My Media Week: Farrah Storr, Cosmopolitan

It’s no ordinary week for Farrah Storr, editor at Cosmopolitan, as she joins the fashionistas at Paris Fashion Week before heading to her heartland, Manchester, for Magnetic’s Spark North conference.

Monday 

I usually wake around 6.30am, or I should say I am woken up, at 6.30am with a massive canine kiss (it’s like a French kiss but with more tongue) to the face by my outsized Goldendoodle - Mr Jones. But today I’m up at 5.45am as I need to pack for Paris.

Tomorrow it’s the Chanel show and I’m sat front row, so my outfit needs to tread a careful line between professional, comfortable and a slight-nod-to-Planet-Fashion. I wimp out on the last bit and throw a bunch of black and beige cashmere separates and a pair of biker boots into my suitcase and pray they’ll be some combination that works. 

We’re on deadline so I pop into the office before my Eurostar leaves to check-in with my creative director, Stuart Selner. The cover has to go today so I need to re-read all the coverlines and triple check I’m happy with my editor’s letter too, essential given it was written at 10pm the night before.

I arrive in Paris at 3pm then grab a car to take me to the Equipment and Current Elliott showroom to say hello to the team. I’ve only been at Cosmopolitan for six months so I’m still trying to get round and meet as many people as possible. I resist macaroons and all other manner of Gallic temptations.

It’s the show tomorrow so I plan an early night. I take a book to Brasserie Lipp for a quiet meal by myself then bump into fellow editor of Red, Sarah Bailey, which makes me laugh as our offices are literally down the corridor from one another in London. I eat dinner then head back to the hotel for an early night.

Tuesday

My hotel is on the Left Bank so I wake early and go for a run along The Seine. I used to live in Paris when I was a student and used to do this run every weekend so it’s nice to do again. I always run when I’m abroad for work. It’s not only an amazing way of seeing the city but whatever issue I’m having – editing a story/writing coverlines – appears to fix itself by the time I’ve finished.

I walk to the Chanel show as a car will take forever. Turn the corner and see every road outside the Grand Palais is mayhem so give myself a metaphorical pat on the back. I have played it safe in biker boots, black jeans and a cashmere turtleneck, which is ironic given I’m sat next to the Italian press who are all Trump Tower heels and colourful trousers. I see Nina Garcia from US Marie Claire opposite me and blogger Leandra Medine from Man Repeller - whose style I love. The woman sat next to me appears to be a couture spender - one of the few people that actually buys the outfits from the shows. She has a notepad and a dog on her lap. Well, the dog is wearing diamonds. 

The show is incredible – Gigi Hadid, Edie Campbell and Kendal Jenner (spectacular looking in the flesh), all walk and the entire Palais is decked out like a classic atelier.  

I have a few hours to kill before I get the Eurostar back. I head to my favourite café - Pailette and work. Get home at 9pm, catch-up quickly with my husband then it’s straight to bed as tomorrow evening I’m off to Manchester to speak at Magnetic’s Spark North conference on the Thursday.

Wednesday

I live out in the Kent countryside so use my commute to read social media, or any bits of copy I’ve not read, the day before. I get a quick blow dry round the corner from the office, grab a black coffee from Pret  (I’m fasting, which I tend to do one day a week after I’ve indulged) then settle in my office with a couple of features that have come in whilst I was in France. 

I’m still deeply involved with copy and probably always will be. The role of the editor has changed hugely but if you’re not reading the copy that goes in the magazine that has your name on it then I don’t think you can call yourself an editor quite frankly.

Chat through some of the visuals for the magazine that I’m not sure about with my picture director before heading over to the new Estee Lauder offices with my group publishing director, Duncan Chater to meet Estee Lauder vice president general manager Stephanie Sherman.

My digital editor, Claire Hodgson, joins us and we catch up on what’s been happening across all our digital platforms, especially Snapchat. We launched on Snapchat Discover in September and have seen phenomenal growth since then. It’s a great example of how a brand like Cosmopolitan can reach new audiences and find a brilliant home on a new and exciting platform.

I run for the 5 o’clock train to Manchester but they’re all cancelled because of flooding. End up getting on a train bound for Sheffield. Hell, I think, if I get that far north I can figure the rest out. Get into Manchester at 10pm. Collapse.

Thursday 

Wake up at 6am and catch up on the news and some work emails before getting into Manchester city centre to speak at Magnetic’s Spark North Conference. Catch up with Sue Todd who runs Magnetic and meet the aptly named David Weeks, head of advertising for The Week. It’s a lively debate about the changing role of content attended by a lot of media owners and agencies in the north. I’m a Mancunian and despite having been away for the last 20 years it’s comforting to hear northern accents.  

Finish the panel then take a conference call with Tinder. I’m extremely excited to confirm that I’ll be interviewing the founder Sean Rad when he’s over next month for Ad Week and will be organising a luncheon to welcome him to London. We just need to iron a few things out.

Should go back to Kent tonight but tired so instead spend the night in Manchester, to my mother’s delight. I’ll get the first train for London in the morning, which means an early night. We go for an early dinner and then it’s bed by 9.30pm.

Friday

Get up at 5am, pack, then hop in the car to get the 7am train. It’s delightfully quiet. I settle back with a couple of magazines I haven’t read then see my features editor Amy Grier has sent me a huge list of feature ideas from the features conference that happened whilst I was away. I read through them, make notes then send them back to her. I tend to push ideas as far as they’ll go – I’m a big fan of first person journalism, so usually one member of the team will be dispatched to go and do something interesting/crazy. The way I see it, our whole trade is based on story telling, and as a magazine editor I’m a big fan of putting our writers in the middle of a long narrative. It marks a very clear difference to what we do online. 

We come into Euston and all is calm until the waitress spills someone’s entire breakfast down my new shirt. Great.

Get into the office and have a run through with my new fashion director, Amy Bannerman for a fashion shoot she’s doing in Mexico. I fall in love with about 15 different items. We also have a quick catch-up on #FashFest, our big annual fashion events, that takes place over five days in September. It’s only March but we’re already in the planning stages.

I usually try and keep my Friday lunchtime’s open so I can do bikram yoga with my deputy editor, Shoshana Goldberg, but today I’m just not feeling it. Instead I catch up on emails and scroll through my social. Lovely Fleur East, who performed at our ABC party to celebrate being back to the UK’s number 1 glossy magazine, has sent a message. She is incredible and the sort of self-made celebrity that our readers love and admire. Make note to do more with her in the magazine. 

Have a quick catch up with our group commercial director Ella Dolphin about Hearst’s new Shared Spaces project. I’m very involved with the commercial side of things at Cosmopolitan, which was part of my talk at Spark North. I think it’s naïve for any journalist now not be aware of the commercial sensibilities of the media they work in. The Cosmopolitan team have that perfect balance of being commercially aware but always editorially driven.

Try and leave on time tonight. Take a bundle of magazines for my train journey home then look forward to pizza and catching up on The Bridge with my husband.  

The Lowdown

Age: 37
Favourite media: Snapchat and The Saturday Times magazine
My biggest inspiration: My husband. But Joanna Coles, my US counter part, is one impressive #girlboss too
Dream job: This one’s not too bad…
Not a lot of people know this about me: I was named after Farrah Fawcett

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