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Beyond the Pencil (Skirt): Meet Rachelle, Guest of a Guest

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In 2008, a website was born that unveiled New York’s social scene through pictures of parties. Guest of a Guest is the brainchild of Rachelle Hruska (along with co-founder Cameron Winklevoss) who noticed that many NYC party-goers would crash at other people’s Hamptons homes in the summer. As Rachelle explained to The Wall Street Journal, “Everyone was a guest of a guest.” Guest of a Guest boomed into a destination for coverage of parties and people not only in NYC, but also in LA, DC, and of course, the Hamptons.

Rachelle is as much a savvy New York entrepreneur as a down to earth Nebraska native who studied psychology and pre-med. When asked if she had always been an extroverted party-goer, she replied that she still doesn’t think of herself that way. In the midst of all the glitz and glam, Rachelle is most at home with her husband and son in Montauk enjoying “the actual physical paper outside with coffee” and early nights to bed with books.

Levo has the scoop on how Rachelle is redefining the social scene and “showing up to parties with a purpose.”

Current Location: New York

Where you are from originally: Nebraska

Education (College and Major): Creighton University, Psychology and Pre-Med

Brief Description of Guest of a Guest: Guest of a Guest is a media website covers people, places, and parties around the globe. Since its inception, Guest of a Guest has grown to include a picture database of hundreds of thousands of people and events all over the world, with office locations in NYC, the Hamptons, LA, and DC.

How did you originally meet Cameron Winklevoss and conceptualize the idea for Guest of a Guest: I met Cameron in NYC in 2005. I was writing an anonymous blog about the city and its incredible nightlife scene and looking into business schools. He persuaded me to forgo business school and try making Guest of a Guest a full-time company.

What was your dream job/career growing up and how did founding Guest of a Guest either contribute to this vision or alter it: I wanted to be a child psychologist growing up, though I also always had an entrepreneurial spirit. After moving to NYC, my world was opened, both personally and professionally, and I myself was also open to the opportunities that presented themselves to me, something I recommend to anyone—you never know where life will take you. I’m still interested in the psychology of young minds—maybe later in life I’ll go back to pursuing that passion.

Have you always been an extroverted party-goer or did this come with the launch of Guest of a Guest: I have never really thought of myself as an “extroverted party-goer” even today. I suppose with time and experience, I started getting much more comfortable in social situations, especially as friends were created along the way to bump into. I liked showing up to a party with a “purpose,” it hid my awkwardness and lack of confidence for sure.

Office Style

Your office style in a few words: I like to be comfortable, but classically dressed during the day. I wear a lot of shirt dresses (especially when I’m pregnant) with jewelry or a blazer and jeans.

Style icon: Diana Vreeland

Next item you plan to splurge on: Hard to say… I’m an impulsive buyer.

One article of clothing I can’t live without: My Rick Owens jacket.

Store for bargain pieces: Calypso St. Barth or Scoop’s store sales—any of the sample sales.

Heels: Tod’s—they are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever owned.

One style/trend/article of clothing you never want to see in the office: I want everyone to have his or her own personal style and I’m really not picky about what people wear, but anything super tight (on a man or woman) is usually a no go for me.

Office Lifestyle

Describe your management style: I think I’m a pretty laid back manager and as time has gone on, have learned to be a better delegator. I try my best to check in with everyone as often as I can, but I make it clear at the beginning that the less you hear from me, the better.

Number of employees at Guest of a Guest: 12 plus dozens of photographers and contributors.

How often do you attend events for work? Has there been a shift in this part of your job now that your team has expanded: I go out much less than I used to, especially after getting married and having a child. I think it’s all a part of growing up. On average, I’d say I go to an event maybe once a week. As our team continues to expand, I like getting new people out there to represent Guest of a Guest and shed new perspectives on our editorial coverage.

In the summer, there a shift toward Hamptons coverage. Does your team migrate out to the beach for the summer: Yes, we always hire a Hamptons-based editor. This year she is in Montauk, which is also, conveniently, where I am most weekends. The Hamptons site was actually our first city site, and the one that I’m the most personally connected to. We have so much fun with that summer specific site.

Guest of a Guest also has branches in LA and DC, to what extent does the NYC office work with the other locations: NYC is our headquarters so to speak, but we are in constant communication with the editors and event managers in LA, DC, and beyond (we currently have contributors in Miami, Chicago, London, Paris, and Berlin). I am hoping the NYC office continues to provide resources to our affiliate offices.

Song that is currently on repeat in the office: I’m not in charge of the tunes, but I definitely hear Icona Pop’s “I Love It” frequently these days.

Favorite part of your job: One of the things I really love is that no day is ever the same as the one before. I love that I get to meet the most incredible people and learn about how they are shaping our culture. I also really enjoy working with my team—especially the young writers that come in and are excited to be engaged with the world around them.

I never leave home without: My iPhone.

Work Life Integration

As a wife and mother of one (with another on the way), what is your secret to keeping a balance between running a company and checking out of work to be with the family: Well, I think it’s important to really check out when you are checked out. I try my hardest to not be on my phone ever during meals and very rarely check it on the weekends… Instagram is my weakness.

My morning routine goes like: I spend most mornings with my husband and son. We are fortunate in that sense; we both don’t have time clocks to check into. We eat breakfast and check up on emails and the news until 9-10 a.m. – ish at our kitchen table and then all go off our separate ways. I’ve come to love our mornings together, which will undoubtedly change when our kids have to head off to school. I try to do meetings starting at 10 a.m. or later so I can savor the time spent at home, and also so I can catch up on anything time sensitive with our editors.

If you could travel back in time to a party (real or fictional) where would you choose to go: With all of the hype surrounding The Great Gatsby, I think it’s fair to say the parties of the Fitzgerald era would be grand to attend. I’d also love to hang out in Paris in the 1920s or NYC in the 1980s. Era’s when parties seemed to be less about promoting some sort of brand and more raw.

An ideal weekend in the Hamptons looks like: Waking up early, reading the actual physical paper outside with coffee, taking a long walk on the beach with my husband and son, lunch outdoors, and a game of tennis, a nap, and dinner with friends. Then early to bed with a great book.

Cocktail of choice: Wine.

Large parties or small get-togethers: Small get-togethers.

Best family outing in NYC: A museum or afternoon walking around the West Side Highway.

Inspiration

Best piece of advice ever received: Live fast cause it don’t last.

My mentor: I have many, I try to collect mentors as they really have been beneficial to me. Lately, I’ve been surrounding myself with incredibly successful women that are beyond inspiring, also my husband and my dad.

In 10 years… : I hope I’m engaged with the world and continuing to work at something I love that doesn’t feel like work. I also hope my family continues to inspire each other to be the best selves we can be.

Career wisdom for young professional women: Find something to do for your work that you truly love to do… something that gets you excited to get out of bed. I think this is the key to life in general. Then do everything in your power to make that thing a possibility for your career.

Rachelle is a mentor on Levo; ask her a question about being a new media entrepreneur, managing a team, and balancing a career in the New York social scene with family life.

Say hi to Rachelle and Guest of a Guest on Twitter.

Photo editing by Pinsi Lei

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