Teen Vogue, Tucker Carlson, Director discussed on 1A
It's one AM Todd's willik infra Joshua Johnson. I'm speaking with former teen vogue editor in chief in project runway judge, Elaine welter off about her new memoir, more than enough claiming space for who you are no matter what they say, we'd love to hear from you too. Have you ever used style or fashion to make a political statement, if so what were the results for you? You can comment on our Facebook page. You can tweet us at one A or Email address, as always one, a at WMU dot org. Elaine, Walter, Roth I very unfairly asked you to sum up your feelings that first day you strode through the editor and chiefs office with your name on the door at teen vogue. You said it was a mixed bag and now you have more time to tell me why. Well, listen, it really didn't feel like you know, one day I just woke up in it. All change. I was the beauty director at teen vogue, and had worked for a number of years behind the scenes kind of, you know with. With my team changing the mission and pushing the envelope on the kinds of stories. We were telling pushing the work, you know, out of being just an exclusive, you know, exclusively fashion and beauty oriented into, you know, you know, social Justice issues politics, you know, really one of my really big central missions was to increase diversity, and inclusion in across the brand, and we were well underway on sort of doing all of that, when the announcement came out that, you know, now would be an leadership position. So it was a very natural evolution if that and it sounds crazy because I was twenty nine and that's still blows my mind and it blew my mind. And then, you know, when you grow up not seeing yourself in magazines, you certainly don't expect one day at twenty nine you'll be, you know, you know, not only having a seat at the table in media, but at the head of the table, just, you know, that internet, so in and of itself, was never something I had been known to dream. I thought that was that was just not even. Within the realm of possibility for someone, especially like me, small town, girl, first generation college graduate. So yes, it was a big deal, but I think that the that the evolution of that brand happened over time. Whereas, I think in the headlines it played out as sort of, like teen vogue that overnight success. You know and, and that's not really the case. It happens the changes at teen vogue happened story by story higher by higher. You know battle by battle. And, and I think it's important to say that it was a team effort I could not have done that kind of transformative work on my own. And, you know, I shared responsibility leadership responsibility with, you know, our digital director, Philip Picardy, and our creative director, Marie suitor. And, and I the way we saw it was that our job was to reflect this next generation of young people and the truth was. They were not being properly represented, you know, adults in particular, we tend to give young people a bad rap for being selfie obsessed and for only caring about the Kardashians and and Bieber. And, and, and the reality is this generation is so multifaceted, you know, and these false, we, we, we need to be careful about not perpetuating these false binary that make us believe that you can either be, you know, you know, you know, taken seriously or or into style you can either be into fashion, or politics, you can be smart or pretty, like these things are not mutually exclusive. And this next generation of young people see themselves as activists as change agents, they very much care about the issues that are that are not only affecting the world. They're affecting them directly and their future. And so our job was take was to elevate their voices and to create this. Intersection where all aspects of their identities could be respected. Aaron comments on our Facebook page, Elaine, MS welter off, I admire you for making your magazine about more than current fashion, and beauty trends. Thank you for getting young people involved in politics. It's their future. And I think you're right. I think the outside world sort of saw that Trump phenomenon and then saw teen vogue kind of coming into the media space for them out of nowhere because fellas like me, let's face it just speaking for myself, not a regular reader, although I have become an episodic reader of teen vogue, because what can I say it is written and done things that speak to me and things that I want to know in two thousand seventeen teen vogue published an op-ed called Trump is gas lighting, America. That surprised a lot of people, including this political journalists in an interview with Fox News, Tucker Carlson here, he comes the writer of this op Ed Lauren Duca found herself having to defend more than just her. Comments about Trump, but the whole idea of where the article was appearing in the first place. Here's your description of the Trump administration. He wrote this piece in teen vogue, which I guess you write for oh, it's you. Yes, that's not fake news. Real news right for you. Oh, you guess, Tucker. You've got. That's really invoke because I'm not a teen. On your juicers, asking if I've read fourteen vogue, you have my teen vogue article in front of you got it so Tucker. Carlson Riddick kind of retreats to ad hominem more in this case add feminine attack on on your writer. They're a why do you think that such people had such a negative reaction to teen vogue publishing these kinds of pieces? I mean people love to put down teen fashion magazines because, you know, trends and Justin Bieber. Then when something important is said, you get the laugh in the brush off. It's the same rim when reason that women have been excluded from positions of power for too long. It's the same reason, you know, people of color have been marginalized. It's the same reason that, you know, you know, we as a culture are still trying to fight for, you know, inclusion across industry. Stories we have to do a better job of. Recognizing that these? There are stereotypes that exists. Unfortunately, is particularly around young people and young girls. And I think we need to we need to do the work to break those stereotypes down. I think I'm, I'm going to say I'm very proud of Lauren Duca not just for writing that kind of a story that would Pierce the zeitgeist and, and, you know, it went viral, it got folks, like you paying attention to teen vogue, and the word coming out of teen vogue, and then she stood her ground when she was in this spout herself in this very patronizing debate with Tucker Carlson on, on Fox News. And, and what you did not hear listeners is at the end of that debate. He cut her Mike off and said, Lauren Duca stick to the high boots. Basically telling her, you know, you have no place, speaking about writing about politics. You know, stick to writing about thi- boots, and it was just incredibly undermining and patronizing and and she didn't. Even have a chance to sort of defend her for position on that, but I will say that the, the response to teen vogue delving into politics and social Justice issues was overwhelmingly positive. Did you did you get pushed back though inside the organization, top Conde nast door colleagues peers in the publishing world when this transformation at teen vogue started to happen. Or was it just great traffic? Great notice. People are taking notice keep it up. Are you kidding people were applauding us? Our, our traffic, our digital traffic jumped from two to twelve twelve million our, you know, our subscriptions tripled. I mean I mean we had we were up over three hundred percent year over year in magazine subscriptions. And, and the day that, that article Trump has gas lighting America. The day that article was published. We sold in that month more copies of the magazine than we had the entire. Year and that trend can continued because teen vogue emerged as the voice of a new generation of political politically engaged, socially, conscious young people, and the world just wasn't ready. And the world didn't didn't didn't see that coming. And I think largely the response was really, really positive. Now, I will say that changes it would it took to get to make those changes possible. That, that, that was a longer journey. And, and what we did is sort of we, we did what we felt was right. We threw away all of the formulas in all of the rules, and we didn't ask for permission, we were prepared to ask for forgiveness and bring the inside. Right. And could you bring me inside that conversation, a little bit around the editor-in-chief's conference table? At the moment, you're deciding to run with Trump has gas lighting America or videos about the new voice of young voters in America. You knew. Do what you were doing. So, like you said, this transformation did not happen overnight, even though to some of us it, did it happened higher by higher and article by article, but what was the strategy, the strategy started? But again long before I was even editor in chief. I mean, when I was the beauty director, one of the first kind of viral stories that we did that push the envelope. For teen vogue was around cultural appropriation, which was a very hot button topic on social media, teen vogue had been called out for committing cultural appropriation. And we did a story where we invited young girls from routinely appropriated communities from eight of American Girl to, to an African American grow offer. Latina girl to all come together and to have their, their cultural, beauty. Elevated in the pages of vogue, and it was a full vote. She was the first time you've ever done anything like that. And then we did a video where they could describe the difference between cultural, appropriation and cultural appreciation in their own words. And it sent ripple waves throughout the industry and it immediately went viral. And these are the kinds of stepping stones. It was that was brave to do. I mean, especially when you're in a magazine a fashion magazine, that's been called out routinely for committing cultural appropriation to now. Step out and make a statement about what you stand for and try and trying to change the conversation around this, and trying to do better publicly. It's a hard, that's a hard thing to do, especially in cancelation culture. And so, I mean again story by story, I mean, the, the Lauren Duca piece that, that would that was not the first political story that we had run that she had written and no one knew going into it, that, that would be the story that would ultimately become the tipping point where. The you know that would define you know, teen vogue as this new political engine and media, you know, the little engine that could we didn't know that it was going to be that strain..