NOTE FRON THE AUTHOR: TheAlternativePress.com of Livingston is excited to announce a new column called, “Where are They Now?” It will spotlight former and current Livingston residents and their achievements. It is a great way to celebrate and keep up with friends, colleagues and loved ones. We hope you like this new feature. Please feel free to submit yourself or a friend for consideration via email to Jschatell@thealternativepress.com.
It is quite fitting to be launching our inaugural TAP-Livingston newspaper column, “Where are They Now?” with an article on award-winning writer, 1983 LHS Grad Drew Limsky, who has been named editor-in-chief of MODERN LUXURY INTERIORS SOUTH FLORIDA. The glossy magazine is set to publish four times a year, with the first issue debuting in September 2013. A special edition will be published in November 2013, with future issues being published in April, July and October of 2014.
In the announcement by Modern Luxury, the nation's premier publisher of luxury magazines, which has 45 titles, Limsky is touted as being "one of the most frequently awarded editors in publishing and an acknowledged expert in the luxury sector."
Prior to taking his new position, Limsky was the editor-in-chief of the acclaimed Lexus and Mariner publications. Under Limsky's leadership as executive editor, Acura Financial Services (Outlook), Honda Financial Services (Newslink), Lexus and Mariner garnered over 60 awards in five years.
He was also the travel editor for Elegant Bride (Conde Nast) and managing editor for Del Mar Escapes (for Los Cobos, Mexico). Limsky also worked as travel editor, books editor, and columnist for Metrosource. In addition, he also helped launch Robb Report: Luxury Resorts and Robb Report Luxury Hotels.
Limsky's bylines have also graced the pages of more than 50 newsstand and custom publications in the areas of home design, architecture and luxury lifestyle. Publications have included: USA Today, Robb Report Vacation Homes, Robb Report Collection, Hawaiian Style, Elite Traveler, Worth, American Way, Ritz-Carlton, Private Clubs, Celebrated Living, Yahoo!, National Geographic Traveler, Luxury Travel Advisor, Forbes.com, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Miami Herald.
TAP Livingston asked Limsky 10 questions about his life and career. His answers are below.
Q1: Congratulations on your new job! How do you feel about your new job, role?
A. Being the editor-in-chief of a magazine is a dream job, especially when the content is luxury lifestyle. Modern Luxury is a thriving company, keeping print vital but also excelling at multi-channel, with a robust web and iPad presence. Folks in New Jersey might be familiar with the company's luxury city and regional magazines—these include Manhattan magazine, Angeleno and Riviera in California, and Miami magazine.
Four of the city/regional magazines across the country have sister publications focusing on interior design. So I'm launching Interiors South Florida, working out of the Miami office. It's been pretty heady—the company has a great marketing department and they made me a local celebrity, announcing me to the Miami design community with a lot of fanfare. We must have had 300 industry insiders show up to the launch event at Design Within Reach in Miami's Design District.
Q2. How is this job different from what you did before?
A. I was a top editor for award-winning custom magazines for Lexus and Holland America Line. Those were the clients, and though I elevated the form—bringing in Pulitzer Prize-winning authors and top journalists—my function, ultimately, was to sell products. It was high-style advertising, like Mad Men, very Don Draper. I was creating magazines for some of the world's best brands. I flew to Japan and Brussels to pitch lineups, comps, redesigns, and covers to Toyota/Lexus. I directed photo shoots on one of the world’s finest ships. I commissioned Anne Rice, Jane Smiley, Frances Mayes, and Andrew McCarthy. I lined up iconic painter Chuck Close, interviewed Paul Theroux (The Mosquito Coast), John Berendt (Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil), and Scott Turow (Presumed Innocent). I put Ryan Lochte in both magazines—we texted the night he won his first medal at the 2012 Olympics. It was thrilling. The fire drills, the stories, are pretty dramatic. And the personalities! I'm writing a satirical novel about the experience.
So now I run a newsstand publication, and the client is the local population. It reaches into the wider world because the custom magazines had controlled distribution—they went straight to homes (though anyone can see some of my Lexus and Mariner work online). And the designers featured in the new magazine are some of the finest creative minds in the world, conjuring such beautiful environments and furnishings. So it's been from Mad Men to something like The Devil Wears Prada within a year!
Q3. What do you like about being a journalist, travel writer, luxury writer, etc?
A. I was a travel writer for about five years before I became an editor, and since becoming an editor, I've still produced a lot of travel content. It's enabled me to see the world in an amazing way, and I'm beyond grateful. I've ridden elephants in Thailand, stayed in overwater villas in Bora Bora, learned to surf on Oahu, hopped on the back of a Vespa in Mykonos, flown in 4-seater planes over the Belize jungle, and had a crazy-opulent house in Bali, where you went down a flight of stairs and straight into an indoor pool. I swam around, and suddenly the pool was outside, overlooking the Ayung River Valley. Seeing my byline in The New York Times, National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, and other places has been just as exciting. And now, being able to curate beautiful things for Interiors South Florida is an esthetic adventure in a city that's a design leader.
Q4. Did you always love to travel and write?
A. Actually, my preferences were pretty limited at the start—I just wanted to go to beautiful beaches. But once I went to Rome I wanted to see a lot more of the world. In grad school, I used to read a lot of critical theory, and it was fashionable to say that the whole world is homogenized, that the whole world is McDonald's and Starbucks. Completely false.
I didn't have a lot of confidence in my writing until I went to Emory. I used to draw very well (I went to college on a partial art scholarship), but in time my creative energies turned to writing. I didn't know what kind of writing I would do, but I knew I loved to read and I wanted to emulate great authors, journalists, playwrights—Salinger, Vonnegut, Updike, Capote, Tennessee Williams, and Joan Didion.
Q5. Did anything from your past (LHS classes, teachers) influence you on your writing path?
A. I used to look at the students who could write so fluidly at a young age, especially my older brother, and I wished I could do that. But I couldn't. It did not come easily. So I kept reading and kept learning. I observed the music of fine prose, and in time I could hear it, replicate it. Ken Ronkowitz's film course was instrumental. He helped me to think critically about movies, and heighten my observational skills. I got really into film theory in college, in part because of that high school experience. He showed us the Graduate, and it was a revelation. I've taught college on and off for 20 years, and now I show my students The Graduate. It's a gift I like to pass on.
Q6. What else have you written? Where else?
More than 50 publications, including NY Times, Boston Globe, National Geographic Traveler, Robb Report, Smart Money, Men’s Journal, Business Week, Worth, Jetsetter, American Way, and Celebrated Living. I'm also really proud of my work for Yahoo! Travel. They published a slideshow of my photos from an Italian Riviera trip. Increasingly, travel writers have to contribute original photography, select existing photography, and do video, but that was the first time I had so many of my photos published at once. Maybe that's a whole new career.
Writing political op-eds for the LA Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Star-Ledger meant a lot to me; that’s a huge readership, and I wrote about important issues—Clinton, Gore, Bush, health issues, education, and gay rights issues.
Before that, writing book reviews for the Washington Post was major—that was my first important credit. I like seeing quotes from my reviews on book jackets.
I just did a profile of Mary Louise Parker for In New York magazine; that’s a glossy tourism magazine that goes into Manhattan hotel rooms. She was awesome, so candid and unprocessed. That’s unusual.
And my creative writing. I’ve published more than two dozen short stories, poems, and literary essays in anthologies, and journals like Other Voices, Poets & Writers, and Descant. A few of my pieces were cited in Best American Essays.
Q7. What is your favorite topic to write on?
A. Like every other travel writer, I like the long narrative pieces—especially cover stories—where I can incorporate the locals and their voices. I’ve done that for American Way, the in-flight for American Airlines. And I’m a luxury hotel junkie, so I love to cover that.
Q8. How does it feel to see your words/name in print?
A. I’ve written and/or edited close to 1,000 pieces, and I still get excited. I have so many boxes of magazines and newspapers with my work; I don’t want to throw anything away.
Q9. What is your greatest accomplishment?
A. Professionally, getting my doctorate, hands down. Next comes publishing Lexus and Mariner (Holland America Line) magazines and winning Custom Content Council and Magnum Opus awards for them. Breaking into the Washington Post, the LA Times, the NY Times.
Personally, being a good son, brother, and friend. And teaching college students to write better and appreciate good writing and films—that’s both professional and personal to me. In an increasingly virtual world, teaching is real and incredibly meaningful.
Q10. When did you graduate High School, College, Grad School, and where did you go?
BA in English & Philosophy, Emory, 1987
JD, NYU Law School, 1990
MA in Literature, American U., 1995
Ph.D. English, NYU College of Arts & Sciences, 2007