1. What do readers love about WHO magazine?
I believe it’s the unique mixture of celebrity news and in-depth profiles combined with human-interest features and compelling crime stories. Our readers know that with WHO they are getting a deeper dive into real and breaking celebrity and news stories. We have a network of local and international reporters and writers, so wherever and whenever news is breaking, we are able to chase and investigate what is happening – and the detail we provide is unlike anyone else. Then, of course, there’s our coverage of the local and international awards shows. Our red carpet and party coverage is unparalleled. Our readers also love our annual Special Issues such as Sexiest People and Most Beautiful People. We challenge ourselves to create something truly unique and collectible in collaboration with our celebrity friends for each one.
2. What's new for WHO in 2016? Can you give us a sneak peek of what's coming up?
We have some great cross-platform initiatives coming up this year that are going to take the magazine into very new territory, further pulling together the might of this brand and what it can do across print as well as digital – and a few other spaces that we haven’t played in before. Of course our Special Issues start rolling out for 2016 quite soon, so we’re deep in planning who are the Most Beautiful, Sexiest and Most Intriguing stars, and how to present them in ways you have never seen them. It’s exciting that this is an Olympic year, too, so we will preview that massive event in a variety of ways, celebrate our heroes and achievements, and report on the memorable moments as they happen in both the magazine and on our digital platforms. It is going to be a very big year.
3. How do you and your team keep on top of what's big or new in popular culture?
The simple answer is, it is an office of obsessives. The WHO team devours television, film, music and all kinds of news. So they are a constant filter of what’s new and what’s being talked about. We often find that if something captures our attention, the chances are other people are talking about it, too – or they will be soon. We are always looking to social media to discover what people are interested in and seeking out, and we talk to our celebrity friends about what’s happening in their lives. We come at creating our content from every possible angle.
4. The Oscars is one of the biggest events of the year for WHO magazine. Will you be doing anything different with your coverage this year?
Only a few years ago we jealously guarded everything from Hollywood’s night-of-nights for the magazine, but now more than ever we treat it as a real-time experience for our readers on social media, following up with the magazine as a beautifully curated highlight of the event, and offering the kind of visual treatment you just can’t get from looking at a phone screen. In print it is all the details of the best and most talked about dresses, often from the designers or celebrities themselves, a chance to peek backstage at what really goes on—and, of course, it gives our readers a ticket into all the A-list after-show parties where the really interesting goings-on happen. It is that insider content and level of detail that you just don’t get from the broadcast or on social media. Amazingly detailed reporting, beautiful photos and access to the stars, their stylists and their creative teams are the backbone of what the magazine offers. And of course, great gossip about what happens when the televised part of the night is over!
5. Who are your favourite celebrities or style icons and why?
On a personal level I have great respect for people like Nicole Kidman, who I’ve worked with several times over the years and who featured on the cover of our 20th Birthday issue. But I try not to play favourites. The celebrities I like the most are those who are doing interesting things, so it’s always a changeable feast. When Angelina Jolie spoke out about her preventative double mastectomy, I thought she was amazing – brave and inspirational. What she did started an important conversation that has, without doubt, saved lives. The Caitlyn Jenner transition last year was also intriguing, watching how this unexpected turn of events played out in the media and really opened the door on a range of discussions about sexuality and the wider issues surrounding the transgender community. But it isn’t always big Hollywood stars who capture our attention. Last year our readers really warmed to Bachelorette Sam Frost and her quest for love. And she’s great to work with, so she’s a favourite and we’ll be continuing to follow her journey.
6. Who are the stars in the making to watch this year?
Its great to see relatively new names like Room star Brie Larson and The Danish Girl’s Alicia Vikander killing it in amazing roles and, during this award season, standing out on the red carpet for their unique sense of style.
7. Who are your top picks for the sexiest people this year?
Are you trying to get the stars of our Sexiest People issue out of me? I’m not telling. Who is on our short list of contenders is kept under wraps until we do our big reveal. You’ll just have to wait until later this year.
8. You were formerly the deputy editor of WHO and have been the editor for almost a year now. Has much changed in how you approach the magazine in that time? What was your vision when you took up the mantle?
My goal is to deliver more. More unique and exclusive stories, more special issues (we brought Australia’s Most Intriguing people back as a stand-alone in November last year), more events, more initiatives, more innovation and more content across all of our many social and digital platforms. And also more access. I want to take our readers into more of the lives and places that intrigue and inspire them.
9. What’s the best thing about being editor of WHO – and the toughest thing?
I love the excitement when something really big is breaking, because as a weekly publication we can react very fast. To see a big news story on stands sometimes within hours of it breaking, and done in the high-quality way that WHO does, gives me a real sense of accomplishment. I have an amazing team who make it happen. There is also a real rush that comes with being the ones who actually break the news —to know WHO is the source of something everyone will be talking about on Thursday morning. On top of that, I have a soft spot for the tribute issues we create. When a star like David Bowie passes away, I feel very proud of what we create, often in a very short timeframe. You know we are giving something special and collectable and respectful to fans who care deeply about this person and their work. The toughest thing about this job is totally linked to everything I’ve just mentioned. Because we’re a news magazine and out every week, maintaining the pace of the chase can feel challenging at times. The world doesn’t stop and neither do we now that we are so prolific in the digital universe. The magazine is very, very important, but also just part of what we do now!
10. What are the benefits for subscribers? Why subscribe?
Having it delivered right to your door means you never miss an issue. Our readers are voracious consumers of popular culture and we aim to be the best curated content you could ever hope for. Readers can’t possibly find and know everything worth knowing on their own, so our team prides itself on cutting through the noise and clutter of what’s happening in the week and delivering a cheat-sheet. So they never feel left out of the conversation. You also get the mag for a good price, and get to read it in the comfort of your own home. Plus, there are exclusive offers for subscribers. What’s not to love about all of that?