How Cosmopolitan Editor Emma Barker Paid Her Career Dues

Emma Barker’s current job title is as yummy as Carrie Bradshaw‘s favorite cocktail. At age 27, Barker is the sex and relationships editor for Cosmopolitan.

That’s a long way from the Iowa payphone she once had to rely on to fact-check travel article details for Midwest Living. And, as Barker writes for this week’s edition of the magazine’s ongoing column “Get That Life,” it’s also a fair figurative distance from her second stint at New York magazine, during which she volunteered to cover parties and events for The Cut:

Party reporting is one of the hardest jobs you can have because you have to ask what they don’t want to answer. Their publicist is standing there frowning at you. Once there was a married, famous model who was rumored to be having a lesbian affair with another model. I had to ask her about it at her perfume launch party. She was not there to talk about her sex scandal, but I had to ask the question. Her publicist yelled at me, and I left and cried on the subway. I was so humiliated.

Coincidentally, Barker says one of the most popular features she has overseen at Cosmopolitan since taking over the sex and relationships beat a year ago this month is the slide show “28 Mind-Blowing Lesbian Sex Positions.” What goes around… Seriously, this first-person account of how Barker, a graduate of Minnesota’s Drake University, worked her way to a critical 2013 Fashion Week assignment with The Cut – and then made the best of that experience – is chock full of colorful details.

The essay is also a vivid reminder of the determination and ingenuity required to professionally succeed in NYC’s competitive magazine trenches.

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@hollywoodspin Richard Horgan is co-editor of Fishbowl.
Publish date: December 15, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT