You Go Gore, Highsnobiety writer Sydney Gore
Photography by Hannah Siegfried
Photography: Hannah Siegfried
Interview: Isis Nicole
Years before her career as a freelance writer, 23-year-old Sydney Gore wrote stories on her friends computer growing up. Now, unhurried from the comfort of her sofa after a busy night at a Fendi x Boiler Room NYFW party, Gore reflects on the state of media, and the simple things that bring her peace.
Isis Nicole: Thanks for welcoming us into your home. Can you give us a quick intro to who you are and what you do?
Sydney Gore: I grew up in Cherry Hill, New Jersey and I'm a Taurus. From a young age, I've always really loved writing. I would go to play dates at my friends house and as soon as I got bored, I would just find a computer and write my own stories. The parents thought that I was anti-social then realized, when they saw this Word document, that I was just like this little creative genius. My parents were actually really cool [and] respected my creativity. For a long time I always thought that I would do literary stuff and write books. I kind of fell into magazines and journalism by accident. When I was in high school I did the paper there, bouncing around from section to section. I started getting into doing album reviews and I remember my first ever was James Blake. I remember thinking it sounded like an alien screeching but I was like, obviously this must be good, somehow. I was really, really, really into Indie-Rock and Alternative stuff in high school and being so close to Philly, I'd always go to shows there with my friends and be in the mosh-pit.
IN: And at this time did you ever blog?
SG: Good question about the blog. In high school I started a Tumblr. It was more like my personal thing. I would [post] rants, reviews, and photography on the side. It wasn't anything that I was trying to get people to follow, but I knew I needed to express it. [In college] I went to one [journalism] pitch meeting and after that, I couldn't stop coming. I worked my way up to different editorial positions. I was a freshman and my first real interview ended up being [with] Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum and Ice Cube for 21 Jump Street. It showed me that I can actually make a career out of this.
IN: What's the most incredible thing to have happened to you this year or last?
Sydney Gore: I would say getting to run my Black History Month series on Nylon.com. Last year I did it really last minute. I wasn't expecting it to take off, but I was still really passionate about it [and] it ended up being a huge success. This year, I had a lot more time to plan [plus] more people on my team to collaborate with it. I think that it has been doing really well so far and continue[s] to receive very positive feedback. I would say that's something I'm probably the most proud of that I've done in my work life. In my personal life, I've also gained really amazing contacts and started to develop really amazing friendships with people I've featured in the series that are also in the industry, so it's just really cool all around.
IN: That's pretty cool. Is this something that will continue beyond February?
SG: Yeah, so my goal with this type of content is to make sure that we're doing that all year around, 365 days a year. For me, I've always kind of seen it as more of a challenge for myself and for my team to show that if we actually put in a little extra effort, we could be featuring more people of colour or people of different sexual orientations. Just like representing everybody. I think it's a really good motivator for everyone. Even last year, because of how well Black Girl Power did [on Nylon.com], some of my co-workers were like, "Can you do something like that for LGBTQ moms?" It's definitely, I think, showing everyone that it's possible to be doing this all the time.
IN: Were you responsible for advertising in high school or in college at the paper?
SG: Our faculty dealt with that. Then with the college newspaper, I believe they had a different department who dealt with more of that stuff.
IN: I asked because … well I want to know, did you have any kind of entrepreneurial experience that led you to work on anything independently that you want to put out into the world?
SG: For sure. I would say at a young age I sort of got, not the entrepreneur drive, but some experience. I was a girl scout. I was always the top cookie seller, and it was really hard to do. I feel like with that experience, I've always been very driven to get things done. If I'm going to sell something and promote it, I'm going to be 100% invested. Part of me for a really long time has always wanted to start something on my own and collaborate with a small team, I just don't know what I would want it to be, yet. Definitely with what I've seen in media right now, I want to at some point do something on my own.
IN: Where is media right now?
SG: It's definitely an interesting time. I feel like everyone is super focused on digital right now which both good and bad. I personally have always loved magazines. I think with everyone saying print is dead, I don't think that's true. I think it's just a matter of what sections and areas these companies are investing in. Like the fact that Nylon right now is relaunching Nylon Guys (they're going to have two publications going at the same time), I think shows the value in continuing to, you know, invest in publishing. I feel like a lot of places are reevaluating their target market, the type of content they're projecting, and who they are trying to reach, especially women's fashion magazines. Just with the way that they are talking, their language, and representations. With feminism. I have personally been taking more notice in how people are promoting and advertising feminism, and the difference between when it's authentic and when you can just kind of tell that they're just trying to get on board.
IN: Do you ever feel like you're working within the boundaries of what media projects onto women in the industry or do you just do your own thing, like how you want to be presented to the world?
SG: I get what you mean. I feel like a lot of the time there tends to be this, how do I say it? I don't want to offend anyone, but the vibe that it's white feminist agenda. As a woman of colour, that's something that always really frustrates me. It's great being at Nylon because we have such a diverse team and we're always pushing for intersectional feminism. I can't really speak to the print aspect [of media] since I'm solely on the digital team. I think with the position that I have now, because I've never been comfortable speaking on behalf of someone else, I don't like speaking on an issue when I'm not fully informed about it, or when that's not my experience. I don't like preaching to people about things, so my whole thing has always been if this is a topic that we're going to discuss, we need to be putting the people who are affected by it on the platform. We need to have them speaking out on the issue. When I see something, I'll try to go in my circles or I'll tweet something or put a status about x,y, and z issue. If we were going to do a piece about black Muslims in America, I'm not just going to write some summary and invent some tweets. I'm going to find the people who are actually black Muslims and share their perspective. I think the same thing with issues like feminism and all of that, even with how the Women's March was being covered. I kept seeing articles about how it was so divided, how people were losing the bigger picture. Women's rights has to do with all of the marginalized groups getting their rights taken away by this administration. Me and my friends were saying that we need to find ways to be productive [in ways] that work for us. I'm all for protesting but at the same time, I don't always feel like I'm present. What am I doing after the protest? So many people get rallied about showing up for this stuff but they're not donating, they're not showing up. It's mostly like they've done their deed of activism for the day and took their Instagram picture, and then keep it moving. My friends and I are trying to find ways that we can continue to make a difference and mobilize. Starting locally. Maybe providing a wellness space for people of colour to congregate.
IN: With everything said, where do you go for peace?
SG: Right before I got my promotion I was feeling really mentally burnt out. I wanted to start being more mindful if you will. Getting toxic energy out of my life and not stressing out about things that aren't important. In all of the chaos that's going on, the one thing you have control of is you. This a small thing, but I changed my desk chair into a fit chair. It's like a bouncy ball with wheels on it, and it improves my posture. I need to get back into yoga. I find it helpful to surround myself with like-minded people and not necessarily have to engage in debates. I [use] face masks and take baths. Baths have been my bread and butter. That's probably the best thing that happened to me this year. Taking advantage of my bathtub. It's incredible!
Originally published in IN #6, Fall 2017