What do female readers consume when they tire of horoscopes, agony
aunts and sex tips served up by traditional women’s magazines?
They turn to ’new era’ title Frank - or that’s what Wagadon, publisher
of Arena and the Face, is hoping with the launch of its first women’s
magazine. And the woman charged with the task of setting a new agenda in
this highly competitive market is Frank’s editor Tina Gaudoin.
’Frank will fill the niche for the disenfranchised 25-plus reader, for a
generation of women which has grown up and left other magazines behind,’
’It has hard-hitting features as well as the frocks and lipsticks
It covers business, politics, finance, cars, food and wine but it will
be irreverent and witty with its tongue firmly in its cheek. British
women have a great sense of humour and no one has celebrated that
before,’ she says.
Gaudoin came into journalism relatively late - she was 27 - after a
brief stint in PR, which she says she was no good at ’because I spoke my
mind and you can’t do that’. She went to live in the US - after marrying
one of her clients - knowing she wanted to write, ’because that was the
bit of PR that I liked’, she says.
In the meantime she wrote letters to editors offering to work for free,
knowing how difficult it was to get into journalism.
She eventually secured an unpaid position at Conde Nast’s Woman
magazine, but was soon promoted to a staff job and then became health
and beauty editor. Her career has subsequently spanned the Atlantic on a
variety of glossy women’s titles.
Having worked in PR herself, she is ruthless in her dealings with PR
people. ’Inefficiency drives me crazy and PR people who approach me with
things that are not quite right are a complete waste of their time and
mine,’ she says.
’I prefer someone who has a story that is right for me and the magazine
and who sells it in convincingly and briefly. In PR you need to
understand your markets and what they are interested in.’
She is equally ruthless with herself, describing herself as ’driven,
focused, and opinionated’. She has built her team from scratch since
coming on board in March ’with no staff, no nothing’. And, with no time
to produce any dummy issues before Frank’s launch issue on 11 September,
this has meant a gruelling seven-day working week.
She jokes that she can’t remember what she does in her spare time, but
insists that ’I’m doing what I’ve always wanted to do. They employed me
on the strength of my proposition and I have stick to what I said I’d do
- for better or worse’.
Does this make her a control freak? ’Anyone who works with me would say
that,’ she admits, ’but you have to be to do this job.’
1989 Health and beauty editor, Conde Nast’s Woman
1990 Health and beauty editor, Harpers and Queen
1992 Health and beauty editor, Harpers Bazaar
1996 Assistant editor, Tatler
1997 Editor, Frank