Posts Tagged ‘Glamour’

How I Got My Start in Magazines

Thursday, March 12th, 2015

I remember watching an episode of House of Cards in Season Two, when they spoke of a “Deep Web” which most of us don’t know how to access through standard search engines. Well, now I believe the web goes deep. Because yesterday I was searching for something I had written, and I didn’t find that. But I stumbled upon this:

It’s a Q&A I did for a site called rockerchick.com. Apparently I did the interview in June 2001, and I was so honored to be asked to participate because rocker chicks tend to rule. This page isn’t just a throwback in style, it’s also a snapshot of who I was fourteen (fourteen!) years ago.

The page design? Olive green with mustard yellow type.

The font? Courier.

My favorite television shows at the time of the interview? Real World/Road Rules Challenge and Making the Band.

Sigh. Real “web history” rules. One of the predictions was wrong—how a friend of mine predicted I’d be running my own magazine at some point. But the prediction I made for myself was spot on. As I said back then, “I want to be able to look at a stack of pages and know that the words are all by me and for me. Kind of like the sous chef who opens her own restaurant — I want to be able to say ‘If it was all left up to me, this is what I’m capable of.'” As it turned out, I was able to create a few “stacks of pages” with my books, and having full control over what ended up on those pages has been more satisfying than I ever imagined.

The homepage of this site says it’s for sale, so to make sure this story lives on forever (as it must!) here is my interview. If that link no longer works, here it is printed below in full:

ROCKERCHICK OF THE MONTH 

6.01

NAME: 

Amy Spencer

WHAT SHE DOES:
Senior Editor, Features, Glamour magazine

Amy Spencer Rocker Chick

Here’s the original site. Click to see larger…if you dare.

WHY SHE ROCKS:

To quote friend and former co-worker, Stuff magazine’s Managing Editor Sky Shineman [and February Rockerchick], “I’d bet money that in three years Amy Spencer will be running her own magazine.”

HOW IT ALL STARTED:
“After college, I sent a few cliched ‘I love to write and I love your magazine’ letters to editors-in-chief. After the rejection letters came back, I asked someone I knew how to get into the business. She said ‘Either you work for free or you know somebody.’

“I couldn’t afford the former and I had no one to pull out of my hat for the latter, so I took a different approach. I called New Woman magazine [I was a diehard fan of it at the time] and asked them which recruiting company they used. Then I called the recruiting company and said I wanted a job at the magazine. She told me she didn’t fill editorial positions, only marketing and advertising ones. ‘You’d probably be much happier in one of those departments anyway,’ she said, ‘because editors just sit around at computers and type all day. It’s pretty boring.’

“I knew that getting my foot in the door was more important than arguing with her, so I told her I’d take the first opening. Three days later she got me a job as an advertising assistant.

“I assisted two salespeople, reserving them restaurant tables, tallying up their taxi receipts and shaking my head at the travesty that Schick razors chose to advertise with Self instead. My boss left after five months and hooked me up with the publisher of a new launch called Maxim magazine, a men’s import from England. They needed their own advertising assistant. I remember worrying that it was bold jump for me to go from a huge women’s magazine title to a no-name men’s magazine. [Four years later,Maxim would sell more copies than GQEsquire and Details combined each month; New Woman would fold.]

“During my interview, I told the publisher that I didn’t actually LIKE advertising, that I wanted to be an editor. He was so desperate for help, he said they could work something out. I basically arranged a 75% advertising, 25% writing gig at Maxim. I wrote my first story — on men’s colognes — my first week and by the end of the month was covering the entire men’s grooming market. At breakfast, the president of Calvin Klein cosmetics would be schmoozing me; by lunch I’d be disguising my voice as I took a message from her for my boss.

“At the end of the year I jumped over to the editorial side full time, as assistant to the editor in chief. She quit one week later. The new editor brought in his own assistant, so I was promoted by default.

“I spent the next three years writing and editing everything from how to spin a basketball on your finger to how to diffuse a fight with your girlfriend. Then my friend, an editor at Glamour, called and asked if I would write a feature for her.

“After handing it in, I got a call from the deputy editor saying she liked the story and wanted to meet with me. Apparently my Maxim sense of humor appealed to the editor-in-chief and they offered me a job as a senior editor at Glamour. I’ve spent the last year editing a few dozen ‘How to Make Him Love You in Five Minutes or Less’ features.”

WHY SHE CAN’T STOP:
“Because a few times a week, I write something that makes me laugh out loud as I type it. And I think to myself, “How cool is this that I get to write something that will make my friends laugh, and to know that 2.5 million other women are also going to read it? More than twice I’ve had the straight-out-of-a-movie moment after meeting a stranger when they say, ‘Oh, I just read this thing in Glamour about such and such,’ and I get to say back, ‘Wow, I wrote that!'”

WHEN THE JOB SUCKS:
“First, I’m writing for someone else. And second, when all my energy goes into something that gets tossed around a hair salon for a month, and then into the garbage with the split ends.”

WHEN THE JOB ROCKS:
“Well, I like to write. But more than writing, I like to finish writing. I like to read my final product and think, ‘Damn, girl, that’s good!?’

“And if I didn’t have to write five days a week, I wouldn’t. I’d be watching head-to-head episodes of the Golden Girls.

“So, being forced to produce creatively on a daily basis is the thing I love the most, it’s not only good for my soul, but it also wrings the best out of me. The more often I write, the better my chances of producing something halfway decent. It’s basic math.

“Also, while writing is a squeeze-the-clever-juice-from-your-brain gig, editing adds the project-planning and problem-solving element to the job, which I also get off on. One minute I’m assigning a story about ‘Surprisingly Important Sex Moments’ to a male writer, the next minute I’m calling publicists to arrange an interview with Jaime Pressly and Simon Rex, and the next I’m taking a writer out for sushi to plan her piece on road-testing pick-up tricks.”

WHY GLAMOUR?
“It’s what I do best. Some people like writing investigative pieces, tracking down bouncers who witnessed a fight at the Limelight; I enjoy the creativity at the keyboard, turning those nauseatingly familiar stories on finding true love into something worth reading. I like that I can make references to Magnum PI’s moustache, Capezio shoes, and Ramen noodles because my audience is exactly like me. After dredging up Maxim jokes for men for four years, it’s a welcome break to take the first thing that comes to my mind and slap it into an article.”

WHAT IMEANS TBA SENIOR EDITOR AGLAMOUR:
“It means that everything that happens to my friends and I in our dating lives is fodder for a story. Every two or three weeks, we have an ideas meeting. All the editors come prepared with ideas, of course, but more often, rather than going over them, my editor turns to each of us and asks, ‘What happened on your last date?’

“During one meeting, I told her about a friend of mine who was mad for a jerk who didn’t invite her to his birthday bash, but invited her over the next day to help him clean up — and my friend almost went. After the ‘Oh, noooo!!?’s subsided, we spun it into a two-page story called ‘Temporary Love Insanity’ about other embarrassing things usually sane women have done in the name of lust.

“Where else do you get paid for having a decent social life and a keen ear for interesting stories?”

FUTURE PLANS:
“I’m getting a kick out of editing right now, and magazine life suits me well, so I’ll probably stay in the business for a few more years. My other plan is to find the energy to complete one of the two novels I’ve started, like every other twentysomething writer on the face of the earth.

“I want to be able to look at a stack of pages and know that the words are all by me and for me. Kind of like the sous chef who opens her own restaurant — I want to be able to say ‘If it was all left up to me, this is what I’m capable of.'”

STAT SHEET:

[BOY SINGER] I’m really into the voice of that guy from Coldplay. When he sings that line “Look at the stars?” in “Yellow,” I about lose my motor skills.

[GIRL SINGER] Shirley Bassey.

[BAND] Changes daily. Today it’s Massive Attack.

[AUTHOR] Anne Tyler absolutely KILLS me. She can create characters like nobody’s business, and after reading eight of her books, I’m still surprised that I pick up a new one and get so wrapped up in the story that I finish it in two days.

[LAST BOOK READ] I’m almost finished reading Prozac Nation. It’s a gas.

[CUISINE] I get cravings for Japanese hibachi food. Never mind that you really only get it in restaurants like Benihana, favored by 13-year-old birthday girls.

[LEISURE ACTIVITY] Rollercoasters. Pretty far from ‘leisurely’ but I once drove 13 straight hours just to ride the best one in the country.

[WORK ACTIVITY] Taking a break from work and going down to the Conde Nast cafeteria for rice crispie treats.

[ARTIST] Sante D’Orazio, the photographer. I flip through one of his celebrity photo books about once a month. Seriously shiny happy people.

[HEROINE] Michelle Yeoh. That woman kicks ass, among other things.

[GETTING READY MUSIC] A CD called Lazy Dog, based on club night in London by the same name. Second CD, mixed by DJ Jay Hannan, track 5, Cada Vez. Puts the boogie in your bootie.

[GUILTY PLEASURE] TV marathons. Real World/Road Rules challenge. Eco-challenge. Making the Band. You give me eleven episodes, I’ll give you my entire Saturday afternoon.

 

—Amy

Talking “My First Time” in Glamour Mag

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

Grab yourselves a copy of the March 2014 issue of Glamour magazine!

GLAMOURMarch2014coverFor the latest issue, I helped pull together a feature called “My First Time.” It’s a revealing collection of stories by men and women who share some of their most intimate, scary and life-changing “firsts” in love, relationships and sex.

It was an honor to have these people open up with such honesty, and you’ll learn from their stories.

Here’s a sample of the feature in the March 2014 issue.

 

GLAMOURMyFirstTime

 

—Amy

Are You Ready for The Next Happiness Challenge?

Monday, January 27th, 2014

Well, The Happiness Challenge I created with Glamour.com is still going strong. And I’m so grateful to all of you who have commented and Tweeted and sent me notes about how it’s going for you. Nothing makes me happier than hearing you’ve been inspired to live a better life.

Today, we just posted Challenge #4! Each challenge is built around the idea that if you embrace all the best aspects of yourself and your life in a balanced way, you will end up feeling stronger, more loving, more confident, more fulfilled and happier all-around. 

If you’re just starting today and want to take the challenge on (do it!), here are the challenges so far.

Challenge #1: Bravery

Challenge #2: Self-worth

Challenge #3: Independence

Today’s Challenge #4: Generosity

GlamourChallenge4

Next week is the final challenge—and the sweetest and the easiest of all.

It’s not too late to join in, because there’s no such thing as being too late for happiness. Every single day, it’s up to us if we want to embrace a happy, fulfilled life in the small moments we face, minute after minute, hour after hour.

This is your year, remember. So take the steps to show life you mean it.

#happinesschallenge #gethappy

—Amy

P.S. If you’re enjoying this positive, proactive approach to life, pre-order your copy of The Happy Life Checklist so you can keep the challenge going all year long.

Zac, Mike & Miles: That Awkward Moment

Friday, January 17th, 2014

I recently had a fun chat with the awesome and hilarious cast of That Awkward Moment (out January 31): Zac Efron, Michael B. Jordan and Miles Teller for the February 2014 issue of Glamour.

It was a sneak peek into the minds of men when it comes to dating and love. For a small taste of the story, head to Glamour.com to read a few quotes from Zac Efron and the Stars of That Awkward Moment on What They Look For in a Woman. These are some pretty funny guys and they had a few insights that surprised me.

GLAMOURZacMikeMilesCOMP

Or just grab the new February 2014 issue and you’ll get the full fly-on-the-wall experience:

GLAMOURZacMikeMilesCOVER

Try My Second Happiness Challenge!

Monday, January 13th, 2014

Well, it’s now Week #2 of the Happiness Challenge I’m doing with Glamour.com. I don’t know if you tried the first mission that was all about independence, but it’s not too late to join in. Either way, my second mission is up and ready for action!

This mission is all about self-worth. And if you have your phone on you and two minutes to spare, you can complete this mission right now. It’s a small and simple-sounding step, but it can have huge positive repercussions in your life. You deserve the best people around you and to be treated like the amazing person you are, right? Then do this happiness challenge and prove it!

This is your year, remember. So take the steps to show life you mean it.

#happinesschallenge #gethappy

HappinessChallenge2

—Amy

P.S. If you’re enjoying this positive, proactive approach to life, pre-order your copy of The Happy Life Checklist so you can keep the challenge going all year long.

Start My Happiness Challenge!

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

The countdown is on for my new book, The Happy Life Checklist! It will be on shelves February 4. But I wanted to get the happy going a little early with a fun something I’m really excited about!

I created a month-long Happiness Challenge with glamour.com. For five weeks, I’m going to offer one new challenge a week. If you complete each week’s mission, you will feel more adventurous, less stressed, fulfilled, confident, joyful, kick ass and all-around happy. Sounds good, right?  Then join me in the #happinesschallenge! Seriously, I’m going to do it right along with you.

HappinessChallenge

You’ll find your first mission at glamour.com. (And next Monday, you’ll get challenge #2.) Check it out and tell me there if you’re up for the fun, and how you think you might complete your first challenge—then share the challenge with your friends! If you take it on, share your plans with me on Facebook, or tweet me at @datingoptimist on Twitter, or Instagram your plans with me @amyspencerla, or Vine me a video @amyspencer on what you plan to do.

However you join in the #happinesschallenge, do it! Your life is no small thing. You can make big changes by taking little steps like this along the way. Make this your year.

So what do you think? Are you ready to get happy?

—Amy

#happinesschallenge #gethappy #happylifechecklist

You can also pre-order The Happy Life Checklist today and get a jump on your happy year!

The Happy Life Checklist: 654 Ways to Find Your Bliss (Perigee, February 2014)

The Happy Life Checklist: 654 Simple Ways to Find Your Bliss (Perigee, 2014)

Kate Hudson’s Hot Happy Life

Friday, September 13th, 2013

This is the third time I’ve interviewed the awesome Kate Hudson.

The first was for a Glamour cover in which she and Matthew McConaughey interviewed each other. (Hello, fun). The second was Kate Hudson on the cover of Marie Claire Australiaand I have always loved that black and white cover they did of her. (Gorgeous, right?). And now, for the April 2013 issue of Glamour, I got to meet with her again, this time at her home in the Pacific Palisades. As usual, I was impressed with her warm and optimistic attitude.

To keep it interesting, Kate was also being interviewed by The Fundamentalist director Mira Nair (who also directed the amazing Monsoon Wedding), as this was Kate’s latest film. Check out parts of the conversation here: April 2013 cover story for Glamour: Kate Hudson: Sexy, Strong Kate.

-Amy

Jillian Michaels Life & Love Advice

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Okay, here’s another woman I love: Jillian Michaels. She’s always an amazing interview, full of fascinating information and with a fun, “What’s up, buddy!” attitude to go with it. Often, I chat with her mostly about health and fitness and a little bit about life, like I did for my Redbook Cover Interview: Jillian Michaels Gets Personal About Her Biggest Dream Yet and for my Health magazine Cover Interview: Jillian Michaels: Weight Loss Tips That Work.

But this time, I got to chat with her a lot about life. Her fearless and funny advice isn’t linked in at Glamour.com online, but here is what she told me for Glamour’s April 2013 issue.

Click on the image to get a readable version of Jillian’s awesome insights in “5 Things You Shouldn’t Give a Sh*t About.”

Here’s to being you!

-Amy

James Van Der Beek’s Gift Giving Tips

Sunday, March 3rd, 2013

Okay. I had no idea that James Van Der Beek was absolutely hilarious. Did you know this? You should know this. I found out when I had the joy of chatting with him a few months ago for the December 2012 issue of Glamour magazine.

We wanted to come up with some gift-giving tips for women from a guy’s point of view, and James, most recently seen on the comedy Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, came through in spades. Kind, professional and funny as all get-out. And he had some good ideas when it came to wrapping things up around the holidays.

Here are some of the highlights of my James Van Der Beek story on Glamour.com.

—Amy

My Glamour Interview with Paris Jackson

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Glamour Exclusive

She may be Michael Jackson’s daughter, but as Paris Jackson told me one afternoon while we chatted for Glamour magazine, “The title of M.J.’s daughter doesn’t fit me.” Check out the fun things this boldly confident teen had to tell me in my exclusive interview for Glamour magazine’s September 2012 issue.

You can read the whole story here on Glamour.com: The Paris Jackson Glamour Interview.

—Amy Spencer