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Holly talks to...Scarlett Russell

It's a true story that my weekend hasn't officially been 'a weekend' without my fix of the Sunday Times Style Mag (STS).

My STS fix started from the age of about thirteen, it was my sanctuary during GCSE's [revision breaks] to my go-to inflight mag & holidays in the sun...I just love the refreshing mix of inspiration in all forms, from career advice to beauty. I till savour the words from start to finish. 

So it's no secret that when Scarlett & team approached me about a new podcast series all about female entrepreneurs [supported by Benefit Cosmetics- thank you wonderful ladies] I couldn't wait.

Secrets of the Side Hustle Sunday Times Style

I caught up with Entertainment Editor Scarlett to discover more about her role [this lady is serious career/life goals] and how the podcast series came about...


[HS]: Tell us a little about yourself and your career journey

[SR]: I've been working in magazine's for about 12 years, starting with work experience on FHM and Closer, to my first editorial job at Glamour. Over the years I worked my way up from intern to Features Assistant, Features and Entertainment Writer and Entertainment Editor at Grazia, Red and, now The Sunday Times Style. Between this I was a freelance journalist for four years from 2013 to 2017, which included a 9-month stint in New York.

[HS]: So delighted to be featured on The Secrets of the Side Hustle this did the inspo come about for the series?

[SR]: We had been talking about starting a podcast for a while at Style and threw around a lot of ideas. One of our most popular pages in Style is a career column, What She Said, where influential and high-profile women in business offer advice to readers about work-placed dilemmas, in particular talking about the emotional side of business and success ('how do I come out as gay at work?' 'How do I stay calm when the s**t hits the fan?' 'What do the first 100 days of being a CEO look like?')

We thought about turning the column into a podcast but, instead, interview women younger and in the earlier stages of their career or business who had taken a new career path and turned their passion - aka, their 'side hustle' - into a proper business. We still talk about the emotional side of business in the series, along with honest and practical advice about how to get your idea off the ground and turn it into a viable enterprise. We speak to a range of women from different backgrounds, and in different industries, for their very different stories of how they made it

[HS]: What is the best piece of advice you've been given or read? 

[SR]: The mighty Nora Ephron wrote that 'Life is copy,' which is never more apparent than when you're in a features meeting on a women's magazine! 

I deal with a lot of publicists and agents in my job, which generally means tricky negotiating. One boss told me to always sign off a difficult email with a positive as that is the last thing the recipient will see and I that has always stayed with me, as so much of my job is dealing with difficult situations while trying to be enthusiastic and positive.

[HS]: Who has inspired you in your career/life and why?

[SR]: Of all the bosses I've had in my years on magazines, three stand out as  particularly inspiring. They are all polar opposites, too. Whenever I have to deal with a tricky situation at work, I try to channel all three of them in some way. Also, Jennifer Lopez, Juliette Barnes and Scarlett O'Hara because I love to champion a diva. 

[HS]: You spent some time working in the USA, what were your top highlights?

[SR]: My favourite Los Angeles experience was shadowing Sam Smith for a couple of days of his US tour last August. I saw him perform twice, hung out with him backstage and in his rented mansion. It was serious pinch me moment stuff and made me truly appreciate the perks of my wonderful job!
Also, industry parties in New York are incredible - top canapes and a fully stocked bar!

[HS]: Ever had a 'star struck' moment? If so, who?

 [SR]: Kylie Minogue because I have been a fan since for as long as I can remember. I interviewed her earlier this year. And Joan Rivers in 2012, two years before she died. I was supposed to have a 15-minute interview and it turned into an hour-log therapy session where we both cried. She is the Queen of Everything to me and I think always will be. 

Scarlett Russell


[HS: If you had to pick your top two interviewees of all time, who would they be and why? 

[SR]:  As above! Rachel Weisz offered me a part in her new film when I interviewed her. She never followed up on it, tragically. 

[HS]: What would be the most exciting story you've worked on? 

[SR]: In 2013 I started working on a feature for Fabulous magazine about female drug smugglers and had to find women who admitted to drug smuggling and would be featured and named in the magazine. It took about 10 months to write, including tracking down the case studies and speaking to experts. And I was once commissioned - no joke - to go online shopping for a report about which high street websites were the best. That was a nice gig.

Quick fire:

Favourite City - London
Perfect Dinner Guest - Aaron Sorkin and Rhianna 
Favourite Holiday Destination - Greece
Favourite Food - Pasta with my Dad's famous homemade spicy tomato sauce.
Downtime is... Wine and The Bachelor                                       
Biggest Extravagance - My flat in North London
Favourite Book – Wild, by Cheryl Strayed
Biggest Motivator – My crazy, wonderful, endlessly inspiring Jewish mother
If you were a dog, which breed would you be and why? – My boyfriend would say a Chihuahua because I'm "small and yappy."
    - Thank you so much Scarlett! - 

    Read more about the series here

    Listen to Holly & Scarlett on the podcast here or on itunes

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