Every time another magazine folds (Self, Interview, Teen Vogue…) or a veteran editor relinquishes their perch (looking at you Graydon Carter, Cindi Leive, Joanna Coles…) a little piece of my magazine-loving heart dies.
My love affair with magazines began early. As a pre-teen I’d read Teen, Teen Beat, Bop, YM, Sassy (I loved Sassy!) and would eagerly run to the mailbox hoping to find the latest page for my Teen Works Binder. I’m definitely dating myself, but the inserts were essentially one story from a magazine, (on fashion, beauty, life, boys) that you would add to your Teen Works binder each month. I’m sure mine is still in storage somewhere. XoJane (another defunct outlet Sassy founder Jane Pratt!) wrote a great (not) nostalgic piece on Teen Works here.
I’d dream of working at a magazine, but thinking I could make a better living as a lawyer or political speech writer, I started college as a Political Science major. That changed my sophomore year when luck and tenacity landed me a job as a columnist at the local paper and my mom said, “You’ve always wanted to be a journalist, why don’t you just change you major to journalism?”
I subsequently enjoyed a thrilling career as a journalist, first as a columnist for The Daily Tribune’s Get Out Magazine, then as a columnist and features writer for The Arizona Republic, moving to NYC and freelancing for the glossies before settling in for seven years working at the weeklies – during a time it was so much fun and the pay pretty competitive.
When I stopped finding it as fun after the rise of blogs and the increase of gossipy gotcha moments, I decided it was time to pursue another path. In the eight years since, I’ve really enjoyed the marketing/PR projects I’ve been fortunate to work on, the companies I’ve been able to help launch and grow and their stories I’ve been able to help craft, tell and share. But…there is still the bit inside me that craves doing interviews that can draw out answers people may have not heard before and write long-form profiles in a way that will make people want to read them to the end and walk away in some way surprised or inspired.
I got to to keep doing this for a while for American Airlines and the cover interviews I did with Renee Zellweger, Jimmy Fallon and Heidi Klum, but it had been a minute. Until Nobleman.
I met Lydia McLaughlin, who you may know from The Real Housewives of the OC, (who owns the magazine with her husband Doug McLaughlin) during one of JetSuiteX’s Wine Wednesday trips. She brought along a copy of Nobleman and the coffee table magazine with gorgeous cardstock made my breath catch in my throat.
The next issue they told me they were still looking for a cover and a celebrity feature, so I booked Sterling K. Jones and Adrian Grenier respectively.
After a day-long photo shoot with Sterling at the Sofitel Hotel in Beverly Hills, followed by a 30 minute chat where he didn’t hold back, I walked away in awe of this man who embodies what it means to be a gentleman.
You can read the first half of the interview here on Nobleman’s website.
And, if you’re curious about the rest, email me at Jen@Jenbirn.com 🙂