Interview with Laura Brown
Laura Brown is the Executive Editor of Harper’s BAZAAR. She joined Harper’s BAZAAR in 2005. In addition to securing and conceptualizing Bazaar’s cover stories, she has orchestrated some of the magazine’s greatest coups: she sent The Simpsons to Paris, America’s greatest designers to Sesame Street and has made others – thanks to a partnership with artist Liu Bolin – completely disappear.
She has also collaborated with directors Martin Scorsese, Mike Nichols, James Cameron, Pedro Almodovar, Tim Burton and The Artist’s Michel Hazanavicius on film and fashion portfolios.
Brown broke the exclusive interview with Janet Jackson after the death of her brother Michael and has profiled influential women including Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama alongside celebrities Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Drew Barrymore, Kate Winslet, and Jane Fonda, among others.
Brown is the host of the popular YouTube fashion series, The Look. She was a featured judge alongside Iman and Isaac Mizrahi on Bravo’s The Fashion Show and appears regularly on programs including Good Morning America and Entertainment Tonight.
Follow Laura on Twitter – @laurabrown99.
How did you choose to be in magazines? Or did magazines choose you?
I wanted to be in magazines since I was nine years old – I think I just had delusions of grandeur from a young age. Not only did I love the glamour of magazines, I liked being able to read about “what’s next.” It was particularly important to me growing up in Australia, which is so far away. When I was in college, when my friends were buying beer, I was buying imported Harper’s BAZAARs.
You grew up in Australia and then decided to live in New York City – was that a career or a lifestyle choice? And what advantages do young American women have that might not be so readily available outside of the U.S.?
My career and my lifestyle are totally linked – so I think your definition of lifestyle is one of the greatest influences on your life. I happen to love the arts, fashion, culture, creativity – it’s as important to me as long days on the beach are to other people (not that I mind them either). I think that if you are ambitious in magazines, you naturally want to be part of the center of the business. And that, of course, is New York.
Realizing there are no do-overs in life, are there any mistakes that you made in your career that you’d like a chance to correct?
Whatever do you mean? I have been flawless the entire time! Ha.
As a manager, do you notice anything in general that young women do in the workplace that they should stop doing immediately?
I think there is some – and I mean, some, not all – of a culture of entitlement these days, that I didn’t see when I was younger. A lot of, why can’t I get free clothes, why can’t I go on that fashion shoot? And, of course, work hard for 20 years in magazines, then maybe you can. Also, don’t get caught up in industry gossip, because it’s silly, it makes you look silly – and honestly, if you’re doing your job right, you won’t have time to indulge in it. I certainly don’t.
We always ask our signature question – if you could give young women three pieces of advice they could apply to their lives, what would they be?
Love what you do, be good at what you do, and be nice. It’s not more complicated than that. My personal slogan is: “Underthink it.”
BONUS Question: If you had to recommend the most essential clothing/fashion items every young woman should invest in as they are starting their careers, what would they be?
A great tailored jacket, a silkish shirt like they have at Equipment – which are hands-down the best work shirts, a black pencil skirt and black pumps. Then you’ll be golden.