WHEN LAURA MET SA­MAN­THA

The first time Laura Whit­more met Sa­man­tha Barry was over a decade ago. Since then, both have made their names in the me­dia in Lon­don and fur­ther afield, with Sa­man­tha go­ing from the BBC to CNN, be­fore tak­ing on the cov­eted man­tle of Ed­i­tor-in-Chief at th

Hot Press - - Wild Youth -

Sa­man­tha Barry is the newly ap­pointed Ed­i­tor-in-Chief of Conde Nast’s US pub­li­ca­tion Glam­our. Hail­ing from Ballincol­lig in Co. Cork, with an ex­tra­or­di­nary jour­nal­is­tic ca­reer al­ready to her credit, she now finds her­self in a mas­sive cor­ner of­fice of One World Trade Cen­ter in New York, and counts Anna Win­tour and Amal Clooney as pals.

When we meet it’s slap bang in the mid­dle of Lon­don Fash­ion Week and she has just flown in from New York. Next week it’s Paris, but she’s miss­ing Mi­lan, be­cause she has a friend’s wed­ding to at­tend back in Ire­land.

Sa­man­tha is all about bal­ance. And she is so real. There may be a New York twang over­lay­ing the Corko­nian brogue, but Sam is very much an Irish girl at heart. She is well aware both of the priv­i­leged po­si­tion she finds her­self in – and the great re­spon­si­bil­ity that comes with it. The Sam I know, my good friend, is most at ease shar­ing a bot­tle of white wine or Prosecco over her favourite Irish smok­ies (creamy fish pie with soda bread). Sadly, it’s early morn­ing in the May­fair Ho­tel, so on this oc­ca­sion we’re con­tent with a cup of tea and some choco­late… Laura: Sa­man­tha: Okay Nice Sa­man­tha. green cur­tains. I just want to de­scribe where we are… Nice green cur­tains: it’s like the Vonn Trapp chil­dren isn’t it? We’ll come out wear­ing the same clothes. The wall is green. Couch is green. It’s very Irish. Bri­tish TV in the back­ground, which is my fave. It’s so dif­fer­ent to Amer­i­can TV, which I love but is of­ten very over-pro­duced. Break­fast TV is great here, al­though I was watch­ing Piers Mor­gan and what’s her face (Su­san­nah Reid) on Good Morn­ing Bri­tain. Do they hate each other? I don’t think they do. I just think that’s their thing: they’re try­ing to be Amer­i­can. How’s Lon­don Fash­ion Week go­ing? Well, yes­ter­day I was at 10 Down­ing Street and there was a mas­sive ele­phant in the room (I refuse to in­sert joke here, I will not stoop to that level)… which was Brexit. On cat­walks, we are now see­ing the col­lec­tions that will po­ten­tially be the first di­rectly af­fected by Brexit. We’re brands. still And try­ing hon­estly to fig­ure we just out don’t what this know. will mean for de­sign­ers and You were at num­ber 10 Down­ing Street, you’re go­ing to all these Fash­ion Week shows. That’s all very dif­fer­ent to when you were liv­ing in Lon­don a few years ago. Yeah! ac­tu­ally I worked go­ing back at the in BBC there World to talk News about and Fash­ion it’s a nice Week. 360° I lived be­cause in West I’m Hamp­stead. I love Lon­don. There’s still a big part of my heart that’s com­pletely at­tached to Lon­don. I think both of us fell in love with the big smoke here, two young Irish girls fol­low­ing their dreams – but then you went off to New York and left me. It was just over ten years ago when we met first. You walked into the New­stalk ra­dio news­room – we were both work­ing on Ea­mon Keane’s lunchtime news show. Do you re­mem­ber our lit­tle cor­ner in that news­room? How could I for­get? You walked in and I re­mem­ber think­ing, ‘Oh my god she’s so glam­orous’. Stop it! You didn’t! I did! I think you had red lip­stick on. I was a re­searcher at the time, so it didn’t mat­ter what I looked like. But I re­mem­ber Ni­amh Lyons, who’s now a very suc­cess­ful po­lit­i­cal cor­re­spon­dent, was al­ways very glam­orous. And when she left and you walked in, I was like ‘Oh my GOD! This is part of the job’. I re­mem­ber think­ing you were so bub­bly and con­fi­dent and such a go-get­ter. I was try­ing to ex­plain to peo­ple in Amer­ica that I was a lunch-time re­porter – and what that meant. Be­cause Ire­land is so small, I’d get a text from the pro­ducer at maybe 6am and no mat­ter where the story was, I was in a car, I had got there by mid­day, I had recorded a lit­tle pack­age and I was do­ing a live re­port on my phone back. When I started you were go­ing through the MTV process. We were all cheer­ing you on Maybe it’s an Irish thing that we travel well. Love an ad­ven­ture.

"I WAS LAUGH­ING 'CAUSE I GOT TO MY TA­BLE AND THEY HAD PUT ME NEXT TO BILL MUR­RAY."

I also think we just go head first into things. We’re not sen­si­ble I think we just take that at­ti­tude of like, ‘Ah fuck it we’ll give it a go.’ That’s the best at­ti­tude you can have in life: just ‘fuck it I’ll give it a go.’ That’s the head­line for this ar­ti­cle right there. Were you am­bi­tious as a child? I liked school.

I liked school! I’m em­bar­rassed to say that.

I just wrote my ed­i­tor’s let­ter for the Oc­to­ber Glam­our is­sue and it’s all about TV and how im­por­tant it was see­ing young women on TV and see­ing all these com­plex char­ac­ters – not just per­fect girls but these trou­bled char­ac­ters – on TV now. I talked about Jessie Spano (on Saved By The Bell) who was this un­apolo­getic nerd and a mas­sive fem­i­nist. So I loved school. Loved English, I wasn’t a Billy Barry kid, but I didn’t mind throw­ing my­self out in front of the class and giv­ing a speech or do­ing a de­bate. Did you grow up in a house­hold that en­cour­aged that?

My sis­ter and brother are quite in­tro­verted. But my par­ents were al­ways very sup­port­ive. I’ve al­ways been some­one for a tight dead­line – I love, love, love leav­ing ev­ery­thing to the last minute – and in my first year of col­lege I re­mem­ber send­ing my dad out con­stantly, even the two weeks be­fore fi­nals, to get me a Red Bull. He was con­stantly go­ing on these Red Bull runs for me and I’d be study­ing all night. And at one stage he came in and I asked Dad, ‘Do you want one?’ And he said I couldn’t, I’m driv­ing. He thought he was buy­ing me al­co­hol! What­ever you need (laughs). Just the vodka, please! He’s a good man is your dad. That dreaded CAO form you had to fill in when you’re 16 or 17. How did you de­cide what you wanted to do for the rest of your life? I al­ways wanted to be a jour­nal­ist. Dur­ing the 1990 World Cup, when I was 8 or 9, I’d watch the match – with my par­ents and brother and sis­ter – with a pad and a pen in hand, and take notes. When the match would end, I’d go up­stairs and write a re­port and I’d come down to my par­ents and give them the full re­port. I was al­ways fas­ci­nated with the news. The ap­petite for news in Ire­land is amaz­ing. The amount of role mod­els I had grow­ing up, in terms of fe­male jour­nal­ists, was spec­tac­u­lar – from the women you watched on the 6 o’clock or 9 o’clock news, to Veron­ica Guerin. And then throw in Teenage Mu­tant Ninja Tur­tles and April O’Neal in that yel­low jump­suit… Lois Lane for me.

Ex­actly. So how could you not want to be a jour­nal­ist? You’ve worked in 25 dif­fer­ent coun­tries, and as a news jour­nal­ist you’ve trav­elled to places that aren’t al­ways safe. My par­ents think I’m in the safest city in the world in New York. They’re like: thank god she’s some­where safe! How did they feel when you went to places like Pak­istan and Iraq? I spent a year in Pa­pua New Guinea – not the safest place in the world. I spent months at a time in Pak­istan, Nige­ria and Iraq. It was be­tween the age of 27 to around 32. Look­ing back it re­ally pushed me in terms of sto­ry­telling, but I’m a bit more re­luc­tant to take those risks as I get older. What was hap­pen­ing in Pa­pua New Guinea? When I first moved to Pa­pua New Guinea, they didn’t even have in­ter­net in my par­ents' house. My dad bought my mom a lap­top and got hi-speed wi-fi to Bantry. She started Googling the places I was go­ing to and she was like: ‘Wait a se­cond I thought Pa­pua New Guinea was like a trop­i­cal place’… Not quite. Trav­el­ling made me ap­pre­ci­ate a dif­fer­ent type of sto­ry­telling. There were fe­male jour­nal­ists in Nige­ria, and these other places where they can barely pay for meals, but they’re so ded­i­cated to what they’re do­ing and they put their lives at risk, re­ally push­ing bound­aries. Some of the most in­spir­ing peo­ple I’ve met are not the big names, but maybe a lo­cal jour­nal­ist in Nige­ria who just runs into a bomb scene to tell the story to a lo­cal pa­per that 500 peo­ple read. You moved from the BBC to be­come the Head of So­cial Me­dia at CNN HQ in New York. That was 2014. At the time hor­rific videos were be­ing re­leased of be­head­ings by ISIL. You had to watch those videos and de­cide what you felt you should or shouldn't show. You had peo­ple like Daniel Pearl, a jour­nal­ist for the Wall Street Jour­nal, be­ing killed in the most ap­palling way. How do you deal with that? I ran so­cial me­dia at CNN and peo­ple would say – ‘Oh you do their Twit­ter?’ But so­cial me­dia has be­come such an es­sen­tial tool for any news­room in the world – like the Ar­i­ana Grande Manch­ester at­tack or the Ve­gas shoot­ing. I was do­ing a play in a theatre in Manch­ester, around the cor­ner from where the Ar­i­ana Grande con­cert was, the night of the Manch­ester at­tack, and we saw peo­ple run­ning from the sta­dium, and didn’t know what was hap­pen­ing. The first thing I did was look on Twit­ter and I hash-tagged Manch­ester, I hash-tagged at­tack, to see what I could find. I saw tweets from peo­ple who were ac­tu­ally there. Even in the last four years, the news­room has evolved. First, you have to see where those videos are com­ing from, be­cause of­ten now, if there’s an at­tack, or there’s a mo­ment, and you’re try­ing to gather news from so­cial me­dia, you will get bad agents who try to put some­thing fake in there, hop­ing peo­ple will run with it. Our job at CNN, or of one of the teams at least, is to take some­thing in, look at it, ver­ify it and make sure we’re con­fi­dent in the source and then make a de­ci­sion whether we would broad­cast it. A lot of the things that came in, we didn’t put them on air be­cause they were too grue­some.

What was that psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect on you?

I was very open and hon­est with my team at CNN. When we would go through those big mo­ments, we would of­fer them coun­selling. It’s al­most like front­line re­port­ing but back at a desk. One of the things that stood out for me was when the Barcelona at­tack hap­pened and we were get­ting videos that we ver­i­fied, and it was just… that and the Ve­gas shoot­ing, they were two huge ones for me be­cause they were just too grue­some for us to put on air. But you still have to look at it, you have to ver­ify it, you have to make an ed­i­to­rial call about whether we would put this on air – or put it on air with a warn­ing. Also what should that warn­ing look like on so­cial? What does that warn­ing look like on dig­i­tal? You’re mak­ing a lot of ed­i­to­rial calls. Some videos we thought were im­por­tant for the story, we would air them once an hour; we’d put a warn­ing on it; and in dig­i­tal we’d take it off au­to­play…

So you have cre­ated your own rule book.

The great thing about CNN is that there was a great ma­chine of peo­ple to trust. I had the amaz­ing Ed­i­tor-in-chief Mered­ith Art­ley. I had the head of Stan­dards and Prac­tice who’d been there for 40 years. We’d of­ten get on a quick phone call and be like, ‘What are we go­ing to do?’ And there’d be three or four peo­ple on that call and I’d give my opin­ion and they’d give theirs. Since you left there’s been huge progress in Ire­land, with the Gay Mar­riage ref­er­en­dum and Re­peal­ing the 8th. Mean­while, with Don­ald Trump as Pres­i­dent, Amer­ica is mov­ing to­wards be­ing a much more closed, con­ser­va­tive cul­ture. Be­fore I get to Trump, I should say I feel there’s a dis­con­nect be­tween the new Irish im­mi­grants and se­cond, third and fourth gen­er­a­tion Irish-Amer­i­cans.

"IT’S ABOUT DI­VER­SITY. IT’S ABOUT SIZE IN­CLU­SIVE­NESS. AND I SAY THAT POINT­EDLY, BE­CAUSE A LOT OF FASH­ION COV­ER­AGE IS NOT."

How so?

We grew up in an Ire­land that’s way more pro­gres­sive than the one their grand­par­ents left and they’re hold­ing onto that old Ire­land. It’s nos­tal­gia. They’re mostly more con­ser­va­tively re­li­gious than newer Irish im­mi­grants. There are some that didn’t want to let gay peo­ple march in the Saint Pa­trick’s Day pa­rade. A lot of the older gen­er­a­tion didn’t cel­e­brate Re­peal­ing the 8th.

Laura: You were with CNN and had a front-row seat for the 2016 US Pres­i­den­tial elec­tion. You in­ter­viewed Trump out­side of a toi­let.

Ac­tu­ally in a toi­let. CNN are al­ways push­ing the bound­aries of in­no­va­tion and sto­ry­telling, so – lots of de­bates hap­pen in an elec­tion cy­cle, and for the first one in Ve­gas, we got a beau­ti­ful In­sta­gram por­trait of Repub­li­cans and Democrats. And then in the se­cond set of de­bates I was like, ‘Let’s do some­thing for Snapchat’. So we went to Flint, Michi­gan and we got all of the Dems. And then we went to Mi­ami to snapchat the Repub­li­cans.

But they wouldn’t let us film back­stage. We talked to the se­cret ser­vice who said, ‘Ok, let us see what we can do’. And 5-10 min­utes later they were like, ‘We think we’ve found a place’. So they walked me 5 min­utes from the stage and they pointed at the men’s toi­let and said, ‘You can do it in there’. And I didn’t even blink. I said, ‘Ok, I need a black cur­tain, I need the cam­era­man, and I need to set up right now’. We had de­cided we were go­ing to get the Repub­li­cans be­fore they went on stage, and we got every sin­gle one of them ex­cept Don­ald Trump be­cause he didn’t do a walk­through. And so lit­er­ally, phys­i­cally, one of the pro­duc­ers, what I can only de­scribe as ‘man­han­dled’ Don­ald Trump from the stage and brought him into a toi­let to be in­ter­viewed. When I showed my mam the photo, she thought I was at Madame Tus­sauds!

Laura: How is Trump in per­son? Peo­ple say he’s ‘charis­matic’.

Sa­man­tha: He’s got a pres­ence. But I didn’t get that much time. It wasn’t a sit-down in­ter­view.

A few years ago I got an email from you ask­ing, ‘Are you still do­ing quite a lot of D-Jing?’ and I replied 'yeah' – which I was while in MTV. You asked, ‘Do you DJ wed­dings?’ and I was like ‘Eh… not re­ally Sam’. Then you said, ‘It’s gonna be a big fancy one, would you be up for D-Jing it?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know if I wanna DJ a wed­ding’ (laughs). And you’re like, ‘I’ll be there, it’ll be fun’. You ended up say­ing, ‘It’s for my friend, they’re kind of high pro­file, I’ll give her your email’. Then I get an email from Amal Ala­mud­din – now Amal Clooney…

I was kind of dev­as­tated that didn’t work out!

... say­ing ‘I’ve ac­tu­ally just booked some­one but thank you so much’. I was like: ‘FOR FUCK'S SAKE! It’s Ge­orge and Amal’s wed­ding’.

No­body knew I was go­ing, so I was be­ing low key.

Tell me about your friend­ship with Amal.

I met her in Lon­don at a din­ner party and we just got on re­ally well. She’s amaz­ing and one of the hard­est work­ing peo­ple I know. It was Alec Ross, who worked with the State De­part­ment for Hil­lary Clin­ton, who threw this din­ner. Amal and I just got on like a house on fire. We went danc­ing un­til 3 o’clock in the morn­ing, and then we de­cided, ‘Let’s not fin­ish, let’s go for more glasses of cham­pagne’ back at her house. It was one of those lovely Lon­don friend­ships. She’s one of the nicest peo­ple you could meet. When they were get­ting mar­ried, ob­vi­ously I didn’t tell any­one. I told my bosses I was leav­ing to go to an event and then on the Sun­day one of them sent me a link to pic­tures of me and Bill Mur­ray on a boat and I thought, ‘I sup­pose I’ve been caught here’!

I do friend­ship dates. Even when I was in L.A my friends would be like, ‘You’d get on re­ally well with her’, so I’d go on these dates with other women. I’ve met peo­ple through you, you’ve met peo­ple through me.

I found my lo­cal in New York thanks to you.

Yeah, The Hud­son Hound run by my mate, Ja­son O’Toole! It was at Amal’s wed­ding that you first met Anna Win­tour.

We got on re­ally well. She took my name card from the wed­ding, and I was laugh­ing 'cause I got to my ta­ble and they had put me next to Bill Mur­ray and I was like, ‘Oh there’s Bill Mur­ray’s name card and there’s mine’, and in my head I was ob­vi­ously gonna take Bill’s. I’d had a chat with Anna be­fore­hand. Her fa­ther was the ed­i­tor of the Even­ing Stan­dard and her brother was a jour­nal­ist at The Guardian. It would be very easy for some­one in her po­si­tion to be old school in their think­ing, but she’s the op­po­site. You couldn’t get a bet­ter guide in the world of pub­lish­ing. When the job came up and Cindi Leive (for­mer Ed­i­tor of US Glam­our) was leav­ing af­ter 16 years, she was among the peo­ple who told me to put my hat in the ring. Once I was asked I was like, ‘I ab­so­lutely 100 per­cent want to get this job’.

It’s called Glam­our mag­a­zine. Are you limited by that ti­tle?

No.

Peo­ple must have per­cep­tions: ‘You’ve gone from CNN to Glam­our’.

Glam­our has al­ways done spec­tac­u­lar things. Glam­our was the mag­a­zine, in the 1940s, that had the tagline ‘for the woman with a job’. It cov­ered sex­ual ha­rass­ment, it cov­ered Anita Hill in a mas­sive way. It was al­ways at the fore­front of con­ver­sa­tions in re­la­tion to women’s re­pro­duc­tive rights. It’s al­ways had great jour­nal­ism about women. Now, can I as Ed­i­tor-In-Chief do a bet­ter job at shout­ing about it? Ab­so­lutely. And we’ve got­ten a lot of ac­co­lades re­cently around our cov­er­age of pol­i­tics and women in pol­i­tics. I think for some peo­ple, the word ‘glam­our’ might come with as­sump­tions but if you dig into the brand – yeah, we do fash­ion and beauty but we do some hard-hit­ting jour­nal­ism.

There’s a great quote from Meghan Markle that says, ‘You can be a woman who wants to look good, and still stand up for the equal­ity of women’.

Ex­actly. The fash­ion and beauty part of it is fun. We are multi-di­men­sional peo­ple, shock hor­ror.

This is the first time you’ve worked in fash­ion and life­style.

In terms of fash­ion and beauty, I’ve just dou­bled down what Glam­our have been do­ing be­fore, and been kind of big­ger and shout­ing about it more. It’s about di­ver­sity. It’s about size in­clu­sive­ness.

And I say that point­edly, be­cause a lot of fash­ion cov­er­age is not.

Bono was Man of the Year two years ago, at the Glam­our ‘Woman of the Year’ Awards?

I was talk­ing to him about that re­cently ac­tu­ally.

How did he feel about it?

He loved it!

Do you think some­thing like ‘Women of the Year’ is out­dated? I was at the GQ awards and there were as many fe­male win­ners as men. Should we be hav­ing awards di­vid­ing sexes?

I’m okay with it, be­cause if there was ever a year to cel­e­brate women it was this year. ‘Women of the Year’ will in­clude a lot of men – not nec­es­sar­ily the peo­ple who get the awards, but we’ve made ‘Women of the Year’ a three-day event now and peo­ple are go­ing to do lots of things. I also think it's okay to cel­e­brate women, af­ter many decades of cel­e­brat­ing men in all walks of life.

Re­cently you said. ‘In Ire­land, we don’t date, we just sort of smash into each other in Whe­lan’s’. You’re sin­gle now, so what is dat­ing like in New York com­pared to Ire­land?

It’s dif­fer­ent to Dublin and to Lon­don. New York is like a jun­gle when it comes to dat­ing. I some­times feel like Kat­niss Everdeen in The Hunger Games. It can be so fun dat­ing in New York be­cause in terms of set­ting and lo­ca­tion you are lit­er­ally in a movie, but it’s prob­a­bly a big­ger job weed­ing

out peo­ple who are dat­ing lots of other peo­ple, get­ting some­one whose sense of hu­mour aligns with yours. I tend to date a lot of Eu­ro­peans.

You’re very am­bi­tious and very suc­cess­ful. I know from my own ex­pe­ri­ence that can be hard for some men to han­dle.

That’s prob­a­bly one of my big­gest cri­te­ria for guys that I am dat­ing, hav­ing some­one that is a sup­porter of suc­cess­ful women.

There’s this thing of peo­ple in small towns get­ting mar­ried young be­cause there’s less choice. In Lon­don or New York, you can al­ways find some­one bet­ter…

There are a lot of Peter Pans. And there is a lot of choice for ev­ery­body, men and women, in New York – but I like to date one per­son. Maybe I should open a Whe­lan’s in New York and smash into some­body. Ac­tu­ally, that was a pretty graphic de­scrip­tion (laughs).

What’s your view on beauty pageants and com­pe­ti­tions like the Rose of Tralee?

I haven’t watched The Rose of Tralee in years. We have had a lot of dis­cus­sion in the of­fice about Miss Amer­ica – they took the swim­suit pageant out of it. One of the things I liked about it this year was that Miss Michi­gan used her one minute at the start, rather than to in­tro­duce her­self, to talk about how the

Flint wa­ter cri­sis is still go­ing on. So there is a place for the right type of pageant. There is an op­por­tu­nity for women to get schol­ar­ships. They get more con­fi­dent in their own voices, get­ting up in front of that au­di­ence. Would you ever do a pageant?

I re­mem­ber years ago there was a Bray one – Face of Bray – I got asked to en­ter… but I didn’t do it.

I did the Lis­doon­va­rna one once (laughs). It was lit­er­ally you wore a nice dress. I think I did a Ka­vanagh poem, be­cause I have no tal­ent other than read­ing. I didn’t win, but I re­mem­ber it fondly! There was a lo­cal one in Ballincol­lig and I re­mem­ber look­ing at the girls and think­ing they were amaz­ing!

What’s the tough­est de­ci­sion you’ve had to make as ed­i­tor of Glam­our?

I made some staff changes at the start. That wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily a hard de­ci­sion, but it wasn’t easy to do. Hard­est de­ci­sion? That’s a good ques­tion. I think I’m al­ways con­fi­dent in the voice and where I want to take it – so that backs up what­ever you want to do.

It’s not a great time for print jour­nal­ism. You’re asked by Anna Win­tour to go for this job – and she knows your back­ground

I come from broad­cast­ing and so­cial and dig­i­tal.

It looks like there is a plan here…

Glam­our, for me, is not just a mag­a­zine, it is a brand. That’s why events and dig­i­tal and so­cial and, yes, print are all im­por­tant.

Is there still a place for print?

Ab­so­lutely. I see Glam­our as one of the few 360° brands that are out there. We have the ‘Women Of The Year’ Cov­ers com­ing up. But I re­ally think the onus is on me to keep in­no­vat­ing with how they make their money, how they reach their au­di­ence. Is Hot Press more dig­i­tal or is it more print now?

I buy Hot Press like I buy CDs – the mag­a­zines are iconic and you’ll have them for­ever. I still have copies that I have kept from years ago. I think if you write an ar­ti­cle you get more hits on­line, but there is more pres­tige to hav­ing some­thing in print. Tell me who in­spires you?

Oh god, I don’t know, who in­spires you? You can’t say your mum!

Peo­ple around me.

My girl­friends in­spire me; my girl­friends in Lon­don; you in­spire me – any­body that works hard and is creative and has pas­sion. There is a group of women that I go to, if I’m try­ing to make a hard de­ci­sion – in Dublin, Lon­don and New York. It’s those women that in­spire me, like my friend that worked on the Hil­lary Clin­ton cam­paign in New York.

Have you met Hil­lary?

I in­ter­viewed Hil­lary, briefly, be­fore the 50th An­niver­sary of Ralph Lau­ren. It was the most ridicu­lous night ever. You can’t imag­ine. It was like: ‘Oh, there’s Steven Spiel­berg, there’s Oprah Win­frey, there’s Hil­lary Clin­ton’. So I met and chat­ted to Hi­lary for the first time, about how much the Irish love the Clin­tons and she was like, ‘Bill’s there at the mo­ment’. We talked about the Peace Process. I think I just went up to her and said, ‘The Irish love ya!”

How of­ten do you talk to Anna (Win­tour)?

I see her day to day, week to week. I run the mag­a­zine through her.

So she’s like your Obi-Wan Kenobi.

Ab­so­lutely. We’ll go to Paris and talk about the De­cem­ber is­sue which we’re work­ing on now. We’ll go through the pages and she’ll give me some ad­vice.

Do you ever go out of your body and look at your­self and think WTF?

I think I did at that Ralph Lau­ren show. I floated out of my body as Steven Spiel­berg and Oprah Win­frey passed by.

When I went to visit you in your New York of­fice ear­lier this year when you started at Glam­our a lot of peo­ple thought of you as the scary big ed­i­tor, but you were like, ‘Look at my mas­sive win­dows and the view! Look at the toi­let I have in my of­fice!’ It’s im­por­tant not to lose that down to earth qual­ity.

I’ve had the most ridicu­lously fan­tas­tic four years in New York, work­ing at CNN and be­ing ed­i­tor at Glam­our. I have had so many ridicu­lous mo­ments and I don’t think I’ll ever be blasé about them. I don’t think it’s in me.

Amal Clooney has a fam­ily and she has a suc­cess­ful ca­reer. Is that some­thing you want in your life?

I have to work on the dat­ing first, other­wise it’s go­ing to be the im­mac­u­late con­cep­tion. I hon­estly don’t know. I don’t have an an­swer to that ques­tion. I love be­ing an aunt.

I know my­self when I saw that Ri­hanna show with Slick (Woods) walk­ing the run­way even though she was heav­ily preg­nant I felt happy. My mum was a sin­gle par­ent and she worked. But there is a lot of pres­sure to do it all in your thir­ties.

There is so much! I think it has be­come a thing to ask women: “When are you hav­ing the baby?”

I’ve been get­ting that for ten years.

Some women can’t have ba­bies and some women don’t want to have ba­bies – and they shouldn’t feel bad about say­ing that out loud. For me per­son­ally I don’t know the an­swer. All I know is I’m lov­ing what I’m do­ing now.

And with that Sam is straight out of the ho­tel room and ready to jump into a car to take her to BBC Stu­dios. I’m re­gret­ting not hav­ing at least one glass of bub­bly as we hug good­bye. When I check my email, three dif­fer­ent Glam­our peo­ple have emailed to check how the in­ter­view has gone. For me it’s a chat with my mate, but Sam is a big deal and part of a big ma­chine. I def­i­nitely didn’t stick to their guide­lines in terms of ques­tions, but Sam doesn’t stick to the guide­lines ei­ther. She cre­ates her own rule book – and isn’t that so much more ex­cit­ing?

"WE TALKED ABOUT THE PEACE PROCESS. I THINK I JUST WENT UP TO HER AND SAID ‘THE IRISH LOVE YA!”

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