Media, Darling: Miranda Purves

Miranda Purves was appointed Editor of FLARE in
June 2012 and is responsible for evolving the editorial vision of the magazine
and leading the content team as it inspires Canadian fashion, beauty and style
enthusiasts.



A proud Canadian with an impressive 20-year international track record in the publishing industry, Purves spent 12 years honing her skills in New York. She was most recently with ELLE US where she was originally hired to establish a living section before being promoted several times, eventually to the position of lifestyle editor.


Purves previously spearheaded the launch of the stand-alone colour fashion newspaper US Fashion Daily and worked as a senior fashion editor at Mademoiselle. In Canada, she has worked for both Saturday Night and the National Post. Purves has also done freelance writing for the likes of the New York Times and the Paris Review.

Self portrait from my corporate bathroom series. Took a
photo of myself in the same mirror everyday of my first six months at Flare.



Twitter: @FLAREfashion
Website: Flare.com

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other
careers were on the horizon?
I’ve always wanted to charm, surprise or move, and be
charmed and surprised or moved, by the intersection of words and images. And
I’ve always wanted to be, if not at the centre, at least on the periphery of
*the* conversation. The media is where that took me.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
As I wrote in an editor’s letter a few issues ago, I’d like
be furthering causes of environmental and social justice more than I am now.
Less grandly, I’d also like to have reached some work-life balance that would
allow me to work out more regularly. I used to be low level but consistent, but
these days I can’t seem to make the time. I’m terrified to hit my fifties
without more muscle mass. After 40 it’s all erosion. You’re so much better off
having more to erode.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
Be dogged and be rigorous, make sure your resume looks good,
fits on one page and is grammatically consistent. Don’t send unnecessary emails
to busy people, be useful to them and try to empathize rather than personalize.
Hone your craft however and whenever you can.

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your
own?
 
Man, that’s too hard! I scour tons of print media, mostly
what you’d expect: The Grid and Toronto Life are both fantastic, Globe and
Mail
, Toronto Star (their metro reporting kicks a**), New York Times and the
magazines (am awed by Deborah Needleman’s surgical redo of T even as I mourn
Sally Singer), New York, New Yorker, Paris Review, TLS, New York Review of Books when I find it, ELLE US (where I used to work; they have fantastic
features that don’t get nearly enough recognition, which I think is a weird
sexism) the British fashion mags, Worn, the recipes in Chatelaine, I’m enjoying
Vanity Fair after a long hiatus… I just like gorging. For several years New
York Magazine
was definitively my favorite but —this
is unfair – it’s so good that the so goodness gets old hat! Being at the
airport when the September Vogue has just dropped; it is embarrassing how happy
it makes me. Online: my brother’s smart, funny blog that intertwines his civic
and personal life in Montreal http://briquesduneige.blogspot.ca/.

Best interview you’ve ever had?
The artist Jenny Holzer, over emailI had to cut it down to a nubbin, but she is a genius and it
felt like a dance between us.
Worst? 
I don’t remember specifics because when an interview is bad
I blame myself and throw it into the vast ocean of self criticism that ebbs and
flows within.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?
So much of it is personal! My sister-in-law hipped me to the
adage “Never apologize, never explain,” and I call
on that in times of trouble.

What rule(s) do you live your life by?
Don’t work for capitalism, make capitalism work for you.
Love more, complain less (that’s not always in effect).

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
You can assume that if the story is one that makes sense for
that editor or that outlet, they will want it. All we need is the information.
We don’t need announcements on two-inch thick slabs of Lucite in heavy stock
boxes tied with ribbon. —It creates more work for the mail
room and custodial staff and is bad for the environment. And if it’s from an advertiser’s PR, we have
to pay attention, so that goes double.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
Well, I was happy to get that righteous block of Parmesan
from Max Mara PR for Christmas. But aside from thoughtful edible gifts, it’s
satisfying when a story is personal and mutually beneficial. For the April
Flare (out now) we worked with Ann Watson, Club Monaco’s PR VP, on a well story
in which Peter Ash Lee shot the BC-born model Mackenzie Hamilton in Club M
mixed with other designers at the design director Caroline Belhumeur’s lovely
Victorian house, followed by a profile-ette of her. The catalyst was my own
curiosity. —I was impressed by their recent
ad campaigns and their clothes, so I investigated her and wanted to do
something that expressed something about what she was expressing in the
clothes. That led to her house. 

As a fashion magazine we’re pretty focused on
designers, but chains are what most of us can afford, and I like the way they
are starting to steer away from creating a faceless brand (Jenna Lyons!). The
shoot took a lot of trust (it was her house) as well as coordinating and
persistence because everyone involved had busy schedules, but Ann wasn’t scared
off by that. She knew the reality of making something special happen. It felt
warm and organic and I think that reads in the story, which is about both of
our stories, in a nice way.

I hate?
Man’s inhumanity to man and unnaturalness to nature. People
who gut houses of original detail and stick potlights everywhere. Egotism, bad
taste and a lack of imagination: horrible combination.
I love?
Watching my eldest son’s gesticulations that began when he
first started talking, persist. I want those hand gestures to never go away.
Professionally: my colleagues who bring real thought and care to their work. It
makes the days good.

Reading?
The second installment of Susan Sontag’s journal entries and
the latest Diana Vreeland bio.

Best place on earth?
Please! That answer can only be metaphorical and
metaphysical!  But right now I’m enjoying
bourgeoisie pleasure zones, such as the king size bed in our rental house when
my husband and two sons and I are all on it together snuggling, just before my
husband gets too grouchy and needs coffee, my two year old bangs his head
jumping, and my seven year old will not cease talking like a Pikachu (whose
language consists of pica over and over.) 

Hero?
There’s a long list: George Tiller, the abortion provider
murdered in Witchita, Kansas; Barbara Lee, the only person in the US congress
to vote against the Iraq war in 2002, Paul Watson, whale savior, … unionists, suffragettes, abolitionists, environmentalists,
all the people, now and throughout history, who conduct themselves with
inimitable bravery and tireless focus, for what they (and I) believe is right
and incrementally, maybe, help society evolve.

Dinner guests?
My friends are dauntingly adept conversationalists, I’m not
sure a famous figure could compete.

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?
I debated putting apps on my hate list.

Pool or ocean?
Ocean

Voicemail or email?
Email, except for maybe five specific voices for which I
would stop the earth at any moment to listen to over several repeats.

Media, Darling: Carlene Higgins

Carlene Higgins started her publishing career as an
administrative assistant at Salon Magazine before joining Flare nine years ago. As
beauty director, she’s responsible for award winning photo shoots,
up-to-the-minute beauty stories and testing the latest products and trends.







Twitter: @carlenetweets
Website: www.flare.com


Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what
other careers were on the horizon?

I graduated with an Environmental Studies degree with a
minor in English. I worked in advocacy for a bit but it didn’t suit me. I felt
good about making a difference in the world but ultimately, I wasn’t happy and I
don’t believe that’s doing anybody any good. I needed more structure and
creativity and once I stepped foot in the magazine world, I knew I was in the
right place.


Where would you like to be five years from now?
Dunno. I’m really happy with where I’m at right now. I
love my work, I’m being challenged, I’m learning and I’m given the freedom to
push my work creatively in different areas I want to go. Sometimes I think
about being an editor in chief or starting a website, and other times I dream
about going in on an independent project with somebody and making trillions of
dollars on a really great idea instead of writing about other people’s all the
time.



Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Be really good at whatever it is you do. If you suck at
photocopying and filing, nobody is going to keep you around long enough to find
out what you really are good at. Make yourself indispensable, pay your dues,
and every once in a while, push to go in the direction you want to go. Also,
forget the attitude problem you mastered in high school. It won’t work in the
real world (my tongue bled from all the biting those first few years). You need
to quickly adjust to find new ways of settling matters. Hint: it involves
removing your feelings from any work situation. It’s tough. Practice your poker
face in the meantime.


What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own? 
I took a year long break from TV watching but television
seems to be having a moment right now. I’m pretty convinced Game of Thrones and
Girls could be the best shows ever to air, just comparing to a few years ago
when I actually thought Lost was a really good show.


Best interview you’ve ever had?
Justin Timberlake. My husband still questions my
daughter’s true DNA.


Worst?
I’d tell you, but I’d get in shit from the PR
company tomorrow.



Best advice you’ve ever been given?
Writing well is using the least amount of words to say
the most you want to say (thanks Dad).



What rule(s) do you live your life by?

Be brave and forgive yourself when things don’t always
work out. It was worth a shot.


What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?
Calling an editor to follow up on whether a package
arrived is the equivalent of telemarketers calling during dinner.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear
about #wins.
I am so happy when a press release comes in with
A) the name of the product B) a description of its benefits including key
ingredients C) the price D) the launch date E) arrives 3 months before the
launch date. 

I hate? 
Haters.

I love? 
Lovers.

Reading? 
A book that is so similar to Downton
Abbey it’s a bit scary.

Best place on earth? 
Home.

Dinner guest? 
Ellen DeGeneres.

Hero? 
Ellen DeGeneres.

Pool or ocean? 
Both.

Voicemail or email?
Email.

Fashion-able: 2012 Designer Collaborations

There’s something so exhilarating about a great collaboration. Some of our favourite songs of all time have resulted from it (hello, One Sweet Day? ‘Nuff said.). We’re thrilled that fashion designers have started creating limited collections with guests – be they a blogger, editor, artist or model, we’re making our wish lists for items from these designer collabs.


The Man Repeller x Dannijo (MR Dannijo)

We’ve had a girl crush on The Man Repeller (aka Leandra Medine)
since the launch of her cheeky blog back in 2010. Everything she does is
perfection (lady boners all around!), so when she pairs up with a designer we
pay attention. Her collaboration with the jewelry line du jour Dannijo has the
perfect punch of colour for fall. 


This collaboration takes us back to the days of Claire Danes circa My So-Called Life—think daisy prints and the original grungy plaid of the
90s. British model, Aggy says she bought her first pair of Docs at 13 “as a combination of
showing that I wanted to rebel against my parents and they were the coolest
boots that I could get away with wearing to school”. We can’t wait to get our hands on this collection, which hits stores August 15.


That’s right folks, Flare Magazine’s fashion director Liz Cabral and Canadian shoe brand Aldo are teaming up again for another collaboration. There aren’t too many details out yet, but Liz tweeted “we’re doing more than just
a shoe”. This pairing makes us proud to be Canadian and if it’s anything like their first collab, you’ll probably want to start planning your strategy for being first in line. The collection will be revealed in September and available in stores and online in October.



What we love most about H&M collaborations is how they
bring high fashion to the masses. Labels like Lanvin, Versace and
Comme des Garçons are made affordable so us, the common folk, can wear high fashion items. The latest collab is with cult favourite Maison Martin Margiela. It launches November 15 in approximately 230 stores
worldwide, as well as online.



The latest artist to collaborate with legendary fashion house Louis Vuitton is 82-year-old avant-garde artist Yayoi Kusama. The collection is fun
and quirky, just like her art. Polka-dot-obsessed Kusama’s collection is complemented by the breathtaking exhibits at the Whitney Museum in New York City and the Tate Modern in London. Available now in select Louis Vuitton stores worldwide.
“…a polka-dot has the form of the sun, which is a
symbol of the energy of the whole world and our living life, and also the form
of the moon, which is calm. Round, soft, colorful, senseless and unknowing.
Polka-dots become movement… Polka dots are a way to infinity.”
– Yayoi Kusama





 
 


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Media, Darling: Derick Chetty

Derick Chetty is the fashion reporter at the Toronto Star. Covering both Toronto and international shows, he also reports on the local society scene and compiles the Star’s annual Best Dressed List. He was formerly the fashion editor at Flare Magazine, has a weird obsession with Pride & Prejudice and never gets tired of watching 1980s sitcoms. 

Photo by Randy Risling.
Website: www.thestar.com 
Twitter: @DerickChetty

Did you always want to be in the media? If not, what other careers were on the horizon? 
No. When I was younger I had grandiose plans to be a designer. But the first year pattern drafting class at Ryerson pretty much steered me clear off that career path. I learned I have little patience for mathematical calculations. 

Where would you like to be five years from now?
I feel we are living at warp speed.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?
The newspaper industry is at a crossroad now. You might be embarking on the most thrilling ride of your life or a death plunge off a cliff. 
But if I haven’t deterred you, start getting some experience by interning somewhere. It might not be paid but treat it like a real job that you absolutely love and where no job is too menial. I once cleaned an editor’s office.  

What are your favourite media outlets, not including your own?

Wall Street Journal and Financial Times – weekend print editions only. Love any newspaper that still consider art direction something to be treasured. And I have a lengthy list of guilty-pleasure blogs I love.
Best interview you’ve ever had?
Donna Karan. Even though I was plunged into a panic when I realized my tape recorder was not working. But looking at my notes at the end, I noticed she did not waste a single word – every answer was precise, measured and directly to the point. 
Worst?
Any when the subject wants to conduct the interview via email or the questions to be presented ahead of time. If you’re that busy, why bother agreeing to the interview?  

Best advice you’ve ever been given?

No one tells you the truth. 

What rule(s) do you live your life by?

Do the right thing.  

What’s the most important tip you can give PR pros?

I like a touch of professional formality. Perhaps social media has made us all too casual. I don’t respond well to people who reach out to me with Hiya, Hey dude, Happy Monday! How was your weekend?  

And my name is not Shinan Govani. He’s the shorter one.


Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.
Any that operate without fuss or delay. 

I hate?
Depends on time and day. But that should tell you I don’t harbour hatred. 

I love?
Time to myself.

Reading?
Re-reading The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon.

Best place on earth?
Barcelona. My happy place. 

Dinner guest?

I’ll start with The Golden Girls and then move on to any other quartet of funny ladies – Designing Women and the Sex and the City girls.  

Hero?

Anyone that overcomes adversity in pursuit of their dreams. 

Favourite app (or whatever you are downloading these days)?

I got 20 apps when I first got my iPhone and I haven’t downloaded any since. That tells me I probably don’t have a need for more. 
Pool or ocean?
Ocean. 

Voicemail or email?

Email.

Pin It

Fashion-able: Twitter accounts to live and dress by

There are tweets that make us laugh out loud (LOL if you will, as per 140-character Twitter standards), those that make us cringe and those that we cannot help but click on the shared link or image every time. Especially when they’re fashion-related. We’ve rounded up a list of our favourite and fashion-able Twitter accounts that we rely on for style inspiration, or just a good laugh.



While not strictly fashion-related, all tweets deal with the “trauma” of a spoiled woman, be it a scuffed Manolo or not being able to get a reservation at Balthazar‘s. Example number one: ‘They just tried to kick me out of the gym for smoking on the treadmill. ‘. Example number two is the true epitome of this poor little white girl: ‘I literally just ate so much water. ‘. A must-follow for a daily laugh (and reality check).


For the skinny (fashion pun intended) on top tier designers – think Miuccia Prada, Carolina Herrera, Marc Jacobs – and their latest collections and collaborations, this is the account to follow. NY-based and best at spilling the news before it can walk down the runway, @Fashionista_com will always keep you in the trendy know.

Our Canadian fashion publications are our number one fashion news source. Featuring local designers and stores, Dorothy said it best: There’s no place like home.


People Magazine’s style guide lets us kill two birds with one stone – celebrities and designer duds. Can’t beat getting our celebrity fix and fashion fix, all in one.

Both have a way with words and work in PR. With content that makes us laugh and updates on their respective brands, we are forever entertained by these girls. Based on their huge amounts of followers, we garner that everyone else thinks so, too.

One of the happiest people we know (or wish we did), Betsey’s upbeat attitude, inspirational quotes and fashion-centric twitpics always leave us smiling more and wanting to do cartwheels.

For those into more funky fashion finds, this might tickle your fancy. Always sharing the most interesting collaborations and keeping us on our toes (when not wearing heels), this account will keep you ahead of the trend and #WQW ready.



There are so many more fashion tweeps that we follow, but we can’t list ’em all, so share your comments on who is your favourite of the fashion Twitterati.

Teacher’s Pet: Interning

Megan Kaczor is a Centennial College Corporate Communications and Public Relations graduate student preparing to start interning. 


Her question: Could you tell me more about the kind of work students will do during their internship at an agency? Will there be many opportunities for hands-on work, such as writing and planning, or will we be sticking to the basics at first?

Our answer: You can no longer be Saved by the Bell. It’s time to get out of the classroom and head to the office. You are set to report for intern duty Monday morning, but you aren’t too sure what to expect. Take a seat fellow intern, and keep reading.  An internship at a PR agency involves the basics, and then some. 

From time to time, you may be asked to make a coffee run before a big meeting or run an errand, but you may also be asked to write drafts of press releases, research and update media lists, monitor client media coverage, write blog posts or tweets, assist with press days and much more.

As an intern working events, you will gain experience working the door, organizing media check-ins and making valuable industry connections.

Meeting with clients is an important part of a publicist’s job. In such meetings, proposals, events, PR initiatives and results are discussed. Interns invited to sit on meetings should listen closely, and take note of client-relationship etiquette. If you aren’t invited, be sure to ask if you can sit in on meetings. PR is fast and the folks around you need to know what you’re interested in doing.

While the overall intern experience may be a ton of work, interns often benefit from a few cool perks. Here On The Fourth Floor, our interns have gone on photo shoots, modeled for television appearances, attended fashion and entertainment industry events, receive free tickets to films and concerts, and much more. 

Enjoy your internship and remember that every position, from intern to big boss, is important. Do your job with pride and remember that everybody above you has been there at one time, too.

Media, Darling: Michelle Villett

Michelle Villett is a Toronto-based beauty and health writer and the founder of BeautyEditor.ca (winner of the P&G Beauty & Grooming Award for Best Fashion or Beauty Blog in 2010). Previously, she was beauty and health editor at ELLE Canada and beauty editor at The Look. 

Villett has contributed to Flare, FashionGlobe and Mail, Toronto Life, Chatelaine, Glow, Today’s Parent and Best Health; has been interviewed in the Montreal Gazette, Vancouver Sun, Calgary Herald and Zink; and has appeared as a guest on Canada AM and Breakfast Television.

Twitter: 
@Beauty_Editor



How did you get your start as an editor?
My first magazine job was with Chatelaine, but I was on the publicity side, not editorial. At the time, I was also taking courses in Ryerson’s magazine publishing program (since I have a degree in business, not journalism), and so I’d taken the job with an eventual move to an editor role in mind. I soon realized, however, that I was just going to have to suck it up and do an internship.


I was lucky enough to land one at The Look under the great David Livingstone (whose tutelage was probably equivalent to, if not better than, a stint in journalism school). David hired me on as beauty editor not long after that, and then, when the magazine folded in 2006, I went to Elle Canada as beauty and health editor. In 2008, I decided to go freelance full-time, and in 2009, BeautyEditor.ca was born.

If you weren’t a Media, Darling, what would you be doing right now?

Friends and family laugh at me because I probably rearrange my furniture at least once a month, maybe because I work from home now and spend so much time staring at it. So I’d probably be doing something décor-related. I’m madly jealous of this woman, who buys up old furniture at thrift stores, paints it white and adorns it with shiny Anthropologie knobs, and then sells it. That would be my idea of a good time.


Pitching or follow up: Phone or email?
Email, always. There was a great article in the Washington Post last summer about how people in their 20s and 30s avoid phone calls because they feel “rude and intrusive.” I totally agree.


We know irrelevant pitches, calling you the wrong name and eight follow-ups are no-no’s; what else should publicists avoid doing?
I think what’s interesting about my experience is that over the years, I’ve been on pretty much all the different segments of the PR lists: A-list, B-list, freelancer, blogger. And while I obviously understand that some publications are considered more valuable to a client than others, it’s quite off-putting to be showered with attention, then cut from a list, and then inexplicably put back on again, for example. This business is truly all about personal relationships and the brands repped by publicists who’ve been consistent with me are the ones I’m most inclined to support. I have a long memory!


Publicists could actually get more coverage, I believe, if they were a bit more inclusive of freelancers. I know we can be hard to find, since we’re not on any mastheads, but we’re also the ones pitching and writing the lengthy features. And that’s where, I believe, a product mention holds more weight as compared to a tiny news piece.


That said, press trips can be dicey. I loathe receiving “conditional” invites, where the brand wants me to promise coverage up front in one or more outlets in order to go on a trip. I think it’s an unspoken rule that of course you’re going to try your best to write about the brand if they’ve been so kind as to invite you someplace. But unless you’re giving me some big deal exclusive story (which, being a freelancer now, it never is), to ask me for specifics up front is kind of tacky.


And speaking of tacky, I can’t even count the number of times I’ve been asked to post what amounts to free advertising for a brand, whether in the form of a product review, giveaway, discount code, video clip, special event or promotion they’re running. There’s a fine line between adding value and taking advantage of a group that is probably seen as the low-hanging (and non-media-savvy) fruit. One marketer even went so far as to tell me her company “wants to leverage the bloggers.” Cringe.


Other than that, it’s basic PR 101 stuff. Send press kits that are actually relevant (and aren’t missing dates, prices, contact information or product samples). Respond to my request right away to let me know you’re working on it, even if you don’t have an answer yet. Never let me see how much stress your client is putting you under. And even though I know I’m annoying you, don’t make me feel bad when I’m late for your event or have to cancel. It’s a deadline-driven business.


Sunrise or sunset? Sunset.
Scent? Child. So good that random strangers will stop you on the street—no lie.
Cookie? Rainbow.
Flower? Lilies.
Ticklish? Yes.
Shower or bath? Bath (because then I get to use my Hauschka bath oils).
Film? Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
Crush? Jon Hamm, of course!
First job? Special events for Nestle.
Inspiration? Right now, I’m working on my Tim Ferriss 4-Hour Body.