Joanna Coles, the former Editor in Chief of Marie Claire, just took a new job as the Editor in Chief of Cosmopolitan Magazine and she is definitely starting her new job off there with a bang. The Cut writer Carl Swanson sat in on Coles’ first editorial meeting and it sounded intimidating to say the least. Coles could give Anna Wintour a run for her money in the powerful female magazine editor titan category. In any case, I smell book potential.
From The Cut:
“Oh, you’re Jessica Knoll,” she says to a young woman in a lace top who writes a great deal for the magazine. “Kate told me you’re a rock star,” she says of her predecessor, Kate White. “But Kate’s gone, so it doesn’t matter now.”
Then she started asking the editors in the room about what TV shows they watched and web sites they read. Senior Editor Anna Davies mentioned she wasn’t the biggest fan of the show Girls and then the conversation took a weird turn into Davies’s sex life. For a minute it sounded like Coles was trying to get a story of it. It was just like that scene in How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days in which the editor of a women’s magazine (quite similar to Cosmo) asks, “Who will use Michelle’s personal life for a story?” right after Michelle says she can’t use her personal life in a story.
Well, perhaps invoking fear when you start a new job isn’t a terrible way to begin and it’s not like she said anything directly mean (which is sometimes scarier.) But Coles should be good for Cosmo. “I’m incredibly excited about the global footprint,” Coles, a former reporter for The Guardian and The Times of London said. “It’s big because it talks about things that are really important to women. It’s such an iconic logo.”
Coles is also expected to expand Cosmo’s digital presence which is something all Hearst publications are working on. But Coles should be fine with this as she has had a lot of experience with this. Marie Claire has been redesigned three times in the past three years, with the latest version launching last January.
Though Marie Claire is not known for its focus on sex as much as Cosmo, Coles appears to be on board with keeping the publication raunchy. From The New York Times:
“Coles pointed to the frank talk about sex and careers on shows like HBO’s Girls and CBS’s 2 Broke Girls as an indication that the rest of the culture shares the concerns of Cosmopolitan’s readers.
Ms. Coles said that when she arrived at Marie Claire she was surprised at how negative many women’s magazines were, and that it underscored the value of a magazine like Cosmopolitan making women feel better about themselves.
“For me what’s important is to be on the side of women when it comes to sex,” she said, and then added, “It’s very important to have a sense of humor when you edit a magazine — at Cosmo, it is much raunchier. I have a lot of learning to do. There are 365 sex positions of the day here and one of them is called the linguine.”
Oh, so maybe that was actually a playful side of Coles we were seeing in that meeting?