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