A day in the life of seventeen's Janine Jellars
Editor of seventeen magazine, Janine Jellars, spends time with Media Update sharing her childhood dream to be a spy, thoughts on social media, and her secret indulgence.
1. What was your first job/where did you start?
I started in media as a newsreader at Matie FM (MFM) in Stellenbosch while studying towards my Bphil in journalism. I also did internships at True Love and Sarie. My first reporter's job was at The Witness in KwaZulu-Natal, while I was doing my learnership with Media24. I'd recommend that any aspirant magazine journo spends time in a newspaper newsroom – it honestly is one of the best training grounds for writers as you learn to deliver articles accurately and speedily.
2. What made you want to build a career in your profession?
My childhood dream was to be a spy. The NIA hasn't called yet, so the next best thing to peeking into peoples' lives covertly is doing it overtly and calling yourself a journalist. This industry is the perfect meeting point of many of my interests: storytelling, psychology, marketing, art, etc. I work hard, but I've never felt like my job is hard work — it's exciting, ever-changing, dynamic, creative and keeps me stimulated. Very few people are privileged enough to say they love what they do and I'm glad I'm one of them.
3. Describe a day in your life at present.
I know that almost everyone says that no two days are the same, and they're right. The basic outline for me would have to be: coffee, emails, discussions, thinking, editing, writing, strategising, liaising, meetings, deadlines, endless conversations about the nature of fame and Justin Bieber, fun, blood, sweat and tears – and sometimes a run on the beach.
4. How do you unwind behind the scenes? List your favourite song; movie; and book.
I've started taking my health seriously and am trying to get fit. I spend a little time at the gym or running on the promenade. And, while my party days are largely over, I've been known to socialise here and there. I'm also a firm believer in retail therapy. I have way too many favourite songs to mention, but I'm a huge hip hop and local house music fan. I also have many favourite movies, but I never miss a chance to re-watch Spike Lee's Do the right thing. My favourite book changes often, but I seem to recommend Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie's Half of a Yellow Sun to almost everyone who asks me for a good book recommendation.
5. Who would you most like to meet – dead or alive, and why?
Oprah Winfrey. I was a bit of an 'Oprah cynic' for many years, but, in the build up to her final show, you can tell that the impact she's had on the lives of ordinary people is undeniable.
6. What has been one of the most important lessons you have learnt?
Trust your gut. It's a lesson I think we all continually have to re-learn.
7. What is your secret indulgence and your three ‘can’t live without’ items?
My secret indulgence is sleep ... I'm currently dedicating entire weekends to my duvet! My top three must-haves are good quality coffee (life's too short for bad instant coffee), my perfume collection (I have a favourite, but I'm all about options) and pure coconut oil (the best thing for my natural hair).
8. Who do you think is getting it right in the industry?
Given the immense pressure everyone is under and the current market climate, I'd say everyone! So many titles are pulling out all the stops and innovating, despite the dire economic outlook.
9. Which person in the industry do you think is making waves?
Sbu Mpungose. I think she did a phenomenal job at True Love and I'm interested to see what she has in store for Cosmopolitan readers.
10. Who is your alter-ego?
A cross between Bree Van Der Kamp, RuPaul and Solange Knowles. And a touch of Sandton kugel. Slightly ridiculous.
11. What is your favourite perfume?
Alien by Thierry Mugler (the original and all the 'special editions').
12. Which car would best personify you, and why?
Hmmm … something all terrain (adaptable), unpretentious, that isn't scared to get down and dirty and get the job done. A Land Rover Defender, maybe?
13. What is your favourite reality TV series?
I wasn't much of a TV watcher until recently, but I have to admit that I'm getting into The X Factor USA.
14. Who is someone you truly look up to, and which qualities do you most admire about them?
This sounds so cheesy, but I'm constantly wow-ed by my seventeen team mates – they have an enviable work ethic and an unmatched passion for the magazine.
15. What’s your stance on social media?
One of the things I love about seventeen, as a brand, is that it didn't have to play 'catch up' when it came to new and social media. seventeen adopts social media as a matter of course because that's where our readers can be found. If you're interested in working or playing in the media space, you should be engaging with and involved in social media. This isn't a fad, it's not the future, it's now.