Rosie Nixon is Editor-in-Chief of HELLO! where she has worked for the past eight years and has a love of all things celebrity, royal and fashion-related. Rosie previously held senior positions at glossy women’s magazines including Grazia, Glamour and Red. In her career she has been lucky enough to attend a multitude of glamorous award ceremonies, premieres and showbiz weddings all around the world.
Rosie’s latest novel, Amber Green takes Manhattan, is out 29th June (HQ, £7.99 Paperback Original).
Describe a typical day for you?
On a typical day, I’m up at around 7 o’clock when I can hear my youngest (who is 19 months) chatting to himself in his cot downstairs. I’ll go and get him up then I’ll probably play with him and my eldest, Heath (who is just over 3), for a little bit before breakfast. I’ll find time to scroll through social media just to catch up on the news stories of the day and check nothing big has happened overnight. There are always a few early morning emails to respond to with the team at HELLO!. After breakfast with the little ones there is generally a scramble to get into the shower, dress everyone, walk the eldest to nursery and get into work on London’s South Bank by ten.
Once I’m in the office I tend to hit the ground running. There are team meetings about the issue, the latest pictures and coordinating projects that need to run across the magazine, online or social media. I might have a lunch meeting or if not I generally eat sushi at my desk. In the afternoon it’s more management meetings or I might be out seeing a celebrity PR, or client to discuss upcoming exclusives and ideas for our brand. You can’t beat face time with contacts.
I often attend events in the evening – making a quick change into heels and a dress in my office! – and then I’ll head out to a launch party or an opening, if I’m lucky there might be a premiere. If I’m not out for work, I’ll rush home by 6.30 in time for some playtime before putting the little ones to bed. Story time with my boys is my favourite time of the day. My eldest is just getting into Roald Dahl and we’re currently reading Fantastic Mr Fox. I’ll snuggle into the bottom bunk with him and we’ll read until he drops off to sleep.
If I don’t need to rush out again I’ll cook supper with my husband and have an evening in. My dream is to be in bed by nine thirty reading a book. I’m currently engrossed in The Light We Lost by Jill Santopolo. If I’m writing a book myself, ideas might be going through my head so I’ll make notes or do a bit of writing. I try and get seven hours of sleep and always cross my fingers that no child wakes up in the night!
Life is certainly busy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
My two sons. I feel so lucky to have children as they bring such joy to my life. They really do come first. After them, probably writing novels. Getting a publishing deal with HQ Stories (an imprint of Harper Collins) for my first book, The Stylist, was a dream come true. In fact, I still can’t quite believe it – even now the sequel, Amber Green takes Manhattan, is being published a year later! Writing a novel is such a labour of love, it’s so rewarding to hold the finished book in your hands. I’m also lucky to do a job that I adore and find endlessly stimulating and challenging. When HELLO! comes in every week or when I look online, I feel really proud of our brand.
What’s in your handbag?
I treated myself to an Anya Hindmarch bag when The Stylist was published, and with Amber Green Takes Manhattan, I’ve splurged on a Mulberry – I rarely spend such amounts on myself, so this was my little reward, and I’m wearing it at every opportunity! I tend to put too much in my handbag. I always carry lipstick and mascara, tissues and there’s generally a child’s toy in there, which I’m still carrying around from the weekend – probably a Thomas the Tank Engine train. Sunglasses are a must, as is an umbrella. As a journalist, I always carry a notebook even though I often make notes for books on my phone so I can email them to myself later on. I do like to have a notebook to scribble things down; observations, ideas for books or features or anything that’s caught my attention. I’m also an avid list writer, so there’s generally a ‘to-do’ list on the go.
What are your ambitions in life?
I’d love to write more books. The type of fiction I write is commercial with a comedic tone, which comes naturally to me. Writing is such escapism. It would be amazing if things were to go further and a book makes it to the big screen – that is a huge ambition. You’ve got to dream big, right?
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I’d love to still be working at HELLO!. There is so much more that we’re going to do with the brand. There are some really exciting things in progress – and we’ll be celebrating the 30th anniversary of HELLO! next year. We’re planning to take the brand to even greater heights! I’d love to manage to continue writing books as part of my career. I think that when something’s a true passion, you somehow always manage to squeeze it in.
What advice would you give a budding journalist / editor-in-chief / author?
Just go for it! There is so much opportunity for procrastinating and saying, “Oh I want to do this, but there are all these barriers in my way”. I think you need to make today the day you seize the moment. There’s nothing as daunting as beginning to write a book. I’m starting a new novel at the moment and all those blank pages to fill with tens of thousands of words is a scary prospect, but once you get going it’s actually not so bad. Believe me, the words start adding up and you get so immersed in your story that writing it becomes a compulsion, something you’ve just got to do.
As a journalist, I’d say the key qualities are an inquisitive mind and an interest in people – you need to love going out, meeting new people and thinking about how you can tell their story. The more people you speak to and the more contacts you make – the more opportunities will open up to you.
What do you wish you’d known about motherhood before having kids?
No matter how many guidebooks you read, nothing can prepare you for having children. Becoming a mother is an endless learning experience – I’m still learning every day, and that will continue as the children get older and their needs change. There are challenges and surprises at every age.
There’s nothing so crazy as having a new-born baby in your arms and working out how to feed them and feeling the huge responsibility of keeping another human being alive. It’s absolutely overwhelming! But then you get used to it.
I used to be such a sleep monster, I’ve never quite gotten over the fact that I never seem to get enough sleep and lie-ins really are a thing of the past, but being a mother is just the most amazing privilege and I’m trying to savour every moment. I already feel like my little ones are growing up too fast.
Juggling home life and work can be a struggle. I really try not to separate the two worlds too much. I try to prioritise my children and be around for them as much as I can. I try to put my phone into the kitchen drawer when I get home in the evening so I’m not constantly checking my emails around them. My oldest son has started asking me why I go off to work and I enjoy talking to him about the magazine and what I do. I think it’s important he understands. I brought him into the office recently to meet the staff, so when he hears me say, “I’m going off to work” he can picture it. My husband and I try to keep weekends as free as possible so we can enjoy quality time with them. But it’s a big juggle. Some weeks it feels like it’s all going brilliantly and I’m managing the two parts of my life well and other weeks it feels like it’s getting out of control. I’m sure every mother feels the same!
Finally, happiness is…
…Lying on a beach under a palm tree with my children building sandcastles nearby, my husband lying next to me and being immersed in a really great book. I think that’s pure heaven.
Amber Green takes Manhattan by Rosie Nixon is out 29th June (HQ, £7.99 Paperback Original)