What team ELLE were doing at 25

Prepare to be inspired



In the September issue of ELLE, we asked some of the world’s most successful women to tell us what they were doing at 25.


From Mulberry’s Emma Hill to author Jackie Collins and fashion designer Mary Katrantzou, the stories are fascinating, encouraging and motivating if you’re still trying to achieve your dreams.

Here, team ELLE share the stories from their defining decade…

‘At 25 I was Womans' Editor of The Sun newspaper edited by the legendary journalist Kelvin McKenzie. It was the most intense and hard working year of my twenties. I learnt how to react at speed to breaking news, how to hold my own in a tough but creative environment and what sells when it comes to news print. It toughened me up and made me believe that big ideas were possible.’ ; Lorraine Candy, editor-in-chief

‘I was assisting Rebecca Lowthorpe as the Fashion Features Assistant and making the first pivotal steps in my career.’ ; Gillian Brett, PA to the editor/editorial assistant

'Aged 25, I was a year and a half into my first job on a national newspaper, The Daily Mail. I'd been working as a feature writer and had just been promoted to commissioning editor. On day four, my boss announced that – as everyone else was busy – I was going to be left in charge of the Femail section that Sunday. I had to present ideas to the editor in conference, edit all the copy on the list that day and write headlines for the pieces that were going in. It's safe to say it didn't go brilliantly. I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow the day passed, I didn't get fired and – that year – I learnt more about journalism than at any other time in my career.' ; Natasha Pearlman, deputy editor

‘I had just moved to London after landing a job on a national newspaper. I had been working for a news agency in Leeds, and packed up all my belongings in my battered Ford Fiesta and drove down the A1, all the way to a flat on Holloway Road. I was living with two guys I'd met through my now-boyfriend, and cycling miles every day to go to work on the biggest newspaper in the country (I was trying to pay off my student loan, and the Tube is expensive!). It had it's ups and downs, but it taught me that if you work hard and show that you want to get ahead, it will happen. You just have to keep at it and seize every opportunity that comes your way. It always comes together in the end.’ ; Fern Ross, chief sub-editor/production editor


‘I was assistant features editor at Country Living in New York, trying my best to work my way up in magazine publishing. I still can't believe how far – professionally and geographically - I've come since then. I’m loving it!’ ; Christina Simone, workflow director

‘I was single and living at home, and working as the features writer for the now-defunct Happy magazine. The team lived up to their name – it was such a happy time, and some of my very closest friends come from that office. It is fascinating to see how everyone's careers have progressed, and diverged – there are editors, interior designers, web experts, photographers and, of course, many of us working in magazines.’ ; Collette Lyons, content director

‘I'd been living in London for a year, interning and temping and doing everything in my power to get a job in magazines. I was shy but I knew exactly what I wanted. One day, I went for an interview for the 3 month features internship at ELLE. In the intervening years, I went on to become the editor's PA, junior commissioning editor and now commissioning editor. I also married my boyfriend, bought and renovated a house and got a dog! Having just turned 30, I now look back at my 20's as a game-changing decade. I wonder what's in store for the next one.’ ; Hannah Swerling, commissioning editor

‘I had given up my home and job in Bristol, moved back in with my parents to be able to intern on magazines (true vocation) and just scored my first job as beauty assistant at ELLEgirl. Late but amazing start. I then spent my whole career trying to get back to the brand where I started. I’m happy to say it worked out.’ ; Sophie Beresiner, beauty director

‘At 25 I had had been working in PR for 2 years in London and decided to finally leave it all behind and hit the concrete jungle where dreams are made of…. New York. I ended up working for a notorious PR legend but it turned out being a glorified door girl wasn’t for me! Having said that, some of the events I worked at during that time were pretty insane - private dinners for Chanel and incredible parties with the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio and Anne Hathaway. My boss was brilliant but insane and I’ll never forget her pearls of wisdom: 'When you walk into a shop and have to decide between tampons or cigarettes because you have no money, always choose cigarettes.’ Genius.’ ; Jules Kosciuczyk, fashion features assistant

‘I have been 25 for 3 months and 3 days and I still can’t believe that I am working at ELLE magazine! After months of ‘finding myself’ I didn’t expect to land a 6 month internship at a leading fashion magazine - it’s been amazing. I worked in various roles across the media including being a TV runner which had it ups (like meeting One Direction and trying not to dribble over Ryan Reynolds) and downs (like regularly carrying 40 cups of tea up several flights of stairs). Finding what you want to do can be hard but I’m glad that I’ve pushed myself to try various internships. They have all taught me a lot and helped me to narrow down my goals and ambitions.’ ; Diana Gavrilina, digital picture intern

‘I was on the 17th floor of a skyscraper in Montreal, the Art Director for a national magazine. I had my own office and everything. After University, I'd skipped any sort of gap year and went straight to work, focusing on my career instead of my social schedule. It was an ambitious move and It wasn't always easy, but I'm glad I did it. The work I put in then paid off and now I get to be Art Director at the world's biggest-selling fashion magazine. Totally worth it.’; Miette Johnson, art director

Find out more in the September issue of ELLE. Out now.

Read Next: