(Q&A Interview) Zoe WolKoff of Complex
I take a look into the day and the life of Complex editor Zoe WolKoff. You are going to hear from her what it’s like to work with one of the top platforms in media, life in New York, and an insight on who she is.
First, let me start by saying thank you so much for taking the time out to do this Interview! So excited to have you!
- For those who may not know who you are, give us a bit of background about yourself and what you do professionally?
ZW: Happy to! Hi, I’m Zoë, I’m a video editor and graphic designer. Currently I’m the lead editor of Complex’s Sneaker Shopping. You might have seen me in the Life at Complex vlogs. What up!
As I was doing my research and visited your website; something funny and interesting stood out to me “does not excel in writing about herself”. (LOL) I must say I am the same way.
- Why do you feel its hard or feel as though you do not “excel” to talk about yourself? Typically, that is the easiest thing for some people.
ZW: You’re right! Describing yourself is deceptively difficult, no? For me, I think there’s this fear of oversharing. Like, I’m Canadian, I work in video post production, I’m a Leo with a Pisces rising, I’m allergic to cats – those facts are all equally true, but are they at all relevant? So I tend to err on the side of saying too little.
Now you are from Toronto, but you now have made a living in Brooklyn, New York.
- What was the transition like for you when making the move from Toronto to a city like New York?
ZW: I first came to NYC to visit my big sister Joanie, who’d lived here for a few years. I must have been like 15. New York reminded me a lot of Toronto, but way bigger, with like more of everything. I just fell in love with the city, and having family here was a draw. I ended up making the move when I was 18.
New York is similar to Toronto in that it’s pricey, multicultural, has cold winters, and a love/hate relationship with public transit. Growing up in Toronto, I never bothered to learn how to drive, since I’d just take the subway everywhere. Thankfully that’s how I get around here too! I’d be useless in most cities. LOL. But overall, I think the pace here is more frenetic. It’s taught me a better work ethic. It’s taught me to be more direct with people. The thing I haven’t learned is how read the weather in degrees Fahrenheit. Maybe someday.
Enough of the personal, now to dig in! You are amazing at your craft! Video, motion graphics, etc.
- When did you first know that this was something you wanted to pursue as more than a hobby?
ZW: Why thank you!! Honestly, I’ve always loved making videos. When I was a kid, I’d film my cousins on our old camcorder and edit it in Windows Movie Maker. Those were some masterpieces. I kept it up throughout high school and ended up studying at Pratt for Film/Video (they were mercifully generous to international students, bless). I love the whole process of filmmaking, but editing & graphics really suits me, somehow. It’s super immersive. I can’t always get myself to focus on things, but when there’s sound, visuals, a whole 4D experience, I can really get into that. It’s constantly discovering new ways to manipulate reality. Fortunately I found job opportunities in this field and so it has gone.
- How did you start working with Complex?
ZW: It was a stroke of luck, really. I’d finished school the year before, and I’d been freelancing like mad trying to find a permanent gig so I could stay in NYC. Someone I’d interned for put me in touch with a friend at Complex, as he knew I was on the job hunt. Obviously I jumped at the opportunity. I ended up getting hired right before my visa was about to expire. In the nick of time! It’s been almost 5 years at Complex, which is crazy. It’s been a serious period of growth.
So, Zoe they call you the sneaker expert. Which not a lot of women can hold that title (LOL). I do not know sneakers at all. You’re on point with the reviews!
- How did you end up being the face to provide the sneaker content for life at complex series with Tony Mui?
ZW: Funnily enough, that started because I didn’t really know what I was talking about. I’ve always loved sneakers (my high school retail job funded numerous pairs of Dunks) but Complex is an office full of sneakerheads with encyclopedic knowledge. I’m definitely not at their level. Tony filmed my first “sneaker review” because it would be funny to hear me ramble and attempt to sound authoritative. The joke carried on and I actually learned quite a bit in the process. I enjoy it.
- What are your favorite sneakers and/or sneaker brand?
ZW: I’m a Nike girl these days! I think most comfortable shoes I own are the Vapormax Plus. They’re magic. Footwear aside, I love what the brand has been doing. It was wonderful to see Kaepernick on the huge billboard in Times Square.
Not only are you featured on Life at Complex, but you do the editing for the sneaker shopping with Joe La Puma complex series as well!
- What is it like being able being the driving force behind content creator(s) for such a huge media platform?
ZW: It’s kind of surreal when I remember how many people actually watch the stuff I edit. I feel lucky! Since the structure of the show is pretty simple – an interview in a sneaker store – it’s all about finding ways to evolve it into something new. I’m given a lot of creative freedom with the edits which I’m super thankful for. I love having the opportunity to find new ways to mess with video footage. I’m a big ole nerd for that stuff. It’s also interesting to be a female editor working on a predominantly “masculine” show. Sometimes people are surprised to find out that a woman is behind it. It’s fun to defy expectations.
- What is your favorite piece of Complex related content that you have edited while being at Complex?
ZW: There are so many episodes of Sneaker Shopping I’m proud of, I can’t choose one. So I’ve got to throw it back to a short doc we did back in 2016, called No Free Walls. It’s about street art in Brooklyn, and how it’s collided with gentrification. That was the first doc I’ve ever cut, and I actually live in the neighborhood it’s based in, so that was incredibly cool to work on. It was an amazing collaborative process. Look it up on Complex’s YT channel! *shameless plug*
- Do you plan on meeting up with your best friend Waka Flocka Flame again? (LOL)
ZW: HAH I hope so! Flocka really is one of the coolest people to come through the office. He’s always full of energy. Congrats to him & Tammy. Gotta love em.
To wrap things up. What is next up for Zoe Wolkoff? Is there anything you have in the works that you would like to share?
ZW: I’m working on a music video for an incredibly talented friend of mine. It should be ready to release pretty soon! Aside from that, lots more Sneaker Shopping episodes. They’ll keep getting bigger and better.
Thank you so much for taking the time out to let the GirlMuch readers, & I get to know you!
You can find Zoe on Instagram
– Ebony Kiara (https://www.instagram.com/ebonykiara/?hl=en_)
Contributor, www.Girlmuch.com Email: EbonyKiara@girlmuch.com