Welcome to our latest series, Nerve Online Style X Careers. We’re speaking to members of different industries to let you know what it’s really like after graduating.
We spoke to Jo Hoare, who previously worked as Heat magazine’s Style Editor, to find out if working in fashion journalism is as competitive as it seems.
Hi Jo! Tell us a little about your background and how you came to work at Heat.
Well, I wasn’t really sure what I wanted to do. I went to university to study English because it was always what I was best at and I felt it was an ‘open’ enough degree to lead to a variety of different jobs. I ended up staying on to do an english masters! Whilst finishing that I then started to think about the idea of journalism. I then took an NCTJ qualification and applied for work experience places…Heat was actually my first work experience placement and after that first day I never really left! I did a month assisting the features editor on a project, then became their regular holiday cover for anyone junior and was, after about six months, given the job of style assistant and have since worked my way up.
So what’s a typical day like?
I might start the day with a breakfast meeting, meeting up with fashion or beauty PR’s to discuss upcoming collections, commercial opportunities or new ways of working together.
As soon as I’m in the office I’ll look at all the paparazzi pictures that have come in overnight and see if we can spot anything that’d work as a feature for us.
Then we have a daily conference with all of the section heads where we discuss the whole of the magazine. I might also have press days and launches to attend so could be out of the office for a few hours. Then back to do daily tasks such as write and research features and check over the outfits picked by our stylist for any upcoming shoots. I also answer my emails – I get around 600 a day!
What are the most memorable moments of your career?
There are a lot of ‘pinch yourself’ moments. I went to a private island earlier this year for a global haircare conference which was amazing. Also, the first time I met my favourite celebrity, Kylie Minogue – I nearly collapsed!
Are there any downfalls of the job?
There’s not as much of a ‘mean girls’ vibe as you’d think, but it can happen. It’s best just to be nice and friendly to everyone! Also the further up you get the more likely you are to be a manager and managing people doesn’t come naturally to me, so I find it quite challenging.
Is it as difficult as it seems to get a job in fashion journalism?
It’s undeniable that there are less jobs in magazines now as there are less magazines than there were ten years ago. Teams are smaller and those entry level jobs are getting scarcer. But, there are so many more digital platforms there are other avenues open to you.
Do you have any advice for anyone looking to go into this industry?
Start a blog. I think of it a bit like how going to the gym exercises your muscles. The more you practice, the better you’ll get it and it’s also a great way to showcase what you do to potential employers.
Jo is right, but you could always write for us instead of creating a blog! Fashion journalism not for you? Check out the other articles in this series, including beauty PR and social media communications.