19/12/2012 15:34 | By Nic Hopkirk, Managing Editor, Lifestyle

Five minutes with: Company magazine editor Victoria White

What's it like to run one of the UK's biggest women's lifestyle magazines? We find out.

Victoria White (© Company magazine)

What’s a typical day like at Company?

It’s completely varied, this morning we had a male voice choir come in and sing carols! It's a really fun office where everyone loves to come into work. We do lots of hard work but there's also plenty of chat about TV and we often have loud music in the office. My day involves lots of planning for the next issue and the website, plus lots of meetings. I go on cover shoots but I don’t get to go out too often these days. When you’re a journalist you get to meet celebrities all the time but that doesn't happen so often now.

Did you always want to be a magazine editor?

Yes, although I didn’t really know exactly what that entailed when I was studying. I always want to be a journalist though and loved magazines from a very early age. I subscribed to Just17 as a teenager and I lived in Newcastle, where we didn’t get an H&M until I was 16! I used to read about all the glamorous places in London and all the fashionable stores. I thought that one day I’d love to work there, get to meet Take That and do lots of shopping. It’s taken me 20 years but I met Gary Barlow last year – and he’s lovely.

What career path did you follow to get here?

I did a lot of work experience - basically at anywhere that would have me – my local newspapers, radio station and TV station, then once I was at uni I got work experience at a magazine called TV Hits. After that I moved on to Inside Soap, then travelled to Australia where I launched a TV magazine. I then worked in Los Angeles for a while and then came home and worked on B magazine as the deputy editor, before moving to Company.

Who's the best celebrity you've interviewed and why?

George Clooney, because he was really smart and he comes to an interview with a story already thought up, which is really smart because then he can talk about it and avoid awkward questions. He makes sure you're getting what you need and understands that we’re all doing a job at an interview, so it's in everyone’s best interest to get along.

This month’s edition of Company has bloggers on the front cover for the first time, tell us some more about that.

When we relaunched the magazine last February, we felt it was difficult to stand out in the women’s market, so wanted to look at how young women enjoyed fashion. We are aimed at young women who are creative fashionistas. They want to set their own trends and look unique, rather than buying labels, so blogging is a massive thing for our readers. We looked at the design and tone of lots of blogs and how these women are communicating - and we used the research to formulate the new look and feel of Company magazine. Blogging is a great way of getting your writing published. And many of these bloggers are now household names, such as Bip Ling, and Susie Bubble.

Company magazine (© Company)

Why are fashion and beauty bloggers important?

It’s important for real women to set the fashion agenda, historically it has been a very high-end closed shop, but the great thing about bloggers is that they’ve made the fashion industry stop and take notice of every woman. If you want to be the next Susie Bubble, it’s a full-time job getting advertisers on board to make money, but if you’re a 15-year-old girl who wants a job on a magazine, it’s a great CV. We discovered two members of our Company team through their blogs.

What’s been the highlight of your career so far?

I won a BSME (British Society of Magazine Editors) Award earlier this year, and my art director won Art Director of the Year, which showed the work we’d done to revolutionise this brand had been noticed in the industry, which was great. I also do some lecturing at university and when I meet students they say, ‘You’re the editor of Company, that’s amazing!'. To have people really love what you do is great.

Do you think print will eventually be phased out by digital?

I do genuinely think (and what we hear from our readers backs this up) that women love the print format, the feel of the paper. I still buy magazines and I enjoy the whole process – the treating yourself. It’s not the same for me, reading from an iPad, I like to tear things out and stick them in a book and refer back to them, having a mood board on pinterest doesn't have quite the same effect. We hear of readers sticking pages of the magazine on their walls like wallpaper and covering their drawers in features they like.

And the lowest point of your career?

Moving to Australia at 24, I was quite lonely and it was a big job, I was there for a year and I was single, it was my first editing job. I was also really young and carried along by a sense of optimism.

Where do you love to go shopping?

I shop in Topshop, Reiss, Zara and River Island – I’m a proper high street girl (today I’m wearing Superdry jeans and a jacket by Iro – which is a bit more expensive. It's from Net-a-Porter and the other day I noticed that Zoe Ball has the same one!)

What’s your must-have beauty tip?

Eyebrows! Get an eyebrow pencil for shape and definition – it changes the whole shape of your face if you shape your eyebrows, it’s so easy. I say get yourself up to Topshop Blink Bar in your lunch hour – or John Lewis. Blink can change your life. Sherlack nails are also fantastic – they last for two weeks.

And your top piece of fashion advice?

Find your style and your fashion voice and don’t be worried about following the crowd.

What would you say to anyone hoping to make it in the magazine industry?

Do it because it’s brilliant, but be aware that it’s really competitive now and you need to stand out and be really good to get in, but if you do it's the best job in the world.

How do you balance work and family life?

I have two boys, one is nine and one is five - and all my lovely fashion life is wasted on them! Well, my younger one is quite into fashion, he comes to Fashion Week with me and sits on the FROW but the oldest one is like "That’s so lame"!

To balance work and family life, you have things in place that you adhere to. I take them to school every morning so I don’t start work until 9.45am, which is just a given. I went back to work full time after I had my first son so they are used to having a working mum. It’s harder if suddenly halfway through their lives you’re suddenly not around. But I hope that they’re really proud of what their mum does. I think it’s nice for boys to see women working and having big jobs because it affects the way they see women in life.

If you weren’t a magazine editor, what would you be?

I’d be an interior designer, I’ve got a house in France and a house here, and my husband loves working on properties, so we’ve renovated lots of homes in our time.

Your favourite way to relax is…

To hang out with my kids and watch films. And we love eating out – food is a big thing in our house and I love to cook.

Visit Company magazine online at Company.co.uk.


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