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Grazia Journalist: A Day In The Life

Emily Phillips is a journalist and works at Grazia weekly magazine as Senior Commissioning Editor for Features & Culture, covering the latest news, thought-provoking opinion pieces and trends.

Emily says:

I’m a useless morning person. Raising me is like raising the dead, but when I’m up, I get ready (shower, get dressed, a lot of lipstick to wake the face up) at quick speed. I only give myself 25 minutes to get out of the door, and if I have any spare minutes on a cold morning, I love to sneakily hop back into bed to warm back up and have another mini rest. It’s my own small two fingers up to the daily grind. I live in the suburbs, so it’s like Trains, Planes and Automobiles to get to Grazia’s office in Covent Garden, but I guess if I was an optimist, I’d say it gives me plenty of time to get going on things from my iPhone. Sometimes I’ll listen to music I’m reviewing, read the news, or write some notes on the book I’m working on. Sometimes I’ll talk to my husband if he’s not looking at Twitter. I start work at 9.30am, having had a bowl of instant porridge at my desk. It’s basically The Devil Wears Prada.

I always knew I wanted to be a writer, and would fashion little newspapers on a typewriter when I was at primary school (back in the 1950s clearly). I even attached free gifts. I knew I was on to something when I interviewed Tony Hadley (during a fallow, post-Spandau Ballet period) as a 10 year old and all the mum’s in the playground acted as if I was famous too. My mum used to call me The Earwig because I was always listening in for a story, so it was either journalism or being a spy. The best advice I ever had – and it’s adaptable for whatever your line of work – is, ‘learn to make a good cup of tea and offer to make one often’. It’s the true social lubricant. It’s even how I met my husband.

I did an English degree, but came out of university not really knowing what I was going to do with it. I tried working in advertising for a TV company, but wasn’t really getting to be creative. So, while all my mates were at the pub, I did a journalism diploma at night school and then left my job to do work experience. It was worth it: I got to make a lot of tea that first year. Plus I learned how to lurk so inoffensively so that people gave me work, but didn’t think I was a human shadow. I love meeting new people. The beauty of working across features and culture at a magazine like Grazia is that one day I will be chatting to a normal girl who’s had an extraordinary experience, or commissioning one of our excellent writers, and then the next even interviewing a film star. I’m not sure anyone can say what their least favourite part of their job is without being fired! My role model is Nora Ephron. My teeth, my dream career.

I wish I could get to and from the gym in my lunch hour, but, sadly I’m much more likely to be found eating a sandwich at my desk. Now it’s the New Year, I may also be found with some sort of vegetable to hand too. I finish work around 6.30pm, and if I’m not seeing some friends, or going to a film screening, I’ll go home and watch copious amounts of TV with my husband (Deutschland 83 is looking promising right now, and we’ve just polished off the hilarious and retro Red Oaks). I try to factor in some writing time for my book too. I hurt my back last year, so I’m trying out yoga and pilates every day to strengthen my core. One day I will be upstanding. We cook every day because we’re not quite organised enough to batch cook, but that’s the dream. I tend to put any ingredients I have to hand (chicken, veg, rice) in a pan, add chilli flakes, pepper, olive oil (or coconut oil and midget trees now we’ve become obsessed with Joe Wicks and his Lean in 15) and that’s a meal. I’m working hard to maintain the Michelin star.

The job which topped my childhood ambitions list was fashion designer. However, as everything I created on my Fashion Wheel (yep, I’m still a Millennial, even though I lived pre-internet) seemed to be a 90s-infused Cinderella dress. LFW is definitely better off without me. My alternative career, aside from the novel, is to train guide dogs. It would probably be a Marley and Me style disaster, but it might be nice to do something for other people which also involved cute puppies.

My top 3 online sources of inspiration are:

1 At the moment, I’m really into Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s Lenny Letter, although I wonder if newslettering is one big massive humblebrag? Or just a brag? Answers on a newsletter please. Maybe I’ll just do one, I’m clearly conflicted.

2 On Twitter, I like Louise O’Neill and Sharon Horgan who despite being from very different fields are both immense writers and both, incidentally, happen to be Irish.

3 As for apps, I’ve just got an Apple Watch (massive HB, see above), and although I should be doing my Seven workout once my back is back, the new fitness game CARROT looks like a bit of me. It’s got a rotund little character called CARROT AI that leads you through crazily named workouts like the Celebrity Face Punch. I obviously do not endorse any harm to any celebrities.