Sunday, 1 March 2015

Interview with Vogue Health and Beauty Editor Lauren Murdoch-Smith

During my recent stint at British Vogue I was lucky enough chat to their Health and Beauty Editor, the über chic and eternally lovely Lauren Murdoch-Smith about all things beauty, here’s what she had to say…

Did you always know that you wanted to be a Beauty Journalist?

No, I didn’t know that this was a job.  No-one ever said to me: “You like fashion, you like beauty, you could work at a magazine”. I loved magazine’s but I never thought I could work at one. I know that sounds a bit weird. I knew I wanted to do something in media but I didn’t know what, so I went for a Public Relations course because it had lots of different units within it like marketing and advertising. Initially I thought I might want to do advertising and journalism, so it gave me quite a good overview of the media I guess. Pretty much as soon as I started my course though, I knew it wasn’t what I wanted to do, so in a way that was a good thing because it led me to doing this.

For everyone who believes it’s non-stop press launches and parties, what is a normal day for a Beauty Editor really like?

Not really parties, definitely loads of launches. You’d be surprised how many product launches there are in a week, it’s ridiculous! I think more so for beauty than for fashion, there’s products coming out every single day. I’d say on an average week we have, at least twenty launches and then on top of that we have meetings, and interviewing brand founders. Depending on what we’re working on, we could be interviewing someone over the phone in the states, or going to Paris to interview someone, or travelling somewhere really amazing to find out about a new launch. Obviously there’s also the fashion weeks, so we go backstage and report on the new beauty trends and inspirations that are happening the next season and then we come back and collate all of that, but pretty much every week, or every day is different for us because there’s so many things going on. The only way that we really get inspired for new stories is by meeting people and finding out what’s happening in our world so you have to be quite sociable and out and about quite a bit which means evening events, or being out during the day, or travelling, so there’s a lot of different things happening which is good.

What’s been the standout moment of your career so far?

Probably working at Vogue. I mean there are so many, I love my job, I think that’s quite a standout thing. To say you love your job is quite unusual, I think some of my friends don’t understand how I can enjoy work. There’s been so many things, I’ve been able to travel to some amazing places, met some really incredible people - I’ve met most of my really good friends now through work -but yeah probably working at Vogue. When I first started in the industry, I said to myself, if I could work anywhere, it would be at Vogue, and it’s happened. Ooh and also maybe seeing David Beckham backstage at Victoria’s show!

As a Beauty Editor, you’ve tried and tested hundreds of beauty products, but which three have made it to holy grail status?

I have so many that I love, but I guess there are a few that I turn back to or that I constantly use. I‘ve always, always used Liz Earle’s Cleanse and Polish, and I’ve actually used it from a really young age, since before I was in the industry, I think it’s really amazing. I currently really love the new Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara. It’s got a really great wand which has different bristle lengths. You’re supposed to turn it as you apply it and the smallest bristles catch you’re shortest lashes because your lashes grow at different cycles. That’s probably the product that I’ve tried using recently that most people have commented on. Then I really like Kerastase shampoo and conditioner, I love all of their ranges but I particularly like the orange and cream Nutritive range.

What is your favourite makeup brand for people on a budget?

Maybelline, definitely. I think their mascara’s are great and they’re paving the way for excellent foundations. They do a lot of session shoots so the makeup artists they have as ambassadors really need great products. They’re owned by L’Oreal who also own Lancôme and other premium ranges like Armani so a lot of their research is also being used in their high-street mass brands, it’s quite good to look out for things like that. Bourjois was once owned by Chanel so it’s kind of like you’re getting the same product but in a cheaper version. Do your research and get recommendations from your friends rather than just going to a counter and seeing what they’re trying to sell. It’s good to visit a counter because they obviously know their brands inside out, but you shouldn’t ever feel pressured, everything works differently for different people so it’s worth just doing your research.

If you could work with any other industry expert be it hairstylist, photographer, make-up artist, who would it be?

I’d love Anastasia Soare (from Anastasia Beverly Hills) to do my brows. I would love to work with Oribe and talk to him about his Jennifer Lopez days and makeup wise, I wish Kevyn Aucoin was still here. I would have loved to have met him and talked to him about all of his incredible stories and the people he did the most amazing makeup for.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing instead?

I’d love to have been a doctor or a midwife, two very different things but I like surgery and things like that. Since I’ve had a baby I have a new-found respect for midwives, I’m quite obsessed by the medical world. Or maybe I'd be an air hostess, I do really love travelling. It’s weird to think what I would be doing if I wasn’t doing this but yeah I think those. It will probably be different next year though!
What tips would you give to anyone hoping to get into the industry?

Do as much work experience as possible. It’s good now that blogging is around because it wasn’t when I was starting out and I think it’s a really good way to see how serious you are about what you want to do. It also keeps you up to date with what’s happening because obviously when you’re doing work experience you’re probably just doing a load of admin which is very important and instrumental to the department but obviously you want to be building on your own personal development as well. I’d say keep a blog or a vlog and do as much work experience because you just don’t know who you’re going to meet or who’s going to pass your name on to someone who might have a position. Always be enthusiastic about whatever you’re doing even if it’s the most boring thing in the world, it really does make a difference, not all work experience people are good, so the ones who are stand out and stick in your mind and you’re more likely to help them, so if you can be that person, then you’ve got a very good chance of making it.

Wise words indeed from the beautiful Lauren. For more from her, head to the beauty Bible itself, Vogue.

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