Business, Politics & Society

Starting Out: Finding Your Voice and Succeeding

Anna Wintour

Lesson time 11:00 min

Anna discusses her dos and don’ts for interviewing. She also shares practical tips for those starting out in their careers, including how to discover your creative voice and the best ways to interact with your mentors.

Anna Wintour
Teaches Creativity and Leadership
Anna Wintour gives unprecedented access to her world, teaching you how to lead with vision and creativity—and without apology.
Get All-Access


[MUSIC PLAYING] CREW: A/B mark, soft sticks. INTERVIEWER: What do you expect of your assistants? And has that criteria changed over the years? - Well, I hope my assistants won't write books about me. [MUSIC PLAYING] Well, when you are interviewing for a job, first of all, always tell the truth. Second, don't say, I love the theater, because you happen to know that whoever is interviewing you loves the theater unless you really do, and you can give an example. Don't go on an interview unprepared. Be on time, and be yourself. Somebody showed me a video recently-- I think was on "The Cut"-- where they interviewed 10 young women who were interviewed by me, and how much care they had put into what they were going to wear for the interview process. And to be honest, I don't ever really notice what people are wearing when I'm in an interview with them. I'm much more interested in finding out what they've read, the movies they're interested in, why they want to be at Vogue or another title within the company. I'm much more interested in finding out more deeply who they are than anything that they have put on that morning. I mean, I certainly will notice it, but it's not something that I focus on. So I think when you're coming in for an interview with whoever it might be, much more important to be clear in your replies, to be honest in your replies. Don't pretend that you're somebody that you're not. I can't tell you how many people have told me they love tennis, and they've obviously never been to a tennis match in their life-- than to be concerned about surface appearances. You need to be direct. You need to be honest. And you need to be very clear about what it is you want to do with your life, as much as you can answer the questions that are asked. [MUSIC PLAYING] Developing a creative eye or developing taste-- I think that's something that you have within you from a very early age. But it is also something that you can develop through exposure to culture, to the arts, through reading, visiting museums, looking at what's going on in the world around you. I think that there are so many ways to tap into creativity. And particularly in today's world, when information is so readily available, there are many ways to grow one's eye and to expand one's creative vision. I also think it's very important not spend the time glued to your phone or glued to your computer. There is nothing as rewarding as the seeing something in person. Creative exposure, cultural exposure, I think, is so important to spend as much time on that as you possibly can. And of course, it comes with maturity, and it comes with time. When you look back at early collections, for an instance, there may be a kernel of what a designer may have become or a writer may have become. But it isn't all-- it's rare that somebody is great from the word go, unless maybe you're an athlete, when you have to be good a...

How to be a boss

A fashion and media icon, Anna Wintour has been driving our cultural conversation for more than 30 years. The Vogue Editor-in-Chief and Artistic Director of Condé Nast takes off her signature sunglasses and gives you unprecedented access to her world. See how Anna nurtures talent, makes bold decisions, and evolves a brand. Learn how to lead with impact from a visionary creative leader.


Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars.

Wonderful. Ms. Wintour was engaging, charming, insightful and shared lots of tangible tips for success along with fascinating examples from her career. Worth it.

I have no interest in fashion or trendiness. But Ms. Wintour presented a compelling vision of her industry. Lessons about engaging with society, risk-taking, independence, and branding add cross-disciplinary value.

It was a great overview of leadership skills from a remarkable leader in fashion and culture. Thank you very much for producing this master class!

it was wonderful ... i think it recorded it as a 1 star... i give it a 4 star :) thank you Anna. P.S. would have loved a little more detail. Gj


Esty R.

I agree about not "exhausting your mentor", that you shouldn't ask 100 nitty gritty questions. But for someone like me, whose boss micromanages, and wants me to check in with every decision I am about to make, yet at the same time "text me" or no "need to constantly ask", it gives me whiplash!

A fellow student

I love that Anne is covering several subtopics in her over lesson. Great content!🙂

Eva Georgina R.

I really liked the fact that she mentioned that if you did not feel a connection with your boss or you were not sure you would not accept the job, not everyone gives these tips and I think they are very important I also agree that it is more important to learn that you do not like from your field of work to know that it works.

Richard H.

Learn, watch, and work hard. What great words of advice. Explore all the options. Don't pigeon hole yourself into one path. Each path will bring new learning experiences. PUT DOWN the phone and explore what the world has to offer you. Have your own voice and be willing, at times, to be a risk taker! I have been fortunate to have many mentors over the years and these are things they have always encouraged me to do every day. Katherine Graham as a!

A fellow student

There is nothing here that is not already abundantly obvious. She doesn’t explain how she got any of her jobs. She doesn’t explain why she thinks pedophilia, anti-semitism or sexual abuse of models is fashionable and something she defends. This class is all puff and no substance.

Luis H.

Life changing phrase: “in the end, if you are working in the world of media, or the world of fashion, you are driven by your heart, you are driven by your talent, and you are driven by your instinct. And if you start to question, and look to what ppl are doing to the left of you, or to the right of you, you are going to loose that clarity of thought. So, its so so important to listen to the information, to hear the information. BUT IN THE END IT HAS TO COME FROM WHO YOU ARE.....

Danielle C.

Loved learning from Anna. What a brilliant mind with incredible advice for diversity of thought and leading teams.

Alonna S.

Interviewing note. Content of the person over surface (what they wear on the outside).


Useful. When I began my company I deferred to opinions of others who were elder or in the business. Coming from an academic world I had to untrain myself and trust my passion and story. It took a few years. But many insiders also have great blunt advice on process and procedure. I wish I had started this before becoming a mother! How to connect to the buzz from rural Massachusetts is not my passion - but would serve my business and that hurdle is one I’ve yet to figure out past the media buzz. It’s the daily relationships with industry people I don’t have that seems to most hold me back. Time management with regard to relationships is my current learning curve.

Charles M.

I LOVE how Ms Wintour shows her sense of humour within the first 22 seconds of this lesson. The question asked of her is "what do you expect of your assistants and has this criteria changed over the years?" and the brilliant answer was ... "well I hope my assistants won't write books about me [laugh, laugh]". For me being able to see this side of Ms Wintours' humour through an outtake made me instantly fall in love with her. She is serious, tough, dedicated, decisive, sincere, sarcastic (like me) and brilliantly funny! I see her as a role model to learn from. This entire program is about learning to be your best no matter what and never settling for anything less. Brava Ms Wintour, Brava! Although I am not in the fashion industry, I have learned an insurmountable amount so far as I listen and read one chapter per day, reflect and see how I can apply this to my life, my business and my brand.