My Mentor: Tina Gaudoin on Jane Procter
'Jane told me later that she hired me because I'd look good eating canapés'
Monday 22 September 2008
Jane Procter gave me my big break as beauty editor at Tatler at the start of the 1990s. I was barely a journalist; I'd done six months on Woman magazine in New York and wrote to Jane saying I'd like to work for her. When I went to be interviewed, I could hardly hear a word she said because of building work outside. She later told me she hired me because she thought I would look good eating canapés.
I wanted to do features and then edit a magazine, and I thought beauty was a great way in. Jane gave me a lot of opportunities at Tatler, but she was very exacting and demanding. She always wanted the funny or the wry side of a story, never a straightforward account.
She was very smart and very direct, and so quick at spotting a great story, or the real angle. She would want to know who the person behind things was.
She could be scary, but if you came up with an idea and she thought you could do it, she would let you. She also gave great advice and could always see the funny side of things.
The thing about Tatler was that if you wanted to be in the magazine, you shouldn't have been working there. I never wanted to be in Tatler and Jane was very savvy about people and spotted that, and I'm not sure she ever wanted to be in it either. She was interested in the personalities.
I worked with Robert Thomson at The Times for five-and-a-half years before he asked me to launch WSJ (the Wall Street Journal magazine), and I was thrilled because he is a brilliant editor: very trusting and encouraging. Watching someone like him at the height of their editing powers is really inspiring. Like Jane, he is a super-smart individual. You can't see the cogs whirring away when you're with them, but you know they are. I'm still friends with Jane, and returned to work as her deputy for a time. I have been fortunate to work with such inspiring people.
Tina Gaudoin is the editor of 'WSJ', the new Saturday style magazine from 'The Wall Street Journal'
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