In a world full of conformity, it’s sometimes hard to Be The Exception™. But doing so is truly the greatest path to personal success. Those who are not afraid to take the road less traveled, and are willing to differentiate rather than assimilate, are the ones who make the most of their lives, personally, professionally, and otherwise.

One such inspiring soul is Complex Assistant Editor Shanté Cosme. The native New Yorker recently sat down with us to discuss how she wound up at Complex Media in the first place, what steps she takes to set her work apart, and how she continues to Be The Exception™ in other aspects of her life. Take a look at the full interview below.

Tell us a little about yourself? Where are you from? What were you doing before you arrived at Complex?
I'm from Long Island, New York. Before I came to Complex, I was a full-time freelancer. I did some copywriting and editorial for Maxim and AOL for about a year, and then joined Complex full time. I'm really grateful to be able to do what I love with people I genuinely like and respect, who make me laugh and impress me at least a dozen times day.

Discuss your work with Complex a bit. How do you strive to make your writing exceptional and different?
As an assistant editor at Complex, each day is different. Today alone I've gone on a photo shoot for an upcoming piece about a LES barber shop, interviewed Pusha T, written copy about holiday spirits for the magazine, and published a photo retrospective about Wild Style on the website. Sometimes the days here feel like they pass in minutes. I'm always moving.

How do you strive to Be The Exception™ in other areas of your life?
A lot of people like to talk about their hopes for their lives, but don't take the steps to make those hopes a reality. I don't have dreams; I have “to do” lists. I wanted to be a writer living in NYC, so I moved to NYC and began writing. I wanted to run a half-marathon; I started a training program. I'm happiest when I'm putting plans into action. If there's something I want, it's rare I'm talking about it, I'm out there vigorously pursuing it.

Get ready to bluntly humble brag... How are you different/unique/original? This can apply to your writing work or any other part of your life. How do you do things differently?
Something I've learned about myself in the past year—something that I think sets me apart from others—is that I intentionally avoid doing things the easy way. I've found that when faced with the choice of doing things the easy way or the hard way, choosing the hard way has resulted in the things I'm most of proud of. You learn a ton about the kind of person you are when you're faced with a challenge, and rather than passing it off or making a half-hearted attempt, you sink your heels in. Diving into that discomfort gives you a renewed sense of your own capabilities and allows you to surprise yourself. Embracing each trial by fire keeps you hot.

What are your long-term goals? How do you think staying different, unique, and original will help you attain them?
I just want to be better than I was yesterday. I figure that if I hold myself to that, I'll inevitably end up on top. It's my refusal to remain stagnant that allows me to rise.

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