Wonderful Women Interview with Magazine Editor Monica Costa
Monica Costa is an inspirational, passionate and creative entrepreneur who has vast PR and editorial experience. She is also fluent in 6 languages.
In 2006, when Monica’s son was born, she set up London Mums, a free and independent peer support group for mothers based in London. The group has over 200,000 members and counting.
While London Mums started as an organisation run by mums for other mums and children, thanks to the advent of social media, it has transformed into a media outlet across all platforms including a quarterly print magazine distributed for free at selected supermarkets in London as well as at family- friendly venues and businesses across the Capital.
Monica is a ray of sunshine and it’s a joy to share her brilliance on the blog.
Describe a typical day for you?
In my crazy world, there isn’t a typical day as the work of a journalist doesn’t have a strict routine. I might be a wonderful woman (according to Vicki who actually is one) but I still have to do the school-run and ensure my son is ready for his day. After that, I spend time at my desk writing, posting articles online, managing the London Mums’ guest blogging community (we have now 200,000 members and counting), planning social media activities and the next magazine. Dealing with advertising requests is a key activity which funds my outlets and lifestyle. The most glamorous work I do includes interviewing Hollywood stars or music icons at press junkets as well as going to premieres and gigs. Tough but fun! I love what I do!
What do you feel are your biggest achievements?
I created a supportive network for mums and mumpreneurs in 2006 (in the good old days) when face-to-face was very important before the social media frenzy started, so I consider myself a ‘pre-blogger’. I am proud of receiving the support of the Mayor of London and have done since 2011. My print magazine has been growing in popularity from 2010 and I enjoy going to events where people recognise me/the magazine. I also love the fact that I have a reputation for being a professional in what I do. Last but not least, I have created a job for myself that I adore!
What’s in your handbag/ satchel?
The question should be re-phrased to ‘what isn’t in your handbag?’. The list would be shorter. I carry far too much stuff in it. Of course, I always have a copy of the magazine which I use as my business card but people always ask me for a card too and I reply, ‘This is my business card’! A new trend perhaps?
What are your ambitions in life?
When I was in my 20s, I wanted to be a journalist and interview the most inspirational people on the planet so I have kind of fulfilled my dream. Call me greedy but I have a few other dreams including publishing my own cookery books, presenting a TV show about Italy to showcase what Italian food / Italy really is all about and making my own film would also be my dream too, maybe in my next life though…
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your career you now know?
If you don’t ask, you don’t get. I have often been too gentle and I haven’t pushed enough when opportunities came along. I am now following the 5 second rule and I don’t hold back any more. At the beginning, I also made the mistake to always say ‘yes’ and didn’t prioritise properly. I have learnt the lesson the hard way.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years time?
I never think that far ahead. My motto is Carpe Diem, Latin for ‘seize the day’. I enjoy the present and don’t worry about the future! What I would love to see in the crystal ball though is being an established author of books focused on Italy and I’d like to become a recognised expert in all things Italian so I can showcase the best of my country which is currently going through a rough patch.
What advice would you give a budding Magazine Editor?
Being a Magazine Editor is like being a juggler and a jack of all trades all at the same time. You have to be versatile and know how to do everything from writing to designing a cover and selling advertising. Then you can specialise of course, depending on how big the magazine is. Planning is crucial along with clear briefing to people who work for / with you. Having a great business ethic will also get you a long way too!
What advice would you give a new parent?
Enjoy every moment with your children, because Tempus fugit (time flies) and before you know it, they are all grown up and gone so they can explore the world by themselves.
Finally, happiness is…
Being surrounded by the people you love and love you back which is always better on a sandy beach somewhere in the Caribbean, and even better if Scott Eastwood pops by to say hallo (wink).