Leigh Campbell: Publishing Princess
I had the pleasure of spending some time with Leigh and her handsome other half at the 2015 Portsea Polo earlier this year and can unashamedly confirm her professionalism and comedic repertoire is just as flawless as her skin. (Yes – it truly is. Ive seen it up close – the skin and the comedy that is). It was so lovely to experience a genuinely warm, honest and engaging interview with Leigh, who is uncompromising when it comes to her work and social ethic – traits that can be well hidden within any cut throat competitive industry. But it was her impressive 10 year plus print magazine career, the success of her online blog and fiercely protective views towards animals (more specifically baby goats) that got us inspired over this humble and fabulous femme who will no doubt be hugely embarrassed by my gushing appraisal of her. Yes – humility – another delightful quality of Miss Leigh Campbell….Ugh.
WHAT DO YOU DO AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT IT?
I am the Beauty Director at Cosmopolitan magazine Australia. I love everything about it! I’m privy to some pretty cool product to play with, I get to write about makeup, blow-dries and lipstick, but most importantly I work with young dynamic women who are fun and inspiring. In my spare time, of which there is little, I blog about everything except beauty on The Daily Coverage.
WHAT HAS YOUR CAREER JOURNEY BEEN TO DATE?
I started at SHOP Til You Drop magazine in 2003 after helping out at CLEO magazine. I was in various roles at SHOP for four years before I moved across to Cosmopolitan to work on beauty. I have been here ever since!
WHAT IS YOUR EDUCATION / STUDY BACKGROUND?
I didn’t finish high school; I left half way through year 11. After a short stint in retail I decided I really needed more stimulation, so did a year of design fundamentals at TAFE. Trying my hand at fashion, industrial, jewellery, interior, and graphic design was so insightful, it helped me hone in on what made me happy. I picked interiors and studied them at The Whitehouse Institute. As fate would have it, I now have a successful career in publishing, which is obviously unrelated to interiors, but that was my tertiary journey.
WHAT WOULD YOU RECOMMEND WOMEN STUDY OR DO TO BEST EQUIP THEMSELVES TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?
Women I work with have varying degrees and diplomas, or none at all. Traditionally, one would study media, public relations or journalism. I didn’t study any of the aforementioned, so am proof that tertiary education isn’t the only way. Some form of work experience or an internship will stand you in good stead to judge if it really is for you, after seeing the reality of the industry.
HAVE YOU HAD ANY MOMENTS OF CAREER UNCERTAINTY?
Not really. I certainly didn’t choose magazines, but ever since this path presented itself to me, I’ve really enjoyed the journey. Sometimes I wonder if I should pursue interiors as I had always planned, but I haven’t felt an urge strong enough to push me, yet. I think I will always be writing; whether that’s for print, or online, or possibly a book.
WHAT SKILLS AND TRAITS DO PEOPLE NEED TO SUCCEED IN YOUR INDUSTRY?
To succeed in print media you need to realise that it’s not as glamorous as it looks, and that the fleeting moments of glitz are fun, but are hardly what the job is comprised of. You need to be prepared to work hard for a modest wage; and you’ll need a thick skin and a sense of urgency (hello, deadlines). Attention to detail is paramount, as is a love for the reader.
WHAT’S BEEN YOUR GREATEST ACHIEVEMENT?
I don’t know that I have had one that’s a huge standout. I guess being nominated as one of my companies rising stars was a nice pat on the back. It’s also always good to see young journalists I’ve mentored go on to be great writers in their own right.
WHAT PART OF YOUR JOB DON’T WE SEE ON INSTAGRAM?
Most of it! Excel spread sheets, features and advertising meetings, lunch from the cookie jar and deadlines.
WHAT’S THE BIGGEST LESSON YOU’VE LEARNT FROM A MISTAKE YOU’VE MADE IN THE PAST?
Never assume. Always ask, always communicate. Communication is what will make or break anything (a business, a relationship).
HAS YOUR DEFINITION OF SUCCESS CHANGED FOR YOU OVER THE COURSE OF YOUR CAREER?
It’s not until recently that I really pondered what success means. Someone asked me ‘How did you become successful?” and I thought “Oh, am I?”. I don’t think there’s ever a point when you feel like you’ve made it, or that you’re a ‘grown up’ in your industry. Well, it feels that way for me, anyway. I still feel like a 21 year old finding my way. But to me, success is being happy going to work every morning.
REFLECTING ON YOUR CAREER TO DATE, WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE YOURSELF AT THE BEGINNING?
To save more money. A modest wage makes it hard, but I wish I had set up a direct debit to put away even $20 or $50 a week. I’m so very lucky that I am totally in love with what I do, but love doesn’t get you on the bus. Being wise with money from an earlier age would be the advice I would give my younger self.
HAVE YOU EXPERIENCED AND COURSES, SEMINARS, BOOKS OR GUIDES THAT HAVE CHANGED YOUR LIFE?
I did a six month health/life coaching course in 2012. It was by far the single most useful and eye opening this I have done for myself. Every fortnight my coach and I tackled topics like diet, nutrition, finance, love and relationships. As cheesy as it sounds, it really forced me to work on the relationship with myself. I have a tenancy to listen to negative internal dialog, but my coach gave me tools and methods to change. It was brilliant. I’d also suggest that all people in their 20s read Rich Dad, Poor Dad and The Divine Matrix.
HOW DO YOU MANAGE STRESS / ANXIETY / WORK LIFE BALANCE?
I don’t believe in working overtime. Of course circumstances dictate this from time to time, but generally, there should be a constant need. We need to stop the glorification of busy. I’m a highly organised person, as are the people I work with, and we put our heads down and get it done. For that reason I am able to have dinner at home and spend time with my partner, work on my blog, have a life outside of ‘work’. I think that’s paramount to being a happy employee.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
I want to move to rural Sydney where my family lives and have happy chickens. Hopefully we will all be working remotely in five years and my dream will become a reality.
WHAT THREE WORDS WOULD YOU USE TO DESCRIBE YOURSELF?
Decisive, Determined, Emotional.