How The Editor Of British Vogue Deals With Anxiety

As you know, I really liked the documentary Absolutely Fashion, about life inside British Vogue. And although the critics saw the good parts (great people, visionaries, and personalities) they also saw the bad parts too, the critical tone of the documentary and some of the parts we missed out on.

But Alexandra Shulman’s upcoming Vogue diary is remedying all that. With all the insider info we thought we’d never get, plus a real, true account of what it’s like to work at Vogue.

We’re pre-ordering it now!

There is a bit of contention between Vogue and bloggers at the moment, emanating from their comments about fashion week, but Alexandra is my kind of editor. ‘I’m terribly unhealthy. I do everything the wrong way round: eat, drink, smoke and sleep,’ she tells ES magazine, and that just makes me like her even more.

On offending people

Parts of the book are fantastical, ridiculous and kind of offensive. Alexandra opens the door for us to see these truly amazing people through her eyes. It’s funny and revealing. When asked if she’s worried about offending she simply says, ‘It’s not in my nature to offend, but I decided to do this so I have to be prepared that some people might be upset. My main thing was it had to be honest.’

On creating idols for teenage girls

She talks about the fact that designers never lend clothes for them to shoot ordinary people with a refreshing view of the culture of celebrity. ‘If you want teenage girls to be something other than Kim Kardashian or Holly Willoughby or Keira Knightley, well I suppose Keira is an actress, if you want them to aspire to be in the professions — lawyers, doctors, economists, engineers — you’ve got to also encourage them to think they can have all the fun of glamour, too.’

And she talks openly about the fact that having a blow-dry is her least favorite activity and loves to enjoy her food, ‘My diary has appointments on the half-hour every hour,’ she reflects. ‘That sounds as if it would make one thinner, but not in my case.’

On how she deals with anxiety

She’s a woman after my own heart, actually. She knows what she wants, knows she’s good at her job, gets shit done, has a surprisingly steady head on her shoulders and enjoys food. She’s also seriously open about her struggle with anxiety, which she’s had since she was 21.

After a few bad turns, she decided to take medication for it, saying, ‘Lots of people feel bad about admitting [to anxiety]. Drugs to treat anxiety and depression are absolutely invaluable. Anybody who thinks it is wrong is not giving themselves a chance.’

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Beth Macdonald

Managing Editor

I'm the Managing Editor of CGD. I'm a graduate of the Penguin Writer's Academy and have published a short story. I specialize in copywriting, digital marketing, and research.