Q & A:
- What was your favorite class, who was your favorite professor, or what is your fondest memory of Hofstra?
Any journalism course I took with Professor Peter Goodman was great. I had an individual class with him my senior year where I would write articles about fashion, etc. I remember I thought I did an amazing job on one piece and he ripped it apart, nicely and professionally, of course! But it did teach me to edit myself, really search for a story, and to find multiple sources.
- What was your first job after graduating Hofstra, and what was the most valuable thing you learned there?
I was off to a rough start post-graduation. My first job after Hofstra was a sales job I found off of Craigslist. I’d make cold calls, which I was absolutely horrible at, and it didn’t work out. But while I was at the sales job, I managed to score a freelance gig covering fashion week in Ukraine for Women’s Wear Daily (I had interned there and kept in touch)— and I ended up getting my first byline. Funny enough, WWD forgot to include my byline, but I called Professor Goodman and he advised me on how to approach the editor and the situation — and that was that. Basically, the experience taught me that I was horrible at sales.
- What is your field of specialty, and how did you come to work in the industry?
Aside from general fashion news, my specialty is the development of the fashion industry in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. I have been following designers from the region for a while and have always believed in the rising talent within those countries. I had internships at WWD and MarieClaire.com while I was in school. Post-graduation, it was Leah Chernikoff who is now the site director at Elle.com who really gave me my start. I contacted Leah who was at Fashionista.com at the time, pitching an interview I had with the editor-in-chief of Vogue Ukraine just as the magazine launched. I kept emailing Leah with ideas and things slowly started happening from there.
- What advice would you give Hofstra students?
Find as many internships as you can in the industry you want to work in – and keep in touch with the people who brought you on. Find a niche that no one else has. If you graduate and don’t have a job in the field you want, do whatever you need to do, such as babysitting or hostessing, to pay the bills and then just freelance on the side. If you’re in journalism, always pitch. Don’t wait for someone else to give you an idea to write about because they won’t, especially if you are just starting. But no matter who you are, just stick with your goal and hustle.
- In one word, how would you describe Hofstra?
- How has your degree in Russian helped you in the fashion industry?
I already spoke Russian when I came to Hofstra, but I had a great teacher, Professor Pustovoit, who recommended me to study abroad on a great program, while Professor Donahue helped me find scholarship opportunities. I studied abroad for a year in St. Petersburg and that really fine-tuned my language skills. Now, Russian is a necessity for me when I cover fashion weeks in Ukraine, Russia or Georgia. More importantly, when I am in those countries, my language and knowledge of the region is crucial when I have to coordinate shoots and do things that aren’t on schedule.
- What are some popular fashion trends for the upcoming year?
Tracksuits all the way!
- Where do you see yourself in 10 years? Where do you see your career progressing in the future?
As for my career, I love and respect the Vogue family and aim to expand the coverage on Eastern Europe and Central Asia within the publication.
Liana Satenstein is a fashion news writer for Vogue.com. She covers general fashion news, as well as the development of fashion in Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
Liana graduated from Hofstra University in 2012 with a major in Russian studies and a double minor in journalism and European studies. She has lived abroad in both Ukraine and Russia, and now covers fashion weeks in Georgia, Russia and Ukraine.
In addition to her job, knowledge of the Russian language helped her land her first apartment, a bargain room with two Russian women and a parakeet near the JFK airport.