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Photos by Stevana Bosnjakovic
Article by Jocelyn Utting

Elizabeth Polanco

I work as an editor, but I’m also comfortable with writing and interviewing, graphic design, styling, and other media. 

Virgo sun, Cancer moon, Aquarius rising.

My name is Elizabeth Polanco, and I’m a freelance editor. I graduated from Ryerson University’s Fashion Communication BDe. I’m currently the Associate Editor at The Vault, a digital venture by With/out Pretend, a Toronto based independent literary press that produces and promotes work by emerging women-identifying writers and artists. I was previously Content Editor at Sophomore Mag, a digital feminist fashion brand.

What traits about your star sign do you like / dislike?
I love nearly all Virgo qualities and I can’t imagine myself as any other sign! We’re loyal and giving towards people around us, we’re independent, we love really unpacking and examining something from a million angles, and we always want to help others and improve ourselves. This means we can be really self punishing and critical. Virgos also teeter towards burning out. I have a tendency to overextend myself and agree to things I shouldn’t, and then I feel weak if I turn to someone for help (but I absolutely don’t feel that about someone if they ask me in return!). I have a really hard time saying no to people or opportunities, even if it’s at my own detriment, because I never want anyone to feel disappointed or underserved by me.

What is the concept of 'The Vault' and why is it important to you?
The Vault is a home to long form writing by women that’s intimate and complicated; it’s a digital magazine created by With/Out Pretend, a Toronto-based publisher committed to producing and promoting women’s writing and creative work. I think these kinds of spaces -- ones that foster women's stories -- are necessary and important. The writing world can seem over-saturated at times, so work like this, that's well crafted and very interior, feels particularly special. I feel so so so privileged in my role as an associate editor to be a part of the team, work alongside these writers, and learn from them.

What is the most interesting piece of information being an editor for a magazine has taught you?
To me, editing is about being able to identify the root of a piece and really understanding what’s being communicated, and feeling it with your gut. From there, it’s about shaping, paring down, and negotiating until the writing is the strongest it can be. It’s so rewarding developing relationships with writers and seeing the final piece in all its glory. I’ve already learned so much about the editing process from both senior editors and the contributors I’ve had the privilege of working with, and I still have so much to learn.

What traits about your star sign most resonate with you?
I’d say a really particular attention to detail, a quiet need for control, always wanting to serve and care for the people around me, self sufficiency, curiosity, being good at mediation, and a pull to academia.

What characteristics of yourself are communicated through your work?
I think my work really enables me to tap into my sign! As an editor I always have an eye for minute details like catching grammar and spelling errors, but most of all, it’s the Virgo desire to make everything the best it can be. Everything can always be sharper, smarter, more thoughtful, and that’s really what editing is: shaping and honing something into something even better, with a lot of collaboration and feedback. It’s really rewarding work and I love it with my whole heart.

Who are some inspirational writers you have discovered recently?
This past year introduced me to contemporary writers like Doreen St. Félix and Carmen Maria Machado — I really can’t believe I was ever living my life without their work!

What is one of the most interesting aspects of femininity that you have discovered?
Femininity is powerful and how it’s defined should be limitless. 

What star signs have you dated? And have they been compatible?
I’ve only dated fire signs — Aries, Sagittarius — and the odd water sign with Pisces and Cancer. I’m definitely very attracted to fire signs on a number of levels; we’re compatible in terms of drive, and the push-pull of the pairing can really work (also hi, especially in the bedroom). Fire signs push us to stop analyzing and just take the leap on a risk, and we help fire signs organize their passion towards a project into something real and tangible. Fire signs help us let go of our control. On the other hand, a lot of their qualities — unpredictability, impulsivity, ego — are frustrating. The emotional turbulence of a water sign is too much for me, but I’m curious to what it’s like to date another earth sign.

What is your best friend’s star sign?
Capricorn! Her name is Alex (@hardboiledbeb) and we’re literally the memes we see of the Virgo and Capricorn dream team. We’re both very much earth signs, even though our respective rising signs (I’m an Aquarius rising, she’s a Leo rising) are more adventurous. We complement one another really well in our sense of humour and interests, and we’re always in tune and laughing a lot.

What’s a piece of advice you’d want to give your future self?
I want to tell her to be unafraid to ask for what she wants and deserves, and to listen to her instincts (in both work and personal life), because they’re always right.