Editor's note: While writing The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets for Healthy, Glowing Skin, Charlotte had the pleasure of meeting and working with some extraordinary people along the way. Editor Kate Williams is one such character. Living it up in Los Angeles, she reminisces about her trip to Seoul, the challenge of interviewing celebrities, and learning how to do her makeup.
THE KLOG: Hey, Kate Williams! What’s the best part about being an editor?
Kate Williams: I really like being able to help people find their voice and shape a story. It’s really gratifying, especially if you’re working with someone who doesn’t consider themselves a writer. I think that the most important thing is that someone has good stories, unique observations and their own voice. If they have that, then my job is easy, and I’m just putting together the puzzle pieces until it makes sense and sounds good.
THE KLOG: You’ve gotten to work with so many different brands and publications. What assignment was the most challenging? Which one makes you proudest?
KW: I do a lot of celebrity interviews, and those are always challenging, because you’re trying to build a rapport in 30 minutes. A lot of them don’t like doing interviews, and I can see why. I try to never push an agenda though, and just have a real conversation. I interviewed a rapper a while back, and everyone warned me that he hated interviews and I’d probably have 10 minutes with him at the most. We sat down and ended up talking for an hour. He even brushed off anyone who came over to tell him the time was up. I would like to think that no matter who you are, you walk away from an intelligent conversation feeling a little lighter and a little more reassured about the world, and so I hope to give that to the people I interview as much as they give it to me.
THE KLOG: Do you ever get writer’s block (er -- editor’s block, as the case may be)? How do you deal?
KW: Ha. I just push through. I think a page with words on it, even if they are crappy words that will have to be totally rewritten, is always better than a blank page. Getting started is the hardest part, and nothing gets easy if you keep putting it off or waiting for ‘inspiration.’
THE KLOG: What was it like to be in Seoul to research for The Little Book of Skin Care? Any highlights that stood out from your trip?
KW: Oh man, I loved every minute of it! I am still working my way through all of the beauty products that I bought, and am kicking myself for not buying even more—even though I bought a ton! Also, Charlotte can EAT! I think the highlight was when she took me to a market, where we drank soju and ate spicy rice cake at a little street-side stand, and then moved on to this restaurant where we ate raw beef mixed with raw egg and washed it down with beer.
All of Korea feels very communal. It’s like being in a warmer, more family-friendly New York. I loved the hustle of the city, and how well-dressed everyone is. Charlotte and I would camp out in cafes and work for hours, and in the U.S., you can’t do that without someone side-eyeing you and shutting off your wifi. I can’t wait to go back.
THE KLOG: What’s your favorite part of The Little Book of Skin Care?
KW: Honestly, I still do my makeup with the step-by-step listed in the no-makeup makeup chapter. I feel like that finally taught me how to do my makeup, and I’m 35! Also, I loved Charlotte’s story about renting a fake apartment so her parents wouldn’t know she and Dave were living together.
THE KLOG: Quick! Your friend needs a dose of Seoul Stateside, ASAP. What do you recommend?
KW: I live in Los Angeles, so I’m super lucky to have a very vibrant Koreatown, where I can go hang out whenever I am missing Seoul. I’ll go shopping at The Face Shop, then stop in Café Bene to work for a bit.
We’ve got AMAZING BBQ restaurants, and really good Korean Spas. I can relax in the jimjilbang at Wi Spa more than I can relax in my own home. My boyfriend and I spent nine hours there this past Valentine’s Day!
THE KLOG: What’s up next for you? Any big projects planned?
KW: Reading, writing, and continuing on my journey to someday being a real grown-up. Almost there, I think…??
The Little Book of Skin Care: Korean Beauty Secrets to Healthy, Glowing Skin is available for pre-order. Get yours at littlebookofskincare.com.