My Life In Media: Lorraine Candy

'"Just get on with it, old girl," my editor Richard Stott used to say, and it still makes me smile'
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The Independent Online

Lorraine Candy, 39, is the editor-in-chief of ELLE magazine. She has appeared on Sky One's Project Catwalk and Channel 4's Model Behaviour and revamped ELLE at the beginning of this year, signing up Mary McCartney's photography skills and the actress Chloë Sevigny as a style advisor. Candy lives in St John's Wood in north London with her husband James. They have been married for seven years and have three children, Russkaya, Gracie and Henry.

What inspired you to embark on a career in the media?

I wanted to travel, write and meet people. I didn't really want to go to university, so when I got offered a job at 16 on my local newspaper The Cornish Times, where I was doing work experience, I took it.

When you were 15 years old, which newspaper did your family get, and did you read it?

My family didn't really read newspapers or magazines – they are loyal Radio 4 listeners. We did get The Cornish Times now and again, especially if the school photo was in it. I used to buy Just 17 and all those mags, as well as Cosmopolitan.

What were your favourite TV and radio programmes?

I liked Top of the Pops. My friend and I went to London on the overnight train to Paddington when we were 15 to be in the audience.

Describe your job

I pull together all the strands of fashion and present it in a beautiful but useful package, I hope. My job at ELLE is to edit the magazine so it helps women develop their own personal style. Women are obsessed with fashion today – everyone wants to look good, and with the British high street being so strong that is quite easy.

What's the first media you turn to in the mornings?

The Today programme is unmissable in our household. But I do get to see some Spongebob Squarepants as well with the kids (aged five, four and one). It's better than The Simpsons.

Do you consult any media sources during the working day?

I obviously use and Google. I read as many of the papers as I can – a habit left over from my days on the dailies when you would be punished for not knowing what everyone else had run that day. I take the supplements home to read. I try to catch the Ten O'Clock News but I've usually fallen asleep by then.

What is the best thing about your job?

Seeing the magazine on the news stand each month still makes me proud. I get to meet really interesting people – the long lunch with Karl Lagerfeld in his Paris garden will always stay in my memory – and, of course, the annual ELLE Style awards are so much fun. Where else do you chat with Kylie and share a glass of bubbly with Cate Blanchett on the same night? Also I get to be part of a really creative industry.

And the worst?

I love the international fashion shows but it does mean that I'm away from the children for three weeks on and off in February and September each year.

How do you feel you influence the media?

The difference between magazines and TV, radio, papers and the web is that our influence lasts a whole month: there is a longevity about what we do and how we plan so we can affect a zeitgeist a long time in advance. Fashion often reflects a trend that is bubbling under in every other area of life – such as retail, obviously, which is closely linked to the economy worldwide. The influence of fashion and of how we reflect that in magazines shouldn't be underestimated.

What's the proudest achievement in your working life?

I don't really look back like that any more – we have just carried out an extensive redesign and I am incredibly proud of my new look March issue, but we're on May already so those moments pass very quickly.

And what's your most embarrassing moment?

There are so many that if I mentioned them all I could have a regular column in about four newspapers.

At home, what do you tune in to?

Radio 4, more Spongebob. Phoenix Nights is a fave. I watched Echo Beach on ITV because it's set in Cornwall, where I'm from, but it's rubbish. I loved The Sopranos but since then nothing on TV grabs me. We have to listen to Horrid Henry tapes in the car.

What is your Sunday paper? And do you have a favourite magazine?

The Observer. And I love Vanity Fair.

Name the one career ambition you want to realise.

I'd like to do a magazine or newspaper launch one day, though I suspect the future is probably digital.

If you didn't work in the media what would you do?

I have always quite fancied working by the sea in Cornwall, or with horses.

Who in the media do you most admire and why?

My first editor, Richard Stott of the Daily Mirror, was a huge influence on me. He gave me a job at 21 and I was lucky enough to work with him again on the Today newspaper – he was so inspirational because he made it look fun and he made it look easy. He died last year and it wasn't until I attended his memorial service that I realised how strong a part he had played in my career and life. He was the most admired and respected editor in the industry and had huge influence – but he was also the most charming and entertaining man. "Just get on with it, old girl," he used to say, and it still makes me smile.

1985 Joins The Cornish Times, then The Wimbledon Times in 1987.
1990 Joins the Daily Mirror on features.
1993 Joins The Sun as woman's editor.
1995 Marie-Claire's assistant editor.
1997 Deputy editor of The Times' Saturday magazine.
1998 Editor of B.
1999 Back to The Times as features editor.
2000 Editor-in-chief of Cosmo.
2004 Takes over at ELLE.