TWO TITANS OF THE WOMEN’S MAGAZINE GAME SOUND OFF.
Byline: Dianne M. Pogoda, June 1995 / Sharon Edelson, June 1995
After nearly three decades on the job, Ruth Whitney is finally getting things the way she wants them.
“I’ve edited four or five Glamours since I’ve been here,” said Whitney, editor in chief of Glamour magazine, referring to the various incarnations of Conde Nast’s cash cow. “The Glamour I’m editing now is closer to my magazine, closer to my own interests.”
“Even 10 years ago, women were significantly different from what they are today,” she said. “Today, they’re more sophisticated, more demanding — they have a life outside the home. They don’t see their jobs as a way to get money to spend on clothes. Now, their fashion dollars go to clothes for career — not to get a man, but to get ahead.”
Whitney describes herself as a careful manager and a “very hands-on” editor. Colleagues describe her as smart, all-business, receptive to new ideas and a well-respected editor.
Charles H. Townsend, Glamour’s publisher, called Whitney “the most cut-right-to-it editor I’ve ever worked with.”
“She’s more in touch with the reader of this magazine than anyone I know,” Townsend said. “She understands who this reader is, what she wants and what she needs. She’s every bit the boss of this magazine.”
Glamour will continue to evolve and change with its readers. Whitney said eventually the magazine will be online, noting that Conde Nast already has CondeNet.
“But I’m very much a print person,” she said. “You can’t beat the intimacy of print, and it’s tough to be intimate on a computer screen.”
Helen Hurley Brown
Helen Gurley Brown is as boy-crazy as ever.
“I used to have sex all to myself; now I have to share it with the Ladies Home Journal,” said Brown, the editor in chief of Cosmopolitan.
For 30 years, sex has been Brown’s personal crusade, although she sometimes seems like an unlikely booster. A petite woman of 73, Brown always looks impeccably dressed, crosses her legs at the ankles and is given to such quaint turns of phrase as, “We think the man-woman relationship is scrumptious.”
“People credit me with having a dream or some kind of vision,” Brown said. “In 1965, I happened to fall into the kind of work I was meant to do. I’d just written ‘Sex and the Single Girl,’ and I was getting all this mail. My husband, David, said, ‘If you had a magazine, you could answer all your letters.’ I drew up a plan. It worked from the very first hour. I’ve never deviated from it.”
She is a woman who calls the magazine “my joy” but admits, “I think about retiring all the time. When they [Hearst] think it’s time for me not to be here, I won’t be here. It’s as simple as that. But then I think, what on earth will I do as a retired person? I plan to take courses in French and go to France for a little while and take some art courses.
“If I have any regret it’s that I never learned how to play more,” she continued. “Work for me is better than play. I don’t know how to play real well, but I do know how to work.”