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2013 April 2

Global Glossy Alert: Meet Ariadne Grant, EIC of Marie Claire Mexico

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(NEW YORK) What’s it like to be a Marie Claire editrix south of the border? Just ask Ariadne Grant, who’s been in the EIC seat for a year at Marie Claire’s Mexico and Latin America edition after scaling her way up the Mexico City mag ladder quite quickly. Her tricks? Hard work galore, for starters, plus a stint getting schooled on the craft in London and a very straight-shooting approach to tackling her job. The Daily chatted up Grant recently in the throes of a boisterous din honoring Oscar de la Renta at a Mexico City resto, Tenampa (the joint was replete with tableside Mariachi bands, and the designer du evening sang along and took shots of tequila). If only every interview could occur under such fun circumstances, non? 

What’s your backstory?        
I grew up in Mexico City and studied mass communications. I thought it wasn’t enough, so I went to London, where I studied fashion and journalism for two years at London College.  

What was your first mag gig?
I was a correspondent for Televisa, which is the biggest publishing company here [Ed. Note: titles include Esquire, Cosmopolitan, and Vanidades]. So when I came back to Mexico City from London, I already had a job. Everybody says I have a dream job now. I’m like, “yes, I do." I mean, it was my dream job. I love it. But I work so many hours.

How crazy is it, exactly?
We work a lot! It’s less glamorous than everyone would think. I spend so many hours at the office.  But I really don’t care; I don’t mind it. It’s worth it because I love doing my job. 

What do your readers clamor for in Marie Claire’s pages?
I think what they love about the magazine is that we have this mix. It’s a fashion magazine for women who are interested in the world. It’s very empowering. When I’m putting the magazine together, I like to think, about ever go on a plane for five hours, what do I buy? Something I can read in 20 minutes? Or, something that is going to last for hours—which is what I want Marie Claire to be. 

Have you met a lot of editors of other editions of Marie Claire?
Always. We’re always connected because we have this Marie Claire conference every two years. I love the conference! And the rest of the time, we're always communicating. 

Are the similarities between your MC edition and other global iterations? 
Our edition is a lot like Spain’s Marie Claire. We’re also like the versions in the U.S, Australia, the U.K. We’re not like North Korea, and we’re not like Saudi Arabia’s Marie Claire. 

What’s the most surprising edition of Marie Claire?
Korea. They are crazy! They’re like 1,000 pages every issue. It’s like a September issue every month. It’s almost difficult to read, it’s so big! 

Where can we find you on an average day on the job?
A typical day would involve staying at the office and working a lot. We travel a lot; which can be hard, but I’m not complaining at all. You get to meet great people and have really different experiences. I’ve gone to countries or places I have never thought I’d go to in this job. 

Like where?
A very small town in Northern Italy, located between Venice and Vicenza. I was at a special place—a factory—where fabrics and finishes for Oscar de la Renta gowns come from. It was a chance to see the whole process.

What are some of your success tricks?
If you want the job, you have to be really clear of what you want. A lot of people come to me and say they really want to work at Marie Claire. OK, why? I want to be in Fashion. Why? Because I love fashion. OK, no. [laughs]  When I was in London, I just knew what I wanted to do. And then I realized it was much harder and everybody was older; so yes, it was daunting. But I stuck with it and stayed clear about what I wanted.

Who’s your dream editrix mentor, living or dead?
Diana Vreeland! She didn’t have a proper education in [magazines], so she had another point of view. And sometimes I like to have a fresh point of view because, even if you are really motivated, really into this, you know your thing. You’re spending too much time just ‘in it’. Sometimes you need a fresh eye, someone who dares to do something different. 

Where do you find fresh perspectives?
My interns; I always talk to them. I ask them what they think about things. 

Are your interns usually frank or a bit censored when giving you feedback?
No, they’re really direct! They like what they like—which is important, because as an editor, what you like is not what everybody [reading the magazine] likes or wants. 

Sounds like a great focus group! Any other key sounding boards for all things MC?
I ask my mom, too. So you have to always be open. It’s the best thing you can do because we, in the industry, already have too many opinions about what we see.  She’s always very direct. 

Where do you see yourself in a decade?
I can’t imagine myself doing anything else.

Do you want to stay in Mexico City for a while?
Yes, absolutely. When I first came back from London, I thought I’d only spend a few years in Mexico City and then go somewhere else. You know what? I will never go anywhere else. Well, that’s what I say now, at least… 

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