Monday, November 9, 2009

The September Issue & My Own Issues!

The September Issue is a movie that shows the fascinating and sometimes controversial worlds of fashion and publishing. I have to say that for me it only brought some of the best memories of my life and reminded me of some of the most precious and talented women that I have ever met.

I worked for the publishing industry for 8 years and I can only say that there’s a Vivian before and after that. It changed me forever in the best ways. This experience besides being the most exciting of my life made me a more confident and independent woman, gave me a different perspective of the world and made me think outside the box.

When I started working at the publishing house I was coming from a marketing background and a very technical company (Ericsson). At that time I was looking to work in a more creative place doing public relations. So when Toni, the editor in chief for Tu Magazine contacted me for an interview it was a dream come true! The reality is that I didn’t know what I was getting into. So when I was asked to go for an interview I dressed into my best suit and showed up with my most professional and serious attitude.

When I got there I was completely surprised to see this different world where being laidback, fun and original were the keys to success. I remember feeling totally out of place with my slick outfit and attitude (LOL). After my first interview I was asked to write three articles for the magazine (a title dedicated to girls from 12 to 18 years old). I was sooo excited because my passion for writing was going to become a reality. I wrote the required texts and a week later I was already part of the team. I couldn’t believe what was happening! I was not only going to work in the most important publishing house in Latin America (Editorial Televisa) but in one of their most important and profitable titles (Revista TU).

With a bachelor degree in marketing I quite never thought that this would become real. I discovered my passion for writing when I was 8 years old after I wrote a short story about a girl with a magic finger for a writing contest at my school in 3rd grade. I won the 3rd place so that totally encouraged me to keep writing short stories that I would only read to my mom. I was too shy to share them with my whole family or friends. During the next years at school I enjoyed everything related with writing articles, essays, poems, etc. But when it was time to choose a career I think Mexico’s reality pushed me to go for something more corporate and business oriented like marketing which is also something that I really like and that definitely has given me the skills to accomplish a lot of dreams in my life like opening a restaurant.

But the magic started the day that I began working for Tu Magazine. With no experience at all in this industry I was in charge of more than the third part of the editorial content. I remember that during my first day I had my first interview already. I was so nervous! I grabbed a borrowed tape recorder and drove to meet this Latin American singer called Emanuel Ortega. He was launching his first album so he was as nervous as me. We even shared our stories and laughed during the whole interview about the fact that we both were two completely beginners. That day I had so much fun that I knew I was on the right path and in fact after that moment a cascade of unbelievable events began to happen.

I started meeting and interviewing national and international celebrities. Names that went from Hanson to Christina Aguilera. I had from the best experiences like interviewing one of my favourite actresses, Julie Andrews (Mary Poppins & The Sound of Music) to the worst phoner (phone interview) with Matthew McConaughey which was a stressfull phone call that cut off like 10 times in 15 minutes and put him and his manager in the worst of the moods (I just remember the shaking of my voice and body while his manager could just yell and blame me for the troubled call).

I had the chance to travel and cover set visits, junkets, and incredible events like the season finale of Dawson’s Creek in N.Y. or the launching of the first Britney Spears movie in New Orleans where I had the chance to meet a shy and sweet Britney. I met intelligent and fun people like Kirsten Dunst, Anne Hathaway, James Marsden, Mena Suvari, Jack Black, Mandy Moore, James Franco and Shakira and lost and sad like Jessica Simpson. I used to stay at the same hotels as these celebrities so I shared elevators with people like Toni Collette or Macaulay Culkin and learned that some of them were as ordinary as me.

The most ironic part of this is that the more celebrities you meet the more down to earth you get and the more you value your common life. I never asked for an autograph or a picture (well, I’m lying since I only did it with my idol Julie Andrews!). You just get so used to this world that you learn that these celebrities usually are as ordinary as your co-workers so putting them in such a pedestal feels weird! The funny thing is the more famous they became the more humble and educated they were.

I’ve been kind of feminist since I was born (you can ask my mother, I was looking for equality since I was in her womb LOL!) and the fashion and publishing industries are just inspiring since they are mostly ruled by powerful and passionate women. A lot of people would think that it's one of the vainest worlds but after my experience I can only say that I became a more human and caring person. You travel and meet so different people and places that it's impossible not to evolve into a more conscious individual.

I had the honour of working with two of the most amazing women I have ever known. Toni Salamanca, now editor in chief for Harper’s Bazaar Mexico and Susana Ogando, now editor in chief for Eres Magazine. These two incredible, creative and intelligent women showed me everything about passion, hard work and ethic. They were not only committed to their title but to their readers. In this case, little girls looking for answers that went from the triviality of what to wear to the complexity of what to do during an unexpected pregnancy or a profound depression. They taught me things that have been precious in my personal life and as a business owner. And just like them there's a list of wonderful women that I had the pleasure to meet.

I’m just grateful for this incredible opportunity of having been able to share my thoughts, insights and experiences and probably make a difference in teenagers living in more than 15 countries all over Latin America including the Latin community in the U.S. I totally miss it and in fact this feeling is the fuel for this blog.

Lately, there has been an obsession from the media with the fashion and publishing industries and I totally understand it, they are magical, intriguing and unique worlds. But there’s more than angry and cold women, there’s a group of people interested in making some changes in the world through the power of word. The September Issue is more than a movie about fashion, it's a film that shows that there’s more than ads in a magazine. There’s vision, passion, intelligence, a lot of hard work and an ideal to make the world a better place.

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