A weekly Q&A with interesting people in the Australian Media Industry
Justine Cullen
  • Name Justine Cullen
  • Company ELLE Australia
  • Position Editor in Chief
  • Interviewed by Social Diary on 19/4/2016
  • Q
    Describe your career path to date?
    A
    I started my career as a beauty writer, which I was for 14 years at various places including the BBC in London, marie claire and SHOP. While at SHOP I launched a spin off of the magazine for kids, which did well enough that when the editorship came up it was handed my way. I edited SHOP for about 5 years (winning some nice awards along the way including Magazine of the Year and Editor of the Year) until I left for my absolute dream job launching ELLE back into the Australian market in 2013.
  • Q
    What do you love about your job?
    A
    Working with my incredible team to produce something we feel so passionate about, being surrounded by talented people and beautiful things every day, and getting to have some amazing experiences - I just arrived home this morning from the Tiffany Blue Book Gala in New York, for example - that very few people do.
  • Q
    And what's not so great?
    A
    You can never really switch off, and you constantly have a lot of balls in the air at once which can be exhausting and overwhelming.
  • Q
    Describe your typical day?
    A
    There's no such thing, but if I'm not travelling (which I am a lot), I wake up early for a run and am at my desk by 6.45am. Lots of meetings, lots of emails, working on stories and planning and layouts and planning events. If I don't have a function I'm home to eat dinner with my family and put my kids to sleep, then back on email until I pass out watching Nashville on my laptop in bed.
  • Q
    What is the best experience you've had in your career?
    A
    Launching ELLE from scratch - all the power of a beloved global masthead but with the freedom to make it relevant for an Australian woman in today's world - was a once in a lifetime career experience... albeit one I would never want to live through again!
  • Q
    What advice would you give to someone starting out in the industry today?
    A
    To expect to work hard and suck up as much as you can from every step along the way. As a manager, the people you promote aren't always the exceptional talents - often it's the people who put the heart and souls into what they do and have the best (read: least problematic) attitudes that are the most valuable keepers on a team.
  • Q
    What do great PR people do?
    A
    Respond to emails, act quickly, understand the brand they're pitching to.
  • Q
    What do bad PRs do...
    A
    Cut and paste ideas between outlets, get names wrong (happens surprisingly often) , pitch concepts that are essentially just free advertising with little or no real interest to a reader. My pet hate is when brands pitch a behind-the-scenes of a campaign shoot to our website - that's not a story, that's running your ad for free on a site that makes its revenue from advertising!
  • Q
    How do like to be contacted and when?
    A
    Anytime as long as it's by email and not calling me 'Juz' (unless the sender and I have at some point been drunk together).
  • Q
    How has social media altered your job since the days when you started out?
    A
    It's changed it completely - now when we shoot or produce any kind of story we come armed with a chart outlining every additional piece of content we need across every platform. I spend most of my time at incredible events or the international shows with my head in my screen gramming and snapping. And it's also given us a direct line of communication with readers, which is completely incredible.
  • Q
    Do you enjoy attending industry events, and if so - which are your fave kind?
    A
    I'm all for an event as long as it's during the day. Unless it's a very special celebration, there aren't many work events that I think are worthy of stealing from people's personal time with their family. We all work hard enough!
  • Q
    The media landscape is going through a period of dramatic change - where do you see it in 5 years?
    A
    Things are constantly changing all the time, so who knows what platforms we'll be on or how people will be consuming their content but ultimately it's all still story-telling, that will never change.
  • Q
    You're a mother to three young children and Editor in Chief of a major Australian Womenâs Fashion magazine, how do you find a balance?
    A
    I think balance is a myth. But thank god for iPhones so you can work remotely. I leave the office early so I can have dinner with my kids almost every night, then I get back on and work again after they're asleep. It's not perfect, but it's the closest I can get to performing both roles to the best of my ability until they work out how to effectively clone a human.
  • Q
    If you weren't an Editor-in-Chief, what would you be?
    A
    A travel agent for the excessively wealthy. I have great skills in both planning a trip and spending money.
  • Q
    Your Instagram/Twitter:
    A
    Insta: Justine_cullen
    Twitter: Justine_elle
    Snapchat: justinecullen