BY Noa Mokhnachi
Most people who spend years attending law school and passing exams revel in finally becoming a lawyer, and aren’t willing to give up the accolades – and salary – that being a solicitor or barrister entails.
But Nelli Konstantinova gave it all up in an instant and is now enjoying a second career as one of Russia’s most celebrated lifestyle journalists.
Nelli Konstontinova was born and currently lives in Russia; she studied law and worked as a lawyer for ten years. “I don’t disclose my age darling because this is how I got my job at Vogue Magazine,” she said. After her wedding to another lawyer she decided that one good lawyer in the family was more than enough, so she started writing short stories about traveling, food and home design as a favor for her socialite’s friends.
In 2001, she got a call from Vogue Russia who wanted to hire her as living editor, “Those were the best six years for me in Russia, I learned so much,” she says. She moved on to becoming features editor for Harper’s Bazaar Russia and Elle Russia before being named editor in chief of Elle Deluxe in 2008.
After little more than a year, Elle Deluxe shut down due to the financial crisis, and Konstantinova became a freelance journalist. “I had acquired so many contacts over the years that it was easy to get my article published, and then in 2011 Conde Nast approached me to become editor-at-large,” she says.
Editors-at-large work closely with the editor to help them to make editorial decisions. “Basically I attended all the editorials meetings, advised the editor in chief and organized our shooting locations but eventually I wasn’t carrying the whole magazine’s future on my shoulder, which made it easier,” she says. She worked for Conde Nast Traveller as the editor-at-large for more than six years. She is also an avid social media user.
For Konstantinova, this was the perfect balance between freelancing and being the editor in chief. “I got to go and supervise so many trips that the editor in chief wouldn’t have time to do. I would take the editorial lead and decide what we were going to cover,” she said.
Working for Conde Nast Traveller, Konstantinova got to travel all over the world and that is what she enjoyed most. “The best part of the job is that your dreams come true and you get to travel the world and it is very useful for people, you become more open, and always want to learn more,” she said.
Indeed, her openness has become an inspiration for the next generation. “I am amazed by my aunt’s career. She has been so versatile that it has inspired me to try so many different things,” said Dasha Korznikova, 21, a fashion student at UAL.
But with the rise of bloggers, Konstontinova admits that now she is facing harsh competition. “I am a lawyer and I like definitions, bloggers shouldn’t be trusted they don’t have our knowledge most of the time they are biased and sponsored, they are not journalists.”
She adds that websites such as Trip Advisor or Yelp keep rising and are slowly killing the travel printed magazine. “Nobody wants to pay for a magazine anymore they can have access to information instantly and for free.”
She launched her own website two years ago called Travelinsider.Ru, which you can translate with the help of Google automatic translation, where she shared itineraries, lifestyle and beauty tips and pictures of her trips. She wanted to bring to the virtual world real expertise – something she brings to everything she does.
Nelli’s website the Travel Insider