Award-winning journalist & Author, "Duped: Double Lives, False Identities and the Con Man I Almost Married"
Abby Ellin is an award-winning journalist and the author of Duped: Double Lives, False Identities and the Con Man I Almost Married, and Teenage Waistland: A Former Fat Kid Weighs In On Living Large, Losing Weight and How Parents Can (and Can’t) Help. For five years she wrote the “Preludes” column about young people and money for the Sunday Money and Business section of the New York Times. She is also a regular contributor to the Health, Style, Business and Education sections of the New York Times. Her work has been published in The New York Times Magazine, New York, the Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times Magazine, Psychology Today, Time, Newsweek, the Village Voice, the Boston Phoenix, Salon, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, Glamour, and Spy (RIP). She has been a resident at Yaddo and Wildacres Retreat in North Carolina, and holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and a master’s degree in international public policy from Johns Hopkins University. As of this writing, her greatest accomplishments are summiting Kilimanjaro (with a broken wrist!) and naming “Karamel Sutra” ice cream for Ben and Jerry’s.
I’m a bit of a rebel, and always have been. Rather than taking a full time job with one organization, I’ve been an independent journalist and author for the last 20 years. This has worked for me: I’ve written for many, many publications most notably the NY Times, where I was a columnist for five years. I’m very nomadic and have written stories from around the world. I like scandals and exposing people who are doing things they shouldn’t be doing.
My Daily Thoughts:
Goal of the Day: To make it through with as little sugar as possible.
Thought of the Day: Be kind. Mostly to myself. Harder than it sounds.
Tip of the Day: Stay focused and in your own lane. (Also harder than it sounds) And try not to compare myself to other people on social media. They are probably comparing themselves to other people.
A Day in My Life:
What drink do you need to get through the day and at the end (and how many)?
Diet Coke. 2-3 a day. Too much. But I’m addicted.
What should everyone try at least once?
Skydiving. And traveling alone.
Where do you enjoy getting lost?
Anywhere I haven’t been. I love to go odd SHOULD BE OUT with no agenda. Just go where I’m moved.
My Native AdVice:
How did you get into the industry?
I have no other marketable skill, but writing. This is a good thing, since I always knew I was going to be a writer. I started writing stories in college for the local newspaper, then got an internship at a paper in Boston, then began freelancing for other publications. I relentlessly pitched story ideas to editors, blindly reaching out to them. It often worked.
How do you motivate others?
They see me take risks, repeatedly. I am kind of fearless. If there’s something I want to do, or someplace I want to go, I go for it. For example, I wanted to learn the cello at age 35, so I did. I wanted to climb Kilimanjaro, so I did—despite the fact that my arm was in a cast from a broken wrist. Most people don’t do that. They make excuses—‘it’s too hard, I’ll suck, I can’t learn something new.’ I don’t think that way; I just go. In that sense, I’m very motivating.
My Native AdVantage:
My Biggest Success?
Being a freelance writer for over two decades, and having to survive by my wits.
My Most Challenging Moment?
Realizing that my fiancé was a pathological liar and I needed to leave him. My Best Moment came two years later when he got arrested!
My Favorite People/Role Models?
Barbara Streisand, Rosa Parks, Margaret Fuller.
“When life gives you eggs, make eggnog” and “Monetize Suffering.”
What Else to Know?
Insta: @Abby_Ellin_Author, @Dupedbook