Sarah Hedley - Editor, Scarlet

01.09.05

At the beginning of any issue I have a hoard of feature ideas to
choose from, and my first responsibility as editor is to make the right
choices. I ask myself questions such as: will the readers benefit from
this feature?; would newspapers write about it?; and would other
women’s magazines be afraid to publish it?’ Once I’ve decided on the
features, I try to love them all equally, but even at the embryonic
stage I always have my favourites – the ones I’ll stay up all night
with trying to make sure they’re perfect. This issue’s favourite is
‘The Vibrator Monologues’, a series of exclusive interviews summarising
society’s relationship with sex toys. I’m probably giving it more
attention than I should.

So far, I’ve received completed interviews with the hilarious Mil
Millington, author of Things My Girlfriend and I Have Argued About and
Kerrang! shock jock, Tim Shaw. Both made me question my view of
vibrators, which is exactly the reaction I was hoping for, but
deadlines are drawing near and I start to panic that my crack team
won’t reach my quota of ’10 interesting people in the public eye with
differing views prepared to talk about their own personal use of sex
toys’.

It
certainly isn’t the easiest brief to fulfil, but for now I have to put
it to the back of my mind. Today myself and Scarlet’s gifted creative
director, Nahid de Belgeonne, are organising a Cliterature photo shoot.
This will involve four semi-naked models (two male, two female)
depicting all manner of sex acts beautifully choreographed by Nahid.

Scarlet
is the only women’s lifestyle glossy to feature adult fiction, making
it one of our USPs, so we try to get the perfect tone – titillating
without being crass or overstepping the lines of censorship.

02.09.05

I’m back at our Fulham-based magnolia-walled office, which is
actually two floors of separate offices. I have my own at one side of
the building and Gavin Griffiths, Scarlet’s effervescent publisher, has
his at the other side; we’re rather like two bookends holding the
editorial department between us.

Upstairs, sales and marketing tackle never-ending phone calls,
chattering into the sort of headsets Madonna used to wear when she was
into pointy bras.

After spending the best part of the day wading
through my inbox, I have to meet with producers from Endemol, the TV
company behind shows such as Big Brother. They’d like me to feature on
a new programme, talking about things you shouldn’t do to your vagina.
Even though my area of expertise is based on things you should do to
your genitalia, I agree, as long as Scarlet gets a good plugging.

Talking
of Big Brother, a previous contestant who’s recently made a splash on
the front page of The Sun has agreed to take part in the Vibrator
Monologues. My Vibe Monologue anxiety starts to subside. But only
slightly.

04.09.05

I like coming into the office on Sunday because it’s serene and I can be productive.

I work from 10 in the morning until 10 at night and take a break
mid-way to stroll down Brompton Road for a late lunch with my man. I
call it a break, but actually what I do is buy all the Sunday papers
and root through them for interesting leads for features. It’s not
really a job, this Scarlet editorship – it’s more like an addiction.

05.09.05

All pages have to be complete and sent to our printers in St Ives by
Thursday. That inescapable knowledge is responsible for the tension in
the air this week. I’m pleased I worked through the weekend and can
afford to go on an appointment for some brief reprieve. I’ve been
invited to a 3pm tea at The Ritz to witness the unveiling of a new
beauty treatment combining colour therapy, meditation, chakra-tweaking
and massage.

As we approach deadline, my chakras feel like they need more than just a tweak.

When
myself and a roomful of female editors settle down to watch the show,
we’re informed that the model they’ve hired for the demonstration
hasn’t shown up. As a crusader for brazen female sexuality, I’m
persuaded to take her place. I didn’t expect to begin my week laid out
on a table before my peers in nothing but my bra and pants – at the
Ritz of all places. But then Scarlet life is often unpredictable.

Later,
I find out my brazenness has been bettered. An ex- Changing Rooms
designer has not only shared their sex-toy secrets for the Vibrator
Monologues, they’ve also posed halfnaked for the photos. Unfortunately,
it isn’t the lovely Lawrence Llewellyn-Bowen, but I’m thrilled all the
same. At last, the Vibrator Monologues are really coming together.

06.09.05

The man count in Monologues has gone through the roof. We’ve
now notched up a Celebrity Love Island-er, a TOTP presenter and a Miss
Great Britain – all very passionate characters – and I start to feel a
sense of victory when I think back to the feature-planning meetings
where everyone said to me: “There is no way we can get people in the
public eye to talk about their masturbation habits.”

07.09.05

Today has been hectic. Full of final touches and those ‘Oh-Iwish-
I-could-just-change-that-one-last-thing’ feelings. All the usual
cut-off point stuff where you have to let the magazine go. I don’t
leave the office until after 3am. But before I do, I see the Vibrator
Monologues neatly laid out, witty, engaging and thought provoking, and
I feel like I’ve given birth to a healthy feature: pride, relief and
exhaustion mingle as I sigh and remember what makes my job so
worthwhile.

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