There are only a few jobs in the world which excite casual comment
so much that you have to lie about your career at parties. Obviously
there’s the doctors (Oh, doctor, I have these terrible shooting pains
...), the dentists (ditto) and, surprisingly, beauty journalists.
Jan Masters, the new health and beauty director at Cosmopolitan, often
finds herself pretending she weaves rugs for a living rather than face
endless questions about dry skin or listen to fervent attacks about
’It can be a bit irritating,’ she admits. ’Most of the time it’s okay
because people just want to talk about things they’ve read, but you can
wind up cornered for hours if you aren’t careful.’
It’s also a bit tricky if you’re having a bad hair day. If you’re a
health and beauty director, people expect you to look good. ’I have a
natural inclination to health and fitness but I’m not obsessive,’ she
’I don’t sit around drinking mineral water and eating steamed vegetables
Masters’ arrival at Cosmo coincides with a whole new team starting on
health and beauty. Laura Bacharach, a freelance, joins as health and
beauty editor and Catherine Baudrand joins as fashion and beauty writer
from Harpers and Queen.
’It gives me a chance to look at everything all over again,’ says
’The previous team did a really good job and we have a great heritage.
It’s really well known and there are a lot of pages to fill, but I think
it’s time to look at where we take it next.’
Masters remains tight-lipped about her plans, but readers can expect
some sweeping changes. When she started freelancing for Company, she
introduced first person beauty writing which gave advice that readers
could actually relate to themselves. At New Woman she launched the first
ever beauty awards, which proved such a hit with readers and advertisers
alike that countless imitators sprung up almost overnight.
’I’ve done awards,’ she concludes. ’I have no plans to do an awards at
Cosmo. I’ve got one or two big ideas though, but I don’t want our
competitors to know just yet.’
She sees that fashion and beauty are changing, with more
individual-looking models taking over from the traditional blonde image,
and lesser known beauty brands such as Nars and Bobby Brown threatening
the mainstream players.
Masters’ spare time is spent satisfying her greatest indulgence -
watching television. She’s got a TV in almost every room and couldn’t
list her top ten programmes because there are too many - although her
favourite is definitely Brookside. She loves TV so much that she once
sent in a sitcom script to the BBC about two girls who lived together at
college moving in together at the age of 35. The corporation has asked
her for more ideas, although finding the time is a problem.
’My ideal lifestyle would be to keep the beauty editing but write hugely
well-received sitcoms as well,’ she confesses. ’Oh, and maybe review a
Deputy editor, Hair Magazine
Health and beauty director New Woman
Health and beauty director, Cosmopolitan