Opinion

Credit where it’s due: Jackie Frank

Marie Claire editor Jackie FrankJackie Frank has been the brains behind Pacific Magazines’ fashion title Marie Claire since the title launched in 1995. As Frank hands over the editing reins to Nicky Briger after 20 years in the post, we give credit where it’s due for her efforts.    

The world of fashion is often seen as an irrelevant frippery by many, fluffy content for consumers to snack on with no real substance. Since taking on the role of editor of Pacific Magazines title Marie Claire in 1995 Jackie Frank has made it her mission to change that perception, and tackle some big societal issues along the way.

Under the leadership of Frank the magazine has been at the vanguard of many social campaigns, notably the introduction of maternity leave in Australia. The magazine pushed for it to be introduced under its ‘Push It’ campaign which resulted in the federal government legalising paid maternity leave in September 2007, directly acknowledging the work of Marie Claire.

It is a moment Frank cites as one of her proudest moments as editor of the magazine. “When I got the letter from the government’s women’s office saying congratulations, paid maternity leave has gone through and you contributed enormously to it,” she told Mumbrella today.

“To individual things where people have written and said thank you so much, I thought I was alone in my struggle and Marie Claire got me through it because we raised awareness of an issue.

“It’s really about making a difference, that’s the bit that makes me warm and fuzzy.”

Marie Claire, and Jackie Frank, did not stop with paid maternity leave. The title has campaigned on numerous social topics including the prevention of heart disease, ending child abuse and raising awareness of depression.

“Marie Claire has always been about style and substance. It came into the market, it broke the mould of what a fashion magazine was. It made it a vehicle for the voice of Australian women,” said Frank on the magazine tackling social problems.

“It’s the DNA of the magazine that women are just as interested in fashion as they are in social issues.

“We campaigned for eight years for paid maternity leave, we did child abuse stopping ‘It starts with us’. We’ve just done the ‘I Do’ campaign for marriage equality, we covered depression with ‘Shine a Light’.”

In 2012 the magazine won the Victor Chang Award for Best Use of Media for its heart prevention campaign.

The social campaigns have also resulted in the magazine winning Magazine Publishers Australia awards in 2001, 2002, 2004 and 2008, with the title winning Magazine of the Year in 2001 and general excellence awards in 2000, 2001, 2006 and 2009. Frank herself was named editor of the year at the Magazine Publishers of Australia Magazine of the Year Awards in 2005.

Frank’s interview with former prime minister Julia Gillard directly after her famous misogyny speech directed at Tony Abbott was moment she pointed to as a defining one during her career.

As magazines across the board have been faced with declining circulation Frank has stood firm and leaves new editor Briger with a circulation, according to the most recent Audit Board of Circulation figures, of 84,612.

On the challenge of declining circulation Frank said: “It’s about the brand footprint now. Across our digital we’ve got 4m views per month. It’s not declining.

“The issue is now it’s about strong brand. That’s where you’ll see some rationalisation. There will be shifts, it will move around. What it is about is people still engaging with brands they are trust.

“It’s about brand health and brand footprint,” she added.

Jennifer-Hawkins-275x350When it comes to covers of the title Frank hasn’t shied away from the controversial. In 2010 a naked Jen Hawkins graced the cover in an untouched spread. The cover was slammed by radio host Bianca Dye for claims the magazine wanted to show Hawkins with all her ‘flaws’, with Dye arguing positioning a model as a role model for body image could contribute to eating disorders.

But for Frank it is a cover that remains one of her favourites.

“One is in 2010 when I photographed Jen Hawkins naked. I was really proud that she trusted me to do it,” she said.

The other was a recent shoot with plus size model Robyn Lawley.

robyn_social_1a2nddd-1a2ndlf“I had an absolute blast doing Robyn Lawley. It was a great full stop for me as that was a cover I had in my head I wanted to do for Marie Claire,” she said.

Marie Claire is a title associated with fashion and substance, with the magazine known for tackling issues amongst its readers and the industry. This comes down to a consistent approach by its editor who was keen to prove that women want magazines filled with serious content.

But while Frank is handing over the editor role to Briger, it doesn’t mean the end of her relationship with Marie Claire.

“The publishing role to me is as creative as you want to make it. Publishing today is not the same as it was five years ago, you need to be creative, you need to be looking at opportunities and you need to be able to develop ideas and see they work for the brand,” she said.

“I’m looking forward to working with Nicky. I don’t see it as I move over and go lie down, I see it as lets get in there and let’s shake it up.”

Credit Where it’s Due is all about generating positivity about our fantastic industry. While we welcome positive and constructive comments, anonymous or otherwise, this feature a snark-free zone so please bear that in mind when commenting.

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