I was always a writer—always, always, since I was a child—and I have indulged that persistent need to make sense of what I saw and experienced, and to share other people's stories, in a variety of mediums over the years.
In high school, I joined the Broadcasting Explorers club at our local ABC affiliate and worked on a magazine-style TV show aimed at teens. I produced segments on everything from fashion (persuading a Disney resort to let us film there, popular stores from the mall to loan us clothing, and kids from my school to model) to entertainment (I cohosted a segment on a new all-ages club called Peppermint Park on location, which was high glamour for this 16-year-old, even if it was located in a beige, sun-baked strip mall). I even reviewed movies with a classmate from school who I recruited because I had a massive crush on him (gross abuse of power, I know).
College meant writing for the school paper, including movie reviews plus regular dispatches from a semester I spent in London.
And then I got a job at the city paper, The Orlando Sentinel, and began writing features for the arts section while working as a copy kid (in those days, you had to fetch photos from the morgue, send proofs to composing via a pneumatic tube system, take obituaries from the local funeral homes by phone, and do the weather page) and finishing college. Close to graduating, I landed a full-time job as a junior reporter in one of the paper's bureaus. It happened to be in a rural area, a combination of dirt-road neighborhoods and the occasional convenience store mixed with new, orderly subdivisions and shopping centers anchored by a Publix supermarket. My favorite stories from those days were off the beaten path. The guy who ran Pant World, a bare-bones operation featuring stacks of, yes, pants and the occasional mason jar of loose buttons. He lived in a room in the back of the store, surrounded by his collection of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles figures. There was the elderly woman Jewel Garner whose house was being given a fresh coat of paint by a group of lawyers who were volunteering their time to help people in need. Jewell was so small and slight that she was barely an apparition of a person, with cottony white hair that wisped about her face. She wore a cardigan despite the sweltering Florida heat as she talked with me about how grateful she was. She'd been at a loss since the death of her husband and what with her fragile health. Oh, Jewel…
In 1993, I moved to New York City and began working as an editor and writer at an art magazine. And in the years since, art, photography, entertainment have consistently been my focus. I've written for Photo District News, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Post, Revolver, eMusic.com, Paste, Inked, drummergirl.com, and Mediaweek, among others. I've been a managing editor at American Artist, Revolver, and Modern Painters. And I've been an editor at the New York Post, Entertainment Weekly, and Emerging Photographer.
After the recession in 2009, I moved into content strategy and copywriting, primarily for Stockland Martel, an agency that represents top commercial photographers. So all those storytelling skills now get channeled into goal-oriented marketing projects for digital and print, and I work closely with photographers who are highly successful in their various genres—people who shoot movie posters for blockbuster films, campaigns for national brands, celebrity portraits, and so on. It's a long way from running copy in Orlando, and I could not have gotten here without those early experiences and, especially, that old-fashioned training in writing, editing, and journalistic ethics.
What can I offer future collaborators? The best of the old and the new: a deep understanding of traditional storytelling adapted for today's ever-changing content platforms. And humor. The work is important, but life is short and what's the point if everyone's not having a good time while they make things happen.
I'm always up for new collaborations and conversations. Inquiries: kris [@] kristinafeliciano.com.