Inspiration and Editors / Interviews

INTERVIEW: Jo Elvin, editor of Glamour magazine (part one)

By Annette Stevens.

As a writer, I love interviewing anyone for any article I am working on. Luckily for me, this week is no different. Here is the first part of my interview with Jo Elvin. She had long, in-depth answers that were really helpful so I decided to separate the interview into two parts!

Jo is Editor-in-chief of Glamour.

Jo is Editor-in-chief of Glamour.

Hello Jo, thank you for agreeing to this interview with Jump4journalism! Whilst growing up, did you ever know that you wanted to be a journalist?

Yes, I knew from about the age of 14. I loved magazines and I was obsessed with British magazines. I also did really well in English and creative writing at school, so it seemed to make sense to me from an early age.

You came to the UK to launch Glamour in 2001. Do you think English magazines differ from Australian magazines?

I came to the UK in 1992 and worked on three magazines (including launching the teenage title, Sugar) before I launched Glamour in 2001. I think there are actually a lot of similarities between British and Australian magazines. Key is the sense of humour, I think Australians and Brits both enjoy wry, slightly cynical humour.

Was it hard, making the jump from there to here?

It had its challenges. But they were mainly things like learning how to make a very small wage stretch for a whole month in London (thanks Benjys). In terms of the magazines, it was just learning a whole new frame of references for culture, expressions etc. But that doesn’t take long.

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As the oldest of four siblings, did you ever feel any pressure to become really successful?

I never felt any undue pressure. But my parents were extremely encouraging of all us to just go for whatever career we wanted. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed but it didn’t have anything to do with being the oldest of four kids.

How do feel Glamour has changed since the launch?

It’s evolved to meet the different demands of its audience. So that means, naturally, we are a print title but also an iPad title, a phone title, a website and with any social network presence you can think of. The core spirit and content of the magazine hasn’t altered that drastically, which I’m really proud of. I take it as a sign that we launched a really great magazine. The first issue still stands up really well in my eyes, which is rare. As the world has changed, we have evolved to reflect more breadth in our content, and address more serious concerns of our readers than we perhaps did in that first year.  That’s the biggest difference but I still see us as primarily a magazine you read when you want to be entertained.

Can you describe your job on a day-to-day basis?

It varies. There’s a fixed monthly calendar of things that need doing, so this week is press week so it’s a very desk-bound week, reading, reading, reading, devising the cover from image to words and design. But then the day can involve meeting contributors and key contacts, generating ideas with the team, approving rails of clothes and layouts. Some of the day is usually devoted to working on big, future projects. Then there’s the unexpected things like, yesterday I was on a judging panel for most of the day for the Dulux Let’s Colour Awards. I represent the magazine at lots of things like the British Fashion Awards which were on Monday night. Then this afternoon I’m doing some stuff with Radio 4 to talk about Glamour. It really is all sorts!

That’s the end of part one! Look out for the second part of the interview very soon!  If you take to Twitter, don’t forget to RT.




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