Making your dream a reality takes perseverance and dedication. No matter how many times a door closes or you hear the word no, you have to pick yourself up and push through the rubble. And when you want to make your dream career come to fruition, it’s your job to create your own path, even when it seems impossible. For instance, today’s Boss Babe always knew she wanted to write and work in fashion, but didn’t know there was a market for it. But with a little bit dedication and hard work, she’s now living the life she always knew she was destined to live.
Nikki Ogunnaike knows fashion like the back of her hand. For as long as she could remember, she’s been obsessed with magazines and has dreamt of one day working alongside high-profile editors and writers — little did she know, she would one day be one. While her sister initially helped her enter into the industry, Ogunnaike paved the way for future editors and writers alike by creating one-of-a-kind content for magazines like Glamour, Harper Bazaar, and now Elle Magazine as the Senior Fashion Editor. Meet the beautifully talented, Nikki Ogunnaike.
Gramercy Park, Manhattan
Capricorn to a T
Summer fashion trend you can’t wait to wear:
Nike Cortez sneakers. Farrah Fawcett is my style icon this season.
Next travel destination:
I’m in desperate need of some time on a beach!
Tricks to stay organize:
Closet-wise, I’ve started this thing where I do a mini-purge every time I get a load of clothes back from the laundry. I find it really helps me weed out what I don’t want/love anymore.
Show you’ll binge-watch again and again:
Anything from the ‘90s—Friends, Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Living Single.
NYC bar for a nightcap:
I live right near the Gramercy Park Hotel so I often find myself at Rose Bar or the bar at Maialino.
Stefan Urquelle (Steve Urkle’s alter-ego on the TV show Family Matters)
Tell us a little about yourself and how you knew you wanted to be in the editorial world.
I’ve always loved fashion and writing, but didn’t realize that I could make an actual job of it until I landed an internship at the shelter magazine Domino. I think the coordinator could tell I wasn’t so into it, so she let me know her friend was looking for interns for the fashion closet at Glamour. One interview later and the rest is history!
You’ve mentioned in a previous interview that your toughest editor was at Instyle Magazine. What were some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned from her and how has that experience shaped your own leadership role for your current position?
She taught me the art of headline writing (which is mostly just writing and re-writing until you land something that sticks), to take pride in my work (AKA never turning in something with typos), and to how to quickly develop a thick skin!
Best way to start a hectic work week?
Ideally with a workout—either Rumble or Flywheel.
As the Senior Fashion Editor at Elle, you have a say in what goes up for the fashion vertical. With this type of responsibility, how do you determine what shapes the vertical and what kind of stories do you hope to continue to see in this space?
I like to think that we have three content buckets to fill: service, news, and market. The aim is to have stories that fill each of those buckets in an inspirational and aspirational way, every single day.
What would you say is the biggest thing someone should keep in mind when they’re trying to establish a long-lasting career in this industry?
You should always be willing to put in the work and give it your all.
In today’s treacherous political climate, one might believe fashion and beauty are not vital in today’s conversations. How are you challenging this thought as someone who works in the fashion industry?
The fashion and beauty industries often get a bad rap for being “frivolous” or “vapid,” but working at a brand like ELLE.com has afforded me the opportunity to work on stories that are everything but that. I enjoy sharing those with the nay-sayers.
Fashion icon you look up to?
Jenna Lyons has had a huge influence on my style over the years. Her style is truly personal, which I love.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next five years?
I love interviewing people on-air, so I’m definitely looking forward to more of that.
Any advice for future Boss Babes, especially those looking to enter into the fashion/editorial industry?
My sister once told me the real work happens after hours. Go out, get to know people, create opportunities, and get resourceful!
Written by Raven Ishak
Photography via Vanessa Granda