Carly is probably one of few people we know that could name at least 20 lipsticks by its exact shade/name off the top of her head. By way of being based in New York, we're grateful to cross paths with some badass women like Carly Cardellino, who is currently the senior beauty editor at Cosmopolitan.com. If you've come across her Instagram or Snapchat, you've probably seen her taking selfies with Kylie, Gwyneth and most recently J.Lo. Carly stopped by our office in Greenpoint, Brooklyn for a low key shoot with our talented crew a couple Saturdays ago. Read on to get to know her as well as pick up some key advice for us girls who're working towards our dreams.
Photography: Lucka Ngo
Styling: Nicole Abesamis
Interview by: Sarah Lee
Tell us about your childhood.
I grew up in a small town called Johnstown, which is near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (If you're a hockey fan, it's the town where they filmed the movie "Slapshot") with my parents and younger brother. If my parents were answering this interview question, they'd say that I spent the majority of my childhood singing on our staircase with a microphone and LOVED beauty (I had the Tinkerbell starter beauty kit and I lived for it). I was a girly girl who was in ballet, tap, and jazz when I was little, so my aunt, who used to model, was always doing my hair and makeup for recitals. I also loved to play dress up — what little girl didn't?! — and had my model pose down pat. See below. So I guess you could say all of those things coupled together foreshadowed my future in beauty/fashion.
Did you ever think as a child that you would one day work for THE Cosmopolitan magazine as a beauty editor?
I remember seeing teen magazines when I was younger, but the only reason I bought them was if Jonathan Taylor Thomas or Leonardo DiCaprio were in them because I obviously wanted to rip the pages out and plaster my wall with them. As I got older, I saw Cosmo Girl on newsstands, but I didn't actually pick up a Cosmopolitan magazine was until I was in my teens — and I definitely didn't realize that I could actually be the one writing the stories that girls all over the world read until my sophomore year of college. So, no, I had no clue of the possibilities that were out there, but I feel really lucky and grateful that I get to do what I love every single day and create fun and educational content for such an amazing brand!
When and how did you end up moving to NYC?
I visited my cousin in NYC over spring break during my junior year of college — she was working at Health magazine in the beauty department at the time — and she mentioned that she needed an intern. My eyes instantly lit up! Once I expressed interest in the opportunity, she spoke with her boss, we worked out the details, I rented a dorm at NYU for the summer, and I moved to the city that May. After interning the entire summer in the beauty industry, I was hooked and knew that I needed to come back to New York as soon as I graduated. My cousin kept me in the loop with jobs that were open as my graduation came closer and a position opened up at Shape magazine as the assistant beauty editor. So I applied for it, interviewed, got the job, and I've been working in the industry ever since.
We can only imagine that being a beauty editor for a major magazine like Cosmo is highly coveted by so many girls and the competition must be insane. What are some values/principles/mottos that you’ve learned throughout your journey that has helped and shaped you to get you to where you are today?
OK, there are a few things: 1) The contacts you make and the relationships you build with those contacts are really important, so stay in touch with people you meet and genuinely reach out to them to see how/what they're doing — not just when you need something. 2) Your reputation is everything — it takes a while to build and one wrong move to ruin, so be mindful of how you act in public, what you say, and what you post on social media. 3) Be kind and be a team player. No one wants to work with a mean girl, especially one who isn't willing to do what it takes to get the job done.
OHK is all about sisterhood and supporting, empowering and inspiring each other and we do these features to hopefully inspire women to step out and pursue their own dreams in whatever realm of life they are in despite the challenges. What are some hurdles or difficulties you’ve had to overcome throughout your career to continue to fight for your passions/dreams?
As you mentioned before, a lot of people dream of doing my job, so when you go for other jobs in this industry, you tend to be up against the best of the best. And sometimes that means you don’t get the job and someone else does. In my case, I went for many a job between Shape and Cosmopolitan.com, and I always was discouraged when I didn’t get a position I applied for. But I had mentors who pushed me to not give up and I just kept reminding myself that my timing isn't always the right timing, and to trust that I didn't get that certain job because something better that was more suited for me was out there. So far, I can't say I can complain with how my career has panned out. Everything does always work out in the end, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?
Based off your social media, we know you’re always on the go and running around and wearing kicks all the time. What are some of your favorites?
I live in my Stan Smith's from Adidas, they're my favorite. But when I'm not wearing them, I'm usually in my high top Converse. I also just got a pair of textured Roche Ones from Nike that I'm obsessed with. I feel like a badass in them.
How would you describe your style?
Hmm, eclectic? I think that's the best word for it. I don't know, I don't like to be boxed in with fashion, regarding one type of look — I like to try all kinds of things. I know this sounds super-cliché, but if you have confidence in what you're wearing, I think you can pull off just about anything.
What are some of your favorite things to do that aren't work related :)
I LOVE, love, love horseback riding. I'm also randomly a good bowler, so I love going bowling (minus the fact that I always break a nail), playing pool, going dancing or going to brunch (I know I'm not alone here!), and traveling.
Life is unpredictable, things change, we change, but as of now, where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I'd love to be a beauty director who is married with a kid or two, killing it at both occupations! As for the legacy I want to leave: I want to always be known as someone who was always kind, hardworking, someone who helped people (whether physically or through a story I've written), and someone who was full of joy.
If you could give one piece of advice to a large group of women what would that be?
I saw this quote on Instagram and it's so true: "There will be plenty of people who will doubt you, don't be one of them." I thought that was so powerful, because you go through times in your life when doubt creeps into your mind and you really do have to work your hardest to not listen to it. So that'd be my biggest piece of advice.
And because it’s ONLY right to ask. Tell us your:
Holy grail Top 5 beauty products we could find in your everyday purse: I'm a lipstick hoarder, so: Givenchy Le Rouge Perfecto Beautifying Lip Balm (this is so chic and it works with the pH in your skin to make your lips a custom shade of pink — it's out later this year, so keep an eye out for it!); CoverGirl x Katy Perry Katy Kat Matte Lipstick in "Sphinx" — this is the perfect pinky-nude shade!; Smashbox + Lilly Singh Bawse Always On Liquid Lipstick — this is the perfect red lip color because it suits all skin tones, I swear (I actually just wrote a story on it on Cosmopolitan.com); Top Shop The Concealer Palette, and Physicians Formula Cushion Compact, which gives me the perfect amount of coverage without feeling cakey on my skin. Oh, and I don't carry this around because the bottle is heavy, but I don't leave my house without spraying on Tom Ford Noir Pour Femme — it's like my security blanket at this point.
Hair product you can’t live without: Ouai Treatment Mask. My platinum hair would feel like straw without it.
Your eyebrow game is so strong what do you do with them?!: Bob Scott, who is a brow guru and makeup artist in NY, does them. He tints them and tweezes them, but otherwise I apply Glossier's Boy Brow in "Black" on them daily to brush them into place so they have that feathery look.