Making the mojo happen: The passionate media owner has Elle, Elle Deco and Longevity magazine in her Isiko publishing stable. She ponders innovation in the magazine landscape, lessons learned and the hippy life.
What do you love most about the media industry? The creative aspect – the alchemy of bringing together multiple resources, creativity, commercial sense, ideas, skill and energy to manifest in a tangible product.
What has been your greatest challenge? Being an independent media owner means I personally develop and fund the business. At times, it can be a very lonely place.
Why do you consider one of your greatest achievements? When we launched ELLE 19 years ago it was the first international magazine in a post-apartheid South Africa.
If you could have dinner with any three people living or dead, who would they be? Kahlil Gibran for his words of wisdom about how we find our moral and spiritual compass in this modern age; Vincent van Gogh – to talk about love, art and creative mastery and Steve Jobs to ask him, where on earth to from here?
If you could have any superpower, what would it be? It would be to help heal South Africa. There are just too many people carrying hate, distrust, anger and pain in their hearts.
What are your plans for Isiko Media? We’ve made some great strides in innovating in our space. Longevity has its own television programme and developed niche projects, ELLE is the first magazine in South Africa to have a virtual fashion and beauty cupboard which connects readers digitally with the magazine in real time and ELLE Deco has just published a delightful extension in print. Our main focus is to keep adapting the model to the market changes.
What makes you laugh? When my daughter tickles me.
What is your worst habit and best quality? When I’m fed up (it takes a lot to get me there), I can be extremely brutal, direct and unyielding about a decision. However, I’m a fundamentally kind person with a brave heart. I’m also persistent and highly resilient.
If you had a tattoo what would it be? The symbol for longevity.
What’s your pet hate? Racism
What lesson have you learnt the hard way? There is no substitute for a good legal agreement when it comes to business partnerships or transactions.
What are you addicted to? The beauty of nature.
What are you afraid of? Not much… anymore.
Your best advice ever? Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. – Dr. Seuss.
Do you have any regrets? We’re not supposed to have regrets, are we? But, it’s leaving FNB as the media director to join the family business.
Your motto is… Never stop dreaming, visualising life and caring what happens. Make the most of what you’re given and live every moment as abundantly as you can, spiritually, intellectually, physically and emotionally. I also never stop thinking about what difference I am making.
Your thoughts on the magazine publishing landscape now? Media altogether is at a tipping point. We have to adapt more speedily to new models of working and change the paradigms of thinking around media and audiences. Specifically in the magazine industry, which needs to get its mojo back and be more proud and supportive of each other about what we can offer. Print is powerful and will remain integral to our lives to some extent, but digital is where the growth is.
What makes you happy? Enabling people, in particular women, to follow their passion and dreams. Also, my two children, a husband who loves me, and a handful of good friends and family I can really count on.
Paradise is… The ocean on the beach at Robberg Nature Reserve in Plettenberg Bay in the Western Cape.
What’s your hidden talent? I’m an amateur artist. I dabble in oil.
Tell us a secret… If I wasn’t in the media industry, I’d run a health and yoga centre. I’m really a hippy at heart.
This post was first published in the August 2015 issue of The Media magazine.
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