What It’s Really Like to Work for A Glossy Magazines

I grew up hoarding magazines. Getting a shiny new mag from the newsagent with my pocket money had me giddy for days. And buying “glossies” was the most feasibly economical way (as a 13-year-old) to show the world who I was – alas I couldn’t afford the Chanel bags featured inside to prove I was a budding fashionista. Magazines gave me an insight into a world far beyond my suburban existence in Melbourne that’s for sure. The burning desire to work at one never died. And so I jumped ship to Sydney in my early 20s to do just that. And girl was it interesting! Sadly, magazines are a dying breed and now I write for online. Yet there’s still a conceived aura around mag life that everyone loves hearing about. You know what? I don’t blame them, because it’s not what you think!

My boss was nothing like Miranda Priestly…

Ahh the allusive façade of a magazine editor is nothing like the terrifying Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada. Have I been shit scared to go into her office some days? Sure. But I was never scrutinized about what I wore, ignored or asked to do things that were near impossible. Bar that one time I was asked to ring every store in the country to see if they had any stock left of a discontinued lipstick my editor adored.

You get through the day with a well-stocked drawer of snacks…

….and too many soy lattes. Plus, all the free sugary treats that get sent with new products from PR companies.  Yeah I put on 5kg sitting at my computer grazing, sipping champagne at events and stressing if we’d lose our jobs soon.

You’re in a constant state of anxiety…

Even if you’re not going to print that afternoon, you’re always on deadline. And if you don’t turn your work in, it’s serious. I missed many catch ups with friends because deadlines were always being brought forward, new stories needed to be written that afternoon or obscure objects sourced for impromptu photo shoots. Everything felt like do or die, even choosing the best colour post-it notes for the office.

You get a lot of free things…

A 50/50 split of fun and not so fun stuff.

The fun: beauty products, facials, overseas trips, restaurant outings disguised as “meetings”

The not so fun: terrible books, turmeric tea and “healthy” chocolate

It’s 20% glamourous and 80% mundane…

You don’t have to do coffee runs for your boss or pick up their dry-cleaning because they’d much rather fill your plate with actual work. But a lot of that will be boring when you’re not out at fancy events socialising or on set shooting next months cover star.

No one is in head to toe designer…

First of all, no one can afford it (when they’re earning peanuts for a living). I lie, there is probably one cool girl in every mag building who is decked out in all new Balenciaga but it’s on loan from the fashion cupboard and she’s sporting normcore sneakers to keep it real.

Words by Jennifer Aitken.


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