The Insider: Ray Siegel

Devouring Ray Siegel’s in-the-know posts on is like reading a syllabus of what’s destined to be cool down the road—trust us. Shocker of all shockers: the fashion-slash-music-slash-beauty expert is as cool (and crazy-charming) in real life as she is on the internets. Behold. —carlye wisel

Q: Were you really into music pre-Nylon, or did your job there encourage that?
A: Music what I was first interested in, I would say. When I was young, I remember spending all of my time watching MTV, listening to the radio, and trying to convince my parents to buy me new CDs. I’m actually surprised that I didn’t become a music journalist, because the fashion thing kinda came later. But at Nylon, luckily, I get to do both. And then there’s beauty in the mix, too, which I also love doing. It’s sort of just the perfect mix.

Q: Do you have any beauty tips you swear by?
A: I’m really into highlighters. Trish McEvoy actually taught me this tip where you take your highlighter and draw a triangle under your eye—she calls it the Triangle of Light—and it’s a way to cover any sort of darkness. You just paint it on and rub it in.

Q: What would be your perfect New York day?
A: Well, in the winter, my perfect day is not leaving the house, because I hate the cold. But if it’s really nice outside, one of the things I always look forward to is going to Coney Island. I like going on all the rides, and my favorite pizza place in New York, Totonno’s, is right nearby.

Q: What’s the most embarrassing thing on your bookshelf?
A: I do still have a lot of the books I read as a kid, some of which are probably very embarrassing. Actually, my mom just sent me this card from a book review contest that I entered when I was 10 years old. It’s an illustration and a review of Lois Lowry’s Number The Stars.

Q: The Holocaust book?
A: Yeah! I basically had an obsession when I was a child. After I read The Diary of Anne Frank, I almost didn’t sleep for three years because I had terrible nightmares.

Q: What’s your shopping strategy like?
A: I’m the kind of person who likes trying on every single knit sweater. I will go around the perimeter of Barneys and look at every single thing, even if its a designer I’ve never worn before. You never know what you can find, and it works pretty well if you don’t discriminate. I focus more on the shapes of things, and if I think it’s a shape that would look good on me, I’ll try it, no matter what.

Q: That’s gotta be pretty time consuming, right?
A: It’s pretty slow, yeah. I go to What Goes Around Comes Around a lot. They have stacks of a hundred white T-shirts, and I’ll lay them out and go through every single one. The lady that works there is like, “What are you doing!” and I’m like “Nope, this is just what I do!” I make piles and try on all the ones that I think will fit. I spend a lot on T-shirts and sweatshirts and things that I know I’m going to wear all the time.

Q: What’s the worst thing you’ve ever worn?
A: When I was in college and high school, it was just kind of a bad time for fashion in general. Body glitter was cool, halter tops were cool, off-the-shoulder things and tight pants…and I definitely fell victim to some of that. I also wore a lot of stuff that I’m not embarrassed about at all and still wear. I have a Marc by Marc Jacobs denim jacket with crazy patches and studs all over it that I’ve had since high school, and I still rock that.

Photograph by Melanie Galea of The Street Muse.

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