(NEW YORK) — Laura Brown has put Rihanna in a shark, taken The Simpsons to Paris fashion week and now she’s even doing Dirty Laundry with your favorite celebrities.
“I think of myself as a creative producer,” Brown, the editor-in-chief of InStyle, told Rebecca Jarvis on ABC Radio’s podcast “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”
The Australian native, who spent her early days growing up on a dairy farm before moving to a beachside suburb outside of Sydney, knew from a young age that she wanted to work in the magazine industry.
When she was 15, she started interning for various magazines in her area and used any spare time or vacations as an opportunity to get experience.
“I have the hustle muscle…through the end of high school I would do as many of those [internships] as I could,” she said. “I knew I wanted to write and I wanted to be in print magazine.”
After high school, Brown decided to study communications and journalism at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, Australia.
While in college, she continued to gain work experience in the magazine industry and she even graduated early, submitting her final school paper while working for a publication called Australian Family Magazine.
At the age of 21, she took her first ever plane ride, a one way ticket to London to try to be a freelance fashion writer. She eventually found herself back in Sydney working for Harper’s Bazaar in Australia but she knew ultimately that she wanted to move to New York.
“I remember we used to get all the American magazines in a bag from New York and I snaffled them all up and I would take them home,” she said. She recalled how one day while living near Sydney Harbor reading New York Magazine, “I was so immersed,” she said. “I swear I looked up and I’d completely forgotten where I was. I just was in New York.”
With $5,000 in the bank, she decided to take the plunge, moving to New York City on Sept. 4, 2001. She began freelancing for a number of different magazines and landed her first full-time position at W Magazine.
She eventually joined Harper’s Bazaar, spending 11 years there, rising the ranks becoming its executive editor.
In 2016, Brown became the editor-in-chief of InStyle, where she’s combined her forward thinking creativity and social media savvy to refresh the brand, appealing to a wider audience with a “stylish and relatable voice.” Brown credits a lot of her success to paying her dues, putting in the time and gaining trust behind her ideas.
“When people trust you enough…that’s the equity you get after being in magazines for a certain amount of time,” Brown said. “Sometimes you can have the idea and sometimes you’re going to have to get the bagel, too.”
“It’s never easy but there is an ease about having the equity behind your ideas…your idea is nothing unless people come along with you.”
In a world dominated by technology with endless forms of communication and expression, Brown says there is no better time to be in the magazine industry.
“We now have 360 degrees of a way to communicate,” she said. “It’s not just the page…I’ve got this playground that is so much bigger than just the printer.”
“I think that there’s no better time to get into, I’ll use the old fashion word, magazines, because you can you can really tell a story and it challenges you to communicate in all these different forums on all these different levels,” she said.
“There’s no better time to have a voice and use it,” she added. “If you have something to say people, will pay attention…And that’s how InStyle is distinguishing itself.”
Hear Laura Brown’s full interview on the ABC Radio podcast “No Limits with Rebecca Jarvis.”
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