Joanna Coles, Content Editor for Hearst Magazines and former Editor-in-chief at Cosmopolitan Magazine, recently gave an interview on AOL BUILD discussing the new E! reality show, So Cosmo.
The interview series has featured celebrities such as Wendy Williams, Kathy Griffin, Jay Ellis, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Nicole Byers. Joanna was the EIC of Cosmo for four years prior to her promotion to the offices of the magazine’s publisher; she also sits on the board of directors of Snapchat. During this interview, Joanna comments on Cosmo, the magazine’s audience, contemporary women, and more importantly the new reality show.
Cosmopolitan Magazine has technically been around for over one hundred years, however, it has managed to evolve with its audience. “Cosmo girls” aren’t the women who hang around the bar, ordering round after the round of the signature cocktail while bad mouthing men and complaining about female problems. They are women who strive to have it all in life and have fun working towards their goals.
“Cosmo girls” want a career, a family, kids, a home, the latest fashions, the best makeup, and an amazing orgasm. These women are very busy building their lives, so they look to Cosmo for much needed for guidance.
Joanna isn’t afraid to offer her own opinion on trivial and controversial topics. Last year, when talking to the New York Times about Donald Trump and the possibility of him winning the election, she was quoted saying “that would be a terrible thing for women and human rights”. She defended her answer during this interview by explaining that she looks at most situations through the eyes of the Cosmo reader and what they care about. According to Joanna, their target audience wants equal pay for equal work, access to health care, and control over her maternal rights; all issues that President Trump has not advocated for or shown any interests in.
There’s a big misconception surrounding women and their interests. For some reason, there’s an assumption that women who show a massive interest in things related to fashion and beauty, do not care about politics. Joanna has been noted on several occasion, including by NPR, saying that “women can be interested in mascara and the Middle East”. This statement speaks to the notion that people (especially women) can have multiple interests, and these interests are sometimes separate but can also overlap.
The same person who sexually fantasizes about bondage can also be a Republican who loves fast cars, soap operas, and firmly believes that men should get facials to preserve their skin. Fortunately, America is supposed to be a country that celebrates the everyone’s interests and their right pursue all of them.
Joanna also gives her opinion on diversity, specifically in the fashion world and how the theme of necessary change transpires beyond one profession or industry. A couple of years ago certain influencers and fashion enthusiasts made the case that it was time to promote diversity on the runways. For far too long women of certain size and women of color seemed to be absent from the catwalk.
Only the chosen few were lucky enough to walk among the masses of skinny Caucasian models with their bodies draped in couture. As an editor of a fashion magazine and a regular at all the high profile fashion shows, Joanna admits that there is a lot more diversity now than there was a few years ago. From her perspective designers who consciously make the decision to include women of different sizes and colors should be applauded. It is her belief that diversity in management can trickle down and affect other levels of an organization, which is something she says has been proven time and time again.
So Cosmo follows around the women and men who work in the office at Cosmopolitan Magazine. Each month these people help produce one of the most iconic publications in America; and possibly the world. It is important that people understand that this isn’t The Devil Wears Prada. This group of editors and contributors fight on a daily basis to prove that they are the best people for the job.
They’re constantly working to deliver content that resonates with Cosmo’s audience, which requires them to stay on their “A” game at all times. In the show’s trailer, Joanna makes the statement, “It’s not always as glamorous as you might think”, however, she quickly retorted this statement by saying “it kind of is glamorous, fuck it”.
Spoiler alert, the first episode of So Cosmo features an interesting twist. At the time, Joanna is the Editor-In-Chief at Cosmo, but she has just accepted a position as the Content Editor for Hearst Magazines who publishes Cosmo. In the episode, she announces to her staff that she is leaving and vacating her office effective immediately. The announcement causes a state of panic in the office, leaving most of the employees unsure of their future.
So Cosmo is scheduled to premiere on E! at 8 PM EST/7 PM CT on February 8th, 2017.