19 May 1997: The British editor of American Vogue has thrived in US publishing despite once getting fired for being too ‘European’
My career got off to a very shaky start when I dropped out of school at the age of 18. Despite my lack of academic credentials, I got a job as a fashion assistant at Harper’s & Queen. I now know that this would never have happened in the States, as one of the big differences between American and British journalism is the expectation of qualifications. For one to get a job as a secretary at American Vogue, for example, Conde Nast’s personnel department demands some dazzling degree. High school drop-outs, even ones who show promise, don’t stand much of a chance.
I’m often asked why I left London for New York in the late seventies, and the reason is because five years of being asked over and over again if I was the daughter of Charles Wintour (editor of the London Evening Standard, 1959-80) was more than enough. In the many years I’ve now spent in New York not a single person has ever asked me who my father is, or was, or what he does.