I met Katarina during the magical Midsummer celebration last June in the beautiful Swedish countryside where her family has a house. I was struck by her distinctive personal style and cosmopolitan sensibility, which tie in to her writing and blogging. She received her B.A. in Journalism and was a reporter for Metro in Sweden, where she eventually became the editor for the Style page and Metro Fashion Days, as well as the adjunct entertainment editor. Last year Katarina and her husband relocated from Stockholm to Manhattan, where she has become a cultural expert of the city.
What is your name, age, and location?
Katarina Matsson. 29 years old. New York City.
What is your profession?
What did you study in school and what degrees do you have?
Art history, Social Science and Journalism. I have a BA in Journalism.
What was your first job?
My first job was as a receptionist at a local gym in my hometown Uppsala, Sweden, when I was 14.
Who or what inspired you to break into your current line of work?
It was a combination of my interests in society and writing. At the time it seemed like a pretty hands-on way to change the world.
Name/describe what has been your most rewarding project so far?
I still remember one of the first bigger stories I wrote while working at Metro in Stockholm, about a Russian girl who’d been trafficked to Stockholm and held captured in an apartment where she was sold to different men before finally being freed by the Swedish police. For two years I also wrote longer, in-depth article series about women and breast cancer in connection with the Pink Ribbon campaign.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has helped your career?
As a woman I think it’s easier sometimes to take on authorities without them being threatened. It’s a double sword somehow, using prejudice for your own means.
Name/describe one incident when being a woman has hindered your career?
I’ve been in interview situations with prominent men who haven’t been able to handle being challenged by a young woman and have acted out in very strange and immature ways.
Who is your role model or mentor (alive or dead)?
I would say Swedish journalist Johanne Hildebrandt, who quit her job at a newspaper in a small Swedish town in the early 90’s and traveled to former Yugoslavia to become a war correspondent. She wasn’t afraid to listen to herself and go for it, and today she’s a successful journalist and writer.
If you could give one piece of advice to a woman starting out in your field, what would it be?
Journalism is in many ways a very manly field, so my advice would be to believe in yourself and your ideas – even if the male editor doesn’t agree. Try to build a female network of colleagues to draw strength from.
Katarina’s blog: InsideOutNYC
Follow Katarina on Twitter: @katarinamatsson
– Interview by Haley Hogan