Anne Fulenwider

Anne Fulenwider

Anne Fulenwider is very much at home in the world of magazines. She’s been Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire since 2012. And in that role, oversees all content for print, the website, tablet editions and the brand’s partnership with Lifetime TV’s Project Runway series. Anne was also Editor-in-Chief of Brides, Senior Articles Editor at Vanity Fair and Senior Editor at The Paris Review. She’s got plenty to say, so sit back and enjoy.

Transcript

Sandi:                       Welcome to another edition of Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein. France 1937, that’s when Marie Claire first appeared. The U.S. Edition was published by the Hurst Corporation in 1994, so this marks the Magazine’s 20th Anniversary. It’s currently read by more than 15 million people in 26 countries. Marie Claire is described as a fashion magazine with character, substance and depth for women with a point of view, opinion, and sense of humor that speaks to the sexy, stylish, confident woman who is never afraid to make intelligence part of her wardrobe. A woman with a point of view, character, confidence, creativity, substance, sophistication, business savvy, brainy, magna cum laude graduate from Harvard, are just some of the words that describe Anne Fulenwider, my guest today. She’s the Editor in Chief and Marie Claire, a position she’s held since September 2012 and it’s a hell of a job. Anne oversees all the content for the magazine, the website, tablet editions and brand extensions; and that includes Marie Claire at work and the partnership with the TV hit Project Runway series on Lifetime. By the way, she was named editor of the year in 2013 by Media Industry Newsletter which is some achievement since it came just a year after she took over the top spot. 2012 wasn’t Anne’s first stint at Marie Claire, starting in 2009, she worked there as an executive editor for two years, during which time she was instrumental in guiding the editorial direction of the magazine including special and digital editions. Her impressive resume also includes Editor in Chief of Brides, Senior Articles Editor at Vanity Fair, Senior Editor at George Plimpton’s literary magazine The Paris Review and she also served as Plimpton’s research assistant while he worked on his book about Truman Capote. Anne, thanks for coming, but we’ve run out of time. [Laughing]

Anne:                        [Laughing] Thanks so much for having me.

Sandi:                       So, let’s begin with the obvious, you have a hell of a resume.

Anne:                        Aw. Thank you.

Sandi:                       How did you get from there to here?

Anne:                        You know, I’ve just always looked for jobs that interest me and I think having a natural curiosity about the world is one of the best things a woman can have and to keep that fed and alive you just have to keep looking for things that interest you.

Sandi:                       Well, having something interest you and then getting it are two very different things. Singing on Broadway interests me, but I have no intention

Anne:                        [Laughing] Singing on Broadway is something that doesn’t interest me at all, I have to say.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] But I have no talent for that.

Anne:                        Well, I did, since my sophomore year in high school I’ve really, I had a great English teacher and he actually encouraged me to get involved in the high school newspaper.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        From then on, it’s really been go, go, go. Pursue the story, look for an interesting thing to write about, ask about, get involved with and really from there on, I was on my high school literary magazine as well, I pursued that in college. When I got to New York, I looked for as many interesting jobs and internships as I could pursue at the same time. I was lucky enough to get an internship at the Paris Review and that summer, all of the, well two out of three of the editors, and there were only three editors at the Paris Review, quit. So, I think its [Laughing] I’m thinking

Sandi:                       So there was something, in Yiddish there’s a word for it, it’s called Bashert, it was meant to happen, they were supposed to quit while you were still there?

Anne:                        Who was it that said, opportunity is a combination of hard work and opportunity at the same time.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        You have to always do your work and look for the opportunity. So, being a good intern and doing the work and then having people quit and raising your hand is what I’ve been sort of doing all along.

Sandi:                       Would you kind of consider George Plimpton a mentor?

Anne:                        Mentor is funny word to me because I think what I’ve had is great bosses. I’ve done a lot of hard work and kept my head down and just popped up when opportunity arose, so I’ve always liked my bosses and kept them interested in what I was doing as well, so I’ve never formally said, hey will you be my mentor because I think that at the end of the day we’re all really busy and that could sometimes be like a burden, but I think that just sort of keeping people abreast of what you’re doing and raising your hand when something interests you arises is what it takes.

Sandi:                       How did you know what you were doing?

Anne:                        I don’t think anyone really knows what they’re doing, but if you are

Sandi:                       You’re bright, sharp, and you shut up?

Anne:                        No. Don’t shut up. Never shut up, but don’t necessarily speak up unless you really, A) are interested in what you want to do and you want to take the risk and you don’t mind failing.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        There’s a lot of talk about networking going on right now and I think that you can’t network your way into a job unless you are also doing the hard work.

Sandi:                       Well, there’s got to be substance there.

Anne:                        Yeah. I think mentorship and networking are valuable, but I think they get a lot; I get in trouble a lot of times for saying this, but I don’t think that they’re everything. I think you have to put the hard work into these things.

Sandi:                       Besides hard work, did you have a really good sense of yourself growing up?

Anne:                        Not always. I certainly think that my parents were supportive of what I was doing, but certainly they didn’t say, like you know, you can do whatever you want to do in the world. They just were aware of what I was doing, they believed in me.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Then also I think some of it just comes from within. You just kind of know. I’ve been scared to death of some of the things that I’ve done, but you just

Sandi:                       But we’d never know? You hid it well?

Anne:                        You wouldn’t necessarily, you wouldn’t, some of it is faking it till you make it, for sure.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        I do think that when you really want something, you have the, the bravura just comes to you when you need it.

Sandi:                       When you were at the Paris Review and those editors quit, did you sort of feel at that point, that maybe you died and went to heaven? A little bit, or not really?

Anne:                        I just thought, hmm, let’s see what happens here. I’m going to show up for work tomorrow. There was a snowstorm one day and I was the only person who came to work. I didn’t know that you didn’t have to come to work if there was a big giant snowstorm. [Laughing]

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Anne:                        Some of it is just naiveté and you just sort of, sometimes when you’re young and you don’t know what you don’t know,

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        You just keep showing up and you say, when I was working with George Plimpton and I had not yet started working for him on the book, there were just all these crates of interviews under his pool table, of all places. I kind of just pulled them out and

Sandi:                       Started reading them.

Anne:                        Said what are these and started reading them and said hey this is really interesting. He was overdue on the book and I just started saying, hey this is really interesting. What’s this? Who is this? What’s going on? His wife also did say, hey seven years overdue on that book, you might want to help him out here. [Laughing] I think, like everything, it’s a combination of luck, hard work, opportunity, matching of interests and I do think naiveté sometimes can help.

Sandi:                       Now, take us on your work journey.

Anne:                        Yes.

Sandi:                       So, after the Paris Review, what happened to you? And the book?

Anne:                        So, I was at the Paris Review. We did end up finishing the Truman Capote book which was just a great window in New York.

Sandi:                       Where are you from?

Anne:                        I was born in New York City.

Sandi:                       Oh. So, you’re local.

Anne:                        Well, I was local for a year. Then we, it was the 70s, my parents moved out of the city, they moved to Boston, went to outside of Boston.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        I grew up there. I came back to New York after college. I’ve now been here for forever. So, the book finally came out and we, I was in charge of getting the galleys out to everyone. I did, I did everything on that book from finishing it up, finishing the research, finding Truman Capote’s first grade teacher, who is still living in the Upper West Side. Doing some of the photo research, clearing the legal. Again, what you don’t know, you don’t know. I was not qualified to do this stuff, but no one else was writing the letters. Anyway, the book, the galleys came in and I sent them off to a number of people including one of the editors who had left, by then had left the Paris Review and was writing book reviews for Vanity Fair magazine.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        I said, dear Lisa, here’s the book, hope you can get it into Vanity Fair, and by the way, now that it’s over, I need a job. [Laughing]

Sandi:                       [Laughing] Have a nice day.

Anne:                        Yeah. Thanks. Low and behold, she said, hey, one of my editors, my editor at Vanity Fair is looking for an assistant.

Sandi:                       This is getting a little obnoxious, that this all so coincidental.

Anne:                        [Laughing] I went on a terrible job interview that same week. I wrote that to several people and say hey, can you please get this book into this magazine, this magazine, this magazine. One of the interviews I went on, I had a horrible fever, I’d went in, I had half an hour of conversation at which point the editor looked at me and said, I think you seem very, very nervous. [Laughing]

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Anne:                        And that was the end of the conversation. I also had a conversation with someone at the New Yorker magazine, which was at that point, my dream job. They said we have an opening here in the, I think at that point it was called the word processing room, I said, very hotly, I was twenty-four years old I believe, and I said, is this a secretarial job? I am not interested in a secretarial job; which was the stupidest thing to say.

Sandi:                       Well, apparently not.

Anne:                        No. I think that is, that was the entry level job at the New Yorker.

Sandi:                       Oh. Mm Hmm

Anne:                        I think there are plenty of people who took that call and are now editing and writing at that phenomenal magazine. So, you just never know. I think that was an example of a terrible move.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Win some and lose some. I think every job experience, every bad interview, every good interview, is all part of your story and you learn something. If you don’t learn from those experiences, that’s the only downfall.

Sandi:                       You taught yourself, for all intents and purposes, didn’t you? That’s what I guess I meant about a mentor. You called for you.

Anne:                        Yes. You learn something from everyone that you work with. I mean, certainly I had great bosses. I worked for George Plimpton, I worked for Graydon Cater for ten years at Vanity Fair; so by the way, I did, that was the successful letter that said hey, here’s the book, can you get it into Vanity Fair and by the way, I need a job.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        So, I ended up getting an assistant job at Vanity Fair, and I stayed there for ten years and I worked with phenomenal people and worked my way up to being a senior editor and working with phenomenal writers and great editors and a whole slew of characters and again, sort of just by doing the work that came my way, raising my hand for opportunities as they came along. Do you know what? This does sound quite obnoxious.

Sandi:                       I’m still here.

Anne:                        [Laughing]

Sandi:                       Was there difficulty in terms of moving up the ranks? Was it harder then, or is it harder now?

Anne:                        I think it has changed in many ways. There’re actually, the expansion, there’s so many new places to have your voice heard.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        In terms of the internet, your own twitter following, your own blog posts, your own, you can have a very, very successful career and never get a job or a story printed in a magazine at all and then, find yourself a sought after writer and get a column in a magazine. I think in some ways, it’s easier now.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        On the other hand it’s very, it’s flipped because we used to get people who are in their young, in their twenties come in and want to write for a magazine so badly and not have any clips. Now we get people come in, they have loads and loads of clips from all sorts of online magazines and from all sorts of

Sandi:                       Everybody thinks they’re a writer. No, you’re not. There’s a presumptuousness that you have a blog. Bfd, right?

Anne:                        [Laughing] In some ways, I think that was the conversation at the beginning of this phenomenon.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Since I, twenty years ago, when I got to New York, I was still, there was no; I don’t have an email account, there were no, I was still working on a typewriter, so that’s exploded exponentially.

Sandi:                       Huge. Sure.

Anne:                        So, the entire phenomenon has exploded and then actually condensed as I got here because yes, you can have a blog but now we can measure you’re success. Right. We’ve got

Sandi:                       That’s true.

Anne:                        We know how many followers you have. We know your metrics.

Sandi:                       It’s only your mother’s reading your blog.

Anne:                        [Laughing] Exactly. Success is actually, to the great detriment of some journalism, you would say, it’s too bad it can be measured because there are some great writers out there who don’t have the atlas that they once had, because they aren’t, there’s no longer a space for as many ten thousand word articles as there once was.

Sandi:                       Well, that’s also a whole other issue about where are magazines going, which we’ll get to in a minute.

                                 If you’re just joining us today, my guest is Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire magazine. When your ten years were up, for lack of a better word, at Vanity Fair; you knew it was time to go?

Anne:                        My ten years at Vanity Fair, there are a couple of times that, I actually left Vanity Fair at one point and came back, which was

Sandi:                       You seem to do that a lot.

Anne:                        [Laughing] Yes. It’s becoming a trope. So, I actually left Vanity Fair to go out to West and pursue the internet and find myself on the West Coast.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        I had a fabulous time, drove across the country, had a boyfriend, lived on a boat, had a motorcycle fling, it was fabulous. Seven months later, [Laughing]

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Anne:                        I got a call to come back to Vanity Fair, which was phenomenal.

Sandi:                       Wow.

Anne:                        I don’t think that I would have gotten that opportunity had I not left, so that’s a little bit of a; yes it is something I do sometimes and it’s great, can be a great career move. It’s not always an intentional one on my part, but it does happen. In 2009,

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        The world collapsed.

Sandi:                       Right.

Anne:                        The economy collapsed,

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        The internet exploded, a lot of things happened. I was `[00:13:04 ] at Vanity Fair, and I got a call to come. I had gotten these calls over the years, but someone had called me to come and interview for the Executive Editor job at Marie Claire, and I had a great interview. I met with Joanna Coles, who’s now the Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan, and we had a phenomenal interview, I came to the Hurst Tower, which is a beautiful building on 57th St. and 8th Avenue, where I now work. We just had a phenomenal conversation and the timing was right in terms of when to leave Vanity Fair. Some people never ever leave Vanity Fair.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        It’s a phenomenal, it’s a great place to work, there are phenomenal writers and a great, great place to grow up, which is really what I did there.

Sandi:                       Did you like Graydon Carter?

Anne:                        I loved Graydon Carter. Yeah.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        He really was a phenomenal person to work for and really built a

Sandi:                       What an institution, huh?

Anne:                        What an institution, and sort of a universe. So many talented people walking the halls at Vanity Fair.

Sandi:                       Yeah. Wow.

Anne:                        Many, many people never leave there and maybe never will.

Sandi:                       And that’s okay.

Anne:                        2009 was a moment when many things were happening in the magazine world, I didn’t have as many, no one has many pages to edit their ten thousand word story, so I just felt it was a great time to take this great opportunity to graduate from the senior editor level, which some people never do. I took a leap of faith and two years later, so I was executive editor at Marie Claire for two years and it was phenomenal, really fun, totally different world from Vanity Fair. I walked into my first day of Marie Claire and it was such a different world from Vanity Fair, in that it was almost all women.

Sandi:                       Yeah.

Anne:                        People were running around with clothing racks everywhere. Vanity Fair is not a fashion magazine per say.

Sandi:                       Right.

Anne:                        There was just this great collaborative democratic atmosphere of, sort of, it was much trimmer staff, budgets were different and I think there was someone coming with like a towel around her head because she was going to a fashion shoot In the Closet and there was just sort of chaos, and I loved it.

Sandi:                       Where you always stylish and fashionable? Did you feel that you belonged there? Like, for example, I could be a great editor, but Marie Claire would never hire me.

Anne:                        Well, let’s talk after this.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] That’s very kind of you. But you know what I mean, that would be like my saying I would really like to work at Popular Mechanics.

Anne:                        [Laughing] They have a new Editor in Chief too. We can talk about that too.

Sandi:                       [Laughing]

Anne:                        The thing about Marie Claire, which I love, is that Marie Claire is great, we have lots of fashion, we love fashion. We have a lot of fun with fashion, we’re not a snobby magazine. We go to the shows, we come back, we spread out all the wares, we talk about it, we tweet what we’re wearing. We are not the kind of fashion magazine that comes back and says we went to the shows and you did not and here’s a peek into the world that you’ll never live in.

Sandi:                       So, Vogue-ish.

Anne:                        Vogue is a fantastic magazine, and I think there’s a real place in the fashion world for aspirational magazines and sort of an elitist or more sort of, a more, a different take on the fashion world.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Sort of like keeping it arm’s length. Marie Claire is really showing you how to wear this stuff and what we like. I just, this morning, was calling Marie Claire a kind of, a band or a tribe because we really, we have a real spirit. We love our fashion, we love our beauty, but we also love our rock-n-roll, and

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        We have a twentieth anniversary issue coming up in September, where we talk, we’re asking people about how they’re changing the world.

Sandi:                       Mm

Anne:                        We have a real, an aspree is really what I would call it. So, when we go to fashion shows, we kind of, we all go together, and there’s are real sort of

Sandi:                       In spite of all these women, you all like each other?

Anne:                        We really, really do.

Sandi:                       You have a sisterhood?

Anne:                        Yes. That’s a great word.

Sandi:                       Mm

Anne:                        We really, I’m not making it up. Ask anyone on the floor, we just kind of, we have a lot of fun. There’s laughter emanating from the halls and

Sandi:                       So, people like to go to work?

Anne:                        I love to go to work. Yeah. I think there’s a real art to keeping that atmosphere alive and making it a collaborative environment.

Sandi:                       Let’s just go back to you. [Laughing] What I mean, in terms of your career was you go to Marie Claire and you stay there for two years and then you’re wooed away.

Anne:                        Right. My husband calls this, like there are only so many head coach jobs. Right?

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        There are about, I don’t know how many head coach jobs there are in the NFL, but I think there are only about twelve magazines that I would really want to be Editor in Chief of, and to get to that point, you just have to hang in there for a while. So, there, Condé Nast called me and said, do you want to be Editor in Chief of a magazine and I said yes I do and they said come on over. I chatted with them and they offered me the chance to completely remake a magazine that they were, for the first time combining print and digital.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        That opportunity was really exciting to me too because that’s very important right now, to learn the entire digital world which I really hadn’t done yet. It was Bride’s magazine. So, we hired a whole new staff, we revamped the magazine, I hired a, introduced the print/digital staff to each other for the first time and I had a phenomenal time doing that. I think I’m saying the word phenomenal about a hundred times, but it’s been a great ride. So, I was kind of, almost through my first year when Marie Claire called me back and said, Hurst called me back and said what would you say if one of your favorite magazines needed an Editor in Chief.

Sandi:                       Wow.

Anne:                        It was really a crazy day.

Sandi:                       So, you’re answer to that was yes.

Anne:                        [Laughing] My answer to that was, are you kidding me. I just got here.

Sandi:                       This is awkward.

Anne:                        [Laughing] Yeah. This is a little awkward, but it’s also the opportunity of a lifetime. Timing in life is never perfect, but this is a job that I cannot; these things don’t come up that often, and

Sandi:                       Well, here’s a story, with a magazine like yours, when you look at the masthead, clearly, it takes a village.

Anne:                        Yes.

Sandi:                       You’re the mayor. What is that like? You’re responsible for everything, correct?

Anne:                        Yes.

Sandi:                       When it works, it’s great, you know, and when it doesn’t work, it’s at your feet too, right?

Anne:                        Right. Yeah. Yes.

Sandi:                       What is that like?

Anne:                        You really have to be very, you have to learn how to hire really good people. You have to learn how to tell them what you want.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Trust them to do it, and find about, I’d say five people, that you can rely on. I mean, at least three, but it would be better for five. We have many different parts of the magazine, we have fashion,

Sandi:                       Right.

Anne:                        We have the words, which are really important to me, and is also very important to Marie Claire. I mean, one of the things that sets us apart in our very competitive crowded field, is our commitment to journalism and to women’s issues, and telling good stories.

Sandi:                       You’re Creative Director, Nina Garcia, she’s kind of off to the side because she’s running her part of the corporation as it were.

Anne:                        She is.

Sandi:                       In a sense, right?

Anne:                        She is in charge of all the fashion.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        She’s a very strong collaborator. She and I meet, I’d say almost every day.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Unless she’s filming Project Runway, in which case, she is a big emailer. Very digital, very digital lady that Nina Garcia. She’s in charge of fashion, she goes to all of the fashion shows and she runs her fashion team which is about five or six people. Very, very tight ship. I also have a beauty director who is the exact same thing for the beauty world.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        We have a features director who is in charge of all of the words. I have a business partner, my publisher, Nancy Berger-Cardone, who is in charge of all of the advertising sales and marketing of the magazine and I also have a, the art director, who’s in charge of the way the magazine looks, and a photo director.

Sandi:                       If you’re just joining us today, my guest is Anne Fulenwider, Editor in Chief of Marie Claire magazine. What did you do differently when you came on board the second time? Where there specifics that they wanted done? Were they unhappy with the way the magazine was going?

Anne:                        No. No. They were not unhappy with the magazine. They were promoting the current Editor in Chief to, or moving her job to a new magazine and they were not, the magazine was already very strong. What I did when I got there was really shift the way the magazine looked, in terms of, I wanted it to have a stronger visual presence. We hired a new art department, really, step by step, and it was a very gradual evolution but today I think it looks very different than it did when I got there. I also hired a new executive editor who’s my sort of number two.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        She’s phenomenal, we’ve worked together forever. She’s actually a former colleague from Vanity Fair and so, we set about getting new writers and just sort of refreshing the staff of it just because that’s what you do when you get to a new place.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        It’s been a, it’s really not even been two years, I mean kind of a refresh the entire thing.

Sandi:                       Is this a 24/7 job?

Anne:                        Yes.

Sandi:                       And that’s okay with you?

Anne:                        Its okay with me because I love it and because I have a really strong creative fresh team who I love interacting with on a daily basis. There’re not, there’re certainly no emails going back and forth at midnight.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        So, it’s like a sixteen hour a day job.

Sandi:                       Its sixteen hours, but you’re a wife and a mother and

Anne:                        Yeah.

Sandi:                       You probably like to go to the theatre, you know, and probably like to take a vacation.

Anne:                        Yeah.

Sandi:                       I hate this How do you do it, but how do you do it? And look as good as you look.

Anne:                        Oh. You’re too funny. I think that

Sandi:                       I’m not too funny!

Anne:                        It’s great that I have a fashion closet and a beauty closet at work. I will say that. Here’s the thing. I really, I’m not making it up, I really love my job.

Sandi:                       Okay.

Anne:                        I love what I do. What I do touches all areas of my life. I have a seven year old daughter, I talk to her about what’s going on in the world.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        The world she’ll grow up in and “women’s issues” are something I’ve always cared about. We put them in the magazine. I read something or something happens in the news cycle and it’s just an automatic thought, how are we going to put this in the magazine.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        We do a lot of things that are close to my heart about women’s education, how, violence against women, equal pay, health care. How to get women more connected to the political process because even though it seems like we’re very connected to the political process, we actually; a lot of us are struggling with how do we actually make a real difference.

Sandi:                       Sure.

Anne:                        These are things that as, it’s really just close to my heart and I think about them all the time anyway. Even if I were doing something completely different, even collecting garbage, that’s what I would be thinking about.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Stem, you know, math and science. My daughter comes home and says, she doesn’t like math, I’m thinking, okay what did I learn at that Makers Conference about astronauts, maybe I can figure out how to get this person to her school.

Sandi:                       That’s really interesting to me also because I met you at the Makers Conference and this was a conference about empowering women. When I was looking through one of the issues of the magazine and I, it was a particular fashion spread, it was called Guilt Trip, and it was about metallic in clothing threads.

Anne:                        Mm Hmm

Sandi:                       I looked at the model. She was really, really, really thin and it struck me. I wasn’t looking for that, do you know what I mean?

Anne:                        Mm Hmm

Sandi:                       I looked at that spread and it was sort of contrast by one of your features called Big Girl in a Skinny World. It’s an interesting

Anne:                        Mm Hmm

Sandi:                       Dichotomy? Explain that to me.

Anne:                        Well, it’s certainly something that I am always on the lookout for, in terms of what we’re representing to women.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        We are constantly looking for, I’m always looking to present a verse group of women in the magazine.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Something I’m very aware of and working towards and this is something, it’s certainly about body image and what women look like that the entire fashion industry is working towards.

Sandi:                       Do you think it’s doing a good enough job?

Anne:                        Probably not, but I don’t speak for the entire fashion industry.

Sandi:                       Of course not.

Anne:                        I certainly think that, I love our Big Girl in a Skinny World column. It’s something I’m really proud of. It was there before I became Editor in Chief.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        It’s something that I continue to promote. I love Nicolette Mason and what she does. We have,

Sandi:                       She certainly is kind of irreverent and snarky.

Anne:                        Yeah. I love filling the magazine with all sorts of personalities and points of view. It’s something that we constantly talk about with our cover stars and how we photograph them and it’s an ongoing dialog and conversation.

Sandi:                       How do you pick who you want to be on the cover? Is that done by a committee? I mean, recently, Jennifer Lawrence.

Anne:                        I would put Jennifer Lawrence on the cover every month. If it was totally up to me.

Sandi:                       [Laughing] She’s really something, right.

Anne:                        She’s really fun, she’s really smart, really unguarded, which is great. We have a fantastic entertainment director who lives out in Hollywood, and this is her full time job. It’s a combination of who has a project that they want to promote. Not every star wants to be on the cover every month, surprisingly.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        It’s an ongoing negotiation about who’s going to be on whose cover at what time, but it’s really who has a movie or a song or an album or a project they want to promote and who has been on our cover most recently,

Sandi:                       Sure. You wouldn’t want to go there.

Anne:                        Sometimes we would, but they sort of take turns, like, she just did this cover so she can’t do our cover. It’s really a full time job. There are people I’ve been wanting to have on our cover for years, who are still, we’re still going after.

Sandi:                       That’s just the hugest thing because that’s what sells the magazine. It’s who catches you’re eye and then you’ll read what the articles are inside, right? It’s that face, it’s that body on the cover of a magazine.

Anne:                        That is the idea. It’s sort of, it’s not a science that anyone has fully figured out yet. The alchemy of the star, the look on her face, the item of clothing that she’s wearing, that moment in her career, the color, the lines, what we say on the actual cover. It’s the Holy Grail.

Sandi:                       Have you ever put a man on the cover?

Anne:                        Not since I’ve been Editor in Chief, but when I was Executive Editor, we put, a couple of times we tried putting a man and a woman on the cover together.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        Strangely, they didn’t usually sell as well as when we put a girl on the cover, a woman on the cover by herself.

Sandi:                       What’s the future of magazines? I don’t want to read the New York Times online, I want to hold it in my hands. I want to hold a magazine in my hands. Am I an anomaly?

Anne:                        No. You’re not an anomaly. I, people do continue want to read our magazine, which I am very happy about. I do, I agree, I love reading magazines, specifically magazines. I’ll read my newspaper online, and I pay to do that, but I also love reading the Sunday New York Times,

Sandi:                       Spread out there.

Anne:                        When I have the time to luxuriate on my couch and read the paper.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        But I do think that magazines have always, in America, really been a reflection of our culture and they’re really a nice filter of the culture through your own, because you choose which magazines you want to read, right?

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        You want to read a home magazine or a political magazine, a fashion magazine. You’re filtering the culture through that lens. I think of our magazine as a, as I was saying earlier, as a tribe or a gathering of like-minded or similarly minded people. So, I think that we, every month, we try our best to remain relevant to the people who we’re speaking to and that group grows and expands every month. Really what’s changing is the delivery mechanisms through which we speak to that crowd. We’ll always have the magazine and the print magazine continues to be our main delivery mechanism but we are evolving how we talk to our audience in terms of how they see us; through the tools through which they read us. So we’ve got our digital edition on the tablet, we have our mobile, we have our twitter feed, we have our website, we have our three different television shows with which we’re affiliated.

Sandi:                       What else besides Project Runway?

Anne:                        We have Project Runway, Project Runway All-stars, and Tim Gunn has a show called Under the Gunn.

Sandi:                       Right. Right.

Anne:                        All of which we’re affiliated with and have various

Sandi:                       You make my head spin.

Anne:                        Well, you know, it’s really, we think of the magazine still as the biggest business center of the brand, as we’re now really calling ourselves.

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        But so, the Marie Claire, is what we really are. We’re Marie Claire and we’re a print magazine first, but we’re also all of these other off-shoots of that brand. All of our readers and all of our twitter followers

Sandi:                       Mm Hmm

Anne:                        All of our Facebook followers, and all of our, we should probably start doing podcasts, will find us wherever we are, and increase they’re finding us all over the place. All over the world. We just launched another magazine called Branché, which is an extension of Marie Claire, yet another one.

Sandi:                       Spell that.

Anne:                        Branché, with an accent. It means, loosely it’s called, it means plugged in. It means tuned into the culture.

Sandi:                       Oh. Alright.

Anne:                        Actually, that was a purely print product that we distributed by street teams. I think it’s really a matter of remaining relevant and sort of always bringing something new to our readers and keeping their attention, keeping them engaged and delighted and surprised and always delivering something juicy and delicious to them because this is really, really about having fun and keeping them entertained and informed and engaged and inspired.

Sandi:                       That’s wonderful. Well, I think you’re pretty inspiring and I’ve really enjoyed meeting you and talking with you. You’re just so easy, because the times up.

Anne:                        Thank you so much.

Sandi:                       It’s really been my pleasure.

Join us for another edition of The 51% Conversations with Creative Women. I’m Sandi Klein.

Narrator:                 Thanks for listening to The 51% Conversations with Creative Women. For show comments and suggestions please follow us on Twitter at #sandikleinshow. You can also find us on Facebook at The 51% Conversations. The show is produced and recorded by Chad Dougatz at the Hangar Studios in New York City. Sandi Klein is our executive producer.

 

 

Chad Dougatz
Chad Dougatz
Chad Dougatz brings more than 20 years of radio and media experience to the show. Before working with Sandi Klein, Chad was a Senior Producer on numerous nationally syndicated radio programs, including The Rosie O’Donnell Show, The Governor David Paterson Show, and Mornings on Air America. Chad is also the owner of The Hangar Studios, an NYC audio production company, where he provides multi-media marketing and production solutions for authors, small businesses, and entrepreneurs.
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