TYPE A-OK: Apparently editing some of the country’s biggest women’s magazines hasn’t given Bonnie Fuller enough of a platform. Drawing on her experiences at Star, Glamour, Cosmopolitan and elsewhere, she now has written the definitive guide to living the … fuller life. Succinctly titled “The Joys of Much Too Much: Go for the Big Life — The Great Career, The Perfect Guy, and Everything Else You’ve Ever Wanted (Even If You’re Afraid You Don’t Have What It Takes),” it will be published in April by Simon and Schuster. WWD got an advance look.
With chapter titles such as “The Good Side of Repression” and “Don’t Inner-Fixate,” the book is a mélange of common sense (“Check for spinach in the teeth before leaving [a] restaurant”), pragmatic antifeminism (“Don’t talk much about pregnancy in the office, period”) and Type-A rationalization (“As far as I’m concerned, hobbies are overrated”). Its central thesis: Women settle for mediocre lives in a misguided quest for “balance.” The key to happiness is feeling overwhelmed.
“I felt that a lot of the messages that women get today are that they can’t do it all, that they have to give up certain parts of their lives in order to have the other parts,” Fuller told WWD. “I don’t think women should sell themselves short.” As for whether there’s not something retrograde about coaching women to snare “the perfect man,” she said: “I would definitely characterize myself as a feminist.”
Fittingly, the woman who showed the world Britney Spears‘ acne and Katie Holmes‘ cold sores is generous with details that some readers may consider too much information. For instance, here’s Fuller on why she and her husband had trouble conceiving their third child: “Who knew that after years of bicycle riding, Michael had developed something called varicoceles: varicose veins in a man’s key areas?” (We do now, thanks.)
Some other highlights:
- Bonnie on magazines such as Real Simple: “Simplifying down to the most precious objects and actions will result in sterility, which is the road to spiritual ruin and mental rigor mortis.”
- On getting fired from Glamour after seeking the editorship of Harper’s Bazaar: “Looking back, I see that I may have been disloyal … But I allowed myself to be swept up in the excitement of a dream job.”
- On her reputation: “I don’t consider myself rude, but I am rather straightforward … Sometimes I just don’t have time, for instance, to ask my staff how their weekend was. Sometimes people perceive me to be cold or uncaring because I don’t indulge in chitchat.”
- On dressing to impress: “Clare McHugh, now a special projects editor at In Style magazine, wore a voluminous navy and white sailor dress with a bib collar to an interview with me at Marie Claire. I knew she was very pregnant, but I didn’t expect to see the Queen Mary in my office.”
- On Star’s journalistic standards: “We have a high bar to get over before we can print a story. We have to make sure it’s true.” (The occasional celebrity “bump” notwithstanding, presumably.)
Fuller said she didn’t know how many copies Simon & Schuster planned to print. “I don’t think any philosophy is right for every woman,” she said. “But I feel it’s right for a lot of women.”
— Jeff Bercovici
HOLIDAY PUNCH: Now that so many Time Inc. employees are getting new bosses, it’s only fair that Ann Moore have one, too.
As of Jan. 1, Time Inc.’s chairman and chief executive officer will report to Jeff Bewkes, who was promoted to president and chief operating officer of Time Warner on Wednesday. Bewkes will continue to run the company’s film and television divisions and also will assume control over the publishing, online and cable groups formerly overseen by Don Logan, who is retiring at the end of the year.
As Bewkes and Moore continue to look at how to make Time Inc. more efficient, and John Huey officially becomes its editor in chief, there are likely to be more cuts on the business and editorial sides of the company in the months to come. Time Inc. insiders said there are a significant number of voluntary buyout offers outstanding, and more involuntary layoffs are on the way. One top editor even got the impression that an entire magazine or magazines could be folding. “I was told that every single entity is being looked at hard to evaluate it as a business, and to expect ‘big-picture kinds of layoffs,'” said the editor.
This story first appeared in the December 22, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“Everybody’s sort of walking down the hall looking over their shoulders,” said another company veteran.
As for the 105 people let go last week, Time Inc. seems to have gone against its own advice by laying off people during the holidays. According to several longtime employees, managers used to get letters from the company’s human resources department every fall, advising them to either make staff changes before Thanksgiving or wait until after the new year. A spokeswoman denied there was ever an official policy, however, saying: “We’ve always hoped to avoid letting people go around the holidays. It’s unfortunate, but we weren’t ready to do anything before Thanksgiving, and the fiscal year does end Dec. 31.”
— Sara James and J.B.