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Anne T. Donahue: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is Anne T. Donahue, who’s the Music Editor of Rookie Mag and a freelance writer for NME, Huffington Post, FASHION, HelloGiggles, National Post, and Toronto Star. We caught up with her to find out how she navigates the hectic freelance life, and what advice she would share with other young professionals.



1. Describe what you do in less than 140 characters. Go.
I write essays and comedy and talk in public and won’t shut up about pop culture.

2. What was the inspiration for your career route?
I think being completely unable to do anything else. I am truly unemployable in any other field, and grew up super-hyper and in constant want of attention/outside validation (like an actual monster). I was also obsessed with pop culture and comedy – especially trying to make people laugh – and I needed an outlet for those things. And fortunately, I found one! Heaven help us if I hadn’t.

3. What is the most memorable milestone in your career so far?
I feel like almost every assignment or gig I get is a milestone. Like, I still can’t believe I *get* to do this. And I know that sounds like a cop-out answer, but when I think of career highlights they all blend together and turn into a neon sign that says, “HOLY SHIT YOU ARE SO LUCKY BE GRATEFUL FOR ALL OF IT.” Which I am.

4. Where do you see yourself in 5 years, 10 years, 20 years?
Hopefully doing the same thing, but with add-ons. I’d love to get a book published. I’d love to do more TV. I’d love to write a screenplay one day, even though I think that’ll take more time. I just want to keep saying “yes” to things and seeing where those things take me. I used to really think in timeliness, but it ended up making me anxious, and that’ll cripple any/all productivity.

5. Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Work hard, be kind, be fair. Then work harder.

6. Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is it (or they) important to you?

7. What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
The first four-five years of my career were a challenge in general. I was poor, I wasn’t taking care of my mental health, I was drinking a lot. I was working hard, but earning nothing. I was impatient. I was a mess. But I don’t think I overcame it as opposed to going through it. I had to learn things, I had to recognize limits, and healthy behaviours, and learn to think/approach things differently. I had to grow up, basically. So time. Time helped me through it.

8. What does the word notable mean to you?
That some people might actually know/like what I do. Which feels nice.


1. Where is your favourite place to wine/ dine in your city and why?
I love The Oxley in Toronto more than words. And in my hometown (Cambridge), I love The Black Shop. (And in Waterloo, where I often am: Ethel’s.)

2. What’s the most visited website on your Internet browser? The most played song on your phone?
Twitter, 100%. And right now I am shamelessly listening to the new One Direction song.

3. Who’s one person you think everyone should be following on social media?
This is unfair! I can’t answer this question. Or, I can say: follow everyone I’m following on Twitter. There.

4. What’s your favourite country to visit and why? And what’s the next one you plan on travelling to?
I’ve only ever been to America! But I really love New York because I’m an enormous cliché. Also, I’d like to finally visit England because I talk a big game and have never been.

5. What gives you the greatest FOMO?
This is actually something I’m really working on not having because it’s a really big source of anxiety for me. If you can’t make a party, you can’t make a party. In, like, two days, no one will be talking or thinking about it anymore anyway.

6. What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
I don’t feel guilty about any of the things that make me happy! (Although if you have guilty pleasures that hurt people, honestly rethink your life.) One of my favourite things to do, though, is watch Forensic Files and online shop for clearance stuff. So: be very boring, I guess, is my official answer.

7. What’s something you wish you didn’t spend so much money on? What’s something you wish you spent more on?
I think I’m finally getting better with money after a few years of the absolute opposite. I mean, I wish I had spent my money better when I was in my early-mid-twenties, so there’s that. But I’m ready to spend it more on visiting cities I’ve always wanted to go to. Also: a really nice warm coat. #INTERESTING

8. And finally, what does success look like to you? Work, play, or otherwise…
I think success feels like being excited to do the work you’re doing. I mean, yes, getting paid well and earning recognition are very nice, too. But those things are a bonus if you genuinely can’t wait to write a thing, or do a thing, or be at a place. If you can wake up every day excited about your job, that’s a huge privilege. And to me, that’s a massive success. As soon as you designate success to things or steps, it’s game over because you will eventually achieve those things, and then what? Or, worse, if you don’t achieve them, does that mean you aren’t successful?

See? Too much anxiety. If you can stop and say, “Holy shit, how is this my job?!” then I think you’ve hit a success level that’s safe and still allows you to grow and keep going.


Notable Life

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