Many of you won't recognize the name Tina Brown. Those of us who were part of the "New York media" know it well. She's an icon editor who made a huge success of the magazine Vanity Fair. Then, she went on to The New Yorker to great acclaim. Backtracking, I was never part of "New York media." I always tried to stay under the radar and tend to my knitting, so to speak. Fortunately for me, for a good many years, I was allowed to function that way while working in a large corporation.
When Victoria was launched and it appeared that it was going to be successful, Tina Brown invited me, along with other editors with new magazines, to have our photograph taken by the esteemed Annie Leibovitz. I met Kate White that day, with her magazine then, Child. Kate is now editor of Cosmopolitan. (The last time I saw her, about a year or so ago, she was on her way to an event wearing a huge hat; Victorian, I might add.) Next to me in the lineup for the photograph was Tina's husband, now Sir Harold Evans. He was very complimentary of our cover, I recall. We were all given lunch and then the photo session began. Tina never appeared during the entire event.
Our paths were to cross, however, when Tina Brown came to the Hearst Corporation to create the magazine Talk. There was great fanfare--a party, now ten years ago, that was the talk of the town. It's being talked and written about now because it seems, in retrospect, to have signaled the end of an era. When Tina Brown collected us editors, the point was to show a new crop of focused publications, designed to fulfill the needs and interests of specific audiences. But Talk was a general interest magazine, perhaps in a time that had lost its appetite for what magazines like LIFE had represented with great success in its time. Many of the magazines featured in our photograph that day didn't survive very long. Many of the editors either left the business or moved on to other products. I was fortunate to be at Victoria for more than another decade.
One night after work many years ago, I stopped by the diner near my building on 57th Street to grab a bite before heading home. In a nearby booth was a mom and her young daughter. No one was paying much attention as she tried to engage her child--I believe there were crayons, but I can't attest to that after all these years. She did not seem like the invincible Tina Brown--just a woman, like me, tired after a day's work but still on the job of being a mother. That is the Tina I saw and remember most--not the hard-driving editor, not the composed and confident woman on TV.
In all our journals, there are moments small and heartfelt that seem to loom large as the years go by. This is one for me.