By Stephanie Schaefer
Aliza Licht (who you may know by her former Twitter alias DKNY PR Girl) is a digital Jaqueline of all trades. The social media guru—who in college traded a promising career in medicine to chase her dream of working in fashion—is more than just a trendsetter. In addition to a 17-year stint at DKNY, where she has most recently served as the senior vice president of communications, Licht can also add top-selling author, TEDx speaker, and career coach to her resume.
In her debut book, Leave Your Mark, Licht schools readers (including myself), on the art of getting what you want out of your career. Mixed with a heavy dose of inspiration, a sprinkle of sass, and a pinch of tough love throughout, the book is a must-read for millennials hungry for success.
Licht was kind enough to answer my questions about writing, social media, brand building, and, of course, fashion.
Stephanie Schaefer: You rose to fame with your popular social media presence. What inspired you to expand your 140-character limit and write your first book?
Aliza Licht: I was actually approached by my U.S. publisher (Grand Central Publishing) to write a book. An editor there had been following me on social media. I was intimidated at first by the prospect. I also didn't want to write a book for the sake of just being able to say I did; I wanted it to have a purpose. I had been doing a lot of mentoring on Twitter for years, and when I realized that I could write something to help mentor people, I jumped right in. It has a coffee cup on the cover because Leave Your Mark is my way of grabbing a coffee with everyone who is reading it.
SS: Throughout the three months it took to write Leave Your Mark, did you ever get stumped by writer’s block? If so, how did you get over it?
AL: I gave myself a daily word count of 596 give or take. That was 75,000 words chopped up into little digestible bites. I didn’t write an outline for this book because to me that was daunting. As I wrote nightly between 9:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I strived to reach my word count. If I was feeling inspired, I blew past it. If I was stumped or too tired, I slammed that laptop shut. Curing writer’s block is simply leaving the project. Taking even a 25-minute break can refresh your brain.
SS: Speaking of overcoming obstacles, I love how you associate fashion with confidence. If you had to choose one outfit in your closet that makes you feel like you can take on the world, which would you choose?
AL: I have this amazing DKNY cape dress that quite literally makes me feel like a superhero. Statement clothing will often do that.
SS: Let’s switch back to social media. There are so many outlets that some people feel if they join all of them they’ll spread themselves too thin. Can you pick your top three must-use platforms?
AL: Everyone’s number one right now is Instagram. Mine is still Twitter, then Instagram. Facebook would be third. I never got into Snapchat. Content creation is hard enough, why would I want to post it somewhere it disappears?!
SS: Since Writer’s Bone is a website that caters to up-and-coming wordsmiths, do you have any advice specifically for writers on using social media to either promote their work?
AL: Build your network before you need it. Get your website up and running months before pub date. Secure your book’s Twitter handle and start building that audience. I recommend this even if you plan on responding from your personal handle. Having your book’s own Twitter handle is like giving it a home. All the conversations around it come launch should be amplified through that handle.
SS: Unfortunately, the famous DKNY PR Girl account is no longer in existence [insert sad face emoji]. Since it’s launch in 2009 the witty Twitter personality became a friend to more than 500,000 followers. Was it hard to say goodbye?
AL: Starting a week prior, I alerted people on @dkny to follow me personally. But honestly, I don’t think of it as goodbye. DKNY PR GIRL has always been my personality and my personality is alive and well @AlizaLicht.
SS: Luckily we can still tweet you at your personal handle @AlizaLicht. Can we still look forward to the insider fashion scoop and Olivia Pope discussions?
AL: Of course! I can’t wait for #TGIT
SS: We like to end our interviews by asking our contributors to share a random fact about themselves. Since your known as a social media guru, we thought it would be fun to ask you what your favorite emoji is and why?
AL: I love the monkey covering his little face. I often feel like that monkey.