Falling Out of Fashion is a roman a clef by Jane Pratt's ex-assistant, Karen Cohen Yampolsky. But its heroine is a stand-in for Jane, not Karen! "Jill White" is a valiant soul who wants to keep Jill Magazine true to its idealistic roots, even after it gets bought by Nestrom (read: Fairchild) and Jill is forced to work with a publisher installed by evil Nestrom CEO Ellen Cutter (read: Fairchild CEO Mary Berner). Juicy stuff! And so, so, so bad!
"The magazine needs to look more mainstream," Ellen said, as she again fiddled with her headband.
Mainstream. The word made me want to unleash a primal scream.
Jill was the antithesis of mainstream. My magazine had full-on fatty recipes instead of diets; makeunders instead of makeovers; disarmingly revealing celebrity profiles instead of fawning puff pieces; and writers who were a bright band of personalities, not just bylines.
"I'm not saying the magazine has to be mainstream," Ellen went on, as my blood boiled. "It just has to look a little more mainstream." [...] "So let's get ourselves a new managing editor. And let's get the redesign underway. Asap."
I was speechless. I didn't know how to respond. I just stood there staring at her in shock, still convinced there was no way.
"The woman I want you to see is from a small publication, New Jersey Lighthouses. But she's vastly talented," Ellen went on, tidying her desk and not giving me another glance.
Liz continued to glower, adding, "You'll see; new blood will be good for Jill."
A lump started in my throat. A lump of rage that I knew would ultimately manifest into tears. New Jersey Lighthouses? Even worse, a redesign? In six weeks?!
"No, I don't think so, " I said, shaking my head. "I think Jill is fine the way it is. I don't understand why you're trying to turn it into exactly what it's not supposed to be. Jill isn't Charisma!"
"It certainly isn't. And, like Liz mentioned," Ellen said, "it's not up for discussion, Jill."
A small laugh escaped my throat. I didn't mean it to, and I certainly didn't feel amused, but it was all so absurd. They had to listen to me. Didn't they? I was the magazine's creator and founder; it was based entirely on my vision. I was Jill. They weren't. And there was nothing they could do about that.
Ellen finally met my eyes. Calmly, quietly, she folded her hands together on her desk. It seemed that she was reading my mind. "I understand that Jill is your baby, dear," she said, trying to soothe me, "but the magazine's personality doesn't have to be so tied to yours."
There it was. The other Manolo Blahnik had dropped. And it was a particularly pointy, spiky-heeled one. And I couldn't believe what I was feeling. I was hurt. That was a direct insult to me. They didn't like my magazine because they didn't like me. Not only did I want to cry; I wanted to quit on the spot. But I quickly thought of the repercussions ...
Josh hadn't been working all that much lately. We had a hefty mortgage. And we were spending an obscene amount of money on fertility treatments. There couldn't be a worse time for me to walk out. But I would be damned if I'd let them control my magazine.
Copyright (c) 2007 by Karen Yampolsky. All rights reserved.
Unfortunately, there's one kind of new blood that WON'T be good for Jill. (Hint: fertility treatments!) Find out in the next installment.