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Life lessons from my (former) magazine life

May 5, 2018

Been seeing “last day” and “goodbye” posts from my former colleagues at Summit Media, and I can’t help but go into some sort of relapse—back to my senti post-print self (because #RIPprint!). As much as I love my current life, I still miss the magazine grind, and have yet to wrap my head around the fact that Summit Media just published its last print issues this May.

So I channeled all my feels into this tribute of sorts—because really, Summit taught me more than just how to dress better or do my own makeup, hehe. There’s so much wisdom to be gleaned from the past 11 years, all of which are helping me “#adult” now. Here, my top five.

Life Lesson #1: There will always be someone better than you, and that’s okay.
Personal tidbit: I applied to three different magazines—and got rejected thrice—before getting my editorial break. Back then, I thought that maybe I just wasn’t good enough. Seeing my fave editors walk the hallways of Summit (where I started as a marketing girl) was both awe-inspiring and unnerving. I wanted so badly to pursue my dream, but I was also endlessly insecure.

Then in 2008, OK!’s EIC and now my good friend Frances took a chance on me. Suddenly, I was working with and among the greats! Sure, I still felt like I was at the bottom of the heap most of the time, but it made me realize: Being surrounded by people who are way better than you is actually a good thing. You learn to do better, try harder, aim higher. I wouldn’t be the writer I am now if it weren’t for all the Summit legends who endlessly inspired me… and brutally edited me, too! So thank you.

Life Lesson #2: Kindness goes a long way.
I’ve worked with the best people: best in terms of talent and skill, and also those with the best attitude and heart. The best of these bests, of course, are a combination of both—they’re not only good at what they do, they’re also inherently good people. Despite their status and level of brilliance, they never act like they’re above anyone else, even the manongs and assistants. That’s why they’re the best. And I’m lucky to have met many of these “golden” people, from editors and photographers and production people to stylists and makeup artists and even celebs!

It’s true what they say: People will forget what you said or did. But they’ll never forget how you made them feel.

Life Lesson #3: Mistakes are necessary (and happen to the best of us).
The first time I committed a boo-boo on the job, I was told by my boss, “You better work next time.” I wanted to die right then and there. And quit—but just for the day. But of course I didn’t. I carried on, and promised to work harder. And so I did, but I also made more mistakes: from overlooking typos to using the wrong price/caption/image and even failing to meet an editor’s vision for a story. (Ergo, rewrite!)

What am I saying? If it weren’t for those slip-ups, I would surely be no better than I was when I first started. I’d probably be all smug and complacent, delivering ho-hum work at a ho-hum pace. At the same time, these mistakes taught me a lot about the art of letting go. At the end of the day, it’s just a job. If something can be fixed, fix it. If you can’t, don’t hang yourself. Tomorrow’s another day.

Life Lesson #4: Perfection is an illusion.
In my years doing shoots and meeting all sorts of shiny people, I’ve come to realize two things: 1) Professional manipulation (lighting, makeup, editing) can make anything or anyone look perfect; and 2) even the biggest cover stars have pores and pimples and stretch marks, too. Not all at once, usually, but you get the picture.

So don’t be so quick to compare your skin, home, or life to that of a person you see in magazines—or even on social media—because 1) it probably took hours and an entire team to get that perfect shot, and 2) really, there are better things to do.

Life Lesson #5: Change isn’t always a bad thing.
Come June, there will be no more new Summit titles hitting the stands—just a bunch of back issues plus a slew of other mags, most of which probably don’t have much time left in them, too. It’s sad how in a few years, glossies will be obsolete, just like cassette tapes and VCDs. Lucas will never get the chance to bug me to buy him a copy of K-Zone, or hide a stash of FHMs in his room. (Okay, maybe I like that bit.) Future generations may only know of reading articles on their iPads and phones, and not on paper. Sad, sad, sad!

But if there’s anything I’ve learned in the past seven months post-Summit, it’s that change, no matter how painful or dreadful or scary it is, eventually becomes less so. It becomes tolerable, even enjoyable. We learn to adapt, whether we like it or not. “You can get used to anything,” my friend and former boss Tisha once told me. And it’s true.

These days, I no longer write for magazines. This would’ve been unthinkable to my 20-year-old self, but my present self is very much okay with it. I’m now doing things I never thought I would be able to do, and I’m learning to do so much more. Change pushed me to be where I am now, and I’m really glad it did. Otherwise, I’d have stayed stuck, never knowing that there was so much more out there—out here.

So to print (and the print life), thank you. You were golden, and I’ll love you forever.



  • Frances

    May 6, 2018 at 9:55 am

    Lesson #1 is my biggest secret. And my greatest talent! I can spot people who are smarter, more disciplined, more talented, and so much better than me. Then I make sure they’re on my team. Unlike other people who get envious and competitive! =D I’ve learned quickly that I never will be the best girl in the room but if I just surround myself with the best people, then I rise. A rising tide lifts all boats, E. Thanks for being part of my adventure and making me look good when I’m really the least talented girl in the OK! team =)

    1. Elaine Reyes

      May 7, 2018 at 3:07 am

      Aww Frances! You were the best! You ARE the best! I always tell people I’ve been so so lucky to have had the best mentors ever, starting with you. 🙂 I really do owe you big-time! And you taught me so much—not just career-wise. I’ll never forget you saying, “Life always comes first.” As ambitious as I was back then, this helped me (and continues to help me) not lose sight of what’s really important in life. So THANK YOU!!!

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