My Masthead


Leah Snyderman

The sun sets over the view from behind the window on the 21st floor of an East 80s building in New York City.

     I’ve always found it crazy how a little window in a building can hold so much meaning. I established my life goal behind a window on the 21st floor of an East 80s building in New York City. 

     “Go grab my toothbrush; I left it in the L bathroom,” my mom said to me. 

     I walked through the double doors where a wall separating the two apartments once stood, past the Jasper Johns painting of a map of the United States, and into the bathroom. As I walked back out through the hallway, two split frames caught my eyes. I sat on the bench across from them, completely forgetting about my mom’s toothbrush in my hand. Something about the frames captivated me, and I couldn’t seem to look away. 

     “Leah where did you go?” my mom asked as she walked into the hallway, bringing me back to reality. 

     “Why do Grandmom and Papi have magazines framed?” I asked.

     “Those are the covers and mastheads of my first issues at Glamour and Cargo,” she replied, taking her toothbrush from my hand. I was so captivated by the frames that I completely ignored the connection between my mom and magazines. She worked as a beauty editor and then photography editor at Glamour and Cargo in the iconic Times Square Condé Nast building before and when I was born. I’d always love to hear her stories of elevator protocol with Anna Wintour and the garlic-free cafeteria. 

     As we made our way through the Upper East Side towards The Met, I couldn’t help myself from observing the people I walked by. The clothes, the jewelry, the accessories–they all seemed as if they were jumping out at me, one chicer than the next. 

     The Met Costume Institute is famous for the Met Gala, but for the average person who isn’t getting invited to one of fashion’s biggest nights, it’s another exhibit in the archetypal museum. My mom and I would spend hours wandering around, looking at all the tiny details in the exhibits each year and every year, from 2013’s Punk: Chaos to Couture to 2018’s Heavenly Bodies

     When I walked back into my grandparents’ apartment after wandering around The Met Costume Institute and Fifth Ave, I found myself drawn to the framed masthead once again. I knew right then and there that I wanted my own copy with my name on it. 

     Having New York City as such a big influence in my life growing up has made me who I am today. Something about the energy and the style has inspired me to be motivated and driven towards my future. 

     In South Jersey there’s not much of a fashion scene to keep up with, so I thrive off of Instagram and the Vogue app during fashion month. The one thing that does reach to South Jersey, however, is words.

     To this day, my family is still the only one in the neighborhood to receive a hard copy of the New York Times every Sunday. My parents will sit and read it front to back. Growing up, I was always surrounded by magazines and journalistic pieces. Whether it was the weekly New York Times or one of the many fashion magazine subscriptions we had, there was always something to read in the house. 

     I was never very into reading actual books, mainly because I felt like I didn’t have time. I’ve always preferred the short and easy to understand journalistic style. When I did read books, it was usually for school, and it definitely was not nonfiction. This was until my freshman year honors english class. 

     We had a few books to choose from, all nonfiction, and I had no idea what to read. I went to my dad for recommendations as I always did when I had a choice book, and he immediately said Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel Pink. As a certified “Drive Instructor,” he was a little biased, but he promised me I would enjoy it. 

     He was right. I was so intrigued by the motivation strategies and origins that I flew through the book. I constantly thought about how it connected to my life.

     After deciding that I wanted my own name on a masthead, I practically planned my life out. I’d go to college in either NYC or LA (my two favorite cities), study abroad and maybe live in Europe for a little, and then work in the NYC fashion industry, preferably magazines, but I’d take whatever I could find. Nothing on this list has changed since I created it in fifth grade.

     Even though I didn’t grow up in NYC, my parents made sure the energy translated into our home. Both of them have taught me the true meanings of commitment and resilience. I’ve been raised in a household where becoming a lifelong learner is considered the highest achievement in life. 

     My drive and motivation stems from the NYC energy I’ve grown up with. My love of reading and writing stems from the magazines and journalistic pieces my parents surrounded me with. Everything I do is driven by my life goal I established behind a window on the 21st floor of an East 80s building: I want my name on a masthead.