Saturday, June 4, 2011

Mama Mia - a memoir of mistakes, magazines and motherhood

The subtitle sums up the contents of this memoir by Mia Freedman. At 19 Mia worked at Cleo, initially on a work experience try-out before officially joining the staff as a beauty writer. At 24 she was editor of the Australian edition of Cosmopolitan (Cosmo Magazine). In 2003 she became Editor-in Chief of the magazines, Cosmopolitan, Cleo and Dolly. Mia provides vivid descriptions of the stress as well as the glamour experienced when working for such publications, especially the long hours, the need to play the role depicted by the magazine and trying to keep ahead of the opposition as well as predicting what the public want to read.Marian Keyes in her novel, Sushi for beginners, paints a similar picture of the women's glossy magazine industry. Mia also worked in television with appearance on the Today show and when she resigned from her editing role was offered an executive position at Channel 9 - a career move that was short-lived. Mia then turned her attention to the Internet including her successful website She also writes a column for the Sunday Age and has written the books, The New Black (2005) and Mia Culpa (2011)

This book however is also about relationships, good and bad, special friendships and her family. Juggling motherhood with full time work is one of the themes of the book. The grief of a miscarriage is discussed as well as other people's attitudes to pregnant women. Mia writes of her mistakes and fears as well as her successes in this account of how she has developed a life where she can enjoy her work and also enjoy being a mother. As Mia would agree, having an understanding husband, family and friends definitely helps. An interesting account of the life so far of a fascinating and determined woman aiming to publicise the real concerns of women. One of the changes that she introduced at Cosmopolitan was not publishing diets in the magazine and portraying women with a variety of body shapes and nationalities in the publication. This is a belief that she continues to promote including being appointed chair of the National Advisory Group on Body Image.

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