Please Welcome Haley Mlotek
by Alex Balk and Choire Sicha
Some news — but first, some background! Let’s reel it all the way back. Hey. Where are we?
The Hairpin is an independent website that is run by women, that delivers writing and other kinds of work to the world by women (and some men), and is read by women (and some men). The Hairpin is part of a family of Internet publications. Each is dedicated to publishing pieces that its editors think are important or enjoyable (or sometimes both!). Because this publishing group has no investors or outside stakeholders whatsoever, we are free from any other agenda or obligations. In the same way, the editor of The Hairpin makes her own decisions about what her site should be, based on what she feels is best for the world, without directives from anyone at the parent organization.
Here is something more important to know about The Hairpin. On Labor Day, Haley Mlotek will become its third editor, following in the illustrious footsteps of Emma Carmichael and founding editor Edith Zimmerman (as well as all the other truly wonderful people who’ve worked here over the years).
Choire: Haley! Where are you RIGHT NOW?
Haley: I am in my home in Canada! And it’s just as cold as Americans think it is!
Choire: Gross. Is that in Toronto?
Haley: It is, yes. Luckily Drake will be by soon with the government-funded space heaters he personally delivers to every Toronto resident.
Choire: Do you have a cat or a lizard near you?
Haley: I am totally alone, I don’t even have a cat! I do have a large cup of coffee, equally large cup of water, my notebook, and my calculator keeping me company/warm.
Choire: You have a calculator? Is it 1987 in Toronto?
Haley: It is.
Choire: Cool, that explains Dan Bejar then.
Haley: Who is that.
Choire: Oh God, YOU’RE FIRED. Oh wait, he’s from VANCOUVER. I’m fired. You can have my chair.
Haley: FINALLY. Oh, I know who that is! Thanks, Wikipedia.
Choire: Okay, so. By way of introducing yourself… tell us one thing that’ll never be on The Hairpin after you take it over.
Choire: (LET THE RECORD REFLECT THAT HALEY SPENT A LONG TIME TYPING HERE BECAUSE I THREW HER A HARD QUESTION REALLY FAST.)
Haley: I’M HERE FOR THE TOUGH QUESTIONS.
1. Articles about whether or not a thing, person, place, pop cultural artifact is or isn’t feminist.
2. Anything to do with white men (sorry, Choire).
3. Lists of statistics explaining recent cultural events.
4. Um, what else? Things I hate, or annoy me, because that’s what Twitter is for, right? I don’t need to clog The Hairpin with my petty grievances.
Choire: Ooh, yeah, that’s interesting, particularly because I think The Hairpin is historically about petty ENTHUSIASMS instead. I love petty enthusiasms. I love hearing about people’s obsessions.
Haley: It really is! And that’s a big part of what I’ve always loved about it. I just think there’s enough of “this sucks, and here’s why!”
Choire: Yes. That’s my job.
Haley: For me there’s never enough of “I LOVE THIS MORE THAN ANYTHING LET ME TELL YOU WHY.”
Choire: Do you have a hobby? A “hobby” according to Wikipedia is “a regular activity that is done for pleasure, typically during one’s leisure time.”
Haley: Is this like an American thing?
Choire: It might be actually!
Haley: Ummmmm, I mean, I’m sure I do, but the last few years I’ve basically wrapped my entire life into my work, so even when I’m participating in a “hobby” it very quickly becomes work, to be honest. Like I always make time to read and watch movies, but that normally leads me to being like “oh I should write about this” or whatever. So. I don’t know! Does drinking and watching “Bachelor in Paradise” count as a hobby?
Choire: Of course it does. We should tell people that you’ve worked before. As a writer, you’ve written for us here and at The Awl, and The New Inquiry and n+1, and a lot of Canadian things that I don’t respect. (KIDDING….???)
Haley: Oh this is a great taste of the anti-Canadian hostility I’m going to experience at Awl Inc.
Haley: I’ve also written for Adult, Hazlitt, The National Post, The Globe & Mail, FASHION, Flare… lots of really wonderful publications. I also, a long time ago (like two years ago lol), worked with Edith on some Hairpin-promotions jobs.
Choire: And you’ve been the publisher of WORN for ages, which is a highly corporate fashion conglomerate enthusiast journal. Sponsored by Target.
Haley: That is almost TOOO accurate a description of what we are. But in another more real sense, it is a filthy lie. WORN is an independent print publication based in Toronto. I always tell people we’re a totally different kind of fashion magazine — instead of telling people what to wear or buy, we talk about the histories, personal stories, cultures, and subcultures of fashion. We recently published a book that compiles the first 14 issues! It’s great!! It’s called The WORN Archive. It’s the best book in the world. Anyway yeah I’m the publisher and my job is telling people how great WORN is, so you see what I just did there.
Choire: And now you run The Hairpin. Hooray. Lightning round. CURRENTLY LISTENING TO… ?
Haley: SILENCE. The last thing I listened to was Body Party by Ciara, if that makes it any better.
Choire: Wow not really but bless your heart. LAST NIGHT FOR DINNER YOU HAD…?
Haley: ….a kale salad and fries. Oh God, these questions are really humiliating
Choire: Listen it’s your life, you can be humiliated if you want. TWITTER: BLOCK OR MUTE?
Haley: BLOCK. I don’t fuck around.
Choire: FAVORITE CITY IN THE UNITED STATES?
Haley: New York, but that’s really the only one I’ve ever been to. So it’s a bad sample. You have to educate me on America.
Choire: Eh, it’s a racist hellhole, that’s all you need to know basically. But we have great produce. CURRENT BOOK?
Haley: Am I A Redundant Human Being? by Mela Hartwig.
Choire: What’s your inbox strat? Do you like to communicate with a lot of people? Do you still love emailing?
Haley: I’m going to ignore that you just called it an “inbox strat.” I do like email, and I’ve never personally been one of those people who hate their inbox or feel like they work for their email or whatever. I do think it’s a good idea to reply to every email that takes less than a minute to write as soon as possible, I think I stole that idea from Getting Things Done or something similarly embarrassing. But also I just check it in the morning and in the afternoon and at night and reply to everything I can when I can! I don’t know!!! It’s fine!!!! I like reading and writing emails!!!
Choire: Good, then I will tell everyone out there to email you all the time. I know you’re super interested also in emerging writers and working with new voices, which is the one TRULY LOVELY AND PURE thing about the Internet, that we can work with mid-career writers but also work with writers when they are starting out.
Haley: Yes!!! Ugh I feel like I have to get a little cheesy so bear with me. But I would not be anywhere without people like Edith, when I first wrote for The Hairpin, and publications like WORN who always prioritized answering emails, working with young writers, being a place where people can get their start and work with smart beautiful editors and learn and grow and all that shit, and I really, really want to be able to do that now with The Hairpin.
Choire: It’s fine to be cheesy sometimes.
Haley: So I’m speaking especially to people who are like “Oh, I want to write something, but I don’t know if I should…” Like, yes! You should!!!
Choire: FINAL TWO QUESTIONS. What is your worst vice, just don’t tell me if it’s heroin.
Haley: Nail polish, probably. It’s poison.
Choire: I’m jealous. AND IN CONCLUSION. What are you doing this weekend?
Haley: Oooh I’m going to a COTTAGE! Like a REAL CANADIAN!
Choire: Where how what!
Haley: Yes my friend has a really nice cottage and was kind enough to invite me and a bunch of friends this weekend!! So I will be away from the Internet all weekend!
Choire: What kind of hostess gift are you going to bring?
Haley: Oh shit, I didn’t even think of that. Beer, probably.
Choire: Welcome aboard, you have passed the test.
You can reach Haley at Haley @ The Hairpin Dot Com.