Theriz Journal

Creating Art & Sharing Love Since 2009

Theriz Interviews: Hillary Chan Latos

Have you ever wonder how would it be to work in a New York City magazine? Then you will love our interviewed today: Hillary Chan Latos. I had the pleasure of meeting Hillary while working at Resident Magazine in 2018 and I'm proud to share with you a little bit of the life and work of this incredible woman.

"I think there is still a future for print and digital media to coexist, but I think to be successful is to produce compelling content, really understand your reader, don’t sell out, and be niche vs a general lifestyle magazine." Hillary Latos 

Hi Hillary! It’s an honor to have you here today… Could you please tell us a little bit about you and your story, please?

Thank you, it is an honor to be in your publication! 

I was first inspired to move to NYC when I was 13 and got my first subscription to Vogue Magazine. To me it embodied the vibe and energy that you could only find in NYC. When I was visiting colleges on the East Coast I immediately fell in love with the city and knew I wanted to go live in the city so I enrolled at NYU. I had worked in fashion and advertising prior to working at magazines and was even a shoe designer. But I always felt a certain love for publishing and after freelancing for different publications over the years, I was asked to be the editor in chief at Resident Magazine

We’ve met at Resident Magazine a few years ago. I was working as an assistant and you were the editor in chief. Now, you’re working for Impact Wealth Magazine. How it feels to be in such high and important job position for a New York magazine?

To be successful as an editor in chief of a NYC publication means that you really have to love the city and understand everything that makes it a cultural capital of the world. It helps to have an interest in every area that your magazine covers such as nightlife, the arts, fashion, beauty, celebrities and luxury travel to deliver that enthusiasm to your readers each month. What I loved was bringing the travel pages to life, staging our lifestyle fashion shoots, and producing our cover parties with different personalities. Each month you started with a blank slate and it was up to you to create a brand new book filled with beautiful pages and interesting subjects. With my new publication, Impact Wealth, we are targeting family offices comprised of an ultra high net worth demographic with different interests besides luxury toys and goods. They tend to be more discreet about their amassed wealth and are concerned with philanthropic giving, wealth preservation, investment strategies from their peers, and impact investing. 

Which are the main responsibilities of an Editor in Chief? How do you plan a new edition? It is up to you attracting sponsors and advertisers?

The responsibilities of an EIC are similar to being captain of a ship- we create and guide the overall brand image, editorial content, and artistic direction while also maintaining a desirable vehicle for advertisers to reach the right audience and create engagement with our readers. The most important thing is building the right team of creatives and sales people to support your vision while coming up with creative ways to bring the magazine to life by aligning with the right events. From my time at Resident Magazine I was able to truly learn what it took to create a monthly print magazine, and from there I launched Impact Wealth Magazine with a couple of business partners who each have their own strengths. 

Did you always knew you wanted to work with media and publications? Do you remember a moment in your life and/or the reason that made you chose this professional path? Did you have a special help or a mentor to guide you in the beginning? It is such a particular and closed industry, how were you able to get in?

I didn’t always know that I wanted to work in magazines and editorial. I thought my career path would be in advertising and marketing. I went to NYU’s Stern School of Business and later got my MBA from the University of Southern California. But I remember seeing a fortune teller in Queens when I was 25 and he told me that my name would be in magazines! My first interview for SOMA magazine was with fashion designer Peter Som in 2002. I had moved back to NYC after living in California and I had an interest in writing. I was friends with Ali Ghanbarian, the Editor in Chief at SOMA and he suggested that I cover NYC designers, restaurants, and culture for the magazine since I was moving there. I always loved his magazine and the cutting edge content he was able to build, so I guess he was my mentor. That was the start of a long and fun journey! 

Could you describe a day of work in your life (pre-pandemic)? What did you usually do, the places that you used to go, the meetings, etc… Was it as glamorous as we believe when we read the magazine for example or see launching event photos?

Pre pandemic days seem like another lifetime ago. Everyday was filled with meetings, fashion or beauty previews or lunches, maybe I would have a few photo shoots for the cover or fashion editorial that were scattered amongst writing deadlines. At night there would be 5-7 events per night, from new restaurant openings, cocktail parties, beauty or fashion launch parties with celebrities and influencers or charity galas. During the week, Monday through Thursday was a 9 am to 11 pm or later whirlwind. Weekends I would relax and write. 

Now, it’s impossible having this conversation without asking you about life in quarantine. Could you tell us if and/or how Covid-19 affected you and your work? You used to travel a lot for the magazine, right? Do you miss it?

Covid 19 put a complete halt to this lifestyle. It was a shock when the world shut down and life in NYC came to a standstill. Spending so much time at home really reset my mind to what was important, interpersonal relationships took on more importance, and I took the time to develop my own publication with some business partners. Now all the product launches are virtual and done by zoom, I realized all of this frenzy was fun but a distraction and you can still be incredibly efficient without all of chaos of physically being there. But one of the things I miss the most is the travel. I have traveled to 85 countries and would be on a plane every month to a different destination, event or opening to cover. I’m really happy I did it when I had the opportunity to travel extensively. 

It’s Women’s month and we (still) need to talk about gender equality. Does it exists inside the publishing environment? Women have the same rights, opportunities and payment or is the male professional more valued? Is there some kind of prejudice? Have you ever felt a treatment difference for being a woman?

I think that in publishing there are probably more women than men in the industry and it is fairly well balanced. I never felt that there was any prejudice against women in the industry and especially now I think diversity is embraced in media and unlike some industries the pay rate is equal for men and women in this industry. 

Through your work, you’ve met great personalities and famous celebrities (like movies icon, John Travolta and rising stars like Jonathan Tucker) Could you share a great and/or fun experience you had while interview these people? Who was the best and easiest person you had to talk to? Is there someone you have always admired and had the chance to meet because of your work?

One of the things I love most about being an editor is meeting incredibly interesting personalities and being able to ask questions that no one has asked before. It is fun to really get to know a wide diverse group of highly successful people. One of my favorite cover shoots was a 10 day trip to the Galapagos Islands with actor Oliver Trevana and Marianna Downing. It was one of the greatest experiences I had. It was surreal to style a photoshoot in nature with these prehistoric animals. and we all became great friends that I still keep in touch with. 

Other personalities I enjoyed interviewing were Kevin O’Leary and Maria Bartiromo, they both had such fascinating experiences and stories to tell. It was incredible to meet people whose careers I have followed for years and sit with them one on one and ask very personal questions. 

Hillary alongside of photographer Evan Guttman at a photoshoot for Resident Publications in NYC

Any special tips for those just starting out or thinking about start a professional career in journalism? Do you believe in the future for print media? Any tips or advice for those who are seeking this career (specially now, at such strange times we’re living)?

Tips I would have for would be journalists is to let your personal voice come through. Be true to yourself and write about subjects you are passionate about because if you aren’t interested in it, it will come across to your readers. Be objective and speak the truth. Now more than ever its so important to report the truth and not be swayed by propaganda or popular think. As a journalist it is your fundamental duty to report the truth otherwise you are just part of the pr machine regurgitating the same narrative. There is so much censorship and fake news out there today. I think there is still a future for print and digital media to coexist, but I think to be successful is to produce compelling content, really understand your reader, don’t sell out, and be niche vs a general lifestyle magazine. 

To finish, what is your wish for a post-pandemic world? Do you have a exciting future work you could tell us about or is it someone/ some brand you’d love to work with this year? Where are traveling next?

My wish for a post pandemic world is to end big tech censorship and total mass media control by only 6 large companies. I wish more true reporting existed to empower readers with critical thinking instead of persuading through fear and misinformation from large corporations. I’m now working with many thought leaders, interviewing powerful business moguls, highly successful venture capitalists, and inspirational billionaire philanthropists who are shaping the future with my new magazine Impact Wealth. I’m actually moving out of NYC now and spend more time between the Shoreline and South Florida which I have really come to love.

Well, I have to say - wishing that too, Hillary! Thanks again very much… 
Hope you guys liked the interview. Thoughts? To get to know and appreciate  more of her work, please visit Impact Wealth Magazine website here

A lovely weekend to you!