I was under no false pretences. Elle was a massive launch for the company and I knew that management was hoping for a big international name to announce as the editor. I was aware that an internal promotion wasn’t quite the sexy announcement they’d hoping for. But, in my head, I was the only person for the job.
Rumours would circulate about other potential editors and I’d feel physically sick and wish bad things upon perfectly nice people. Time passed without much happening except for me getting on important people’s nerves. I made another enormous pitch document, this time with thirty-one pages, in case thirty hadn’t adequately done the job. I continued to hear crickets.
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While all this was happening, I got it into my head that I wanted to have another baby. I was terrified of a pregnancy getting in the way of the job I knew was supposed to be mine but the process—if it was happening at all, which I didn’t know because I’d become so annoying that no-one would tell me—was taking so long I figured I had to chance it.
At the rate the company moved in these matters, I knew I could very well be menopausal before a decision was made one way or another. I decided to take the leap and work it out—if it ever happened—later.
Besides, ACP had a solid history of pregnant women making good editors: Ita Buttrose became pregnant just months after launching Cleo—much to Kerry’s chagrin who apparently complained that she must not have read the story on contraception in her own magazine—and paved the way for working mothers in Australia. If Ita could do it with a magazine named after a long-dead Egyptian queen, I could do it with a masthead as chic and modern as Elle.
So I fell pregnant, hoping that a decision would be made quickly so that I could launch the magazine before the baby came. And then as the pregnancy progressed, I hoped that the decision would drag out so that I’d be able to hold off starting on the magazine until after I’d taken some maternity leave. In the end, it was a week before the baby’s actual due date—the worst of all the possible timings—that they finally called and asked me to prepare a final presentation for the teams at Hearst in New York and Lagardère in Paris. It’s lucky that all my children come late.