I once applied for a job as managing editor at a regional bridal magazine. The day before my interview, the editorial director sent me a test.
What three changes would you make to the magazine?
What do you think couples are most looking for when planning a wedding?
What is the coolest thing you've seen in catering lately?
Wedding planning, I replied, is messy. The weddings in this magazine were not. They were aloof, caught behind glass like so many butterflies. Where were the tears? The glue gun burns? The emotion?
The women in the magazine didn't look like anyone I knew. No tattoos. Nothing dyed. Not a piercing out of place. Even the sample sizes looked loose on their runway-ready frames. Plus, all the models were white, a point I raised during my interview.
"Well," the editorial director said, "on next month's cover, we do have a racially ambiguous model. You know, a real Kim Kardashian type."
The magazine, she continued, "should be Pinterest on steroids" — aspirational, not authentic. "You'll never work with couples in this job," she said. "It's all about the vendors."
That was clear from the $100,000 worth of flowers she showed me in last month's feature.
Where, I wondered, were the magazines talking to my friends?
The women I know shouldn't have to settle for stereotypes, for ambiguity, for "racially ambiguous."
Needless to say, I didn't get the job. I have, however, heard from the two managing editors hired since I applied. Both have asked me to write for this magazine.
The first time, I politely demurred. The second time, I decided to pitch an idea from this blog and my writing on what I call the Wedding Industrial Complex.
The response: "Right now I'm looking for a story for our Destination Weddings section on the Yamhill Valley."
Not the same thing.
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