Jane Pratt

There’s no doubt that Jane Pratt dominated the nineties when it came to women’s media. A trailblazer for the topic – founding both Sassy and Jane magazines – Pratt made a finite footprint on the industry, and is continuing to do so as Editor-in-Chief of her website xoJane. Not only does Pratt represent a brand (a few that is) but she also embodies a certain voice that’s resonated through all her publications, and is one we can get on board with here at The New Potato. Did someone say girl power? We dropped by Pratt’s pad for a little food and fashion…

From start to finish, what would be your ideal food day?

My ideal food day starts with brunch at Smith & Mills with a couple of friends. They have a small menu; I can’t stand big menus or courses. They have a good burger that I love and French toast that my daughter Charlotte loves.

From there, it isn’t about specific meals so much. I don’t really have a set lunch or lunchtime. I just go to my friend’s who has an amazing chef, who makes meals that have things like turmeric and maca in them that are so incredibly healthy and make you feel great and energetic.

I love snacking on raw food – I always have a million different kinds of raw chips around (Brad’s are good, if not the homemade ones by the chef).

Then I switch to the other kind of raw – cookie dough before bed.

What is your personal definition of good content?

Really good content is content that changes not just people’s minds, but something in the world, and creates social change in the world.

You say xoJane is the destination where women go to be their ‘unabashed selves.’ Could you elaborate on that? 

So much media encourages women to present themselves as someone else’s version of the “ideal woman”. I like this to be the place where they can feel like they can be exactly who they are.

If you could define your ‘unabashed self,’ what would it be?

It’s your true self without guilt, shame, or pressure to look a certain way, act appropriately, or to smile – or anything at all.

What does the ‘unabashed self’ mean for your female audience in terms of food and health?

It means that you don’t count calories or fat grams or worry about what you’re eating. Eat what you are craving when you’re craving it.

In your time of working in industries for both teenage girls and adult women, what’s a common pattern you see in terms of how women approach food and health?

We decided to do a food column in Sassy because I wanted to present food to girls in a fun way that didn’t involve calorie counts or fat grams, but was about celebrating eating. We named the regular column “Eat This!” because it had sort of a punk-rock, non-precious, non-diet-ethos feel to it. Then in Jane, our food column was called “Eat!” as a kind of rebuttal to all of the diet and denying-yourself advice women were getting in other media directed at them. We still do this on xoJane – more of “here’s where to get the best cookie,” rather than, “substitute that cookie with a kale and micro-green salad!” Who does that??

What’s a common pattern you’ve always seen in how women approach getting dressed?

It’s getting better. There are a lot of body positivity movements that are really helping to reverse the pressure to dress to “hide your flaws,” which has been a common pattern for so many years.

How has women’s media changed since you first started in publishing?

It’s easy to focus on the flaws in women’s media and what still hasn’t changed in my decades of being intimately involved with it.

Let me begin by noting that I don’t think of xoJane as “women’s media” and that I think it is so funny to be in the grocery store or airport and still see a sign above the magazine rack saying “Women’s Interests.” Huh? What might those be, generally speaking?

When I started as an intern at McCall’s magazine while still in college, all of the editor-in-chiefs (including mine) of the largest women’s magazines were men. Now, most all of them are women and, in general, gender-schmender (or at least we are evolving in that direction, in my opinion).

Blogging has also brought attention and a platform to writers and causes that not too many years ago would have been struggling to get one.

If you could pinpoint three things you find your audience responds most to, what would they be?

Shamelessness, integrity, and buying stuff.

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