a way with her words, but is also just witty as hell. Enjoy!
Q: What does a day in the life of Molly Young look like?
Molly: Wake up early. Get an issue of the New York Times, walk to the office, and make myself breakfast. Usually peanut butter on crackers and a monstrous cup of coffee. Then work-work-work. Everyone works long hours, so I break it up by going for walks throughout the day. After work, I’ll go get a drink with a friend, walk home, read a book, do some writing, attempt a crossword puzzle, fall asleep. That’s a typical weekday. I have a very PG-rated schedule.
Q: Can you tell us about a piece that you are working on right now and who it is for?
Molly: I’m writing a piece about corporate culture for the New York Times.
Q: How long have you been writing and when and how did you develop a passion for it?
Molly: I started writing as soon as I started reading. It was the only way to solve a problem that I kept encountering, which was the problem of reading a good book and then having it end. I hated when good books ended! So I started writing sequels. It seemed like a rational way to address the issue. I had no concept of authorship—the stories I read seemed like common property, so I was happy to pick up their plots where the authors left off.
Q: As a freelancer you probably accept stories to write and throw out your own pitches. How do you become inspired with a pitch?
Molly: The process of creating a pitch goes like this: 1) Identify something that interests me; 2) Figure out if it is relevant to other people. That’s all. If an idea passes both tests, I go into research mode.
Q: You work at one of my favorite brands – Warby Parker in NYC – what is your role and what are your favorite things about working there?
Molly: I work on content and creative strategy for Warby Parker. There are a million things to love about the company, but I’ll pick a few: the people who work here are smart and kind, the products are beautiful, and for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need.
photo cred | Molly’s Instagram
Q: What are your favorite pair of glasses that you own from them?
Molly: I wear the Zagg in Tennessee Whiskey, because they make me feel like a cartoon scientist. My work ethic seems to improve when I wear them. (Not joking.)
Q: Molly, I heard that you were a San Francisco native! I’ve become fond over the city in the last year, can you let us in on some of your favorite spots?
Molly: Yes! I’ll tell you my favorite way to spend an afternoon. Start at Green Apple Books on Clement Street for used books (be sure to explore the cramped, dusty sections upstairs—especially the Sociology section, which is filled with crazy shit.) Next, walk a few blocks down the street to Good Luck Dim Sum, at 736 Clement Street. Ask for one order of har gau (shrimp dumplings). Then, reverse your course and proceed to Toy Boat Dessert Cafe, at 401 Clement Street. Get an espresso and some ice cream, read your books, and stare at all the freaky Pee-Wee Herman toys on display. If you have any energy left, walk to Goodwill at 820 Clement and find a pair of cool orange platform shoes for $2.
Q: Everyone has always advised me that when you move to a completely new place for the first time, life can be a little bit rough. Did you have any struggles when you left the west coast for the east?
Molly: Of course. I was constantly lonely. It helps to sit yourself down and say, “Self, you’re going to feel low for a while and it will take time to adjust. But don’t worry, it’s normal and it’s temporary.”
Q: When I first came across your blog a few years back, you went by Magic Molly. How did that nickname come about?
Molly: I started teaching myself rudimentary HTML in grade school, and my first website was designed for my family’s viewing pleasure. I called it “Magic Molly” because that’s the first thing that occurred to my 6th-grade mind. Now I’m stuck with it. Ha! But I have to admit, it pleases me to have this remnant of my 12-year-old self trailing me around. She was a weird kid.
Q: I’ve read several articles in which you’ve been called an “It girl.” When you hear that, what do you think?
Molly: It reminds me of the IT department of my office, so I reflexively read it as “Information Technology girl”, which is way cooler than what it actually means.
photo cred | Your Pal Mal
Q: Quick! What was your favorite article to write ever?
Molly: For a piece called “Leading Mannequins” in GQ, I flew out to Los Angeles and immersed myself in the world of Hollywood fashion stylists for a week. It was like being an alien. I love exploring pockets of the economy and figuring out how they work.
Q: Is there ever an interview that you’ve done that you wish you could have had a do-over on?
Molly: I did a Longform podcast recently and couldn’t bear to listen to more than two minutes of my voice. The podcast appeared in my iTunes, I started listening, and instantly did a full-body cringe: that’s what I sound like? Oh god….
Q: Since you’re a blogger yourself, do you have any other favorite blogs? If so, what are they?
Molly: The blogs I read are mostly aggregators of longform pieces—sites like Byliner or Longform. I’ve also been been combing through Dwight Garner’s pieces for the New York Times and admiring how energetic and precise his writing is.
Q: Molly, this year on Yow Yow! we are focusing on the life of a 20-something and being a recent post grad transitioning out of college. What advice do you have for young adults our age and moving into the adult world?
Molly: Find a company or a publication that you love and do whatever it takes to get in the door. It doesn’t matter where you start. Working at a place (and with people) you respect will bring out the best in you.
Also, avoid journalism school. Here’s why.
Q: At your age, many would consider you an incredibly accomplished writer. What is next for you? Are there any future endeavors that you would like to pursue outside of writing?
Molly: I’d love to continue pouring my heart and head into Warby Parker. We want to prove that businesses can be clean, lean, smart, and responsible. I spend every day working to show that companies can do good in the world—and of course, when I get the chance, I love writing the occasional article too!