Meet Haley Nahman

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After years of writing on the side, Haley Nahman eventually made the move from her home in California all the way to New York where she is now the deputy editor of Man Repeller. Being part of the editorial team also means having sharp writing and editing skills that she has mastered at her time there. She shares her tips for staying sane in this fast-paced industry and what she has learned after transitioning to a career in media.
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Brock Collection Pants   ; Mijong Park Top


I’d love to wake up with the sun, sip some tea, and read a book while steel-cut oats bubble on the stove, but I set my alarm as late as I possibly can. The dash between opening my eyes and leaving the house never involves breakfast (I’m a skipper). Sometimes I run in the morning, which is my favorite way to wake up if it’s not so cold my sinuses freeze. The only vitamin I take is a prenatal one by Ritual. I have no idea what it does, but it smells like citrus. Beyond that, my routine involves moisturizing, getting dressed, and feeding my cat. That’s it!

on growing up and studying in california

I grew up in Mountain View, CA, a suburb about 40 miles south of San Francisco. It’s now famous for birthing Google, but when I was growing up it was only known for its view of the mountains, presumably. I studied Business and Spanish at Cal Poly, a state university about three hours down the coast of California. I chose my school and major based purely on what my older siblings chose, meaning I spent a lot of my twenties wishing I’d given that a little more thought.

on supporting herself financially after college

My parents weaned me off their financial support throughout college (I worked as a computer lab technician and copyeditor to help foot the bills), making the cut-off complete by graduation. So after school, I sought out full-time employment immediately. I applied to tons of jobs for a couple months in a small panic, and finally landed a gig as an office manager and executive assistant at a software startup in San Francisco. Then I made the big move.

on transitioning to a career in media

I’ve always loved to read and write, but I didn’t grow up knowing any writers or people who worked in media. It never occurred to me that I could do it for a job, or that simply liking to write could qualify me for one. So my pursuit of the craft came about much more organically. I feverishly blogged and journaled until I woke up at 25 with a ton of writing practice under my belt and a gut feeling that I needed to do it more. But I had no idea how.

Trench, Yang Li Men ; T-Shirt, Vintage ; Choker, Vintage YSL ; Pants, Sonia Rykiel
This wake-up call occured to me when I was five years into an HR career in San Francisco. It came in the form of an amorphous feeling that I needed to be in New York and a working world so distant from mine that I didn’t even know to call it “the media industry.” I started applying to jobs that were creative but general enough that someone like me might be considered. Nothing stuck; I wracked up a few broken hearts. Then I heard Leandra, Man Repeller’s founder, say on a podcast that she was hiring. I put together a pitch of a lifetime and crossed my fingers. When I was eventually offered the job, I sobbed in my car. I’d never been so scared to fuck something up — and haven’t been since.
— on her big move and landing at man repeller
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on developing a writing and editing style

Without traditional media or journalism training, it’s hard to pinpoint what’s informed my style. It’s also still evolving and developing. I’ve been doing some self-educating lately with On Writing Well by William Zinsser which helped me put words to writing and editing practices that previously felt gut-driven. I love thinking about what makes some writing good and lots of writing bad.

on her role at man repeller

I’ve been at Man Repeller for three years now. I spent my first years writing non-stop, often late into the night, as I cut my teeth and learned what it means to “file copy” and “submit on spec.” New York media is a fast track, and after three years of hectic news cycles and five fashion weeks, I feel much more settled in. Today, as a Deputy Editor, I edit all our on-staff and freelance writers. I help hone pitches and theses, and work with our Managing Editor to decide our editorial calendar for the upcoming days, weeks, months. I’m responsible for the clarity of ideas and voice, and I write about one piece a week.

on her advice for being an editor

My advice for people trying to do what I do would be to be a voracious reader, write as much as your life allows, and remain curious about the world and your own mind. Give yourself the gift of accepting your own pace. I credit working in HR for five years as a huge part of why my career change worked out. I was more grown up and mentally capable of tackling the challenge. We come to things when we’re ready. As for what I wish I knew when I started out: that everything in life ebbs and flows, and the same is true for creative energy, clarity of mind, and even simple things like word recall. Don’t panic when it goes away. It always comes back.

on her tips for those aspiring to work at man repeller

We’re lucky to have a lot of wise, talented, funny people knocking on our door. Find what you think makes you different from other people and let that part of you lead the pursuit, conversation, or email.

Flannel, Tradlands, Vest, Vintage Eileen Fisher    Pants, Staud   , Boots, LD Tuttle

Flannel, Tradlands, Vest, Vintage Eileen Fisher Pants, Staud, Boots, LD Tuttle

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I’m a pants-first dresser. Then top, then shoes, then coat. Almost always. This probably stems from my particularities around pants — I need them to be just right, or I spiral. All this to say, I spiral all the time while getting dressed. It doesn’t take long to veer into the existential: Why am I placing so much of my self-worth in my presentation? How did I get here? My tip for getting out of that place (aside from therapy) is to go for monochrome. One color outfits head-to-toe are easy, feel good, and look cool.
— on her personal style
Top, Ganni ; Pants, Lou & Grey

Top, Ganni ; Pants, Lou & Grey

on her self-care rituals outside of work

I’m lucky to find my work super energizing, but that’s also part of the problem. The pace is intense enough that I can burn myself out just by showing up. It’s taken me a while to learn that having separate endeavors is central to my mental health, as much as I love my job. If I don’t make social plans, go for a run, or work on a side project, I start to hole up in my mind and make weird nihilistic overtures. This realization has really helped me clock and track my own needs. If I’m acting super dramatic, I remind myself that I probably just need to step away for a bit. You can’t get perspective without some distance.

on becoming an Instagram influencer

It’s been such a strange delight to develop a following through my work with Man Repeller. I know that being an influencer by definition entails sharing my opinions, but my favorite part is having instant access to so many others’ opinions. I run polls and pose questions on my Instagram all the time, and being flooded with answers is thrilling. It’s a great tool for me as a writer. I also interact with so many kind people every day, which tickles my grouchy little optimism bone. As for working with brands and educating myself on rates and contracts, I ask a lot of questions to the few people I know who do this kind of work. Then I try things out and iterate from there. It still feels a bit like the wild west though, which poses interesting opportunities for pitching weird ideas.

on her favorite books

It has been hugely enlightening to know Esther Perel as a writer and thinker. Not only is she a genius at peeling back the layers of convoluted human problems, but she does it so cleverly and graciously. I learned a lot about sex and relationships from Mating in Captivity, but even more about what it means to be human. It’s chock-full of fascinating intellectual fodder. I also recommend The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari and The River of Consciousness by Oliver Sacks.

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The most self-indulgent thing I do beyond the obvious (lay in bed watching ASMR videos, binge-watch a show with my cat, eat straight from the pint) is take long solo walks while listening to moody music. Nothing connects me with myself more dependably. It’s part of why I’m so committed to finding and curating music that speaks to me.
— on staying inspired and motivated
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Top, Ganni

Top, Ganni

on her beauty routine

I wash my face once a day with Paula's Choice Defense Hydrating Gel-to-cream Cleanser (at night), followed by a serum (Drunk Elephant T.L.C. Framboos Glycolic Night Serum or C-Firma Day Serum) and a moisturizer (a cream or an oil or both, I like Peet Rivko Balancing Face Oil). I do the same routine in the morning, sans wash. About once a week, I use a gentle exfoliating scrub (Peet Rivko Exfoliator). Every couple weeks when I don’t forget, I do a mask (Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant). I don’t wear makeup, but I do occasionally dab on some Glossier Cloud Paint, which makes me look like I just finished a run (my favorite cheek look).

haley’s favorite places to shop

My favorite online shops are Need Supply, Mr. Larkin, and The Frankie Shop. When I’m wandering around New York, I love to poke around trinket shops like Coming Soon and Flying Tiger, thrift stores like Tokyo 7 and 10 Foot Single, and sometimes larger chains like & Other Stories and COS because I find those harder to navigate through a screen. My style is pretty boyish. I like thick, basic clothing that’s cut with some structure, usually in solid colors or classic patterns like stripes or plaid. I occasionally experiment with kooky stuff, but I always come back to the basics and always size up.

haley’s favorite places IN new york city

Some favorites off the top of my head: Jack’s Wife Freda, Chuko, Bunna, Roberta’s, Dimes, Dudley’s, Lovely Day, Kiki’s, Rubirosa, Ruby’s, Lil Frankie’s, Shanghai Cafe, Tacombi, Long Island Bar, Forget Me Not, Clandestino, Big Bar, Beverly’s, Baby’s All Right, Mr. Fongs, Pearl’s Social Club.

Top, Ganni ; Sweater ; Lou & Grey, Pants ; Lou & Grey, Coat, Tibi ; Boots, Andre Assous

Top, Ganni ; Sweater ; Lou & Grey, Pants ; Lou & Grey, Coat, Tibi ; Boots, Andre Assous