5 minutes with Are Media's category beauty editor, Elise Wilson

Welcome to 5 minutes with … BEAUTYDIRECTORY’s latest series where we spotlight one beauty journalist a month and chat all things beauty, the industry, and how they got to where they are now. 

Beauty journalism is a lucrative yet competitive field to get into. Behind the glitz, glamour and endless beauty products, lies a job that demands long hours, product knowledge, and of course, compelling writing.

In Australia, the beauty world is small and anyone in the industry will tell you that everyone knows everyone. From seeing the same familiar faces at events to chatting with them on socials, beauty journalists are one intimate family. 

BEAUTYDIRECTORY had the opportunity to chat with Elise Wilson, the Category Beauty Editor for Are Media’s weekly magazines. Wilson gave us the inside scoop on what a day in her life looks like as a beauty journo.

What is your role?

I am the Category Beauty Editor for Are Media’s Weekly magazines.

What are you responsible for?

My job is very varied! But in a nutshell, I plan, write, and coordinate all the beauty content across six of our weekly titles. I have quite a strict schedule Monday to Friday to make sure all deadlines are met, and I’m so lucky to have the help of two amazing colleagues to assist me in that. It doesn’t just stop at editorial though, a large portion is also trend forecasting, forward planning content, responding to client briefs, liaising with advertising, brainstorming, repurposing content for online, and of course attending media launches and events (both in Sydney and interstate).

How long have you been in the role and how did you get here?

I’ve been in Sydney for five and a half years now. I came over from Bauer New Zealand to take the job of Woman’s Day Australia’s Health and Beauty editor, and just seven months later was entrusted to head beauty only across (almost) all of our Weekly titles here (Woman’s Day, New Idea, WHO, Take 5, That’s Life, as well as their monthly editions).

My career started a year after I moved to Auckland from the UK when I was just 19 years old. I secured the job of receptionist at Pacific Magazines and quickly climbed the ranks to become New Idea New Zealand’s Beauty Editor by the time I was 21.

Over my decade in New Zealand, I also worked as a beauty editor across multiple large monthly magazines and websites under the Pacific Magazine and Bauer Media stables.

At the same time, I also worked as a professional hair and makeup artist, employing a team of other artists too, specialising in weddings, editorial and special events. Beauty is my absolute passion so I’m very lucky in how varied my job has been over the years and how I could blend a lot of interests.

What’s been a career highlight so far?

OMG, that is a hard one! I guess for me it has been the amazing teams I’ve worked with over the years – most of who are very dear friends of mine to this day, both in Australia and NZ. Interviewing some pretty massive celebs about all their beauty secrets has to be up there too! Paris Hilton and Drew Barrymore were my faves.

How do you like to be pitched to?

I get so many emails, I like pitches to be to the point, concise and have everything I need right there. That means a clear subject line, press info embedded and on a detachable PDF, and also a link to all assets. I’m pretty OCD with my filing as I work far ahead on both planning and actual issue compiling so my folders of products, new launches, advertising mentions, etc are very organised. I like to have it all on hand because chasing assets takes so much time when it’s at this volume.

Who has been your biggest mentor/supporter within the industry?

I have had some amazing managers over the years, again I have been so lucky. They have each individually taught me something different, whether that’s their people skills, writing finesse, industry knowledge, or just problem-solving – which is a huge part of the job! I’m still good friends with all of them to this day and I know I can call or email them any time for advice or guidance.

Where do you see yourself five years from now?

I hope to still be here at Are Media, but looking after more titles! I know that sounds insane that I actually want to take on more, but I see my position (as it slowly is now already) evolving a lot more into a Beauty Director role. I really enjoy working on bigger picture stuff too, like brainstorming and working on projects combining print, online, commercial and social strategies. I love a challenge and being super busy and deadline driven is the only way I know to be honest. Bring it on!

Tell us one thing people don’t know about you

I would say I’m quite an adrenaline junkie! I think people assume that I’m quite a girly girl because of all the beauty content I create and the job that I do, but I have a real tomboy side. I love intense fitness, adventure sports, hiking, Tough-Mudder, sea-swimming, jumping out of airplanes etc - you name it I’ve done it.

What’s a beauty product you’re loving right now?

This is another hard one because I get to try so many amazing products and beauty tools every day, but I’m a makeup junkie at heart so we can start there (otherwise my list would be extensive!). I swear by the itCosmetics CC cream, Maybelline Sky High Tubing Mascara, Trinny London Lip2Cheek in Freddie and Holme Beauty Primers! All so affordable, long lasting and work for absolutely everyone I recommend them too. I should be getting some commission at this point.

What would you say is the secret to your success?

To be completely honest, some of it comes down to luck and being in the right place at the right time, but also just being the yes person. I know that’s so cliché but I’m always the one to put up my hand up for things and, when asked, I go out of my comfort zone to give things a go. I think this might just be my personality type (I’m such an extrovert), but you just have to think that in every new situation, event, or work experience, you’re always meeting new people, and that networking will take you so far. People remember a positive attitude.