Media, Darling: Jill Dunn

Jill Dunn is an award winning Toronto-based writer and editor. She got her start working at ELLE Canada, and then worked as beauty editor at Glow magazine for several years. Currently she’s at the helm of 29Secrets.com, a women’s beauty and lifestyle site, and is a resident beauty expert on the Marilyn Denis Show on CTV. Her freelance work has appeared in Hello! Canada, Canadian House & Home and Sympatico.ca, among others.


Twitter: @jilld_tweets; @29secrets

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

For a time I wanted to be a lawyer; glad that didn’t pan out. Would have been bored to tears.

Where would you like to be five years from now?
Would still like to be creating content – the exact platform, I can’t say definitively. As a true Gemini, I can’t commit to anything too far in advance. Would also like to get a few more stamps in my passport between now and then.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry?

Be proactive and take every opportunity that comes your way. Competition is tough, so you really need to go above and beyond to shine and land the job of your dreams. Also learn as much as you can about video content (script writing/producing/editing). You’ll be that much further ahead.

What are your favourite media outlets?

I get a lot of headlines via various journalists I follow on Twitter, therefore the news outlets I read vary from day to day. Generally speaking, for hard news my go-to pubs are: thedailybeast.com, globeandmail.com and nytimes.com. Magazines: Grazia, British Vogue, various versions of ELLE, Flare and Fashion. Juicy stuff: xojane.com, fashionetc.com, and dailymail.co.uk. TV: 60 Minutes and E! Fashion Police – equally informative.

Best interview you’ve ever had?

This is going back about eight or nine years, but Oscar de la Renta. He had anecdotes for everything. You would think he would be so bored of media interviews, but he was gracious, charming and generous with his answers – we talked for 30 minutes, which is kind of unheard of with someone so high profile. And recently, I met Pat McGrath in New York. I didn’t get to interview her one-on-one, but she did apply my lipstick. For a beauty editor, that’s about as good as it gets.

Worst?

Christina Aguilera.

Best advice you’ve ever been given?


Do what you said you would do when you said you would do it.

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


Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick and pull yourself together.” – Elizabeth Taylor

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


Build personal relationships with editors, tailor your pitch and take it easy on the exclamation points. Also, educate your clients about ways to leverage online opportunities. I find a lot of PR pros and their respective clients think that online coverage is “free” or somehow less valuable than print. In a growing number of instances, online outlets are just as influential as print pubs. Plus, you reach a wider audience, for a longer period of time, so there is inherent value in that. 

 
Also very helpful for agencies: updating editors semi-annually of which clients you’re representing and the key contact for each. The nature of agencies is that they’re constantly changing clients/staff, so keeping editors in the loop is always good practice

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins.


I love it when I write an email request and I get a prompt reply back saying: “Working on it; will keep you posted.” That acknowledgment puts my mind at ease and shows that the PR pro respects my deadline. Overall, I have very good experiences with the PR pros I deal with regularly.

I hate?


Embargos. I think they serve little to no purpose in this day and age of instant information. If I’m excited about something, I want to talk about it at my leisure (within reason, of course). Often I go to events months and months in advance of something launching, but by the time it hits shelves, I barely remember what I was excited about in the first place.

I love?

Kitchen parties, Three’s Company reruns, Jeopardy!, sharp wit and Skype dates with friends who live too far away.

Reading?

Just read The Marriage Plot. Up next: Half-Blood Blues.

Best place on earth?

A stretch of secluded beach on PEI during the summer.

Dinner guest?

The entire cast of Bridesmaids. I’d be flanked by Chris O’Dowd and Jon Hamm.

Hero?


My mom (doesn’t everyone say that?).

Favourite app?

Obsessed with Pinterest (follow me: @jmdunn00), Songkick and Words With Friends. Also like OneSpout – app for consolidating daily deals.

Pool or ocean?


Ocean. Salty air is good for the body and mind.

Voicemail or email?

Email, please. It’s efficient, and I like having a copy of correspondence to refer back to. 

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Media, Darling: Tara Henley

Tara Henley is the assistant editor at Hello! Canada, where she’s worked for five years. Her celebrity interviews have been published in many of Hello!’s international editions, including Hello! UK. Formerly a regular contributor to The Georgia Straight newspaper in Vancouver and a blogger for XXL magazine in New York, Tara’s freelance articles have appeared in the Globe and Mail and The Guardian
 


Twitter: @hellocanada 


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

I actually planned to be an English professor, but a month into my master’s degree I decided to help out at the student newspaper and stumbled onto a big news scoop. I promptly fell crazy-in-love with media. There’s nothing in the world quite like getting curious about something and then being able to phone up whoever is involved and ask them about it.

Where would you like to be five years from now? 

I’d like to be doing pretty much what I’m doing now, except I’d like to have published a book (or two!) and own a pair of Christian Louboutins.

Any advice for people getting started in your industry? 

If you want to succeed in media, it helps to really love the media. Take in as many outlets a day as possible. Here’s some other helpful tips other people have passed on to me: always go above and beyond; don’t be a clock watcher; do your research; send thank-you notes; always think of how you can best serve your outlet; do what scares you first; it doesn’t cost anything to be nice; and be grateful for every opportunity that comes your way.

What are your favourite media outlets? 

I read Vanity Fair, Toronto Life, Macleans, the Globe and Mail, the National Post and the Toronto Star. I adore CBC, and listen to CBC Radio for at least an hour a day. Fave shows are Q, As It Happens and Metro Morning. And on TV, Strombo. And I love the blog Orangette and the New York Times Dining section.

Best interview you’ve ever had? 

I always enjoy sitting down with Michael Bublé.

Worst? 

Kanye West.

Best advice you’ve ever been given? 

Stay present, be in the moment and focus on what’s in front of you. Also, Beyoncé once told me that when you’re tired or down, it helps to dress up. She’s so right!

What rule do you live your life by? 

It’s better to give than to receive.

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

Customizing your pitch is essential. I often get pitched random events like, say, a boat show. Unless Angelina Jolie is going to be there, we can’t cover it! Another thing: please don’t email us enormous files. We get hundreds of emails a day and a big file can crash our inboxes. Then we can’t send emails from our mobile devices and you can imagine the mayhem that causes. Lastly: we at Hello! enjoy chocolate. A lot. Please feel free to send us some.

Best experience you’ve had with a PR pro? We love to hear about #wins. 

PRs in this city do a fabulous job. The publicists we deal with know the magazine well and regularly move mountains for us. It’s so appreciated. Plus, they tend to be fun people so it’s always great to have a gab when our paths cross.

I hate? 

Slow walkers, raisins in baked goods.

I love? 

Cookbooks, Purdy’s chocolates, hip-hop, Chelsea Handler, dogs, Mexican food, The Queen, cooking for friends, back issues of Gourmet magazine, romantic comedies, Christmas, strong coffee, interviewing people, The Daily Show, The Wire, vegetable gardens.

Reading? 

Feeding a Yen by Calvin Trillin, The Table Comes First by Adam Gopnik, Boomerang by Michael Lewis.

Best place on earth? 

New York City, Tofino (BC), and my neighbourhood in Toronto.

Dinner guest? 

Larry King would host my dream dinner party with Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Prince William, Kate Middleton, Ryan Gosling, Sandra Bullock, Jamie Oliver, Bill Clinton, Oprah Winfrey, Barbara Walters and Nora Ephron around the table.

Favourite app? 

I’m not terribly adventurous with apps. I basically think iPhones were invented to store my photos of food and friends’ dogs. And occasionally the cocktail dresses I want to buy.

Pool or ocean? 

Ocean, preferably Kits Beach in Vancouver.

Voicemail or email? 

How about an actual, live phone call? I’m probably the last person on the planet that still enjoys talking on the phone. I tend to pick it up when it rings.