Q&A with Manhattan "It" girl, Caroline Vazzana
Modern-day Carrie Bradshaw, Caroline Vazzana, is more than just a New York City writer with an extensive wardrobe. The fashion editor, stylist, and social media influencer began her career in the editorial world working for fashion magazines like Marie Claire, Teen Vogue, and InStyle. Throughout her experience in the industry, Caroline began jotting notes of personal stories, in hopes of capturing memories in the thrill of it all. As years went by and stories piled up, Vazzana decided to use her experiences as a platform to inspire, thus adding “author” to her list of accomplishments.
On August 21st, Caroline released her first book, Making It In Manhattan. The conversational guide is a dream for those hoping to make it in the world of fashion. From career tips to flashbacks, the all-encompassing book encourages the future generation of fashionistas. We sat down with the newly published author to discuss all things Manhattan:
What was your inspiration for Making It In Manhattan?
The inspiration behind the book was wanting to give back and write down all the crazy, fun, and jaw-dropping stories that have happened to me while working in the industry. I felt like so much was happening at such a fast pace and I didn’t want to forget any of it. When I started writing these experiences, I began to think about when I started out and how I knew no one, so I wanted to write an all-encompassing guidebook for those who want to make it in the industry in New York. So many people have this dream of moving to Manhattan but have no idea where to start, and this book is for that person. It began as a passion project, which is why it was so much fun to write. It didn’t ever feel like “okay I’m going to sit down and write a book,” it felt like I was reliving the whole beginning of my career.
How has NYC fueled your creative drive?
I always talk about the fact that New York has this unspoken magic. I don’t know how to describe it, and some people think I’m crazy. There’s just this energy that’s magnetic. For example, you’re running down the street to something, and someone’s running the other direction, that energy bounces off each other. Everyone is out here trying to make their dreams a reality. The reason it’s called “Making it in Manhattan,” is based on that song [New York, New York by Frank Sinatra] which says “if I make it there, I can make it anywhere.” New York embodies the American Dream. Everyone from everywhere dreams of coming to this city to follow their dreams. I think New York is so inclusive in terms of all backgrounds, all different tastes, and all different styles. So for me, my brand is completely based around New York City and that dream. It inspires me endlessly to keep doing what I’m doing and be myself. Just being here every day endlessly inspires me.
Tell us about some of your favorite New York hangouts.
It depends what I’m in the mood for. For brunch, I love Sarabeth’s, Jack’s wife Freda, and Hotel Chantelle. For drinks or something more intimate, I love Nomo Soho, or Tiny’s in Tribeca, which is exactly what it says it is, it’s very tiny and intimate. For dinner and a good Instagram moment, I love Pietro NoLita. The food is so good because the owner is from Italy and all the recipes are his grandmothers. My go-to for work is Cha Cha Matcha when it’s not insanely busy or I’ll work from Laduree because they have great wifi and I love the ambiance. I love a very New York-y vibe place that's maybe a bit crowded, but it’s in that crowded space that I feel inspired. If I were in a place that was empty, I would get bored and have to leave. I write really well when there’s loud background noise rather than just one conversation that I can clearly hear. I appreciate the typical and packed New York spots.
You’re often referred to as the “modern-day Carrie Bradshaw,” how would you compare your experience in the fashion industry to the iconic sex & fashion columnist?
There’s obviously a lot of similarities and differences. We’re both writers, and we’re both named Caroline, her actual name is Caroline which a lot of people don’t know. We both have an eclectic and fun sense of style, and we both love and have a good relationship with the Manolo Blahnik brand, so it’s things like that that are very synonymous to who we both are. We both love going out, trying new restaurants, and hanging out with friends. She’s a sex writer, and I’m a career and advice writer, but at the end of the day, it’s all wellness. Everyone has their own opinion of Carrie Bradshaw, but her lifestyle is a little bit unobtainable. She probably owns more Manolo’s than me, but I don’t know for sure. Some people will message me and say, you’re just like Carrie, but more relatable, and that’s why I think it stuck so much. Yes, it’s this Carrie Bradshaw glamorous life, but I’m very open about everything I do, including vintage shopping and sample sales, and she’s definitely in Dolce and Gabbana buying it full price. So I think I’m someone they can relate to a little bit more, but she’s this strong and independent woman, who isn’t afraid to stand up for herself and share her opinions, and again, to follow her dreams. She wanted to have this column and then turned it into a book, which is all very inspiring to me as I wanted to write a book and start this website, and live in New York City. Even though she’s not a real person, I find her character as someone to relate to.
What do you hope readers learn from Making it in Manhattan?
From the book, I hope people learn to be themselves and never compromise who they are or their style, to fit in or “be cool.” The book’s all about standing out from the crowd and that what makes you unique is what will make you special and successful. I’ve built my whole brand around being myself and for the young girls reading it; I want them to see it and think “wow I can be myself and I can be successful.” Honestly, anything is possible, and I know what sounds cliche, but it’s true. I never thought I would be able to write a book. I was a fashion writer and liked writing about style, but it all just happened naturally and fell into place. So, if you work hard, are kind, and want it bad enough, I think that no dream is too big. I want my readers to have fun along the way; I think some people take themselves too seriously. I always say that the industry can feel very “you can’t sit with us,” but the book is very much, “you can sit with us.” It’s written in a very conversational style like you’re talking to a best friend or big sister, so it’s drawing back that curtain, and inviting these people in with me. I’ve had older people DM me before, telling me how they dreamed of being a fashion editor, but gave up on it because it seemed too hard, too exclusive. My book makes this lifestyle feel more obtainable and not as mysterious as it might seem.
Keep an eye on her Instagram @cvazzana for fashion week coverage and book tour events!
Interview conducted and written by: Morgan Vickery
Photography by: Adair Smith