What better way to learn about the daily life on the magazine, than talking to the editor! Victoria White know exactly what it is like to do work experience, to work your way up, and to work on a national woman’s magazine that is read by thousands. Within her busy schedule, she managed to take some time out to answer some questions by Annette Stevens:
As the Editor of Company, you are often regarded as a very prestigious Editor. Could you tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today?
I started out doing work experience on a long gone (sadly) teen mag called TV Hits moving over to do work experience on their sister mag Inside Soap where I stayed for the next four years! By then I was features ed and was offered a job launching a TV mag in Australia so I jumped at the chance to live overseas and take on such a massive challenge. While there I was offered the job as LA Correspondent for a group of Australian magazines so I moved to the US where I had friends and family so it really was a dream come true. But I always really wanted to work in women’s magazines so when the job as Deputy Editor came up back in the UK on a magazine called B I applied for it and got it so returned to the UK. From there I made the move to Company as Deputy as it was my dream magazine to work on, even back then. In 2004 I got the job as editor!
Did you ever specifically know that you wanted to be a Journalist/Editor?
Yes from about the age of 16 – I didn’t really know what it all meant but I figured I’d get to meet pop stars etc and I loved clothes and fashion. I’m from Newcastle though and there aren’t many fashion mags there so I did all the related work experience I could find working on local newspapers and TV stations.
How much of what goes on the office (gossip wise) goes into the magazine, e.g. “Would you rather?” from the Ibiza issue?
Company’s tone definitely comes from the office ‘tone’ and if we find something funny in the office then we hope readers will find it funny either in print or more often online – like the time we did Desk Safari on our website where we all had to be an animal! It was one of our highest-rated pages that week.
You have your own blog, over at Weboughtafrenchhouse.wordpress.com. Is it easy to fit round the demands of being an editor?
Actually it’s really tough. I started it as I wanted to really get a feel for how good blogs work and I’ve realised that the writing bit isn’t hard – its the marketing, getting your name out there, commenting on other like minded blogs to try and spread your word. That takes a lot of time.
Cover shoots are often set up, months before that specific issue will be on Newsstands. Do you play any role in being “on set” in the shoots?
I try to always be on cover shoots as I like to make sure the look and feel are just what I am looking for for that particular month or celebrity. However my top team of Associate Editor and Creative Director are more than capable of doing it without me (sobs).
After the relaunch/remake of Company, after you became Editor in 2003, Company become more of a brand, and became similar to Cosmopolitan’s “Cosmo Girls”, as any reader became a “Company Girl”. What was the idea around this?
Well the relaunch was actually only two years ago so a long time after I became editor. We did however want to create a club atmosphere and produce a magazine that you either were or weren’t a fan of. Obviously I’d like it if everyone could be a ‘Company Girl’ but I suppose for some its just not their thing. Those who are Company Girls now though seem evangelical about it which is great. A ‘Company’ girl is creative, opinionated and cool (but not scary cool!).
What do you think is the value in discussing fashion, within a magazine?
For many women its a vast topic and one that they feel really passionate about. It inspires and gives them a ‘voice’ also I find fashion is a bit like football for men – its that common ice breaker conversation for most women.
As a game in Company’s office, the game “Would you rather?” has been the subject of many pages of Company. Here are some for you..
Beauty or Fashion? Fashion just because I love clothes and obsess about my outfits every day
Magazines or books? Magazines obvs but I refuse to get a kindle and still read paper books
The Devil Wears Prada, or How to lose a guy in ten days? H2LAG – it is one of my fave films EVER and the yellow dress Kate Hudson wears in it still tops my dream film dress list!
What do you look for, in a cover letter and CV, if someone is applying for a job at Company… and do you have any tips?
Passion, enthusiasm and good grammar and spelling. For freelance work, email the features director – I hardly ever answer!
Come up with something I’d NEVER have thought of myself that could change the face of Company print or online proposition!!
What are your handbag essentials, for a day working at Company?
iPad mini, purse, phone, lipgloss, smints, pencil (I don’t like pens) and sunglasses
Random question: What do you prefer out of the following, and why?
Cheesecake – I don’t actually like sweet things – prefer a bag of nuts or crisps – I read that Posh Spice is the same too!