THE OUTNET’S Head of Content, Claudia Mahoney, got to sit back and enjoy a catch-up with her long-time friend, TV Presenter, writer and so much more, Louise Roe. In case you missed their live conversation, we made sure to save some of the best bits…
Claudia: You’re known as a TV Presenter, a journalist, a writer, you’re one of like the original bloggers and I know you hate the term ‘influencer’ but I guess that is something that is put against your name. Was this your career plan from the get-go?
Louise: No, the only part that really was, was the journalism part. And I watched my dad write as a kid, he is still a travel writer and he worked in newspapers before I was around. I think the fashion element came a bit later, but then I realized you could sort of do the two together. So, during University I did a ton of internships at magazines like Red Magazine and Elle and I then joined Elle after Uni. Literally two days after uni.
Claudia: Oh no! So, you went straight to work!
Louise: I did, but I was so excited because London. So, that part of it, my trajectory was, you know, ‘I want to be the Editor of Vogue one day.’ And then a few years in I would go to LA to cover the Oscars. I was doing more and more red-carpet reporting, not on camera at that time. Then Vogue TV started up.
Claudia: I was gonna ask you about that! Because, I remember when you were at Vogue and I guess the sort of trodden path would be… be an assistant or start writing features and follow the herd through. So, is that something that you’ve always had that you’ve been that sort of person that’s going to seize the opportunity?
Louise: That’s a really good question because yes, in many ways seize the opportunity. I think I was braver then than I am now. But I, I had not really done much tele at all, but I did enjoy the experience of live tv, there is such an adrenaline rush when you’re live on air. And then I saw this announcement in the press that Vogue was starting Vogue TV and I kid you not, I made up the email addresses of the two names that were in the article. And, I just said, you know, ‘this is what I do, I’d love to come in and I don’t know if there’s even a job but this would be the dream to sort of combine TV with writing and with journalism.’ One of them said ‘amazing, great, come in and meet us.’ And the other one said ‘no, sorry, there’s nothing here.’ And I was like… you guys probably should have chatted… So, I went in there and I still remember going to… I think it was Joseph and I spent the only money I had on a pair of good-luck shoes which I still own. I crammed loads, I did so much research and I was so excited and it did lead to a job being created. So, I always think back to that as like ‘what have you got to lose?’ I think my advice would be to just go for it! I didn’t even know what their email addresses were and the worst thing that could have happened was they both said no and I didn’t get an interview. But, you know, it did lead to that and then as I say, I started going out to LA, covering the Oscars. And I remember going into E!, which at the time, was the biggest, coolest channel ever. And, long story short, I did end up getting offered a contract with them and it allowed me to get quite a good agent in the US and then a Visa. Then within a few weeks I was lucky, I ended up in a meeting at the CW. And I was part of the pitch for ‘Plain Jane.’
Claudia: It’s kind of like that Queer Eye things, where it was more about, you know, making someone believe in themselves. And, that’s a really lovely thing.
Louise: Totally! No, I’m with you, and I also felt like with makeover shows, the fashion wasn’t always that cool? And, for me, especially because it was on MTV, we had a great young audience. Those women are still my audience and that’s what I love, they’ve stayed with me and because we went to a different country for every episode it was insane. I’d be like ‘right, pack your bags, we’re going Paris shopping and then…’ there was a date element, a blind date. So, that was my life for 5/6 years and my now husband was the director of a few of those series. So, that’s how we met.
Claudia: So, you went on your own date!
Louise: Exactly! Yes!
Claudia: So, you have trod on a fair few red carpets. So, who was like that magic moment meeting on the red carpet and who’s a horror, can you say?
Louise: I will say, Michael Douglas, is such, the older and then more famous actually. The more polite and just kind they are. He remembers everyone’s name. I did have a very cool moment with Julia Roberts where she ran up and hugged me and I was like ‘who do you think I am? You must think I’m someone else.’ And we had a lovely chat and it turned out she did watch Access Hollywood, so that was very cool. But 99%, I mean more than that. There is one person who’s a bit scary and she’s known for being scary and definitely was scary to me, Naomi Campbell… BUT she’s kind of known as being a bit terrifying and it’s almost…
Claudia: It wasn’t personal.
Louise: No, exactly. I was like, it’s almost cool! I’d almost be upset if you weren’t terrifying.
Claudia: But you’re trying to do that well, pre-lockdown, that slightly sort of split-time between LA and New York and the UK. Has the fact that we’ve now got Zooms and social media mean that it’s not been such a problem being in lockdown for you?
Louise: It’s, I feel very lucky for being able to, well, use the word ‘influencer’ because we are able to keep working. I mean, there was a while where it kind of stopped and it’s really creeping up and I’m very conscious of which jobs we take on because right now it’s such a sensitive, difficult time. So, we did a campaign with a children’s education software system that you can have on your iPad and it felt right. Because it was helping teach, you know, parents are struggling to teach their kids at home and that was a campaign that I felt was great.
Claudia: And have you emerged from the chrysalis of the elasticated-waist leggings are you now feeling like you can put on some sort of actual clothes?
Louise: That was a beautiful turn of phrase. I’m into the maxi dresses now. I love them. Because they still sort of feel like wearing, you know, slouchy and easy but you can look a bit more elegant. And it’s warm, so I’m wearing lots of those and a lot of them from your site.
Claudia: Ok, so I want to know, what do you think has changed in your outlook, appreciation, priorities, what’s different now in Louise Roe’s world?
Louise: I think mine would be the same as most peoples. Yes, in the rest of life, technically you know your priorities but those are now true priorities. Time with family and looking after yourself, if you can, I mean, it’s a funny one because although like, one of my best friends in LA has had time to work on herself. But then if you’ve got kids then you really haven’t had those moments to meditate and do yoga every morning. But I think it’s very different depending on what your situation is. There’s just a difference in being present and conscious of stuff and instead of just having this pile of books on my bed-side table that aren’t read, I’m reading them. And, I’ve started this business that I have honestly wanted to do, it’s sort of crystalized weirdly at the beginning, right at the beginning of lockdown and I was like ‘yeah, that’s it. That’s it.’ And, I started doing it and now I’m quite far in and it’s happening.
Claudia: There’s no shame in the fact that if you haven’t learnt a language or upskilled in any way, that’s absolutely fine, everyone sort of has to do it at their own pace, and feel that they’re being kind to themselves, as you said, people are in such different positions. So, I was gonna ask you, you’re always a lady with a plan so what’s next? But, you basically alluded to that already and I imagine you’ll be doing some sort of announcement relatively soon?
Louise: Yeah, I think probably in a month or two, I’m just waiting on some dates. I am also working on something else which is more literary based for you bookworms and that’s really exciting as well. But I think um, I don’t know really. Just step at a time. It’s funny I’ve always looked so far ahead and it’s always like ‘what’s your five-year plan?’ And I’m like ‘well, why don’t we just have a month plan?’ I think it’s much less scary to just be short term.
Claudia: Listen, we’re really, really grateful, I’m really, really grateful. Thank you so much for your time and I really, really am personally glad that you’re back in the UK. But I know that once you can you’ll be back out there and thank you for giving us your time and wisdom for this evening. And thank you so much everyone else for joining us!
Louise: Thanks everybody!