Having worked in the magazine world for some 12 years, I have often been asked what it was really like. I’ve been asked “Who’s the worst celebrity you’ve ever met?” and “What is Kate Middleton really like?!” – I am a brand marketer so I’m not often privy (first hand) to all the behind the scenes gossip in the world of celebrity and fashion. I do however, often get asked “Is it really like Devil Wears Prada?”
Don’t be so surprised, some “Devil Wears Prada” types do exist (which can be really boring and laughable), although they don’t tend to be as bad as you might think. They certainly don’t all wear Prada that’s for sure!
Editor in Chief of HELLO! magazine, Rosie Nixon, juggles a full time high profile job whilst being a Mummy to two kiddies under the age of three. Somehow she also finds the time to write. Her debut novel The Stylist came out earlier this year, with a paperback version now out too, and I managed to pin her down for a Q&A here at Flamingo Monroe to chat about the book’s inspiration, an insight in to her career and how to get your work noticed…
1) Well done Rosie on the publication of your first novel! The Stylist is such a fun read, where did you get your inspiration for the story?
Thank you so much, I’m thrilled you found it a fun read – it was a lot of fun to write. I guess i couldn’t help but be inspired by some of the experiences I have been lucky enough to have during my career at HELLO! – and before then, when I held senior roles at glossy women’s mags including Glamour, Grazia and Red.
I’ve travelled to Los Angeles a lot during my career and have covered awards ceremonies including the Oscars and BAFTAs. I’ve always been fascinated by the people (and the amazing gowns) we see on the red carpet – I found I had already done most of the research! I couldn’t help but be influenced by some of the situations I have witnessed first hand when I wrote The Stylist, but all the characters and situations are completely fictional.
2) Amber is a very personable character many of us (especially in the magazine, celebrity and fashion industries) can relate to, and Mona is insanely hilarious, do you base them on people you know or yourself even?
Both Amber and Mona are fictional characters, but there are definitely bits of me in Amber, something which I think is quite common for a first novel. I have a best friend who is not unlike Amber’s mate Vicky too, and a few of their escapades and the way they speak to each other definitely entertained that friend. But the celebrities are all made up; I value my career far too much to base any of the characters on actual people – I’m not ready to retire yet!
3) If you could cast Amber and Mona in a film version of The Stylist, who would you cast to play these roles and why?
Amy Schumer or Jennifer Lawrence would be my dream Ambers, they share a dry sense of humour and, like Amber, are brilliantly able to carry off the feeling of being an outsider in image-conscious LA. Mona I could see played by Kim Cattrall. Well, that would just about make my life complete.
4) What made you want to get in to writing a novel and how did you get your work noticed?
I was a prolific story teller, reader and letter-writer as a child and kept a diary as a teenager – I was always finding a reason to read or write and completing a novel was an ambition from an early age. I’ve worked for many glossy magazines as a writer and celebrity interviewer and now I’m an editor I have less time to write, so working on my novel reconnected me with my love of creative writing. It felt like a hobby. I also found it a great escape.
I’m lucky enough to have a literary agent for a sister-in-law and she really encouraged me to complete a first draft of The Stylist. She then took it to various publishers and after a number of rejections (it’s not easy to get a deal, you need to be thick-skinned), we finally got a bite from HQ, a division of Harper Collins publishers. Seeing The Stylist in book shops is like a dream come true, I still have to pinch myself and I know how lucky I am.
5) You are Editor in Chief of HELLO! magazine AND a mother – how did you find the time to write The Stylist and how long did it take? (Inspiration alert!)
I’m not going to lie here – life is hectic and if I don’t get some ridiculously early nights a few times each week, I can’t cope! I wrote much of The Stylist on my iPhone – on the tube, in taxis, in bed – wherever and whenever an idea or a bit of prose came to me. If I didn’t write it immediately, I feared I’d forget! If you want to do something badly enough, you find the time.
Mind you, I didn’t have two little children when I wrote most of it, as I do now – finding the time to write the sequel has proved more challenging. I finished The Stylist when I was on maternity leave with my first baby, and I’ve just finished writing the sequel during maternity leave for my second. So does that mean I need to have a baby to write a book? My husband might have something to say on that matter…
6) Your experience is so exciting and impressive – working for huge magazine brands and attending showbiz events and weddings around the world for your job. What are the most significant and memorable moments in your career so far?
I once wrote a feature for Glamour magazine where I was turned into an A-list star ahead of the Oscars in LA. I had every primping and preening treatment going, including three spray-tans in the space of 24 hours (Yes, the words umpa-lumpa, did cross my mind). I was loaned a stunning, sequin adorned gown by Alberta Ferretti and diamonds by Jacob and Co, which were so precious they required their own body guard. It was an amazing experience and to cap it off I ended up getting my hands on the ultimate accessory – a real life Oscar statuette – at Elton John’s party late in the evening. But I was like Cinderella and it was all returned in the morning before I traveled back home in Economy.
I have been lucky enough to attend some incredible showbiz weddings in my capacity as editor of HELLO! and I have to say, you can never get blasé about covering someone’s big day. It hardly feels like work! But it is an enormous responsibility too; a great deal of thought is put in to our features at HELLO! – we create photo albums that will stand the test of time.
7) To many of us you are ‘living the dream’ – Editor in Chief of the UK’s best loved celebrity magazine and now a published author. What advice can you give to those who want to follow your footsteps?
Just go for it – this is not a dress rehearsal. And don’t be too proud to make mistakes. If you have a burning desire to do something – as I did, with writing a book – make today your first step in that direction, no matter how small that step is. For me it wasn’t about getting published, it was about completing the novel I had within me. But who knows where completing that dream could take you. Believe in yourself, and others will believe in you too.
Thank you to Rosie for taking the time out for this Q&A!
Joan Collins says it’s ‘Absolutely riveting’ and Giovanna Fletcher says The Stylist is ‘Captivating, glamorous and laugh-out-loud funny!’ The Stylist, as I said, is a super fun read. Amber Green somehow unexpectedly lands herself in a dream job of being an assistant to THE stylist to the stars! She finds herself jet-setting to LA to assist Mona Armstrong – the in-demand stylist – and suddenly her world is turned in to turmoil dealing with a host of fashion malfunctions, celebrity chaos and love interests. A great read for the beach, or your commute, or wherever you fancy!