Chasing the dream

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away … there was a Woman’s Day editor called Alana House who needed a deputy editor.

She interviewed a dynamic young woman called Laura Brown, who was working at Harper’s Bazaar at the time.

Laura was engaging and energetic and filled with ideas, but she wasn’t interested in being deputy editor of Woman’s Day. She had been talked into attending the interview by her publisher.

I tried to convince Laura that being deputy editor of Woman’s Day was a pretty exciting gig, one that she would be crazy to turn down, but she was having none of it.

Laura had other plans. She wanted to move to New York and become a fashion editor. I thought she had stars in her eyes, but there were no hard feelings and she left for New York soon afterwards. We caught up at New York Fashion Week a few years later, then fell out of touch.

Laura went on to become executive director of US Harper’s Bazaar magazine and senior editor of W magazine before being appointed editor of US InStyle. She transformed the magazine into a smart, savvy, iconic publication that showed you could care about the latest fashion trends and the political climate.

She has also been an astute social media maven. Her Instagram feed is filled with photographs of her hanging out with celebrities. She even has a hashtag – #onlauraslap – which is literally famous people sitting on her lap. The latest one is Woody Harrelson.

Warm and charismatic, Laura has become genuine friends with the stars she’s featured on her covers, establishing relationships that have continued beyond her role at InStyle being made redundant earlier this year. They are drawn to her humour, integrity and passion for life, fashion and magazines.

Laura got married last month to her partner Brandon, who she’s been dating since 2016. They tied the knot during an outdoor ceremony at The Club at Kukuiʻul, surrounded by A-list actors, models and fashion industry icons.

The star-studded guest list included Naomi Watts and her partner Billy Crudup, Rose Byrne and her partner Bobby Cannavale, Brooke Shields, Michelle Pfeiffer (with Laura, above), Kate Bosworth, Jessica Alba, Miranda Kerr, Justin Long and Katie Couric.

Blimey! How mind blowing is that?

However, the main emotion I felt when I watched it all unfold on Instagram wasn’t envy. I didn’t yearn for a wedding filled with famous guests, despite having spent my teen years dreaming about marrying Neil Finn and my twenties fantasizing about being David Duchovny’s date to the Golden Globes.

The moment during Laura’s special day that resonated most strongly with me was when Brandon took to the stage and sang “Down Under” to his bride.

It made me teary to see them both so happy … also because reminded me of my 50th birthday party when DD sang a reworked version of Gloria (A-L-A-N-A) on stage for me. I still can’t quite believe that happened and it remains one of my all-time favourite memories.

I’ve watched Laura’s career unfold in awe and wonder over the years. She had a dream and she made it happen. I envy her determination. When I was a teenager, I wanted to be the Molly Meldrum of print journalism, the magazine writer everyone asked to interview them when they came to Australia.

Then I realised that while I could write, I was pretty crap at interviewing people. I became the editor of a celebrity magazine instead, which was more focused on sensationalism than sit-down interviews.

I regret paying the paparazzi, but it was exciting to helm the magazine as it headed back into growth after years of decline. I would have loved the opportunity to try and do it again, sans the paparazzi involvement, but that ship has sailed.

I am interested to see what Laura does next. She has amazing drive and talent – I know it will be awesome.

Her first gig post-honeymoon will be a show on the live social media platform Clubhouse called Ladies Night With Laura Brown. The limited series kicks off on May 5 and will find her engaging a slew of stars in “fun, candid conversations across a myriad of topics like ambition, relationships, and of course, style.” Michelle Dockery, Elle Fanning, Sophie Turner, Rebel Wilson and Odessa Young are booked, with more names expected in the coming weeks.

As for me, I’m still trying to work out what I do next, all these years after my magazine career ended. I haven’t quite nailed what it should be.

The words by the unnamed character “Happy Man” in Pretty Woman often echo in my head: “What’s your dream?”

As DD often tells me, often what people think will make them happy doesn’t.

So I must choose wisely.

Song of the day: Eurythmics “Sweet dreams”

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