In the very beginning, I almost forgot that I wasn’t actually speaking to Lana Del Rey. As associate editor of PAPER Magazine, Beatrice Hazlehurst emits an incredible Lolita-esque, cool presence throughout the atmosphere of the fashion magazine’s sleek office. PAPER Magazine is known for pushing the limits through their celebrity covers and have had major figures such as Naomi Campbell, Duckie Thot and Kim Kardashian grace the magazine. With all the prestige surrounding the publication, there I was (luckily), sitting down with the New Zealand native discussing not only the responsibilities journalism has with the public, but also speaking on the sexual misconduct allegations surrounding Mario Testino and Bruce Weber.
Recently, two of the most renowned photographers in the fashion industry joined the pack of powerful men that have been exposed for their sexual misconduct within the workplace. Mario Testino and Bruce Weber have had countless models and assistants come forth into the public light and reveal events that cast the two into the boat of other men that have abused their power by exploiting those around them to forced sexual activity.
Hazlehurst obviously shares many people’s disdain for the acts and believes that no sort of forced action should be tolerated, but as our conversation progresses, Hazlehurst shares with me the gray area major publications face when dealing with figures that have contributed to their success.
Sure, Weber and Testino have faced an incredible backlash from powerhouse magazines such as Vogue, but what exactly is the line that editors must draw when considering the magnitude of ridiculing people that have contributed countless productions for their label?
“On Twitter, and in public, people can say what they want”, Hazlehurst begins, “but the internet is forever.” The gray area entails that editors have to ultimately be careful with the way and how “hard” they decide to uphold figures to their mistakes due to the fact that their relationships are at stake. It’s surely an interesting, maybe even questionable, perspective on the relationship between economics and morale, but luckily editors at Vogue and PAPER seem to have taken a strong stance on remaining intolerant of such actions.
Hazlehurst makes it clear that she, personally, perpetuates this notion of intolerance through her own coverage of the allegations. She even discusses that “PAPER never forgets” and goes on by ensuring that many of PAPER’s produced editorials capture the essence of the continuation of holding pop culture icons responsible for their past actions.
Focusing more on the Trump administration and its effect on journalism, Hazlehurst shares an interesting point on foreign and immigrant journalists in the United States. Hazlehurst is precautious with her language as she resides in NYC on a green card. Having an influential voice through PAPER, she claims that sometimes she “has to be careful with what is said” as a piece that may ridicule on the President or Trump administration could potentially lead to the possibility of immigration services getting involved. Although such an event can be considered extreme, her caution on what she decides to publish arguably dips into the idea of censorship in the media.
In the shift of conversation, Hazlehurst offers incredible advice and insight to aspiring journalists. Journalism has an incredible responsibility to the public. In the day of the Trump Administration, where the press is seemingly always under attack, Hazlehurst solidifies that despite the tug-of-war with our political leaders, journalists have to “keep doing [their] job” by exercising the democratic values of free speech and free press.
For young journalists, she advises to “drop your ego” and “decide if you want to be the talent or if you want to be talking with the talent,” as many young journalist get wrapped around the idea of being famous and being on camera. Hazlelhurst most notable advice to young people, specifically in the fashion industry, are centered on being famous, which results in hollow and meaningless work.
Through the seemingly complicated subjects about Mario Testino, the power of press and responsibility of journalism, Hazlehurst ends the conversation with a simple suggestion: talk to your friends. In this day and age “friends are such a powerful source of news”. In fact, Hazlehurst’s story on the prime minister’s son that got her national recognition in New Zealand began as a conversation with her friend.
“It should scare you. If it scares you, you’re on the right track.”
Article by: Isiah S Magsino, Editor-in-Chief of SOUL