I always wanted to be a journalist, but at school the careers officer tried to deter me by saying it was too hard and handed me application forms for M&S and the army. Luckily my dad gave me plenty of encouragement and I decided to write to all the magazines for advice.
Eventually Cosmopolitan wrote and advised me to take English A-level and then apply to study journalism at the London College of Fashion. I don't know what I would have done if I hadn't got that letter, as I was very green at the time.
After college I got a job in PR, which was good experience but not at all what I wanted to do. My best friend had been appointed as editorial assistant on the newly launched Just Seventeen and I was dead jealous. I hung around with all the Just Seventeen crowd and was desperate to leave PR and write features. I just bombarded the editor with pieces until finally he accepted one and let me write a couple of film reviews.
I must have been very brave at that stage, because that was all the encouragement I needed to go freelance. I did two days a week in PR to cover the rent, and just kept writing, doing all the things no one else wanted to do.
People say I'm the least ambitious successful person they know. But I am determined and level-headed. It's fear that keeps me going. When I was launching Sugar, I couldn't contemplate it failing. I hoped we'd sell 100,000 copies, but in the end we sold 500,000. Both Sugar and Red are successful because they are in tune with their audience.
I believe I'm quite good at motivating people, which is essential for an editor. It's all about choosing the right team and recognising the talent in others. I have been lucky in being in the right place at the right time, but in journalism nothing is handed to you on a plate. You have to be prepared to do anything, never give up and eventually it will happen. I have never let other people put me off.Reuse content