Journalists go through phases. During and right after I left Elle Magazine, my beat was lipstick. I was the beauty editor. I reported on shade ranges, hero ingredients and cupids bows for years until I finally managed to write my way out of the pink ghetto.
Then I started banging out health features and talking to more psychologists and cognitive scientists and fewer makeup artists and dermatologists. Women care a lot about surfaces so it was humbling to move inside the body and take a closer look at things like cell division (the ultimate crap shoot) and neuroplasticity, a new arm of brain science that shows how negative habits and beliefs literally carve pathways in our brain, determining behavior, whereas positive habits can reshape the brain until those old pathways grow over like unattended lots. Neuroplasticity forever puts to rest the assumption that change after a certain age is impossible. Linda Page, a Princeton sociologist and life coach put me onto this. The article where it appears hasn’t hit newsstands yet.
Moving farther away from my powder pink beginnings, I gravitated toward the sharp primary colours of Google and starting having long and winding conversations about creativity and technology with masterminds like Robert Wong who heads up Google’s Creative Lab from the company’s New York headquarters. After that, I talked to the inimitable George Lois, ad man, art director and cultural provocateur.
Still, the surfaces didn’t disappear. They never will. Now when I write about women’s faces and bodies I look at things through my feminist lens, the same one I put in in storage all through the Elle years (it was a source of frustration that no amount of free lipstick could quell). Today, when I can, I use my lens to burn holes through all of our obsessions and warped concepts about women, so many of which start on the newsstand. Hopefully I ignite a few minds too, like here.
© AGJ on Picnik.com
My most recent spate of assignments focuses on dwellings.
Drawing by Marcelo Rampazzo
I appear to be in the “shelter phase” of my career. I have two house profiles on newsstands right now and a third in production.