Back to the Beginning: An Interview With Blush Founder, Dianna Mazzone

How did Blush Magazine become what it is today? Meet the founder and first-ever editor-in-chief of Blush Magazine, Dianna Mazzone. Five years ago this dynamic woman planted the seed that blossomed into Blush Magazine; constructing the foundation for the publication that today serves as the Fashion Institute of Technology’s fashion, beauty and culture magazine. Read this interview to get the inside scoop on Dianna’s life, while also taking a closer look at the process and creation of Blush.

BLUSH: Since many students won’t know who you are, please tell us about yourself.

Dianna Mazzone: I’m an alumna of FIT and founded Blush in 2013 when I was a student. After founding the magazine, I also assumed the position of editor-in-chief and president of the club. Currently, I am a beauty editor at InStyle.  

Before I founded the magazine, I was a part of the school newspaper, W27. I really enjoyed being a part of W27, but I felt like hard news wasn’t the direction that I wanted to go. I wanted to create a publication that was not only creative but something that everyone on campus could be involved in. I felt like there needed to be a space for all students to experience the process of conducting photo shoots, writing articles, illustrating, and laying out a publication for print. Truly, there are a lot of different aspects involved in creating a magazine.

In 2013, internships were becoming much harder to attain, especially to earn school credit or to be paid. That created an even bigger incentive for me to create something that would give people real-world experience. Overall, it seemed to me that FIT was a creative fashion- and beauty-centric school where there should be a student-run publication specifically dedicated to those topics. Personally, I’m a beauty lover, and wanted the magazine’s focus to be primarily on beauty, with a couple of fashion articles and shoots.

Ultimately, I wanted everyone to have a final product that they could be proud of and use as something to present to other people to showcase all of the work we had been doing the entire semester.

When you were a student at FIT, what did you study?

I was an Advertising and Marketing Communications major. I considered going into the Fashion Merchandising Management major, which is now FBM, before starting at FIT, but decided to go into AMC.

How many issues did you publish as editor-in-chief?

In total I published four issues as editor-in-chief. The first issue was Winter 2013: The Transformation Issue. The second issue was Spring 2014: The Empowerment Issue; third was Summer 2014: The Vacation Issue; and the fourth was Fall 2014: The Social Issue.

Did you face any unique challenges when you started the organization? What was your budget like?

When I started Blush we began with a regular club budget of only $1,000. Our first issue was a playbill-size magazine, which wasn’t done intentionally to be adorable, but because of the budget restrictions. The first issue had a total of 48 pages and we printed 500 copies.

In terms of challenges, I definitely had plenty of hoops to jump through to get the club approved. Although, once we released our first issue in winter 2013, the magazine took off! After that, getting approved for projects and specific events became much easier.

Do you have any funny or fond memories from your time as editor-in-chief?

Besides the joys of unloading the boxes from the magazine shipments and running the many club fairs, a good memory I can recall is four of us sitting in the library from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on the Saturday and Sunday before we sent the first issue to the printer. We ordered from the Panera Bread by campus and spent about $100. We feasted pretty much the entire day as we finalized the magazine.

Did you ever envision Blush being what it currently is today?

When I created Blush five years ago I definitely had high hopes for the magazine. Although, I surely didn’t think that Blush would’ve become what it has so quickly.

The fast-paced growth of the magazine makes me extraordinarily happy. As the founder, all I truly wanted was for Blush to continue to live on and be successful, and it most certainly has!

What impact has Blush had on your life? What about on your career?

Blush truly taught me so much about myself. From my time as EIC, I learned so much about my own leadership skills, how I work, how to schedule and plan accordingly, how to delegate, how to write professional emails, how to communicate with others, and so on. The magazine also gave me something physically amazing to show for myself that I felt really exhibited my work ethic. Creating the magazine gave potential employers a visual representation of me and my work, which they would have never been able to see on a resume.

What is your advice for students looking to work in the magazine industry, both print and digital?

I think that in today’s world it’s become much harder to land a magazine job. When I started, as long as you interned and you fulfilled the intern requirements, you would most likely gain an assistant role, and could work your way up from there. Unfortunately, that’s not really how it is anymore.

I definitely encourage students to look outside the traditional magazines and big players in the industry. Look at the Bustles, Refineries, and Elite Dailies of the world. It doesn’t always have to be InStyle, Marie Claire, or Vogue.

I would encourage everyone to work at an establishment that sees themselves as a brand. Where the magazine, website, events, etc., are all different functions of the brand itself.

It’s also important to understand that even as a beauty editor, your job isn’t focused on one thing. In my position, I work on videos, social media, events, stories, and more. No one in the industry is just doing one thing anymore.

Have you seen any recent issues of Blush? What, if anything, stands out to you?

What’s stood out to me the most since I graduated FIT is how professional all of the issues have looked. I looked at the Veganism Issue recently, and I was really impressed by how beautiful it was. After looking through the Tech Issue, I was thrilled to see you all breaking boundaries and stepping outside of Blush’s comfort zone. It seems that the magazine gets better every semester that it continues.

Tell us about the first issue.

The first issue I published was called “The Transformation Issue.” The title stemmed from the idea of creating Blush and then transforming it into a physical magazine. As I stated in my Letter from the Editor, in half a semester, we had grown from a seed of an idea to an actual glossy-paged magazine. With that being said, the reasoning behind the chosen theme of “The Transformation Issue” was also to teach readers how to transform themselves, whether it was with a 10-minute makeup tutorial or with tips on how to reinvent their style.

Is there anything else you want to tell readers about Blush’s beginnings?

When we started Blush, there were about 20 total students who were contributors. (photographers, makeup artists, stylists, illustrators, etc.). There were only four executive team members who were heavily involved with the preparation and creation of the magazine. Blush has definitely come a long way since then.

When we released the first issue, students became very interested in the way that the process unfolded—how there was a place for everyone to be involved and how everyone had a unique talent to bring to the table.

Personally, I think it’s super important to be a part of something that’s larger than yourself, and I want to tell all students to take advantage of the extremely creative community of FIT while you still can.

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