2011 May 31
The Assistant Files, Vol. 13: Alainna Lexie Beddie, WSJ.'s Deborah Needleman
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(NEW YORK) This week, The Assistant Files checks out the fourth floor nook of The Wall Street Journal inhabited by WSJ., the almost-monthly mag that's had the media sphere buzzing since Deborah Needleman took over last year. From April's Anna Wintour cover to a bevy of big hires, WSJ. is poised to continue becoming a formidable voice in the chic canon of fashion glossies—and who better to discuss the behind-the-scenes dish than Alainna Lexie Beddie, 25, Needleman's assistant? BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV
When did you land this gig?
Almost nine months ago, since September 2010. I'm from Virginia Beach, where I was living just days before starting this job, and I graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008. I'm 25, but apparently I look about 18—according to bouncers, anyway. I was a legal assistant in Virginia Beach, ruling out law as a career. I found out about the job from a friend, emailed Deborah begging to be considered, flew up for the day to interview with her, got the job the following week, and bought a one-way ticket to move to New York a few days later. Sleeping on my friend’s floor in Brooklyn was well worth the opportunity, and I found my Greenwich Village apartment just weeks after moving up here. It was meant to be!
How was your first day on the job?
My first day was a blur, and Deborah wasn't even there—she was on vacation before taking over the helm at the magazine, and I wanted to get my feet wet. I only met about two people on the magazine staff, was too intimidated to introduce myself to more, and filled out a bunch of HR paperwork. Deborah emailed my friend Monika, who’d been at The Wall Street Journal before I got hired, and asked, "Is everyone being nice to my adorable new assistant?"
What were your initial impressions of Deborah?
She was so easy to talk to! I felt like I’d just met someone I really wanted to be friends with. Months later, I met Josh Liberson, who was Deborah's assistant once upon a time, and he said the exact same thing about being happy to become her assistant but wanting to get it over with so he could just be her friend. She's like that—she's funny and real and puts nervous people at ease. But she's also intimidating because she is Deborah Needleman.
How correct were your impressions?
Deborah is still easy to talk to, and she’s even easier to just be around. I have the kind of relationship with her that most people don't with their bosses. When we're not in the office, I just want to hang out with her and her family. Creepy, right? I lounge on the floor and curl up on the couch at her apartment while she's reading pages at her desk. I eat breakfast with her in her kitchen when I'm there in the morning… she makes me toast! She makes me tea when I'm there late, and she never lets me leave without feeding me first.
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