Andrew Gelwicks’ Key to Success

GELWICKS INSPIRES. SHS and The Leaf alum, Andrew Gelwicks, recently shared his story with The Leaf's current staff. When asked how he earned his success, he emphasized the importance of passion, drive, and assertiveness. “I think the challenge has been the advantage. The challenges and experiences got me where I am today,

Maddie Suh

GELWICKS INSPIRES. SHS and The Leaf alum, Andrew Gelwicks, recently shared his story with The Leaf’s current staff. When asked how he earned his success, he emphasized the importance of passion, drive, and assertiveness. “I think the challenge has been the advantage. The challenges and experiences got me where I am today,” said Gelwicks.

   To many young writers with dreams of bright futures after graduation, Andrew Gelwicks’s life seems like the perfect end destination. From having close relationships with celebrities to styling icons for nationally broadcasted award shows, it seems flawless. Yet beyond the seemingly perfect exterior, many don’t realize the work it took him to get there. His success was earned through passion, drive, and assertiveness.

   Gelwicks attended Sycamore High School from 2008-2012. Like most, he spent freshman year exploring many career paths. After facing rejection from the Student Council, Gelwicks decided to venture into journalism and write for the school newspaper, The Leaf. Little did he know this second-choice “default” class would inspire his entire future. 

   Foreshadowing his future of interviewing celebrities, Gelwicks’s job for The Leaf was running the ‘spotlight’ page where he would get to highlight a new community member every issue.

   “I always loved reading about someone new,” said Gelwicks.

   Not wanting to limit himself to one industry, Gelwicks decided to major in Public Relations (PR) and advertising at Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana. He explained this was the perfect option for him since all fields needed PR help and he could then choose whichever he was passionate about. 

   Gelwicks discovered the true key to his success in college: ambition. He took internship after internship, always eager to learn. Anytime he found someone’s position interesting, he would reach out by email and ask them to spend a few minutes chatting with him. This assertiveness made him stand out among others and opened up many opportunities for him. 

   After graduating from college, Gelwicks headed to the Big Apple permanently to kickstart his future. He recommends making a big move such as a young adult fresh out of school. Although the move to New York was intimidating, he explained that his superiors appreciated his “hunger and willingness to learn.”

   In New York, he began working for many well-known publications. There, he discovered the willingness to take risks was a trait that would assist him in his climb to success. In fact, he scored a milestone job in his career simply by approaching someone on the street. He advises that it is important to “be ready at any chance to take [an opportunity] and don’t be shy.”

   His love for writing slowly morphed into a passion for fashion and styling. He continued to write freelance while beginning a styling profession as a side hustle. Throughout his career, he found that exploring many different job opportunities and expanding his knowledge across the board made him both more interested in his job and better at it in general. 

   When a particular essay for Out Magazine about being openly queer in a fraternity took off, Gelwicks was inspired to write more on the topic. Thus, he began working on his book The Queer Advantage. This novel gave him the opportunity to speak to many renowned celebrities about their experiences on how being queer has impacted their careers. This is where he truly learned to never take no for an answer. 

   While working on his book, Gelwicks turned his hobby into an occupation. Small gigs turned into large gigs and one step at a time he became a well-known celebrity stylist. Creating his own job was a feat that took hard work and focus in more ways than one. One of the areas that required lots of effort was building a brand; as Gelwicks put it, “to cultivate a brand is so so important nowadays.” Thanks to this hard work, he is now a successful stylist for red carpet events and more!  

   Gelwicks is currently living the dream due to his determination and hard work in turning his passion into his career. Looking back on his life and contemplating the most important parts of his journey, he explained that as hard as the challenges he’s faced have been, he owes his strength to them.

“I think the challenge has been the advantage. The challenges and experiences got me where I am today,” said Gelwicks.