How did you get to where you are today? Magazines have always been in my blood. When I was young I used to cut out my favourite song lyrics from Smash Hits and stick them back together creating my own ‘magazine’. My first job was editing Barbie magazine, where I wrote stories and created puzzles about Barbie and Ken. It may sound funny, but it was actually a fantastic learning curve. I was responsible for all stages of the publishing process from writing, to editing, flatplanning, creating layouts and finally repro and printing. From there I worked at glossy titles including Red, Glamour and Grazia, before ending up at HELLO! where I have worked for the last eight years.
Has it been an easy ride? Well, I’m certainly not going to pretend to be superwoman. As every mother knows, it’s all a big juggle and you feel guilty for leaving your children to go to work and guilty that you’re boring them to death if you don’t. Some weeks it all seems to be working brilliantly, and others you feel worn out and question things. But something drives me to keep working.
You recently returned from maternity leave to a promotion as editor-in-chief of Hello!, tell us about that… Yes, I felt so lucky not to have a sinking feeling about returning to work because I was stepping back into a new role, one that I was promoted to, doing something that I love. I can generally manage my own time during the week so whilst I am available to the team 24/7, I try to carve out quality time with my two children too. When I’m home from work, I try to put my phone away so I’m present for them, and then I’m back picking up emails as soon as they are asleep. No week at HELLO! is ever the same and creating a weekly magazine, and overseeing our online platforms, is a fast-paced lifestyle but I really enjoy it.
You’ve also just published your first novel, The Stylist, congratulations, how do you fit it all in? I’m not really sure. I look at The Stylist and do wonder sometimes. But writing is a compulsion for me, it’s something I’ve got to have in my life and, I guess, if you feel that strongly then somehow you find the time. I actually wrote a lot of The Stylist on my iPhone – on the tube on the way to work, in bed, in the back of a taxi – whenever and wherever an idea or a paragraph came to mind, I noted it down, and the words started adding up. I finished The Stylist when on maternity leave with my first child and I really enjoyed having something else to fill my mind other than washing baby grows and feeding (much as I loved doing those things too). I almost felt bereft when I finished. That’s probably why I wrote the sequel to The Stylist during my second maternity leave. It’s called The Stylist Takes Manhattan and will be out in June 2017. Much of it was written in a local coffee shop during snatched hours between breastfeeds.
What kind of mum are you? I hope I’m a good one, I certainly try to be. I don’t get it right all the time, and I’m constantly learning, but I know my children feel loved and secure. We are a very affectionate family and I’m a believer that a stable loving background – like the one I had – creates the best foundation for a happy and fulfilling life.
What’s been the biggest surprise about motherhood, and the greatest challenge? It’s a cliche, but the lack of sleep is something I will never get used to. I had two children under two for five months and I won’t lie, it was tough on the sleep front. I barely saw my husband because we were sleeping in different rooms with different children. But you do have to remember the mantra: ‘this too shall pass’. It is such a privilege to see my sons play together now and witness them build a relationship that will be so important for the rest of their lives.
What life lessons do you want to pass on to your kids? Don’t worry, no-one’s paying that much attention, and show humility and treat people with kindness.
The Stylist, by Rosie Nixon, is out now.