At a young age, Ilana Kaplan fell in love with writing. Her curiosity lead her from New Jersey to New York where she began writing stories whenever she could. For over 11 years Kaplan has been building her career as a journalist and is currently the news editor at Digiday and a weekend contributor at Rolling Stone.
Having work published in The New York Times, Vogue, GQ, Vanity Fair and more, Kaplan is a big role model for aspiring journalists.
While Kaplan enjoys writing feature stories, she also spends a lot of time writing celebrity profiles and pieces on world history.
Before starting a story, Kaplan explained that researching is one of the biggest steps in her writing process.
“Before any interview I do, I like to make sure I know as much as possible about the person so I can ask more personal questions that will make for a better piece,” Kaplan said. “Research is the foundation for any successful story”.
Kaplan also said that she tends to write each story differently.
“Sometimes I like to outline my stories, other times I start with the beginning or end, it really just depends,” Kaplan said.
When recently interviewing rising star Barbie Ferreira, Kaplan explored her past and how that has helped her become the actress she is today.
Ferreira, at just 22-years-old, is shaking up the acting world with her breakout role In “Euphoria”. Kaplan as a knack for capturing the scene of an interview and placing the reader within the story.
The interview, while light-hearted, touched on some of Ferreira’s struggles in life and how they have helped her become who she is today.
Kaplan’s creative writing style elevates her stories and takes them from basic profiles into more of a story about each celebrity. Kaplan said that capturing someone’s essence is one of the most important parts when writing up a profile.
No story falls into place perfectly and Kaplan has realized that over her years of reporting. The hardest part, according to Kaplan, is not getting enough information to form a good story.
“It can sometimes be hard to pull information out of people,” said Kaplan. “When that happens, it sometimes becomes hard for me to frame the story the way I originally wanted to.”
Many times people will reach out to Kaplan on social media about certain stories. Kaplan said that social media has become a big part of her writing process, allowing her to better connect with her audience.
The best advice Kaplan would give to aspiring journalists is to put yourself out there, reach out to as many people as possible and don’t give up when one path doesn’t work out.
“The process is different for everyone but I think it’s really important to come to editors with specific questions and topics, they are much more likely to reply,” Kaplan said.
Kaplan’s successful career as a journalist has come with many challenges and many “No’s” from publications, but she said that it’s important to keep writing about what’s interesting and important to you specifically.