A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Eleanor Pendleton
  • Name Eleanor Pendleton
  • Company www.grittypretty.com + Gritty Pretty Magazine
  • Position Editor & Publisher
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 9/9/2015
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    My background is in magazine publishing - I've held beauty editor roles at titles such as InStyle and FAMOUS and have written for the likes of Harper's BAZAAR, Men's Health, body+soul, Refinery29 and more. In 2013, I decided to leave my role as beauty editor at InStyle to pursue a freelance beauty writing career. At the same time, I relaunched my beauty website www.grittypretty.com (which was on hiatus while I was at InStyle) Within six months, the site had taken off so I made the decision to work on it full-time. In December 2014, I gave the website a face-lift and launched Gritty Pretty Magazine - Australia's first digital publication dedicated solely to beauty. Within four weeks of launch, we won 2014 ReadyMag Online Magazine of the Year and now attract advertisers such as CHANEL, Elizabeth Arden, L'Oreal Paris, La Prairie and more - it's been a wild ride but since delving into the world of digital, I haven't looked back!
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    The people - I'm fortunate enough to have a contributing team of the nation's best beauty journalists, photographers, stylists, designers and hair and makeup artists. They, along with the beauty PR industry, brand managers and media agencies, make my job a real joy. I also love that no two days are the same: one day I could be conducting a celebrity interview, the next I'm up at 5am on set at one of our cover shoots, attending an exciting product launch at Chiswick or trolling through Google Analytics at my office to see where the thousands of women that read our site are located and what device they're using.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    I'm fortunate that there aren't any cons to my job - I genuinely love what I do! The only thing I think that people underestimate is the lack of time. For me, most days are 15 hour days and I can often be working 7 days a week. I can be mid-sentence in an 800-word article and have to jump in a taxi and attend three product launches back to back only to get back to my computer at 9pm to finish said article. You can only run on adrenaline for so long before burning out so I make a conscious effort of really looking after myself by eating right and exercising when I can - no matter how busy I am. We all have as many hours in a day as Beyonce.
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    I'm a morning person so I'm up at 6am. I like to start my day with a reformer pilates or yoga class (although this isn't always possible) before heading to Gritty Pretty's office at La Porte Space in Waterloo. Some mornings, I can have a product launch or a one-on-one breakfast meeting with a beauty publicist. Some days I'll be doing a model casting, overseeing a main beauty shoot or I'll be personally styling product stills or shooting a beauty tutorial myself. In between all of that, there are lunch and evening events, however, I'm very picky about what events I attend at night. I generally attend two product launches a day and attend roughly 5 - 8 meetings, appointments or showings a week so I spend a lot of time in my car driving from one thing to the next. Like any job in media, being a beauty editor definitely isn't a 9 to 5 gig.
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    I've had so many - winning awards and travelling overseas to New York, London and Paris fashion weeks are obvious highlights but one of the best is probably the one that occurred just this week. On Monday, my September cover shoot with The Collective hit news stands - it was such a surreal moment walking into my local newsagency to see myself. I haven't stopped pinching myself! The Collective is distributed in 37 countries so to think that my entrepreneurial story of how I launched Gritty Pretty is going to be read worldwide is completely surreal! I've been go, go, go for the past few weeks so I'll be stopping to reflect and celebrate over dinner with my partner tonight.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    They understand the market, in which their client specialises in (be it fashion, beauty, food, lifestyle, etc) and the are 100% familiar with the publication to which they're pitching to. Just yesterday, I received a phone call (following up on a follow up of a press release) and I was offered liposuction! If anyone has seen me (check my Social Diary profile!) they know I'm 5'4" and very petite. I was absolutely shocked they hadn't taken the time to become familiar with our daily content or online magazine - lipo definitely isn't right for our reader.

    I think the beauty world is very different to any other - it's a tightknit community and the the beauty editors are very much a family. We are all good friends and often see each other twice a day. I've had friendships develop from business relationships with PR people, which is an obvious pro of my job. I believe a good PR is professional (no "Hi babe" and "xoxo" emails if we've never met please!). Same applies to Instagram - please don't use my Instagram platform as a place for following up on press releases or send outs. We receive around 10 couriers a day of product so a good PR invests time into forging a relationship, they're also creative and know how to make their client's products standout and grab the attention of a beauty editor whilst remaining professional and always on brand - both for their PR agency and client.
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    Nothing infuriates me more when I receive a GIANT box full of tissue paper and plastic cushions to protect a single eye liner. It's ludicrous! In our office, we recycle gift bags and ribbons but I'm appalled at how much rubbish we have to throw out (which can't be recycled). A bad PR will also spell my name incorrectly or blatantly regurgitate the same email to journalists, without tailoring it to the publication and get the name wrong at the same time. A bad PR will also roll a press release up into a scroll and hold a four event for a single lipstick. I don't mean to sound precious but as media, our time is extremely limited so events and media briefings should be short, concise and informative and ideally never longer than two hours. Also, if you send a follow up email one day after sending a media release, please don't expect a reply. If whatever you're pitching is relevant to our publication, we will absolutely respond otherwise we'll file it for future reference. As of this moment, I have a backlog of 356 unread emails... Apologies to anyone who is chasing me!
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    While email is ideal, I try not to respond outside of business hours. If it's urgent, my manager Katherine Moses (at Chic Management) is always available and she can reach me 24/7.
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    Social media has changed everyone's job. When I started as Editorial Coordinator/Beauty Writer in 2007 at Cosmopolitan's sister titles, Instagram and Twitter didn't exist. Nor did Square Space. We didn't have to write any content for the publication's website and now, it's a given that as a writer, you write for both print and online.

    Since Instagram's inception in 2011, the media landscape has had to increase it's pace for producing content. At Gritty Pretty, we produce and execute regular beauty articles on our website as our readers want information they can trust along with original high-quality imagery (yes, we shoot everything ourselves). Readers and consumers want access to information and they don't just want it fast, they want it for free. They want it online, they want it on Instagram, they want it on Facebook and they want it all right this very second or they'll scroll/flip right past you until you/your publication becomes irrelevant to them. Our quarterly online publication is a premium service which fills that gap in the market for well-written articles, captivating shoots, animation, motion graphics and video housed in a beautiful and sophisticated platform.

    I was recently chatting with Naomi Shepherd, Head of FMCG, Facebook & Instagram and she made a point that really sat with me: print and digital isn't changing - it's already changed! I'm really excited and proud to be part of this movement of creating quality information for women about beauty within the online realm. I absolutely don't think print is dead - it will always have a place and I will always respect and adore magazines - but print must evolve with its online partners. SMH's Facebook links to online articles are an example of this. A magazine's core demographic might be say 25 - 34 but we're an ageing population and if these publications don't evolve and companies don't recognise this demand and allocate more staff to online to assist the editorial teams (who are already stretched thin), then these magazines will eventually close. We've seen it already and I don't think we've seen the last of it, sadly.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    Definitely - it can be very exciting, inspiring and motivating when you witness what research scientists, chemists and the like have been creating. For me, I prefer lunch events. I live on the northern beaches so breakfasts aren't my favourite - especially if they're an 8:30am in the eastern suburbs. It means I spend over an hour of my time just getting there. Personally, I'm a fan of the 4pm - 5:30pm time slot because it allows everyone to head home on time. Evenings are fine and probably not as frequent on the beauty circuit as they used to be but as I mentioned I'm very selective. As a brand/PR, you're asking a lot of a beauty journalist to give up their evenings spent with their family and children so the launch really has to warrant taking up our personal time.
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    God, Instagram isn't even 5 years old and look where we are now...? There are people earning six figure salaries from Instagram alone! It's a crazy time. In terms of online, I imagine there will be a shift away from typical personality beauty blogs and a move towards more premium, online publishers in our market like Who What Wear, Byrdie and of course, Gritty Pretty. As we and technology advances, consumer's level of expectations will continue to rise while their attention span will decline. As media professionals, we will all have to work a lot harder to engage with our audiences. We will have to be more creative, innovative and push boundaries. The way consumers and readers engage nowadays with content and advertising has changed dramatically. The days of a celebrity billboard at King's Cross have gone. No one cares. They look at it and feel nothing because it doesn't resonate. It's no longer inspirational - they want aspirational. Real women are far more inspired and likely to purchase when they see an influencer or tastemaker on Instagram or a website sporting a Mansur Gavriel bucket bag and a YSL lipstick rather than by a celebrity in a paparazzi shot walking down Rodeo Drive. A woman will see her and feel she can relate to her. She isn't intimidated by her. She believes she can be just like her, and so, she goes out and she buys said bag and lipstick. All of this is a hard truth and I understand it's hard for seasoned journalists to comprehend but it is what it is. Consumers are changing their behaviours so we too need to change - ultimately, we all service them. Rebelling against this change only makes print publications seem ignorant and results in drops in circulation and eventually... ad dollars. As a digital entrepreneur, I constantly put myself in the shoes of the consumer/reader so I can find out what they need and subsequently create it or a service to achieve it.
  • Q
    If you weren't a journalist, what would you be?
    A
    I can't say because I'm doing exactly what I was put on this Earth to do. I feel very lucky.
  • Q
    Your Instagram/Twitter:
    A
    Instagram: @eleanorpendleton (44, 300)
    Instagram: @gritty_pretty (12, 300)
    Twitter: @El_Pendleton (3, 000)
    Twitter: @GrittyPrettyEd (1, 800)