My Digital Life: Jess Benjamin, Social Media Editor at Evening Standard Magazine
We chat to Jess Benjamin - the woman behind Evening Standard Magazine's social media - about her favourite interview subjects, lockdown running and Instagram cats.
As Social Media Editor at Evening Standard Magazine, no day is the same for Jess Benjamin - which is lucky, because her talents extend beyond simply penning pithy Instagram captions; when this talented 24-year-old isn't interviewing politicians and pop stars (not at the same time, of course), she's penning features on art, fashion, music and more, or filming and editing behind-the-scenes videos for ES Mag's 200k+ social media followers.
Fun fact: before ES Magazine snapped her up, Jess used to work at The Fashion Digital! At her leaving party, I performed a rewritten version of Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" ("Thank U, Jess"), in which I honoured Jess's prolific hat-wearing and left only one lyric unchanged - "Wish I could say thank you to Malcolm / Cause he was an angel" - to pay homage to Jess's cat, Malcolm. You may have guessed that I think she's great. Which is why I begged her to come back to TFD just for a fleeting moment, as our latest My Digital Life interviewee. Here's our conversation.
NH: Talk me through an average day as Social Media Editor at Evening Standard Magazine.
JB: I’m not sure there is an average day; one day I’ll spend the majority of my time writing, editing and uploading content to our website, the next I’ll be planning our Instagram feed and capturing behind the scenes video content at one of our cover shoots. I know it’s a cliche, but it really is different every day for me - which means it’s never boring.
NH: What makes a great Social Media Editor? Striking the balance between being strategic and creative. You’ve got to have new and exciting ideas, but also know the best ways to implement them to make the most of their potential.
NH: You’ve interviewed some incredible people - which subject has been your favourite so far?
JB: Probably Jeremy Corbyn. He managed to make time for everyone on the day, despite being on an incredibly tight schedule, and was genuinely kind, not to mention very interesting to speak to. Yungblud was also great to interview - he’s hilarious.
NH: What are your favourite digital tools at work, if any?
JB: I use Photoshop, InDesign and Premiere Pro on a daily basis for small (and very rudimentary) edits and images - I taught myself how to use them by following Youtube tutorials in a slowed down speed. I also love Onlypult for scheduling on Instagram, and Chartbeat for website analytics and stats. Gotta get that data in!
NH: What are your favourite social media accounts to follow, for work, inspiration and cats? JB: Probably my all time favourite account is @mignonettetakespictures. I could print every one of their posts and put it on my wall, mainly because everything they post is just so darn CUTE.
For style I love @mariejedig, @prosenkilde and @fannyekstrand (yes, there may be a Copenhagen-based theme there). Cats, oh cats. Usually I just look to my own archive for pictures and videos of my own kitten Malcolm (and Doris, RIP). But if I need an extra feline hit I’ll go to my favourite Instagram cat, @nemamiya12, a Korean Scottish Fold whom I would steal, given the chance. I also admire, respect and regularly coo over Fashion and Slash, TFD’s resident kittens. They’re just so sleek.
NH: What are your favourite brands to follow? JB: L.F.Markey (@lfmarkey) - I would live with a wardrobe of just their clothes if I could. Liv and Dom (@livanddom), because even though I don’t burn incense I think about their incense holders on a daily basis. And TataNaka (@tatanaka) - a perfect balance of whimsical and very nice tailoring.
NH: What was your first email address? JB: firstname.lastname@example.org. Because my name is Jess, I was 10, and, you guessed it, I am funky.
NH: What is your earliest memory of social media? JB: Does MSN count as social media? If so, sending winks and nudges on there. I sometimes listen to the MSN sounds on Youtube just to indulge my nostalgia. NH: Which apps have you recently downloaded? JB: I’m usually very reluctant to download new apps - I tend to stick to what I know. Having said that, I did download the Nike Run Club app for my new lockdown running enthusiast self, and am now the person who posts on the family Whatsapp when I beat my 5k time. Oh, god. NH: What podcasts are you currently listening to? JB: I actually don’t listen to podcasts - I tend to read on my way into work and call my mum if I’m walking anywhere. Instead, I will tell you about my rediscovered lockdown love - The Sims. Any spare time is currently dedicated to (or wasted on, depending on your viewpoint) my multi-generational, highly successful Sims family. Living vicariously? Who, me?
Interview by Natalie Hughes