Founder goes full time for 'Asian Vanity Fair'

The lawyer and founding editor of Memsahib is to quit the bar temporarily to work full time on the magazine.

The title, which Rehna Azim describes as an “Asian Vanity Fair”, suffered production difficulties earlier this year. The second issue was postponed until February to avoid the Christmas period and then delayed another two months until it finally hit news-stands at the end of April.

The next issue is due out within a few weeks.

Although Azim managed to bring out the first three issues while working as a full-time lawyer, she plans to take a sabbatical at the end of June to devote more time to Memsahib and ensure it has a regular bimonthly publication date.

“Dealing with murderers and paedophiles is a lot easier than putting together a magazine. With Memsahib you are totally at the mercy of other people,” she told Press Gazette.

“It was blood, sweat and tears and there were a lot for tears on my part, because I really love it.”

The launch received widespread publicity, with around 40 per cent of the feedback coming from the white community.

“Suddenly, we have gone from an Asian product into what I think is the first cross-over product,” she said.

“It is a very broad mix of people, which is what I wanted. I want people to come to us and say, ‘I want to reach the Asian community but not in a patronising way’.”

Azim said that, following the launch of the magazine, she was offered a number of interviews with leading politicians, who saw the magazine as an interesting new platform to address the Asian community.

“We may not be as wealthy as other magazines – we are a very tiny product – but we reach a really good crowd of people and actually have a role to play,” she said.

“Everyone is trying to make the best of their lives in this country and if I can redress the balance in some tiny little way, I want to do that.”

The May/June issue includes an interview with Sir David Frost by Yvonne Ridley and the next issue will features an interview with former International Development Secretary Clare Short, conducted before she resigned from the Cabinet.

By Ruth Addicott

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