Marie Claire’s Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider, is one of those women in publishing that make us go wow. Before taking the helm at Marie Claire in 2012, she was Editor-in-Chief of Brides, and prior to that Executive Editor at Marie Claire. As a former editor at Vanity Fair, Fulenwider launched their now very famous Fanfair section – and this was following a Senior Editor position at The Paris Review, as well as a research assistant job under George Plimpton as he wrote Truman Capote. Feeling unproductive yet? We are.
So the question really isn’t, what has Anne Fulenwider done, but what hasn’t she done? We sat down with the powerful Editor-in-Chief to chat on all things concerning palates and publishing…
From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?
Lunch: Anything at ABC Kitchen, but definitely with a side of the Brussels sprouts.
Dinner: The orrechiette with sausage at Il Buco.
Dessert: The chocolate sorbet from Franny’s.
And, during fashion week, I find myself in and out of Cookshop non-stop for their fried Kale and deviled eggs.
How has the publishing industry changed since you first started?
We didn’t have email or cell phones when I first started in publishing. At my first job, The Paris Review, faxes came in on one long strip of roller paper that I was in charge of trimming, and I literally typed my boss George Plimpton’s letters on a typewriter. The whole world has gone digital since I first started, including the publishing industry, and it keeps changing.
What were some of the challenges you faced at becoming Marie Claire’s new Editor-in-Chief in 2012?
The real challenge I faced was that I had about a seven minute taxi ride to make the transition. I was announced as Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire at about noon on the Tuesday after Labor Day, and took a cab from one office to the other to greet the staff. Two days later New York Fashion Week started. So I began in a whirlwind, but frankly it was probably better to dive right in. I had left Marie Claire as Executive Editor less than a year earlier, so I was walking into a place and a group of people I knew well and was excited to see.
How have you changed the magazine since?
One of the first hires I made was Artistic Director Alex Gonzalez, and together over our first year we redesigned the magazine, hiring new designers and bringing in new photographers. I also hired a colleague from my Vanity Fair days, Riza Cruz, as Executive Editor, and she has brought in great new editors and writers. We’ve managed to change a lot while remaining true to the mission of the brand – to inspire, empower, and engage women around the world.
How would you define good content?
Delicious, inspiring, relevant, and necessary. One piece of content doesn’t have to be all four, but should be at least two of those, and always relevant to your particular reader’s life.
What was it like going from a more broad magazine (like Marie Claire) to a more niche publication like Brides?
I spent ten years at Vanity Fair before I came to Marie Claire, so I found women’s magazines quite niche, too, but when your whole magazine – and website – is focused on one specific area of a reader’s life, it affords you the luxury of thinking about everything else: who you’re speaking to and how, and how elements like voice and design affect her. So I found it to be fascinating and a huge education in running a brand.
What do you think are three things men don’t know about women?
That we’re funny, we’re tougher than they think, and we like sex.
Who have your mentors been?
George Plimpton, who asked me to help him with a book on Truman Capote; Graydon Carter, whose humor and curiosity made Vanity Fair a great place to work; Joanna Coles, who showed me a generous way to be a boss; and my 10th grade English teacher, Richard Lederer.
What do you love to read besides Marie Claire?
New York Magazine, Vanity Fair, Hollywood Reporter, WWD, Harvard Business Review, The Atlantic’s coverage of women’s issues, Gothamist, and a really good novel. Right now it’s Helen Oyeyemi’s ‘Boy, Snow, Bird’
What’s your after-work drink?
I don’t drink a lot but I’ve been known to enjoy a tequila and soda with a splash of lime.
Your ultimate power lunch spot…
Not sure about ultimate, but my most frequent is Marea. Delicious, beautiful, and nearby.