The Year That Shaped Me

Team ELLE shares

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In the January issue of ELLE, on sale now, we asked seven women to tell us about the year that shaped them - the transformative years that toughened them up, kick-started their careers and taught them about love and happiness.

They inspired us to do the same....

Sophie Beresiner, Beauty Director

I don't think I'll ever have a more monumental year than 2012. It was the year I got married, moved into our first house, started my job at ELLE and had my first full year cancer free.

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I hope I can spread out the momentous life experiences a bit more from now on.
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Fern Ross, Chief Sub-Editor / Production Editor

2005 was the year that shaped me. I'd just got over a broken heart and was in Glasgow, post-degree, directionless.

Then I discovered journalism. I did work experience on a few local papers and was hooked, so applied for a place on a postgraduate training course and got in. It was tough, but it changed everything: I rediscovered my sense of self, made lifelong friends, and nine months later was working as a production journalist for the Press Association.

Georgia Collins, Deputy Beauty Editor

2012 was a huge and incredibly happy year for me. It was the year I found out I was pregnant, turned 30, got engaged and moved out of London. Basically every major milestone happened, and all within a few weeks of each other.

My mum has always said to me that so much can happen in a year and she was entirely right; one year previously I had been sitting bemoaning that I had achieved nothing significant or had nothing special to call my own, and the next I had pretty much everything I had ever dreamed of.

Collette Lyons, Acting Content Director

I believe in moving abroad to clear your mind. It had worked for me before – a stint, post-university, in Sydney was a breath of fresh air – but Dubai was perhaps a bigger gamble.

In 2008 left a job I'd outgrown, packed a suitcase and flew to a city, in a country, in a region I'd never ever visited before. It was hard at first – the accommodation provided was a fleapit with a shower so tiny I couldn't bend over to shave my legs, I knew absolutely nobody and I couldn't drive (Dubai is a car city and I'm a London girl – I never got my licence because walking and public transport were all I needed).

But I can honestly say though that it was the best decision I ever made. In the nearly three years I was there I travelled as often as I could (India, Sri Lanka, all over the Middle East) and made amazing, life-long friends. It forced me to be brave and comfortable with my own company. I can't think of a better life lesson.

Gillian Brett, Editor in Chief's PA/Editorial Assistant

Assisting ELLE's Assistant Editor, Rebecca Lowthorpe, and then becoming Lorraine Candy's PA this past year has been an epically shaping experience.

2013 has been inspiring, challenging and rewarding on both a professional and personal level.

Working with strong, influential and intelligent women on projects from fashion-forward editorials to our feminism campaign has given me more 'pinch me' moments than I can count.

If 2013 was the year that shaped me, I can't wait to see what 2014 has in store.

Natasha Pearlman, Deputy Editor

In 2006, aged 23, I'd just had my heart broken and quit my job on a whim to move back to London and in with my parents (sigh).Through sheer determination I got shifts at a national newspaper, which turned into a staff job. That first year was brutal – I worked 12 hour days, sometimes through the night, often all weekend and went out and partied just as hard (that suffering was my fault). But I met some of the best people there, including my now husband, and ended up at the paper for five years.

Don't ever be afraid to take a risk. What started off as one of my most rubbish years turned out to be one of the best.

Tell us about the year that shaped you by e-mailing ellefeatures@elleuk.com

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