Julia McEwen has been fixated on all things beautifying since she
was a child sewing clothes for her dolls and giving them radical new hair ‘dos.
She’s a fashion sleuth, facial mask hoarder, self-described dog snob, and
purveyor of shiny fabrics. She briefly worked as an independent fashion designer and a
freelance wardrobe stylist before joining Canadian Living almost five years ago. Now, as fashion
and beauty director, McEwen is responsible for fashion and beauty photo shoots,
service driven beauty stories and testing the latest products and trends.
you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the
jobs — both real and fake — were on my wish list growing up, but a job in the
media was never top of mind. Like most little girls, the prospect of being a fairy princess or a mermaid sounded like a good bet. As I grew older (but not
so much wiser) professional gymnast or Olympic downhill ski racer was the goal.
Next came vet, marine biologist, lawyer, interior designer and then finally I
settled on fashion designer. I went to school for fashion design and fashion
business and while attending one of my electives, fashion journalism, I decided
that was my dream occupation.
would you like to be five years from now?
still like to be working in print media, but on a larger scale with more of a
focus on fashion. I’d like to be writing and producing aspirational photo
shoots and articles. Ideally this future publication would be located in NYC or
advice for people getting started in your industry?
try and try again. Oh, and do one, two or even three internships. Perseverance
is the name of the game in this industry. You have to love what you’re doing
because it’s a ton of work for not a lot of pay. Also, never be rude to people.
Being an asshole will get you nowhere, fast.
are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?
Elle, Vogue, Allure, W, Vanity Fair, HBO, Reddit, refinery29, style.com, TheCut.
interview you’ve ever had?
enough, one of my best interviews was also one of my first interviews. It was
with reality TV mentor, Tim Gunn. He was very media trained so for a newbie
journalist it was appreciated. He was also astoundingly insightful, charming
and inspiring. What more could I ask for?
Carrie Underwood. Seconds before the interview I was instructed not to ask any
questions with a Canadian emphasis. I work for Canadian Living magazine……
advice you’ve ever been given?
say no when it feels so good to say yes.” – Tommy Boy, the movie.
live in the past or the future, live in the now.” – My friend’s mom, aka Buddha
rule(s) do you live your life by?
this rule is fuelled by my OCD, but for the last eight years, I plan out my outfit
for the following day. Every detail is decided on in advance, including
accessories and jewelry. It helps keep my closet tidy and gives me plenty of
time to map out the perfect outfit for the day ahead.
the most important tip you can give PR pros?
it comes down to it, a PR person’s success depends on their relationships with
media peeps. We’re all human, no need to send out mass emails or leave awkward
voicemails like you’re reading from a bad script. Just be real, talk openly and
that make me happy:
a press release has the name of the product, price, availability and arrives
early enough for it to be timely to feature in book for long lead media, events
on the subway line that are first thing in the AM and events/previews/interviews
that start on time and don’t last longer than an hour.
that make me go crazy:
attachments in email, the
phone call follow up less than 24 hours after the initial pitch/event has been
sent or emailed, saying
something is exclusive when your direct competitors are being offered the exact
same thing and events/previews
in the middle of the day.
experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
had countless warm and fuzzy experiences with so many wonderful PR pros it’s
difficult to pick an all time best. So I’ll just give a few of them shout outs
for being my PR guardian angels: Katherine Hamilton, Lisa Kruger, Lindsey
Haywood, Caroline Duguay, Sarah Smithers, Anita Matte, Kelly Amsterdam, Isabelle
Randez and Jessica Shamess.
UGG boots and Canada Goose jackets. Especially when worn all together with a
Starbucks in hand. #fashionfail #lifefail
place on earth?
I’ve yet to discoverer. My money is on Anna Dello Russo’s apartment-sized
app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
is the newest app added to my social media roster. So far it’s tied with
Instagram for top spot. Followed by Twitter, Pinterest and Viddy.
Public, resort and/or hotel pools are cesspits.
all the way. Even if it takes me one, two or seven plus days I’ll eventually
reply to your email. Voicemails make me ragey.