Harper’s Bazaar features and special projects director Laura Brown spoke with FishbowlNY contributor Diane Clehane for a “What Do You Do?” article on Mediabistro.com earlier this week.
The Australian editor and special judge on Bravo’s “Project Runway” spin-off “The Fashion Show” spoke about the challenges of her unique job including celebrity wrangling and conceptualizing the special features that get the magazine noticed, like last year’s photo feature with Tyra Banks as Michelle Obama.
Have favorite part of the job? “It’s basically being able to make what is seemingly an untenable idea or a fantastical idea a reality — to have a light bulb go on over your head like, ‘How about Tyra [Banks] as Michelle Obama?’ and then having that happen,” she said. “I feel like a little girl from Sydney when I do those things like, ‘Wow, look at that!’”
Getting into the details of how the Tyra/Michelle piece came about, Brown said:
“Obviously, the election was on everyone’s mind. I just said to [Tyra], ‘Why don’t we do this?’ We have one pop cultural icon who is paying homage to a woman who is about to become first lady and is clearly an icon herself.’ She got it straight away. She had no hesitation whatsoever. We shot this months before the election, and we imagined the White House with the family. If we get one point for prescience, we’ll take it…She was great. We got so much press. There were people who loved it — and then there were some people from Harvard who couldn’t believe we put a Harvard sweatshirt on Tyra and thought it was outrageous. I love doing that kind of stuff when you get a reaction from people. That’s the point — you don’t shoot stories to have them die.”
Read on for Brown’s take on which celebrities sell best today and some inspiring advice for magazine writers.