Do you love fashion magazines? Then we have some exciting news for you! Today, Seventeen Editor in Chief Ann Shoket will be the guest on Office Hours!
If you are anything like me, then Seventeen, founded in 1944, was a big part of your life growing up. My older sister had a subscription, and every month we had a sort of ritual when the new issue arrived in our mailbox. For about three days, my sister would carry the magazine with her wherever she went, reading every page from cover to cover. Then, once she was done with it, I would grab it and devour it. The fashion! The stars! The boys! It was all so glamorous! Seventeen made 17 seem like most adult, fabulous, unattainable age.
I also remember reading the articles that weren’t about the newest it girl on TV, or how to wear your hair in a new way. They were the stories that tackled the topics on which I needed some guidance. These articles focused on issues like interacting with your peers, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders, the pressures of school, and applying for college. I remember reading about young women who were my age and were doing incredible, fantastic things such as starting their own businesses, launching charities, and traveling to broaden their perspective. Seventeen was more than just a magazine, it was something I needed in my life.
Seventeen has always been very transparent about how the magazine is produced, which fascinated me as well. In fact, I think it was one of my main inspirations for becoming a journalist. I wanted to be in that world, engaging with larger than life people, then bringing it to others. These are just a few of the reasons why I am absolutely thrilled that we are featuring Seventeen Editor in Chief Ann Shoket in Office Hours today!
Before assuming her current role at Seventeen in January 2007, this accomplished woman held the title of executive editor at the (sadly) now defunct CosmoGIRL! magazine. It was there that she started actively reaching out to young women in ways beyond the traditional editorial sense. She started the “CosmoGIRL! Born to Lead” patch program with The Girl Scouts and she also launched a national leadership survey with The White House Project. Prior to her role at CosmoGIRL!, she was a senior editor at React magazine and an associate editor at American Lawyer magazine.
Shoket is passionate about helping young women develop their leadership skills. At Seventeen she continues to help young women with Seventeen’s Pretty Amazing Contest, a scholarship and magazine cover contest that highlights the achievements of young women who are, well, pretty amazing. Shoket thinks that, for many years, young women didn’t want to lead because it wasn’t the cool thing to do. Now, however, they are entering their prime and seizing the day. “It [used to be] like pulling teeth to get girls interested in leadership. The idea of being a leader or being in charge didn’t appeal to anyone. It’s scary to be the leader, but we want to teach girls how to get their way. That’s what everybody wants,” Shoket told a group at a recent panel where she and our Co-Founder Caroline Ghosn were both featured speakers.
Clearly, Shoket is a leader herself and it’s obvious that she wants to inspire other women to lead as well. This is just one of the many things we admire about her! Keep reading to find out some more reasons we think she’s awesome.
1) She features real girls in the magazine
Last summer, after receiving complaints from readers that they were tired of seeing photoshopped and touched up pictures, she wrote in the August issue editor’s letter that the magazine had drafted what it called a “Body Peace Treaty.” She said the entire staff signed the eight-point pact, in which the magazine pledged to “never change girls’ body or face shapes” and to include only images of “real girls and models who are healthy.”
2) She paid her dues in her career
Shocket started out at American Lawyer magazine. She told ClaudiaChan.com, “It wasn’t my childhood dream to be a legal reporter, but I was lucky that in my first gig out of college I had the opportunity to work with the legendary Steve Brill. I learned how to be a strong reporter from some of the smartest editors I’ve ever encountered. But more importantly, I was at the American Lawyer at an amazing moment in time: the beginning of Internet, and the beginning of the OJ Simpson trial.”
3) She loves to network
According to ClaudiaChan.com, Shoket met MediaBistro founder Laurel Touby at a cocktail party for media professionals. Through that meeting, she ended up helping Touby launch the massively successful MediaBistro. Touby then returned the favor by giving her a lead on the CosmoGIRL! job, which eventually led to her EIC job at Seventeen.
5) She totally believes in the power of heels
Her first big, working girl purchase was a pair of Mahnolo Blahniks. She put together an entire outfit around the shoes. “When the legendary Helen Gurley Brown looked me up and down and told me I looked fabulous, I nearly died! The shoes were worth every penny for that one moment,” Shoket said.
6) Barbra Walters gave her the greatest advice ever
When Shoket interviewed the legendary broadcaster, Walters told her, “Don’t imagine that your life now is the way it’s always going to be. You have no idea how interesting your life can become.”
7) She is an amazing editor
In her first year as Editor-in-Chief, Shoket made Seventeen number one on the newsstand in the teen magazine category. She continues to excite her 13 million readers every month and takes any opportunity she can to tweet, post on Facebook, and blog to get in touch with readers, or “our girls,” as she calls them. She told HerCampus.com, “I love when I hear from girls that they hear the message we’re sending in the magazine. Our magazine is so fun, and so girl-candy, and so girl-heaven in every way. There’s cool fashion and fun beauty. There’s boys, but there’s real girl stories, too. Tucked into everything we do is a message that celebrates real girls and makes them feel strong, appreciated, and worshipped, and that’s really what the underlying message of Seventeen is, that you’re amazing in every single way. ”