Describe your title and role.
I’m the editor and founder of Beauticate, a beauty and health website that profiles influential and inspiring people, talking about how they look after themselves. We profile everyone from fashion designers to fabulous entrepreneurs, makeup artists to models inside their homes, peeking inside their beauty cupboard, wardrobe and pantry. We also feature beauty and health how-tos, reviews and news.
What was your formal background or education?
I’ve been a journalist for 16 years – mostly in print, working as a beauty and health director in magazines. A few years ago I left my job on Vogue to build my website – I had to learn a lot about digital very fast, but I never looked back. Back when I went to uni (I did a BA Comms at UTS) there was very little practical teaching about magazines, let alone digital – I learnt everything I know now on the job. I think the journalism curriculums are more practical these days, but nothing beats the school of life.
What inspired you to pursue your career?
I was into writing and art from an early age. Both my parents were journalists but of a more serious newsy ilk. I loved the idea of reporting but was more attracted to cosmetics than I was to current affairs, so I ended up in magazines. Even though we are migrating to digital, there is still so much magic to create with words and pictures – and video and social media, too. This industry is so multi-faceted and filled with talented, creative people with really interesting stories – I love that I get to tell those stories for a living.
What has been the most memorable or rewarding moment in your career thus far?
When I was at Vogue I did a lot of travel (pre-kids!) and was lucky enough to interview Rihanna in her hometown of Barbados, Cate Blanchett with Giorgio Armani in Milan, Christopher Bailey at Burberry HQ in London and Nicolas Guesquiere in Paris. The most rewarding moment, though, was definitely building my own brand and watching it grow. There’s nothing like seeing a creative project through and then watching it become a real live business. Employing staff and getting their input into the brand is really cool, too. I have an amazing team.
Do you say you have a mentor, someone who has influenced you?
During my time in magazines I worked with some of the great publishing doyennes – successful women, who are also brilliant and lovely like Carolyn “Charlie” Lockhart, Marina Go and Edwina McCann at Vogue.
How do you measure success?
It’s changing as I get older. In her book Thrive, Ariana Huffington made a great case for what she calls the third metric of success “wellbeing, wisdom and wonder”. She sees this as an alternative blueprint for success after the traditional “money” and “power”. Beyond just running my business, it’s these kind of qualities I’m trying to nurture more in my life now– striking that balance of investing time with family and friends, trying to carve out a little time for meditation or exercise and introducing more random acts of generosity and kindness into my day.
How do you feel about the future of your industry?
The innovation and change is exciting but I think we also need to be wary of the toll that all this connectedness is taking on our health; the fact that we are expected to be wired 24/7 and how pervasive social media has become… it’s important to remember to soak up each moment, because you can’t really live life through a smartphone screen.
What advice would you give someone following, or influenced by your professional path?
Read – everything: literature, articles, essays, blogs and keep examples of writing you love and then practice writing and finding your voice. Write a blog or just write in private, just write. Volunteer to write stories for free (uni websites or websites you admire) and get people you trust to give you notes; take their feedback on board. Edit your own work, learn to be ruthless, try not to get too married to your words, and work out what makes good writing. To learn about the industry, find a brand or person you admire and offer to intern for them. Be super enthusiastic and be like a sponge when you’re in that environment – you’ll learn so much.
What challenges have you experienced?
I’ve had three magazines close on me and taken two redundancies. My twenties were riddled with uncertainty – at the time I was torn between pursuing a career in magazines versus TV. If only I’d known that in the very near future I’d be able to create a role where I was able to use both skills!
What words do you live by?
“Attitude is the difference between an ordeal and an adventure.” – My mum used to say something very similar, “Change your attitude, Change Your Experience.” It’s simple (and a little hard to do sometimes) but very true.
Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I would love to work with my husband, Damien, on another business or creative project. We worked together on the launch of Beauticate and I found we balance each other perfectly skillset-wise. Nothing beats that excitement of creation, and figuring things out with him, often over dinner wine glass in hand! I’d love for us to be in a position where we can travel with our children and educate them about the world.
You can find Sigourney on Instagram @sigourneycantelo
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