The following brief introduction is more out of respect, habit and proper MR formatting than it is necessary, because Susan Miller, anointed astrological guru, is one woman who truly needs no introduction. She is the founder and prolific writer of Astrology Zone, a columnist for 10-plus publications, host of her own video web series, Astrology Zone: The Show and the inspiration behind/consistent muse to our Man Repeller Horoscopes.
And now, with fingertips full of excitement and without further ado, I present Susan Miller’s Non-Celestial (although a Mars reference does pop in) 5 Top Fives:
Top 5 Pieces of Career Advice
1. Always give more than expected. Always.
2. Before any sort of interview, especially if you’re going to be speaking with someone you’re completely unfamiliar with — do very thorough research. You should pay them the respect of looking them up online first.
3. Anticipate what your boss or client needs without being told. Watch the rhythm of your office or client, try to anticipate what they’re going to need. Is your boss giving a speech? Ask if she would like visuals to accompany her speech. Does she need copies of a handout? It’s a sign of real intelligence, and it shows that you care, that you’re present and thinking about your job.
4. Dress like the boss and stay later than everyone.
5. If you’re graduating soon and starting to think about your first job, go back and meet with everyone whom you’ve ever interned or work for. It’s like 80/20 rule: 80 percent of your income will come from 20% of your clients — it’s always better to go back to people who know you and trust you first, then go to someone new after. This will be especially important when Mars is in retrograde beginning April 17. (Mars won’t come back to full strength until August 22, and then, one week later, on August 30, Mercury will go retrograde again until September 22.) You will do best by looking back and reactivating old relationships during this time.
Top 5 Non-Horoscope Related Favorite Activities
1. I love to cook. I don’t have much time, but I make the best soufflés on the planet.
2. I love to sew. I made all of my dolls’ clothes growing up. I went to tailoring school when I was nine. I used to love to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute and sketch — they’ll give you a pencil and paper, but some of my best ideas came from Madison Avenue. I had one woman get very mad at me for standing and sketching in front of the storefront. I had to tell her, “I’m not a manufacturer! I wouldn’t be drawing on the back of my Visa card if that were so!”
When my daughter Diana was about 19 or 20 months old, I took her and Chrissie, who’s 3 years older, to the International Center for Photography Museum, and I brought my portfolio. When we got there, I told the receptionist I would like a scholarship. I said, “I’m not leaving today until I get that scholarship.”
She looked at me: “And you don’t have an appointment with the Educational Director?”
I explained no, but I was hoping he would have a minute for me. I had taught myself as much as I could on my own, but with the two little children and a husband out of work, it was impossible for me to get any further. At the time, I could not afford the lessons. After showing my portfolio of my work and explaining I wanted to learn the 8×10 large format camera for still life, I got the scholarship. Shortly after I received a huge assignment to shoot a beautiful brochure of still life, with lighting like the Dutch masters, for Verizon. If you’re really passionate about something, people will respond.
Eventually I became a photo agent. I was one of the most respected agents in the US by time I left the field in 2001 to devote my life full time to my website, Astrology Zone.
4. I love to read poetry. Poetry calms me down, especially when I’m upset. I like to open my copy of “The New Yorker Book of Poems” and see what random page it lands on, because that’s the poem I’m supposed to read.
5. I love watching TV, especially Scandal because of what Olivia Pope wears. I love Madam Secretary, CBS This Morning at 7 AM and 60 Minutes.
I’d also love to go to the opera and ballet and Broadway shows and travel more.
Top 5 Wardrobe Staples
3. A printed dress, but you know what else? You should always have a few dresses in the closet for the evening, even if you haven’t been invited to something yet. You might need them at the last minute. And if you’re eagle-eyed, you can get them cheap. I don’t think it should be black, either. Everyone wears black. It’s nice to have a beautiful color, just for you.
4. Well, I need clothes for my TV show. My director will not allow anyone on his set with short sleeves or no sleeves. Do you know how hard that is? And I have nice arms. He says the skin competes with your face, and my friend at CNBC said he’s right, so I just bought a Lela Rose dress with long sleeves and I love it.
5. 7 For All Mankind skinny jeans. I’m not tall and I don’t like bell bottoms. Their website will have you measure yourself, and they’ll tell you which style will fit you the best. I still have to tailor them after I get them, though.
Top 5 Must-Have Beauty/Bath Products
2. I do a face mask every day and I have a few favorites: 1) Eve Lom Moisture Mask, 2) Fresh’s Black Tea Instant Perfecting Mask — I love Fresh products, and 3) Peter Thomas Roth’s 24K Gold Mask. It works magically. It feels like you’re getting warm. The mask hydrates you and takes care of fine lines. It gives you a glow-y look.
3. A serum that I put on under my moisturizer. I like Dior One Essential, you can feel the vitamin C going into your skin.
4. A moisturizer, especially in this weather. I like Clarins, Chanel, La Mer, Eve Lom and Dior. I think you have to spend a little money on your moisturizer, although I must say, when I was in the hospital, people got me L’Oréal moisturizer and I loved it. I’ll try a brand for six months and then I’ll rate it. Always wear a layer of SPF, too, even if it’s already in your makeup. I like Clarins’ sunscreen.
5. Always keep makeup-removing towelettes in your bathroom in case you come home tired. At least this way you’ll take your makeup off.
Top Five Favorite Words
5. Lyrical..I think I need a better thesaurus.
I have a word that I hate: issue. I will never use it. I’ll never say, “Do you have an issue with that?” It’s way overused. When a doctor came in and said, “I heard you had an issue with your ankle,” I was like, issue? I have a pain in my ankle. I hate that word. And I hate the word “codependent” because I don’t believe in it, and I don’t like the word “boundaries,” because I don’t have any. If people need my energy, I’ll give it to them and recharge my light later.
I’m very sensitive to words and any words that sounds harsh. I like a softer, more poetic word. I keep a list of 50 of the most beautiful words in the English language. One of them is “vicissitude.” The “vicissitudes of timing.” I love that word. I like interesting words that make you stop. I think of writing as music.
Photographed by Krista Anna Lewis.