Hi there, I'm Jean, and I'm a beauty editor at Lucky magazine. People always tell me I have the best job in the world. And you know what... I agree! I get fifty, a hundred, two hundred beauty gifts every day. Companies keep sending me so much stuff, I sometimes don't even know where to put it. We've got three giant walk-in closets at the office, we call them our beauty closets. Lip gloss, mascara, eye pencils, perfume — you name it, it's there. Once a month we sell the tacky things for charity, but we always make sure to keep the good stuff to ourselves. (And if 'good' means a silk Hermès scarf, we all turn into vicious monsters. It can get ugly sometimes, but that's just human nature.)
So I started at Elle magazine in 1993, which was a strange career choice since both my parents are scientists, and they really didn't see me in this line of work. The thing is, when I was young I used to think I was ugly (not that I was, it's just that I didn't have that to-die-for look, actually I turned out just fine as you can tell from the picture on the back cover, even though I really hate having my picture taken, but that's a whole different story). Anyway. It took me years to realize that I wasn't ugly, which makes me think of the time when I was thirteen and started wearing makeup, and my best friend and I decided to become popular in school, so we had a complete makeover during summer (and incidentally ditched our other friend, she was never gonna be popular anyway). Back in those days I started reading glamorous magazines for women in their mid-20s (because Seventeen is so what you read at twelve) and decided I wanted to work for a famous glossy magazine too, which is what I did. Actually I'm a bit like my grandmother, she was the only other person in our family to appreciate style and glamour, while the rest of them were chasing butterflies on their weekend hiking tours. And now I work for Lucky magazine, which means I have long and fabulous lunches in the city, and get to hang out with New York's finest socialites (I'm still Jeannie from the block though!).
Although people always say "Jean, you have the best job in the world", I'll admit that we never get to write about serious stuff. Still, I like to think I'm helping out humanity in my own little way, being a guiding light to all the women out there who need to choose between moisturizer A and B. One day someone told me I should write a book, which was something I'd honestly never considered. So I wrote this book about my improbable career in magazines and makeup, and about the funny twists and turns that my life took over the years. And having collected free cosmetics for decades, I figured I should share my knowledge with You, the average woman who lives at the mercy of evil shop assistants. In my book I give you tips on how to apply ten layers of make-up for that all-natural look, I tell you how I don't believe in perfume layering (which is just one big marketing ploy), and of course about that time I went to pick up a FiFi-award in a see-though dress, which was so embarrassing but you'll gonna love all the details. So about those free gifts in the beauty industry? Actually, there's really not that much to say about them. But I'll tell you how I got fired by that rat of a French art director at Elle, and how I ended up at Lucky magazine in the end. Brilliant, no?
Jean Godfrey-June is a good-looking woman who loathes having her picture taken. The paperback edition of her book Free Gift With Purchase is available at $12.95 US.
Free Gift With Purchase: My Improbable career in Magazines and Makeup
New York: Three Rivers Press / Crown Publishing Group (2006)
Paperback, 271 pages