Ahead of the launch of her memoir, JANE RAPHAELY unedited, I quizzed the original fun, fearless female, Jane Raphaely, who edited COSMO in 1984 – long before liberation, Twitter and instant idols.
SBU: What made you launch COSMO in South Africa?
JANE: I wanted to cater for the career women who were emerging here – they needed a magazine that saw them as individuals, not wives and mothers (or women waiting to be wives and mothers). South Africa also needed sexual liberation to go along with the other liberation that was coming. I had to leave the magazine I had created, Fairlady, to do this, which was heartbreaking, but I had the support of my husband, Michael, and we had the supersalesman of all time, Volker Kuhnel, as a partner. My book is not just the ‘herstory’ of magazines – it’s my gift to all the women who’ve asked me, ‘How did you do it?’
S: What three lessons have you learnt from women’s magazines?
J: The magazine doesn’t go to the printers because it is perfect – it goes because it is past the deadline (with thanks to Tina Fey); good editors don’t talk – they listen; good magazines don’t shout – they talk.
S: What one fashion item have you considered your weapon/armour?
J: Hot pants. It wasn’t just to show off my legs but to be able to sit with my legs apart without flashing my broeks. Mary Quant understood this completely when she invented them!
S: Which sex coverline would best describe you?
J: A one-man woman who can write the book on men.
S: Who is your girl crush?
J: Christina Ricci.
S: What do you sing in the shower?
J: Nothing. Not only am I a bath person but I can’t sing a note in tune.
S: Do you have any wishes that have not yet been fulfilled?
J: I want David de Rothschild (a young British adventurer and philanthropist who sailed a catamaran – the Plastiki – partially made of reclaimed plastic bottles across the Pacific in 2010 to focus world attention on the death of the ocean) to have something invented that will recycle the island of plastic waste in the Pacific into something that will stop northern Sudan destroying southern Sudan. Then I’d like George Clooney to stop worrying about southern Sudan and start worrying about the fate of women and children in South Africa.
S: Do you have any regrets?
J: I wish I had forced myself to be more athletic. But then I’d have read fewer books.
S: What would you want your last tweet on earth to be?
J: There are books in heaven.
S: Describe your life in a hashtag.