Q&A: JACKIE FRANK – Editor of Marie Claire

Jackie Frank, Editor of Marie Claire is no stranger to the magazine world working with such magazines as Harper’s Bazaar Australia, UK Elle & Mademoiselle magazine over the last 24 years. With 35 editions worldwide, Marie Claire is now read by 15 million women across five continents every month. Jackie speaks to The Broad Side about knowing your audience, the impact of social media and what women can do to for better gender equality in the workplace.

What is your target demographic and how does the magazine stay in tune with them?

The demographic is 20 – 45 but we go way beyond that. But we are about women. We pride ourselves on being the vehicle for the voice of women – women with substance and style. Marie Claire’s philosophy is about making a difference to the lives of women and that’s through the emotional journey of providing a mix of provocative journalism and the best of fashion, beauty and lifestyle.

What are some of the most popular celebrities for Marie Claire whether they be hated or loved by your readerships?

It’s pretty much the usual suspects. Kim Kardashian doesn’t do well for us. It’s very much about women who have a story, strong women doing interesting things.

Have you had backlash from anyone you have put on the cover before?

Not in a massive way. The most controversial cover we did was when I did Jennifer Hawkins nude – she was untouched and there were a lot of people said great and then there were a lot of people who questioned it. PINK! They love Pink! That’s because she’s such a strong women, she’s incredible, and I love her to death. She is someone I have always admired her so it was a privilege to interview her for the magazine and Sunday Night.

For the magazine, what are some of the best website or blogs or people that you follow to inspire your articles?

I follow all the news people on Twitter from around the world, obviously Huffington Post, Feminism.Com, things like that and obviously all the news channels.

How important has Twitter been for you as I know you’re on it quite regularly?

It keeps me informed of what’s going on. Twitter is a great way to get a lot of information in a really short amount of time because if you’re not interested you just scroll; it’s disposable really sometimes.

When it comes to the process of selecting content for the magazine, what is it in terms of meetings, etc.?

It’s a weekly meeting, we do a Fashion meeting every couple of weeks, we sit and an art meeting, a lot of meetings, forward planning meetings.

How do you promote women to be leaders in your workplace?

I think women should follow their guts, they should be authentic, it is really important to be part of the conversation, I think things like that are important and I think integrity is a huge part as well.

Do you have a view of gender equality?

Yes, I have a very big view on gender equality and we don’t have it. We just did a survey recently where 80% of women said we don’t have gender equality and they are very disappointed in that fact. I think that’s why we launched the ‘We Deserve Better’ campaign, because it’s there and it’s almost something that people accept. I think there is a real push to have the conversation, we have so many amazing role models and we really need to step it up and fight for it. It’s ridiculous, nothing much has changed in 20 years. And women don’t take risks as well as men do in their professional and personal lives, something that you need to do if you want to be a good leader. I encourage the women around me to do that because you can’t achieve much from embracing the status quo so you really need to push it, take a risk and challenge and go out of your comfort zone.

And when it comes to going for those top positions, women don’t put themselves forward for these positions because they don’t think they’re qualified whereas men will just wing it and go for it. Men always go for something and then they’ll just work it out later. We have to talk to those internal questions in our heads, that inner voice that can be so self destructive, that self doubt.

I remember watching the Marie Claire series on Channel 7 and you were doing a meeting whilst on the treadmill and then you were flying everywhere and looking after your children as well… it came across as you had a pretty good life/work balance. What is your secret?

I don’t have it! That’s my secret. But I did have some advice given to me which I thought was very good advice and it was about being in the moment. It’s really important to focus and really be in the moment in what you are doing and that will give you more credit to what you are actually doing. Women tend to multi task a little too much and that’s part of the issue I think. In terms of work/life balance, I don’t have it but sometimes my children need more focus, my work needs more focus, it’s a juggling act and sometimes the balls fall.

In terms of your career, who has inspired you along the way?

I was very lucky before I started this job to be mentored at the time by the Editor of the British Marie Claire and had done the job, which was just fantastic, she helped guide me. My mother played a huge role in making me believe that you can do whatever you want as long as you put the hard work in.

Do you think mentors are important especially for females in the media?

I hate the word mentor – it sort of adds this connotation to it. You need people around you to bounce ideas off and you know they have your best interests at heart, there’s no agenda.

About Author

Amanda Lee
Amanda Lee

Amanda Lee started her career in the media 10 years ago working for various companies including Working Dog, Southern Cross Austereo and NOVA Entertainment. During this time she has been an Announcer, Promotions Manager, Producer, Music Director and Assistant Content Director. Amanda created The Broad Side as a support network for women in media to discuss and share their obstacles and successes in their industry.