Freelance Journalist Interview with Claire Blackmore
Today we chat to freelancer Claire Blackmore following her recent departure from IPC Media's Blue Fin Building. But after a year working for three of the publisher's big women's interest brands, what's awaiting Claire beyond the doors of the great glass monolith of Southwark Street?
Answer: Some fresh air, solid walls you can't see through…and there's a nice cake shop a five minute walk away, as well.
My workmates! We’ve got an amazing team of totally hilarious and talented girls across the three brands and I’ll miss them dearly. Also the clothes, obviously. The fashion cupboard is a high street haven of gorgeous buys and every month it causes me to significantly dent my bank balance without fail…
And what are you looking forward to getting stuck into now?!
Travel writing. I’ve always been in awe of people who manage to work this into their career. I never seem to have enough holiday to take thanks to impromptu long weekends and bad planning but now I’m free to say yes to pretty much anything that comes my way. Next stop – India (please, someone!?).
How did you originally get into writing about fashion, beauty and celebrity culture – have these always been areas that’ve interested you? Are there any other topics you have a passion for that you’d love to write about?
After an internship at Sky Living working on lifestyle content, I found myself obsessed with the idea of writing about the things I loved to read. I’m also totally fascinated with crime and at one point wanted the dream hybrid job of fashion writing and court reporting. It can be done, right?
Maybe for a piece on George Joseph Smith? He had a great moustache! Take us through some of the most memorable pieces of work you’ve done – any that were particularly fun (or, perhaps, challenging) to write?
This Elizabeth Olsen feature was one of my favourites to write. Not only do I adore her but she was Marie Claire’s cover girl that month, meaning this was the hero piece supporting the mag – I was proud to do the honours.
Meeting Erin O’Connor at InStyle’s annual party was a highlight for me as I managed to glean some exclusive and super-sweet quotes from the supermodel about her pregnancy (which came as a shock that night as no-one even knew she was pregnant!).
This feature was particularly fun to pen as it essentially turned into a short story/rant about one of my recent girls’ holidays. Thankfully, my best friends don’t read my work or they might end up feeling pretty offended…
What interview or feature would you love to do, if you could be commissioned to write about anything, or anyone? Are there any particular magazines, newspapers, blogs or websites you’d like to work with?
I’m secretly obsessed with real-life mags so would love to get involved in writing features for titles like Pick Me Up, That’s Life and Take a Break. Don’t get me wrong, celebrity news is great, but celebs don’t breastfeed their cats or have seven wives that all happen to be sisters…
I also love Handbag.com’s 'Travel Bag' section with its short, sweet reviews and articles about cool places to visit, Time Out London (as a Londoner, of course I do) and Stylist. Or maybe I just love a freebie?
Who doesn't?! What’s been your most unusual source of inspiration for an article?
A weekend trip to Battersea Dogs Home to get my best mate a cat + feature idea brainstorming session = '7 Cats Who Have More Followers Than You On Instagram'.
Do you have a lot of dealings with PR people in your freelance work? What kind of things do you find useful?
Yes, loads. I find it really useful when you get to know the PRs personally – a) because they’re usually lovely and just want to help, and b) it means you can tailor what they send you. You don’t waste each other’s time that way.
Do you ever attend press conferences, trips, parties and other events, or can you do most things remotely these days?
You tend to be able to write remotely these days but it’s essential to attend all of the above as it’s the only way you can inject some real passion and candid observation into your writing. Plus, you’re way more likely to bag an exclusive if you’re actually there. That’s what makes your work engaging, lively and totally original.
Is Twitter good for getting commissions, research and making contacts as a freelancer?
Twitter is ace. Mainly for stories, research and hilarious utterings (I’m looking at you @GusTheFox) but it’s also great for keeping in touch and making contacts.
You recently tweeted about your love for Elizabeth Olsen, and we can’t blame you. Is she the superior Olsen, in your opinion?
It’s not that I think Mary-Kate and Ashley are inferior (loved 'Passport To Paris' when I was about 12) – they’re still effortlessly stylish and totally cool – but Elizabeth is edgy and of-the-moment. She goes nude in films, still rides the Subway in New York, and looks like a china doll. I just find her utterly charming. I guess I’ve got a girl crush…
And what TV shows, box sets, books, mags are you crushing on at the moment?
I love thriller novels, food programmes, 'Dexter', 'Breaking Bad' and any other box sets involving bad boys committing crimes.
Who are your favourite celebrities to write about? Which media personalities really intrigue you, and why?
I love the Delevingne sisters – mainly because I’ve finally learnt how to spell their surname after a year. Basically, any stars who are prolific on Instagram. It’s such an interesting window into their lives.
Claire is tweeting @missblackmore – go test her on how to spell Deleveg… Dela…Delevig…darn it.