Today, publisher Bauer Media announced the closure of Cosmopolitan Australia. After 45 years on the shelves, the iconic women’s magazine will shut its doors following the release of the December issue.
In this extract from her book, Mama Mia, former Cosmo editor Mia Freedman reflects on picking up a baton forged by the title’s matriarch, the incomparable Helen Gurley Brown.
I was about to be crowned the new editor of Australian Cosmopolitan – the third in its 30-year history. However before I could officially be presented with my sash and my staff, I had to pass one important test. I had to meet Cosmo‘s founder, the iconic Helen Gurley Brown.
The brand’s owner and publisher, US media giant Hearst, had complete trust in my predecessor, Pat [Ingram], and since she had chosen me as her replacement, I came well recommended. But I still had to be vetted.
This meant flying to New York for two important interviews. The first was with the Vice President of Hearst International who quizzed me on what I thought about Cosmopolitan as a brand and where I might take it in Australia. I could talk about magazines under wet cement, so that part was no problem.
Mia farwells Cosmo on the latest episode of Mamamia Out Loud:
Next I was taken to meet Helen Gurley Brown. As the editor of US Cosmo, Helen didn’t have direct control over editorial appointments on the international editions, but in every other way she was Cosmopolitan. She had literally invented it.
She was born some time around 1922 (it was always hard to get a lock on her exact age) and started her working life as a a secretary but shot to fame upon the release of her first book, the controversial Sex and the Single Girl. Helen was about 40 years old when it was published in 1962 and the book became an in instant bestseller. Full of advice for single girls, its most sensational premise was that a woman didn’t need to be married to enjoy sex. In fact, she didn’t need to be married at all.