Landess grew up in Honolulu and is a graduate of Punahou School. After high school, she left Oahu and moved to the midwest, where she received a bachelor’s degree in English writing at Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.
After receiving her diploma, Landess came to her senses and returned to the Aloha State to begin her professional career. Prior to joining the Civil Beat team in January 2017, Landess was senior editor at HuffPost Hawaii, a partnership between Civil Beat and The Huffington Post. She also previously held positions at Pacific Business News and the U.S. Pacific Fleet.