This Woman Has The Longest Running Advice Column In History. Here's What She Really Thinks About Your Letters.

She gets 200 letters each month.

E. Jean Caroll started writing back in 1979 and has been contributing to ELLE for almost 25 years. Her Ask E. Jean column has been featured in the fashion magazine since 1993 and is the longest running advice column in history, according to ELLE

Recently, ELLE caught up with Caroll at her home on a small island in the woods of upstate New York. In the video, she shares what she's learned through her experience as an advice columnist and how she really feels about her job. 

"This is what I've been doing for 25 years," Caroll said while holding up a cheerleading photo. "I'm a cheerleader. People get down and depressed and a little confused, and they need help. This is what I do. I yell, and I scream, and I help them get through their difficulties." 


Caroll revealed that she genuinely worries about the people who write to her about their problems. 

"I worry at night when I'm in bed because, you know, a line from me can change your life," she said. "Now, whether it changes for better or worse I don't know." 

It often takes Caroll two or three days to write each full response to the questions that go in her column. She says she owes all the advice she gives to the lessons the letter writers have taught her through the years. 

"The secret to the advice column is I don't know anything," she said. "It's the people who have been writing to me for 25 years who taught me everything. Those are the people you can't read a stack of E. Jean letters without learning more than reading Shakespeare." 

Although she started in the column back in 1993, Caroll admits the underlying questions she gets with each letter today aren't far off from the ones she got when she first started. 

"The questions have remained the same. They want love. They want to be a size 6. They want their children to do well. They want to have a purpose in life. They want those same things and that has never changed," she said. "The answer is in their question. You just find out what they want to do and then you tell them to do it."

To learn more about Caroll and what it's like to have a job like her's, check out the video above.

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