Three Minute Squiz With… Emily Brooks
Emily Brooks is part of a new generation of journalists. Smart and agile, Brooks started her career working at the Women’s Weekly. She went on to become an associate editor with HuffPost Australia. And now she’s editor of Future Women, a fab new club dedicated to the advancement of women. It’s just launched, and we’re proud to say The Squiz is FW’s recommended news provider. We caught up with Brooks for this week’s Three Minute Squiz.
How and where do you Squiz?
As soon as I walk out of the gym (at about 6:30am) I listen to the podcast while walking home to North Bondi. By the time I hit Bondi Beach I’m informed and can take in the view before breakfast. I tend to listen to The Daily by the New York Times on the way to the gym. Between the two I’m in the loop locally and globally. The perfect podcast duo, really. Then I skim The Squiz email on the bus for good measure.
Give us the elevator pitch on Future Women.
Future Women is a content-led women’s club. There are three parts; events, community, and long-form journalism. All three aim to satiate the ambitious, multifaceted interests of contemporary women. It’s also a safe space for women to better themselves and each other by forming meaningful connections and learning along the way. Pushing gender equity forward is at the core of it all. Future Women hopes to do this by bringing women together and treating our ambition as necessary, not ugly. Buy a membership and make some friends along the way. (My elevator pitches only work if you’re travelling 2634 floors or the lift breaks down.)
What sort of journalism will we see in FW?
There are so many media sites delivering news extremely well. The Squiz is one of them. We don’t intend to compete in this space. As we’re a subscription-based site, we have the luxury of investing in long-form journalism which is exactly what we will do. I’m taking a broader look at the news cycle, much like you do when running a magazine, taking the issues that matter to women now and turning them into features that last.
There are five pillars on the site leadership, luxury, wealth, wellness, and relationships which the content sits under but the leadership pillar is a key focus as we’re unashamedly pushing gender equity. We’re about to launch a member-only newsletter dedicated entirely to gender diversity news. I’m very excited about that one.
Our journalism will also transcend an article, and appear in different mediums. We may cover a topic in a feature, followed by an event, followed by a Q&A with the writer in our online community. It’s really 360 degree reporting.
You’re still in your 20s and have had considerable career success. Congrats! What’s your advice to the young and not so young who want to move up the ladder?
I recently interviewed Arianna Huffington and she said, “Life is a dance between making it happen and letting it happen.” I like that a lot. Have an idea of what you want to do, but be willing to pivot. Especially these days. There are new careers and industries popping up every day.
I had the ridiculous dream of becoming a mag editor by 25yo. I’m now 26yo and running a women’s website, which really is the same thing, but in a different medium. I entered journalism by becoming a personal assistant. If I took the traditional route, and stuck with it, I wouldn’t be here. When you’re hellbent on one path you miss the turnoffs that lead you somewhere better. Follow your curiosities if anything – as you grow, you change, and no doubt your interests will too.
Then there’s the basic stuff. Be proactive. No one else will chase your career for you. Intern everywhere. Ask people you admire out to coffee. They may just say yes. Helen McCabe did (former editor-in-chief of the Women’s Weekly and now Nine’s Digital Director), and I was offered a job as her assistant six months later. Five years on, I’m running her latest venture. Life is funny.
What was the first album you ever owned?
Spice Girls. I grew up with the sound of country music (Paul Kelly/Van Morrison/my Dad’s guitar) so rebelled by listening to girl bands in my early days.
What’s your go-to karaoke song?
Eminem, Lose Yourself. On the off chance that’s unavailable, I pull out Biggie Smalls, Juicy. I’m tone deaf so rap sits better with me, performance wise.
What’s your guilty TV-watching secret?
I was banned from watching The Simpsons and Seinfeld as a kid (I hear there’s a support service for kids like me) so I’m currently re-educating myself and watching Seinfeld from start to finish. The Simpsons is up next but think I’ll enter a losing battle.
Name four people – living or dead – you’d kill to sit down to dinner with.
Oh, this is the toughest because I have so many Faux Best Friends, both living and dead, that I obsess over. But this morning I’d have to say Gloria Steinem, Eleanor Roosevelt, Aziz Ansari, Donald Glover. Oprah would, of course, crash the dinner and I’d be hospitable enough to pull up a seat for her. I have a soft spot for feminists and comedians. Humour is intelligence having fun.
Your favourite book/s by your favourite writer/s?
The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf. Contextualises society’s historical control of women’s worth. Every woman should read it. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Contextualises life. Every person should read it.
What skill or talent do you not have but wish you did?
Singing. I wouldn’t have to turn it into a profession, but I often envy my sister who can knock out a Beyonce ballad in the car astonishingly well. That’s all I’d need.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Being overly vocal. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, yet most people forget to listen.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
‘Brilliant’ and ‘damn’. Sums up my life really.
What’s your worst and best habit?
I have an obsessive personality which is a great trait for a journalist and writer. Not so great when you’re trying to send out a Future Women newsletter and you’re proofreading it for the 67th time.
What’s your favourite meal at your favourite restaurant?
The lamb shoulder, iceberg lettuce and roast potatoes at The Apollo in Potts Point. I am dairy intolerant but will lie to myself here and order the Saganaki cheese as a starter. Cheese delivered on a frypan is a vice.
What would you say is the most currently overlooked news story we should know about?
She’s certainly no longer overlooked in the United States but the rise of Elizabeth Warren as the ‘de facto leader of the Democratic Party’ is fascinating. Australian women need to know more about her. She’s a possible frontrunner for the 2020 presidential race and Rebecca Traister’s profile on her in the latest New York Mag is brilliant (see, I did it again). NY Mag is nailing their cover stories at the moment. If you haven’t read their recent features ‘What If Trump has Been a Russian Asset since 1987?’ and on Obama’s post-presidential life, look them up and cancel your evening.
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