2012 February 11
Who's The Fairest?
Giorgio Niro View Gallery
(NEW YORK) With the biggest masthead (and biggest budgets) at Condé, Vanity Fair requires a staggering amount of dough to stay flush. Good thing power publisher Ed Menicheschi is up for the challenge!
BY ALEXANDRA ILYASHOV
How’s life with Graydon?
To use Hollywood terms, Graydon is the director and I am the producer. We’re like Billy Wilder and Sam Goldwyn, with less fighting.
We heard you were planning to cut back on your meals at The Waverly Inn.
I’ve been going less often because Graydon so thoughtfully opened The Monkey Bar, so I’m now splitting my time.
Is Graydon still smoking?
No! But I know he has…Well, ‘no’ is the official party line.
What was life like pre-Condé?
Before GQ in the early nineties, I worked at Bidermann Industries in the fashion business. During the first big internet boom, from 1999 through 2001, I worked at a start-up entertainment business co-located in New York and Santa Monica called IAM.com, which was a bit ahead of its time. It was a talent search site that was kind of a digital precursor to American Idol.
I’m fortunate because the brand is astonishing. I’ve been in this industry for about 25 years, and I hear ‘Vanity Fair is my favorite magazine’ more than ever.
Interestingly, Mike Bloomberg! When I told him I was the publisher of Vanity Fair, he proceeded to tell me everything about the brand and why he loved it—in 30 seconds. He even knew the price he paid for his subscription.
Who else is reading VF?
It’s not a magazine for everybody, but it definitely finds you if you are interested in a range of subjects and you want the ‘A-version’ of those subjects, whether it’s Lady Gaga or the 99 percent. You have to be smart to appreciate this magazine.
Educated, affluent, opinionated, and spending significant amounts of time outside the U.S.
What are the challenges of selling your favorite read?
We have a rule here, actually. If you aren’t as passionate about the brand as our readers are, you can’t actually be here.
Has anyone been fired for lack of obsession?
There’s a pretty good screening process.
I remember my first sales meeting when Graydon presented his editorial team. It was a murderer’s row of writers and editors, all in one room. There are media properties that would be lucky to have one or two or them—and we had 10. Afterwards, I turned to my publishing team and said, ‘If that doesn’t excite you and give you a sense of the privilege it is to represent this brand, then there’s the door.’ Everyone stayed!
You’re a Vogue alum. Most memorable Anna moment?
I was always struck by how much she adored Bee [Schaffer]. Anna just lit up whenever Bee was around. Anna is above and beyond being a brilliant editor—she’s an absolutely adoring mother.
How exactly do we pronounce your last name?
That is a very kind question. Thank you! It’s Men-eh-kes-ki.
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