RIP Shawn Perine: A Personal Essay from His Former Employee




I started as an Editorial Intern at American Media Inc in the summer of 2012. It was during this time that I met Shawn Perine, who was then the Editor in Chief of Muscle & Fitness. As an Intern, I also provided my services to Men’s Fitness, M&F Hers, and FLEX, all of which had their own Editor in Chiefs at the time. I had awesome time at my internship and went back to the College of New Jersey a different Journalist and person. After graduating with a B.A. in Journalism/Professional Writing, I interned again at AMI. After another 6 months of interning, I was hired full-time as an Editorial Assistant in 2013 for the same four magazines.

At this time, Shawn was one of my bosses, but I considered him the most accessible and main one. I was writing print articles in Muscle & Fitness and FLEX thanks to him. Eventually, I couldn’t handle working full-time for four different magazines so I chose to go with one: Muscle & Fitness. I dropped all of my Men’s Fitness obligations to the join Shawn’s team full-time. I wanted Shawn to be my boss because I trusted him and we had a great partnership. I would often see him at the local gym where we were both members, New York Health & Racquet Club. I literally worked in with him during sets at the gym. Within 2 years of working full-time, I was the Editor of Muscle & Fitness magazine. I was writing mostly single page articles and some features in the magazine in addition to online content. Shawn trusted me with a lot for a 23-year-old Jersey kid right out of college.


I truly felt that between 2012 and late 2015, I was Shawn’s assistant in the sense that he would e-mail me late night to tie up loose knots, ask me to send out packages almost every day, and I would attend media events in his stead to send his regards. I felt like I was speaking exactly what he would say in every meeting in and out of the AMI office. Everyone knows Shawn to be the loving, good guy that he is. And that he was. He gave me many opportunities to sink or swim and I feel like I always swam. He put the jet pack on my back and pushed me to the moon in the Journalism industry. The last time I saw Shawn was April 5, 2016, when I cleared out my desk.

I remember having a talk with him on April 5, 2016 about life’s obstacles. I told him I enjoyed dealing with life’s obstacles, literally (as in on an OCR course) and figuratively like during a job transition. I’m sharing this story now, weeks after Shawn’s passing, because my memory of him was a good one. He brought me along for the Mr. Olympia, brought the staff coffee and treats, and connected with me several interview sources.


What I’d like to say about Shawn is that he LOVED bodybuilding. One year I attended the New York Pro, because I also loved bodybuilding, and I saw Shawn there looking up at Big Ramy posing on stage. Shawn trusted my choice of athletes to feature which meant the world to me and made things go very smoothly. Since departing AMI, I never got to see Shawn again but we did e-mail about various topics up until two weeks before his passing when I reached out to say that was sorry to read about his cancer diagnosis in Muscle & Fitness. Shawn congratulated me on getting my NSCA-CPT certification and was impressed with me running my first half-marathon.

This blog signifies me moving on but I just wanted the world to know that I risked everything to work for Shawn, and only Shawn. And guess what? It didn’t work out but that’s OK because now I’m a trainer and a more experienced writer in a position to change people’s lives in a different way. Even though I didn’t stay full-time with M&F, I do know that a bit of Shawn, and thus Joe Weider, lives on in every bodybuilding article I write.

As a trainer, I’m struggling to understand why such an obviously heathy-living man could be struck down by this disease.  If you’re still reading this, you probably know that Shawn never smoked or drank yet stage IV lung cancer was his diagnosis.


Overall, If I had visited Shawn one last time, I would’ve told him “Thank you for trusting me with everything you did” and “How can I help M&F in any way possible?” It was Shawn, Sean Hyson and Matt Tuthill that initially saw my potential in Journalism. I literally would’ve done anything for Shawn while I was working for him and wish I could’ve held the official title of “Assistant to the Editor in Chief.” I will continue to build muscle and become a better version of myself. I look forward to the day that I’m in a position to give a hungry Journalist like myself an opportunity to do good reporting. If you’re torn about to do without Shawn in your life, we both know he would want your show to go on. Keep working. Overwork, for his sake.

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