Interview with a Magazine Managing Editor

As most of you are now aware one of my long held dreams is to work at a woman’s magazine and I am an avid magazine-a-holic literally devouring every one I can lay my hands on, for now my dream is on hold but one day I hope to fulfill it….

So with that being said, today I am so honoured to be interviewing Managing Editor of GLAMOUR SA Magazine – Michelle Brownlee Smith as part of my “Women at Work” series!

What is your current job?

I work as Managing Editor for GLAMOUR magazine.


How did you end up in your current position? A brief history of your career so far?

I always knew that I wanted to work on a magazine. So, from the age of 16, I made it my focus. I worked especially hard on subjects that would help me achieve my goal (English and Afrikaans) and took a keen interest in photography. After school I studied Journalism at Pretoria Technikon as it was such a practical course. Before I could qualify I had to do a 9 month long internship in journalism. I applied for a whole lot of positions including a radio job at SABC, a reporter position on small community papers and of course, magazines. I was lucky enough to get a position at the then newly launch title Marie Claire magazine in Johannesburg. My internship went so well that I was hired as a writer, working my way up to Health Editor and eventually Beauty Editor. At that point I took a two year break to travel. Whilst living in London, GLAMOUR was preparing to launch in SA. The editor approached me to become GLAMOUR’s Beauty Editor which I came home to pursue. After a few years, I was promoted to Managing Editor.

When did you know this is what you wanted to do?

As mentioned above, I was 16 and in high school.

What did you study – was it in this field or something different?

I did a 3-year diploma followed by a one-year, part-time B-Tech degree in Journalism at Pretoria Technikon. I chose the course over others because it was a practical course. As students we worked on a community newspaper, launched a radio station and were required to do a 9 month internship.

What would be your “dream” job, or are you doing it? What do you still want to achieve in this position or another?

Working on magazines has always been my dream. This job has given me amazing opportunities to travel, meet interesting people and be creative. That said, it’s also a tough job that’s deadline driven and highly pressured.

What is your typical day?

The exciting thing about magazines is that every day is different. Typically, we start the day with a short meeting to see where we are on production i.e what pages will be sent to print, what stories have come in and if there are any delays. From there may be more meetings: I am actively involved in planning the next issue, sending briefs and setting deadlines. My job is to make sure that everyone on the team is able to do their jobs, providing them with the information and tools that they need. Apart from that, I also monitor the magazine’s budget, negotiate with agencies and deal with syndication from our international partner magazines. The creative side of the position includes thinking of catchy coverlines, sourcing images to accompany a story and coming up with great feature ideas. Then, sometimes, I get to attend glamorous red carpet events which is always fun but – contrary to what people may think – only a small part of the job.

Thank you so much Michelle for finding time to be an interviewee for my Women at Work series. You are an inspiration!

Kathryn Rossiter

Kathryn is a South African lifestyle blogger and mom of 2 who has been blogging daily for over 9 years! She writes about travel, health, beauty, fashion, decor and family... but not food (unless it's food she's eaten made by someone else) as she is a hopeless cook. She only wakes up early for 2 things... a red-eye flight to somewhere exotic and early morning game drives. She has just finished an extensive home renovation and would prefer to never see another box again. She's never met a chocolate or glass of bubbles that she didn't like!

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