GIRLFRIEND: You started off working in publishing for magazines like Teen Vogue and ELLE and now you’re working in a digital space. Do you have a preference?
They’re so different but at the same time I feel like a lot of what I’m doing is similar as well. I love them both but I still subscribe to tons of magazines and I love the feeling of paper, I love the smell of a book when you crack it open and Instagram is different.
Instagram is great because it can draw people closer together. When I was a teenager I was very shy, like super awkward – I remember once my husband saw a picture of me, I think I was like 13, and he was like ‘Who’s that boy? Is that your cousin?’ and I was like ‘That’s me!’ so I feel like if Instagram had existed when I was a teenager it probably would have helped me figure out what I wanted to do career-wise earlier. You can find your group of people, you can find people going through the same thing as you on Instagram and I think especially for teens there’s a lot of power in that, to feel like you’re not alone and I think that’s one of the best ways to use Instagram.
GF: Is there a trick to getting verified?
If you’re like a 14-year-old girl in Brisbane, it probably isn’t relevant to be verified. Verification is really about how many imposters you have and people trying to take over your name for malicious purposes. It came about because there were a lot of public figures who people were pretending to be them on Instagram and it was hard to find them so that’s usually how it comes about and it’s not one person who decides who’s verified. There’s a whole verification team at our headquarters that works on it.
GF: What’s your favourite thing about working at Instagram?
I feel like it’s so amazing to work somewhere where you walk down the street and see people using it. It’s something people love and use in their spare time. It’s so great when I’m at an airport, like on my flight from Melbourne, the guy I was sitting next to was scrolling through Instagram on the flight. I could see him leaving comments, I could see him checking girls out [laughs] but it’s really cool to be part of this collective experience.
For teens reading this, it’s great to use Instagram for fun, think of it as a way to learn more about yourself and figuring out what makes you tick. I think the hardest part about being a teenager is feeling like you have to figure stuff out but knowing that life is a journey and you’ll figure it all out in your 20’s and 30’s but Instagram can be a tool to help you achieve that.
GF: As head of fashion partnerships at Instagram, what does a normal day at work look like for you?
My normal day at work is very different for me every day, like this morning I woke up and jumped into the Bondi Icebergs pool! Every day is different – some days I’m working with models, designers and stylists to give them Instagram advice, other days I’m sitting down with the product team (they’re the ones literally designing new features on Instagram), so I’ll sit down and help them, like a fashion model might say, for example, ‘I really wish I could tag people in videos, that’s my dream feature,’ and so I’ll talk to the team and be like ‘Hey, I met with these three models when I was in Australia, this is their dream feature’ and they’ll be like ‘Great, we’re gonna work on it’ and it might come out in a few months so every day is different. Sometimes it’s behind the scenes, sometimes it’s in front of the scenes but every day is different, it’s really fun.