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.
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.
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.
Kitchen parties, Three’s Company reruns, Jeopardy!, sharp wit and Skype dates with friends who live too far away.
Just read The Marriage Plot. Up next: Half-Blood Blues.
Best place on earth?
A stretch of secluded beach on PEI during the summer.
The entire cast of Bridesmaids. I’d be flanked by Chris O’Dowd and Jon Hamm.
My mom (doesn’t everyone say that?).
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.