That is a daring attitude for an editor of a print title. So many EICs are still afraid of the web, and live in fear of cannibalizing newsstand sales. How have you sidestepped that?
"To be fair, we have a really good team on the web who I feel are really paying attention to what’s going on. In terms of sporting metaphors, they are running the daily sprint while we are running the marathon — and every now and then, we can train together. They require different muscle groups and a different kind of energy, but every now and then, we are on the same track."
Do you subscribe to the idea that every editor today needs a social-media presence and brand to be successful?
"I think you want to edit to your strengths and hire to your weakness. I come from a writer’s background so I don’t mind being on Twitter. I’m not worried I’m going to drunk tweet. I feel very comfortable on Twitter and Facebook, but not everybody does. I think you have to work within what you think you are good at."
How does that inform your management style?
"I like having ideas and watching people. I love commissioning great writers to do great stories and then getting out of their way so they can write them. I like listening to bright young women who have ideas about things and then figuring out how to put it in the magazine.
Cosmo recently announced that it would be making political endorsements starting this election season. What do you think the most important issues working women need to think about when they cast their votes?
"Well, I think we have two issues. First, equal pay for equal work. And, that becomes very relevant in a place like North Carolina, where you have Kay Hagan in a very tight state senate race, up against Thom Tillis. And, he is someone who actually killed the equal pay bill in North Carolina. He is also a supporter of Personhood, which believes that life begins at conception, which means he would get rid of the IUD, which a lot of couples across America rely on. So, in a battle between Kay Hagan and Thom Tillis, if you are a woman, and assuming you believe in equal pay for equal work and assuming you want the right to use the IUD — you don't have to use it, but assuming you want it in your arsenal of choices as contraception — you need to know that there is a really big different between those two candidates.
But then, what do you say to women who read Cosmo but vote along more conservative party lines. Is it true that Cosmo no longer has a place for them?
"No. Here's what I find really interesting. The older women I know, who are Republicans, want their daughter to have the same opportunities in the workplace as their sons. And, they don't want their daughters to have limited access to contraception. And, the younger Republican women I know feel that the Republican party has abandoned them and doesn't have their best interests at heart, and that it's trying to preserve an old vision of America that no longer exists.
What’s the best piece of advice that you never got but wish you had?
“Pay a bit more attention to what you wear, funny enough. I do think it’s oddly important — and I don’t think I cared enough when I was younger. It’s partly because the options weren’t as good as they are now. I think now, readers at R29 or Cosmo are spoiled by choices. You have amazing choices in Zara or H&M, Express, Club Monaco, Ann Taylor…on the lower end of the scale. And, of course, I could spend my life in Barneys or on Net-A-Porter. But, there were fewer great choices when I was growing up. My hair was kind of a mess, and I didn't want to be judged on what I looked like. I didn’t realize that people were doing that anyway, so you might as well pay attention to it.”
Were there specific moments when you felt that held you back?
"I remember one particular incident when I was working in England as a reporter at the Daily Telegraph, and a friend of mine had a fantastic distressed Calvin Klein leather jacket which she allowed me to borrow. I was beside myself. I wore it to work, and looking back, it was a great moment in high fashion, but completely inappropriate for the office. And, the editor of the paper called me in and said, ‘Listen, we think you’re absolutely fantastic, but you’re doing yourself no service by wearing a leather jacket; your hair is all over the place. You need to represent the paper as best as you can.’ I was furious and shocked and irritated and annoyed, but looking back on it, he was completely right.
Any other advice that you think people aren’t hearing enough today?
"Think really hard about the kind of life you want to lead. Because it was a shock to me when I had my second child and realized that I wasn’t going to be able to travel. I had always wanted a job where I could travel. Then, I got a job where I could travel, and I loved it. But, I had a second baby and suddenly I didn’t want to be on the road for three or four days and not see him — that felt wrong. Also, the work didn't feel worth it.
You’ve mentioned that in the U.K., junior people are more likely to disagree with their bosses. That they are less likely to take a deferential role. Do you think that’s a good thing?
"The British office is a little bit more like the House of Commons in that everybody argues and shouts across the room. It is a different way to arrive at the conclusion than the American way, which as far as I can see, is a complete gridlock in Washington. In Britain, you grow up arguing. You aren’t afraid to put out a point of view and then change it. The British way is to argue it out in a group of people and through that, you learn to think in public. When I arrived at New York magazine, for the first year or so, I was struck by the fact that the editor made the decisions and everyone else would follow suit. I would argue because that is what I was used to doing. Someone asked why I was always arguing and I thought, ‘Why am I always doing that? It’s exhausting.'
I read that you took a 50% pay cut for that New York magazine job so you could stay here in the U.S. Did you ever regret that when you were in it?
"Well, I certainly don’t have any regrets about making the decision. I knew instinctively it was the right one, and I knew I didn’t want to live in Britain again."
Once you were sponsored for your visa, I imagine your instinct was to leave immediately. Did you?
"I stayed at New York for three years. I was very grateful to them because they hired me when I was seven months pregnant and didn’t have a visa. I was thrilled and thought that deserved some loyalty on my behalf.
Over the course of your career, you have interviewed everyone from Hillary Clinton to Angelina Jolie to Sheryl Sandberg. Is there one nugget of wisdom that really stands out to you, from those conversations?
"I think Hillary Clinton’s point about learning to take criticism seriously but not personally is a really valid one. Especially when you are asking for advice.
And finally, do you ever feel dread looking at the workweek ahead on Sunday nights? What do you do to combat that?
"Sunday nights, I always watch John Oliver's show on HBO, Last Week Tonight. In my perfect world, I end Sunday night with Homeland followed by John Oliver. He's the perfect way to close out the weekend. With a laugh."
What about your morning routine? How do you start each day, to make sure it's as productive as possible?
"Well, I get up around 6ish and I walk the dog. Sometimes on my own and sometimes with my husband. Then, we all have breakfast together. My son goes off to school, and then I go to work.