You might not know her by name, but you’ve definitely seen her work.
Laura Brown is Aussie-born, New York-based fashion mag royalty whose career highlights include the iconic cover featuring Rihanna posing in a shark’s mouth for Harper’s Bazaar (as well as many others) and most recently landing Oprah for the cover of InStyle, right after her amazing Golden Globes speech.
She’s also the editor-in-chief of InStyle US – which is has the second biggest readership in America, bigger than Vogue US.
Not too bad for a woman from Camden – a quaint, historic suburb in Sydney’s west that’s home to farms and not fashion houses.
Speaking to Mia Freedman on No Filter, Brown shares her journey.
Roughly 16 and a half years ago, after declining Mia’s offer to become the Deputy Editor of Cosmopolitan Australia, Brown jumped on a plane to New York City with only $5000 in her bank account, and just enough ambition and determination to make it.
And make it she did.
Despite arriving a week before 9/11, she didn’t look back.
“I just wanted to be (there), I didn’t think about it. I thought well if I have to go home again, it’s not a bad thing,” she said.
Eventually she went from pulling freelance jobs from her Australian connections, to spending 11 years working her way to Executive Director of Harper’s Bazaar before landing the top spot at InStyle.
However, outside the industry, Instagram was probably what gave Brown's career the biggest push into the spotlight, making her name synonymous with the likes of Anna Wintour, Arianna Huffington, and Christene Barberich (co-founder of Refinery 29).
And it's easy to see why. She just gets it with her mix of relatability, self-deprecating humour and wit. She's also seems to best friends with every celebrity ever... but mainly the humour.
In some ways it's an active choice to not let her life turn into a "bad fashion movie," but to Brown it comes as second nature.
"I never thought, hand on heart, that (social media) would be such a big deal," she said.
"I like a laugh and I like a Chloe bag," she says, reminding us that fashion, humour and fun aren't mutually exclusive.
For the above reasons and more, this is why you should, nay, need to follow @laurabrown99 on Instagram. Here's seven more.
"Oh sh*t, ok..." This was what happened the moment Laura Brown was offered the Editor In Chief role at InStyle US. Post continues after audio.
1. She posts pictures of her great style accompanied with even greater captions.
Whether it's getting dressed up for the red carpet or opting for prairie-chic (it's a trend) at fashion week, a scroll through her feed will have you chuckling one minute, and tapping like a mad woman for the tagged brands the next.
All in a day's work for a fashion industry influencer eh?
2. Rubbing shoulders with Hollywood's best and brightest is actually part of her job description, and she's very good at it.
Admittedly it is her job, but she manages to do both oh so very well. Her advice? To remember they're just like us.
"I say to younger people all the time, don't envy anyone," she says.
"I'm respectful but I'm not reverent.
"I go in there being like, you're just a lady. You might have nicer clothes, and get your picture taken more often, and have more money, but that's sorta about it."
3. She really champions Australian wildlife.
She might have picked up a New York twang, but the Australiana is still alive and well on her Instagram.
She's had a kangaroo named after her and had the privilege of naming a wombat after her mother, Lola.
Your move Hugh Jackman... your move.
4. You can vicariously live in the world of fashion through her.
Didn't get to see Gucci's decapitated model heads? Weren't sitting front row at the Tod's puppy-filled runway? Probably can't go up to Christy Turlington and Helena Christensen without landing yourself a restraining order?
Same. But that's okay, because Brown is currently doing the fashion week circuit and doing ALL of the above.
You know what to do...
5. She once accosted Meryl Streep for a selfie, and thus... is just like us, but arguably (definitely) cooler.
Look, she might call Emilia Clarke, Nicole Kidman and Emily Ratajkowski her "mates," but she's still human.
"Frankly I'm not going to leave Meryl Streep alone without freaking getting a selfie," she said to Mia.
The result was this...
"I totally accosted her at my party, and I was like... 'I'm so sorry."
We'd do the same.
6. She has the power to make celebrities to do borderline ridiculous things.
Actions speak louder than words, so here's a video of Brown doing her country proud and dancing with Oprah.
Make it your required Monday-night viewing.
7. She doesn't take herself too seriously.
Sometimes all you want from your Instagram feed is a laugh, and Laura Brown delivers. Whether it's fighting every desire to fall asleep at fashion shows - jet lag is such a drag, or dressing up like the Former Vice President of the United States, Joe Biden (who she also put on the cover of a fashion magazine), Brown inserts an every-woman voice into fashion, an industry that isn't often praised for it's accessibility.
Not convinced yet? Have a look at Brown's Instagram yourself. It's well-worth the social media black hole you'll inevitably fall into. Promise.
For more Laura Brown and high fash-un goodness, listen to her entire conversation with Mia on No Filter. It's celebrity-filled, belly-laugh-inducing banger, get it in your ears.