A Fond Farewell To The Fabulous Amelia McDonell-Parry, From Frisky Staffers Past And Present

As you may or may not have heard, today is our fearless leader, Amelia McDonell-Parry’s, last day as Editor-in-Chief of The Frisky–a job she has held since first founding the site eight years ago. Although she’s not leaving us entirely–in January, she’ll be taking on a new role as The Frisky’s Editor-at-Large. Still, she’s been the best EIC anyone could ask for, and we’ll miss having her around on a daily basis.

To those who have worked here in those past eight years, Amelia hasn’t been just a bosslady, but also a friend. Thus, to celebrate her time here and wish her luck in the future, we’ve asked a bunch of Frisky staffers, old and new, to say a few words about her!

So, Amelia McDonell-Parry—THIS IS YOUR FRISKY LIFE!

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“Last year, SpinMedia bought Death and Taxes, the site where I’d previously worked for two and a half years. A few months later I was asked if I’d like to move over to The Frisky. My response? “Holy crap yes! I love Amelia! Amelia is the best!” and was then quickly concerned that I might have been too effusive, and followed it up with “I love you guys too though, obviously.” When I started–which oddly enough, was exactly a year ago today– I wasn’t sure how I would fit, being a political writer, but the first thing she told me was that she wanted people on staff to write about the things they were passionate about. This philosophy and encouraging attitude, I think, is what has made this site awesome.

Working with Amelia has been wonderful. She is a great advocate for her staff, a great writer and editor, and even though we’ve never met in person, I honestly consider her one of my dearest friends, and someone I can pretty much tell anything to. Anyone who knows her will tell you she’s the most loyal friend on earth–she loves like a lion and kills those who fuck with her kin. She’s also possibly the only person I know who is as terrified as birds as I am. I love her guts and am sad to see her go.” –Robyn Pennacchia

“Amelia gave me a job, has always supported my writing and is the easy-going boss that you think you’ll have when you start working, but never actually find. She’s fiercely loyal to her staff and leads with her gut, which is rare. She will be missed.” –Megan Reynolds

“One of the happiest places for me in Chicago is the south-west corner of Diversey and Sheffield, because I remember, one day in early September 2014, checking a voicemail I’d received from a New York number. It was Amelia asking me if I was interested in taking a job at The Frisky, and I was so blown away that I was like breathless and crying. I had been a baby freelancer with a tiny writing resume prior to this, and Amelia took a shot with me that I don’t think any other editor would.

She’s encouraged my shenanigans, allowed me to write long, thorough video game reviews for a site that is distinctly not video game-related (among other things), and has been a steady source of support in what’s been a kind of crazy year. She’s a lightworker, a squirrel whisperer, and the best/weirdest EIC anyone could ask for. I will miss you sorely, Amelia!”–Rebecca Vipond-Brink

“If there was ever an editor who was kind and patient and who believed in me, it was Amelia. She gave me the opportunity to start at The Frisky a year ago and has altered my writing life so much because of her taking a chance on me. I owe her the start of my media career and so much more.

Wait, do you have to go? Because I don’t want you to! Thanks for making little ole’ me feel like a huge special big deal. Please  continue to give me Chad and Lucca updates all the time or I will be upset.”–Katrin Higher

“I only started working with The Frisky in the past few months in both a freelance capacity, and recently a more regular basis. From the very get-go Amelia has been incredibly warm and welcoming, she’s given me freedom to try ideas that range from outright silly to sobering, and has never made me feel stupid when I pitch something that’s not a fit.

It’s obvious in the ways she writes and interacts with other writers that Amelia’s an intelligent and hilarious woman who genuinely values creating a platform where women (and cool select men) can share ideas and experiences.

Also, HAVE YOU SEEN HER WEAVING? She is a weaver, and she sometimes posts photos of her weaves online and they look like ice cream was transformed into yarn. Delicious.

Anyways, I’m sad that I just started writing here and won’t be able to interact with Amelia as much, but I’m excited for her next season and to read the contributions she continues to publish on here!”–Bronwyn Isaac

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“Amelia McDonell-Parry, simply put, is one of the greatest blessings I have had come into my life. When I interviewed for a job working under her at The Frisky back in 2008, I had no idea that seven years later she would be a sister, a mentor and a champion.Amelia, you are truly a special person and Turner hit the jackpot when they hired you to create The Frisky. Most people don’t understand the all-consuming amount of work you have always done, both on the web site and the emotional labor for which you were not expressly being paid. You have given so, so much to others and you deserve it 10-fold in return.When I worked for you, especially in the earlier years, I always just wanted to be your friend. I wanted to be like you when I “grew up,” and now, I sort of am!

You taught me how to be better at being myself. You taught me that as a feminist and a woman in the media, I could think independently, disagree with the crowd, and that I didn’t need to kiss ass to be more successful. Through your own example (and a lot of hand-holding), you taught me that whenever I get knocked down, I can pick myself up again. You shared good music and good books and let me sleep on your couch more than a few times. You showed me that shame and fear did not need to govern my life. You showed a template for bravery. You were soft when I needed someone to listen and hard when I needed a kick in the butt (even though I was a very sensitive flower for, well, an embarrassing long time). I am better, and happier, for having known. Simply put, I cannot imagine what life would have been like without you. More boring, probably, and certainly without Lucca’s fur all over my clothes. All my love, Amelia. I will always have your back.”–Jessica Wakeman

“Amelia, SA, Smell, there are literally too many fond memories of my Frisky days for me to choose one to highlight. It was life-changing and so much fun to be part of the Frisky team for almost 5 years. That’s way oversimplifying it, of course. But I don’t want to highjack this tribute to you.

Here’s what I remember most: I think belly laughed almost every day, but never harder than when you received a “promotional” Halloween costume in the mail from American Apparel that included a hot-pink crop top . You were eating lunch, a sandwich I believe, when you opened the package. After some debate about what the costume was “supposed to be” (a gym rat from the ’70’s, a mall food court employee from the ’80s?) we all lost interest and you tossed the costume aside on your desk. Moments later, you took a big bite of your sandwich and got some mustard on your face. You searched around for a napkin, but couldn’t find one. What did you do? You used the crop top as a napkin…and continued to do so for the next two years. Because this still makes me laugh when I think about it, and for so, so many other reasons, I love you. Good luck with whatever comes next for you. Lots of great stuff, I know it!”–Ami Angelowicz

“It’s hard to fully explain how Amelia’s impacted my life. That may sound kinda weird to her, cause I’m not sure I ever really told her that directly, but it’s so very true. As a young person just starting out in the big bad Real World, the Frisky ladies were my first and best example of what it means to be an amazing woman in the professional world. When I first met her, I saw in her (and still do!) someone I wanted to be someday–someone who kicks ass at their job, who is an amazing writer, who goes through life with an open heart, who is resilient, who is unafraid to be honest about who she is and what she believes, and, ahem, has great taste in clothes.

She’s such a role model to me and shows me all the time what it means to be a feminist, a caring boss and a person who stops at nothing to build the kind of life she wants. She went far, far out of her way to be much more than just a manager to the Frisky staff. In rough patches in my own life, she gave me more advice and support than anyone could ever hope to expect from a coworker. Corny as it is (OMG Amelia I’m kind of embarrassed that I’m getting so sappy on you now), I feel like I was meant to cross paths with her at the point that I did in my life, because her example and advice shaped so much of my own path, and I have to imagine that so many of her other writers feel exactly the same way I do, because she has a knack for making everyone she meets feel intensely valued. Oh, and she’s basically the best dog mom ever.”– Claire Hannum

“Amelia is so many things wrapped up in one gorgeous human: she is a brilliant writer, a loyal friend, an artist, a savvy bizness lady, and an unrepentant nerd. What is extra special about Amelia is that these parts of herself aren’t kept compartmentalized, they all overlap and inform the way she is in the world. For example, the loyalty she shows her friends and family isn’t checked at the door when she puts on her editor hat. My favorite thing about working for her was that she was so ridiculously loyal to her writers. There were countless times she stood up for me in situations that were sometimes silly (ahem, when Buzzfeed accused me of plagiarizing a GIFicle about goats) and sometimes very serious. But every single time meant so much to me. Because I knew — without a doubt — that Amelia always had my back. That’s a rare feeling in the world of writing and the world in general.

I want to thank Amelia for that, and I want her to know that even though we may not have had as many chances to stand up for her as she did for us, every single person who’s ever worked for/with her appreciates that loyalty and will return it in any way we can, any time. Seriously, I would THROW DOWN for Amelia. I adore her.

Amelia, you built something really special with The Frisky. You created a community of writers and gave us a place to share our stories and voices. You gave me hours of hilarious gchat Star Trek discussions (which I miss SO much by the way). You facilitated friendships and memories, steered us through some tough times and celebrated some amazing ones. I’m so proud of you for taking this step toward a new chapter of your life, and I have no doubt it will be just as amazing (or maybe more so!).

And if you need anything, anytime, dude, I’ve got your back.” –Winona Dimeo-Ediger

“In 2008, I was broke, working as a waitress, and living in Norfolk, VA. At one point, I paid my rent by digging coins out of the ashtray of the $2,000 Chevy Caprice I’d bought with a lien on it. In the early morning hours when I’d get home from work to my one-bedroom apartment, I’d sit in my car, put my hands over my face, and weep. I was stuck, a failed writer, relegated to scraping other people’s half-eaten food off plates I couldn’t afford. Through serendipity, I ended up applying for a job at The Frisky, and, eventually, getting it. That changed everything. It turned me back into a writer, it got me out of debt, and it helped me get back on my feet. Thanks to Amelia for giving me a chance. I’ll always be grateful.–Susannah Breslin

I have never had as supportive an editor as Amelia, and anything I ever wrote that was worth reading for The Frisky was because of her. I have more to say, but I’ll just tell her IRL because she lives down the street from me.–John DeVore

“I’ve admired Amelia’s courage and openness since we first met.  As the General Manager of The Frisky from 2009 -2012, I watched as she fearlessly shared the most private moments of her life (e.g.the breakup of her engagement with you-know-who) to and celebrated the positive happenings as well.

Her stories were always smart, funny, straight from the heart and so full of surprises.  I remember spending hours on the phone justifying how the penis-shaped cloud on the homepage is “appropriate” and nowhere near offensive. All the while, trying hard to keep a straight face, because I agree, Amelia, at the end of the day it’s just a penis.  It’s those posts, those moments that makes The Frisky so special.  Amelia led the team to be themselves and enabled our readers to be themselves.  That is why The Frisky was more than a female lifestyle site. To me and our readers, it was almost family.

I am going to miss following you on The Frisky but I can’t wait to see you in the next chapter of your life. Hugs.” –Mina Lux

“I only wish the readers of The Frisky had the chance to peak behind the digital curtain and see the incredible woman behind it all. We all love to read Amelia’s essays because of her authenticity. You can feel her laughter, sadness, and anger as you read her work. Those of us lucky enough to work along side her, know this type of passion isn’t contained to her work at The Frisky.

With every exhale she exudes it into the world around her. I will always remember Amelia’s wholehearted support when challenging authority, standing by my side against the status quo, and demanding recognition for myself and others. She has taught me that being passionate about what you do is a strength that should be worn like a badge. Amelia, I thank you for everyday we worked together and wish you (and Luca) the best on your next adventure.” — Sophie Leon-Argue

“I worked with Amelia and the Frisky for three years and have had the privilege of calling her my friend for even longer than that.

Amelia is the rare person in a workplace that leads with her convictions and her values. It’s really important to have people like that in leadership, showing others how to be strong, powerful, and forthright. Because of it, The Frisky has been able to delve deeper into content areas that other sites might have run away from. Now that I’m a manager, I think a lot about how I can help the people I work with to be strong and push themselves the way she did me.

Also, on another note, you can’t work at a place like TF without at least crying in front of everyone once (or, like, a million times). Amelia has always treated me with compassion and kindness, even on my hardest, worst days. And for that I’ll aways be grateful.” –Julie Gerstein

“I was the Turner New Products executive in charge of developing The Frisky before it even had its name. So basically, I wrote a concept for a site that would be revolutionary for young women. I interviewed 30 or 40 editors to lead the initiative. The moment I read Amelia’s edit test and interviewed her (I think we talked about Zac Efron), I knew she was “the one.” She MADE The Frisky. She made it more than I, or anyone else involved in those early days, could have ever imagined. Thank you, Amelia, for sharing your world with us and changing the lives of so many women (the ones who read The Frisky and those who have worked on it). Plus, I still get to be your friend, which pretty much rocks.” – Lea Ann Leming

“I was lucky enough to get to hire Amelia way back in the fall of 2007. Somehow fate had tasked me with finding an editor for an all-new women’s brand (a task for which I was uniquely unqualified) and one morning we met for coffee in a cramped Starbucks on Columbus Circle. It’s been so long that the details are fuzzy, but I do remember a rainbow scarf, lots of salty language and pointed, spot-on critique of the vacuousness of Cosmo – and we were off to the races. We all soon learned that Amelia’s passion, determination, and work ethic are beyond compare, and I have never had more fun arguing about sweeping gender-based generalizations than I did with her. Good luck Amelia on your next step – no doubt you will, as always, rock it fiercely.–John Wooden


Thanks so much, Amelia, from all of us!