Interview With A Beauty Ed: Eleanor Pendleton

You’ve seen her beauty pages in FAMOUS Magazine, and loved the raw freshness of her achingly-cool beauty blog, Gritty Pretty and you’re soon to read her work in the beauty pages of InStyle Magazine; the latest notch in Eleanor Pendleton’s beauty writing belt.

Eleanor; a girl whose amazing career trajectory (and style, check this out) at a young age is so inspiring I just had to corner her in the hallway and pester her with questions. Ha, I used email, but hopefully by following her advice I will be walking those corridors one day!

Wisdom and killer beauty tips? What a Friday!



Congratulations on your new position at InStyle! What are you most excited
 about for the next chapter of your career?

Why, thank you so much! I am exceptionally excited about working on an international title that is published in 17 other countries. Although, I have worked on Cosmopolitan Bride, Cosmopolitan Hair & Beauty and Cosmopolitan Pregnancy magazines – this will be my first experience working on a women’s lifestyle monthly title so I am busting with excitement. Working with InStyle’s Beauty Director, Victoria Meppem, is going to be a life-changing experience and it’s truly going to allow me to grow into an even better editor.

You have an amazing job. If you can *possibly* narrow it down, what’s the best thing about it? And if any, the worst?

The best thing about being a Beauty Editor is trying beauty products months before they have even hit the stores. Painting my nails in front of my computer is a regular occurrence – all in the name of product research! The most rewarding thing about my role is putting my heart and soul into perfecting an article, interviewing subjects, sourcing products and bringing the best information to the reader – then seeing it printed on the news stands. I still pinch myself whenever I see someone reading my beauty pages standing in the grocery line at Coles. I don’t think I’ll ever get used to that feeling.

Who did you look up to when you were trying to break into the industry?
Zoë Foster. Whilst studying journalism, Zoë was the Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan magazine. I was lucky enough to score an internship with her for six months and it’s to Zoë that I owe a lot of credit to. If she hadn’t taken me under her wing and showed me the endless creative possibilities of beauty writing, then I more than likely would have ended up in features writing.

What has been the biggest challenge in your career so far?

There are many challenges when it comes to publishing. More recently, I was required to compile a 16-page beauty booklet in less than one week complete with product stills, copy and interviews. Oh, and that’s on top of my regular 8 beauty pages at FAMOUS. Yes, you could say it was one hell of a stressful week followed by one hell of a glass of wine.

Any advice for conquering the drama that can sometimes appear in a highly competitive industry such as yours?

Be conscious of how you approach media. First impressions are everything – and you need to be aware of how you approach the media, how you present yourself, grammatically proofing your emails to editors and generally being enthusiastic. If it’s magazines you want to work in, then make your dream a reality. Just remember there are a thousand girls behind you wanting the same thing, so it’s important to make yourself stand out in a positive light and be prepared to complete menial admin tasks wearing a smile to start off with.

You had huge success with your online beauty blog Gritty Pretty, how did you like the difference between online and print?

Thank you! I still can’t believe how quickly people took to Gritty Pretty – it just blows my mind that it’s read right across the world! The biggest difference I found between my beauty blog and my beauty pages is the freedom. With my blog, the possibilities are endless. I could discuss anything with anyone in the house style I wanted. I saw a real gap in the online market for an edgy beauty blog. I dislike glossy pink, bubblegum shades and cartoon character headers so for me, Gritty Pretty was basically designing a blog that I wanted to read.

Any lessons learned you would like to share with other bloggers?

As a professional, blog or not, it’s important for me to bring honest and authentic information to my readers. My biggest piece of advice to fellow beauty bloggers is to proof read, proof read and just when you think you’ve done enough, proof read again. Being a writer, nothing makes my skin crawl more than a blog ridden with typing errors. *Shudders.*

In your opinion, what’s more important for ‘making it’ in the magazine industry; experience or qualifications?

Definitely experience. After finishing high school, I was accepted into two universities. Instead, I deferred both and opted to enrol at Sydney’s Macleay College to study a Diploma in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts majoring in media in just two years. The course was accelerated and I wanted to choose the fast-tracked option so I could get straight into the work force. Consequently, after one year of beauty interning at Cosmopolitan, I graduated with my Diploma in Journalism. I had enrolled in my final year and was taken by surprise when I was offered the role as Beauty Writer at Cosmopolitan Brand Extension magazines. Almost four years later, and I’m literally about to start my first day at InStyle magazine as Beauty Editor.

What advice can you give for for girls who live outside of mag-central Sydney (such as myself!) who can’t intern on a regular basis?
I didn’t live in Sydney when I started out. I lived an hour and a half away but didn’t let distance stop me from getting one step closer to my dream. I had no contacts in the industry. I knew no one. But that didn’t stop me. I harassed every single Editorial Coordinator at my favourite magazine and begged for work experience. When I was 18, I was fortunate enough to receive one week of work experience at Cosmopolitan, I commuted every day and well, the rest is history. If you’re serious about a career in magazines and you’re persistent, distance and where you live should not prevent you from getting your foot in the door.

I once ran a competition with the question “What was your first beauty memory?” What would your entry have said?

I would’ve said ‘Damn. It wasn’t pretty – put it that way.’ My first beauty memory was rifling through my mother’s make-up door at about 6-years-old and sampling just about every Elizabeth Arden, Estee lauder and Avon product she owned on my face and arms. I looked like a clown but that moment sparked a life-long obsession that’s now become my career.

After a few years behind the Beauty Ed desk, you must be bursting withbeauty tips. What are a few that have stuck with you?

1. Primer, primer, primer. The rules of priming don’t just apply to your foundation base – it applies to your nails, hair and skin. By priming, you ensure your make-up, polish and hair products last all day long.
2. Use sticky tape when applying liquid liner. It sounds crazy but by applying a small piece of sticky tape to the outer corner of your eyes in line with the edge of your eye and your eye brow, you can create the perfect cat eye flicks without the mess. Simply peel off and you’ll have minxy eyes in seconds!

What’s your best beauty skill?

Even as a Beauty Editor, I make mistakes but I’d have to say my best beauty skills are creating ghd curls and applying liquid liner. Both require years of practise and I can proudly say I’ve nailed them.


One hell of a woman, right? So inspiring!

Congratulations Eleanor, I and I’m sure many other fans can’t wait to flick straight to the beauty section of InStyle in the coming months!


10 Responses to “Interview With A Beauty Ed: Eleanor Pendleton”

  1. 1 natashajean February 18, 2011 at 1:11 pm

    Fantastic interview Holly, love the questions and of course loved Eleanor’s response. So great to hear from young talented people in the industry! Loved it!

  2. 2 Nikki Parkinson February 18, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Great interview, Holly … and Eleanor, you are one hell of a girl. Was so lovely to meet you last week. I look forward to reading your pages in In Style. x

  3. 3 Sharon Green February 18, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    What insightful and interesting responses from Eleanor. I love how you’ve managed to fuse the topics of journalism/magazines (for people like me with a particular interest in this area) while keeping it relevant to the beauty content of your blog. Thanks for sharing, Holly.

  4. 4 Lee Lutgarda Pendleton February 18, 2011 at 7:46 pm

    Eleanor Marie, I am so proud to be your mother. What can I say, with so many challenges, life’s hurdles in our family eg. moving interstate, family’s financial set-back among others these challenges didn’t hinder you to pursue your passion in journalism. Thank you for your hard work, determination, patience to persevere in your dreams to come True. You are truly an inspiration.I am so happy to be your mother :D))

  5. 5 Shitika February 19, 2011 at 8:02 pm

    I happen to be best friends with Eleanor’s younger sister – also a journalist – and to see how their dreams came true is so inspiring. Met El yesterday and she is as lovely in person as she comes across in this interview.
    We all know how difficult it is to crack into this industry, but if done with burning passion and drive – we call all step into El’s shoe one day.
    Cheers to us working together one day. I hope to see you in Sydney soon, Holly 🙂 x

  6. 6 Annette @ Wellnesss WA February 21, 2011 at 1:02 am

    Awesome! So feel good. I love it 🙂

  7. 7 Christina @ Hair Romance February 22, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Great interview Holly. Eleanor is such an inspiration.
    Just found your blog from twitter, love it x

    Christina @ Hair Romance

  8. 9 hollyjcurtis February 22, 2011 at 9:36 pm

    Thanks for the wonderful feedback everyone, I am so glad you enjoyed the interview. Eleanor really is amazing!

    I am hoping to do more of the same, so hopefully another interview won’t be too far away!


  9. 10 Tara February 27, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    This is a great piece Holly. Great advice from Eleanor! Thanks for a great post

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