For all its BUB­BLES and GLIT­TER, De­cem­ber is a time TO RE­FLECT…

ELLE (Australia) - - Contents -

Between de­bauch­er­ous of­fice par­ties and marathon fam­ily lunches, most of us find our­selves cast­ing a glance back at the year that was. Time brings change and a lot can shift in just 12 months. For you, that might have meant find­ing new love or say­ing good­bye to an old one, mov­ing house, shift­ing ca­reer, join­ing a run­ning club, even dis­cov­er­ing a new hair­style or pair of boots that rev­o­lu­tionised your per­sonal style. For me it meant step­ping into the ed­i­tor’s shoes at ELLE – and de­spite my hard-to-fit size 41s, it feels like the per­fect fit. A Cin­derella mo­ment. Ex­cept life, as we know, doesn’t al­ways play out like a fairy­tale. I wasn’t just handed my dream job by a kindly fairy god­mother (although there have been a few of those along the way, just as there have been evil step­sis­ter types). I worked hard, from silently toil­ing away in a mag­a­zine’s win­dow­less fash­ion cup­board as an un­paid in­tern on my pre­cious days off uni, to the many ups and downs and side­ways steps that come with an 18-year ca­reer spent scal­ing a no­to­ri­ously cut­throat in­dus­try – the last five of which I’ve spent work­ing on ELLE, a brand I ab­so­lutely love and whole­heart­edly be­lieve in.

I’ve ques­tioned my choices, my san­ity, my very abil­ity to do each job and live up to every pro­mo­tion, in­clud­ing, in all hon­esty, this one. Which is why I’m so thrilled to be fea­tur­ing Mandy Moore on the cover this month. The star holds a spe­cial place in many of our teenage hearts for her catchy late-’90s “Candy” lyrics and com­ing of age films like A Walk

To Re­mem­ber. But now she’s all grown up, with buck­ets of life ex­pe­ri­ence un­der her de­signer belt, and it’s the chal­lenges she’s lived through, in­clud­ing a messy mar­riage break­down and ca­reer lull that saw her al­most throw in the towel, that make her story so in­spir­ing. She’s nabbed the role of a life­time, is about to be (or maybe, by the time your read this, is al­ready) mar­ried to a man she de­scribes as her soul­mate and has plans to get back to mak­ing mu­sic – this time with a strong fe­male fo­cus. To me, she’s one in­cred­i­ble ex­am­ple of how it’s pos­si­ble to over­come set­backs, flip the sto­ry­line and rein­vent your life.

Moore joins an amaz­ing line-up of women this month who are steer­ing their des­tiny and chang­ing the world. In an ex­clu­sive ELLE in­ter­view, Melinda Gates talks of her work with the Gates Foun­da­tion and its ded­i­ca­tion to im­prov­ing ac­cess to health and ed­u­ca­tion in Africa for the women she sees as driv­ing the fu­ture suc­cess of the con­ti­nent. Florence Welch shares some of her dark­est mo­ments (she’s strug­gled with drugs, al­co­hol abuse and an eat­ing dis­or­der) and how she con­quered her demons. And Rox­ane Gay speaks can­didly on her ex­pe­ri­ence with weight, bi­sex­u­al­ity, rape cul­ture and the pres­sures of in­tense pub­lic scru­tiny.

This is­sue, as with every is­sue of ELLE, I’m in awe of the women who choose to share their sto­ries within th­ese pages, their grit, per­se­ver­ance, de­ter­mi­na­tion, hu­mour and re­silience and their abil­ity to dust them­selves off and march for­ward. As El­iz­a­beth Gil­bert says: “The women whom I love and ad­mire for their strength and grace did not get that way be­cause shit worked out. They got that way be­cause shit went wrong, and they han­dled it.”

So this De­cem­ber, go on and cel­e­brate (mak­ing sure you check our party guide on p44 be­fore you do). Be­cause de­spite, or per­haps be­cause of, the ups and downs you ex­pe­ri­enced this year, the best is yet to come.

Mandy Moore, this month’s cover star, shares the story of her rein­ven­tion

@GENEVRA_LEEK

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