Will Glenda's brash 'sex and oddballs' style take Manhattan by storm?

Glenda Bailey's move from British to American Marie Claire is the latest in a trend which has seen the best of our magazine editors heading for the US. Most of those who have taken a bite into the Big Apple have found it sweet, but unlike Tina Brown, who went via Vanity Fair to edit the New Yorker, or Anna Wintour who edits American Vogue, Bailey is a northern girl from Derby with a working-class upbringing (and accent to match), and comes without the silken, sophisticated, Oxbridge trappings so revered across the pond.

With Bailey now hard at work producing her first edition, the October issue, the question is: will the renowned Bailey style, imagination and tabloid-energy work in the self-important glossy-magazine world of Manhattan?

Bailey has already broken a social taboo, ringing up socialites and inviting them to lunch herself, rather than delegating the task to an assistant. This direct style has already won her converts. As one of her invitees said: "I was prepared to dislike her because there is this resistance to British women here. The way she chats on makes you think she is a bit nutty, but actually I found her very charming. "

In the Channel 4 documentary Absolutely Marie Claire, screened last year, Bailey came across as gushing, naive and given to breathless monologues, but she is obviously a savvy, canny, woman. Of course she is aware that her success will depend more on what she does with the magazine than whether socialites cleave to her.

One US magazine insider described her challenge as follows: "US Marie Claire (which is not directly related to the British title) has a very weak identity in the American market. It is the sister magazine to American Cosmopolitan, but whereas the latter is the glamorous sister invited to all the balls, Marie Claire is the Cinderella. Before, if you mentioned you were writing a piece for American Marie Claire, people would say: 'Who? What?' "

Bailey's first task will be to change the identity of the magazine, from "middle-of-the-road mundane" to something more risque. But if, as some suggest, she takes the magazine downmarket too quickly and fronts it with sensationalist sex and oddballs with 18 split personalities - the kind of characters who regularly spiced-up the British version - she may find more conservative American readers deserting in droves.

"Bailey's problem is that her "stab-em, splash-em, splat-em" style of editing, which gave British Marie Claire its identity, is too extreme for the American glossy women's magazine readership," says a US journalist. "There is a stream of journalism in America that deals with the more bizarre kind of people that populate our planet, but it is alternative and most glossy magazine readers would consider it "inappropriate". The last cover before Bailey took over, for example, featured the star of Friends, the US sitcom. Bailey would consider a cover like that too soft. But whether she will be allowed to get away with what she has become famous for is the big question. There has been no public criticism about her so far, but everyone is watching closely who she's lunching with."

Circulation is 500,000, pitiful in American glossy terms, compared to say the 2.5 million circulation of American Cosmo. Hearst, the magazine's owners, are reputedly paying Bailey pounds 170,000 a year, and giving her a pounds 6,000-a-month living allowance. As one journalist brazenly put it: "If she doesn't deliver ... they'll spit her out and forget all about her."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Savvy Media Ltd: Media Sales executive - Crawley

£25k + commission + benefits: Savvy Media Ltd: Find a job you love and never h...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Solicitor NQ+ Oxford

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

In a world of Saudi bullying, right-wing Israeli ministers and the twilight of Obama, Iran is looking like a possible policeman of the Gulf

Iran is shifting from pariah to possible future policeman of the Gulf

Robert Fisk on our crisis with Iran
The young are the new poor: A third of young people pushed into poverty

The young are the new poor

Sharp increase in the number of under-25s living in poverty
Greens on the march: ‘We could be on the edge of something very big’

Greens on the march

‘We could be on the edge of something very big’
Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby - through the stories of his accusers

Revealed: the case against Bill Cosby

Through the stories of his accusers
Why are words like 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?

The Meaning of Mongol

Why are the words 'mongol' and 'mongoloid' still bandied about as insults?
Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible