Rachel and The City: The Rise Of #GirlPower, A Shift In The Magazine Industry

Just seven short months ago, I sat three rows away from one of the most powerful women in the magazine industry. She discussed how she landed her role as Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen, the future direction of the magazine, and the powerful projects that lay ahead of her. She inspired me to not only chase after my dreams, but to be brave, to be fearless, to try everything, and to not plan too much (lessons we can all learn from). So you can imagine that when I clicked on the Women’s Wear Daily article announcing the resignation of Ann Shoket as Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen, my jaw dropped.

Whatever her reasons for leaving may be, I have no doubt that Ann will continue to do great things. Shoket had been the first to lead the “Girl Power” movement in the publishing industry during her seven-year reign at Seventeen, embracing women and their influential roles in society whether they be in the workplace, school, or home. She has inspired young women across the country with her go-getter attitude and her belief that women can change the world. Girls everywhere watched Seventeen rebrand itself from “fun and flirty” to #17girlpower, even embracing Sophia Amoruso’s #GIRLBOSS.

With the departure of Shoket, a rising player has stepped up to the plate. Cosmopolitan Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles will take over the magazine as editorial director and the new Editor-in-Chief of Seventeen will be named within the next couple of weeks. Until I read the article from WWD, it hadn’t dawned on me that Seventeen and Cosmopolitan readers overlap. After all, with the failure of CosmoGirl, I assumed Seventeen dominated the young female audience, with Cosmo having a bit of an older audience. WWD displays the contrary, reporting a “50 percent advertising overlap between the two magazines.” Now, as a leading figure within both publications, Coles has made her goals loud and clear. “I want Seventeen to be the playbook to go to college. I think it gets you up to going to college, and at the end of your first year of college, you start subscribing to Cosmo.” 

The #GirlPower concept, stemming from Shoket, has further shifted from print and made its way to the runway. Karl Lagerfeld recently channeled this with Chanel at Paris Fashion Week. Sayings such as, “Be your own stylist,” “Be different,” “Ladies first,” and “History is her story,” were written across the signs the models held. For once, the models were not just seen, but heard, as they shouted the one-liners down the catwalk. In this moment, the concept of #GirlPower officially became a movement, much bigger than the words on our favorite pages — a transformation from our minds to lips.

So as we say goodbye to our biggest cheerleader, the wonderful woman who has been the brains behind my teenage editorial fix for the past seven years, we can begin to look toward a new future with Coles. I know Seventeen readers will not be disappointed. Maybe Coles will even use her expertise to amp up Seventeen’s digital coverage as she did with Cosmo.com. As Coles beautifully stated in a recent Refinery29 interview, you must “think really hard about the kind of life you want to lead… Do I want to have a lot of money? Or, am I fine actually not earning a lot of money? Do I want to live in the city? Do I want to have children? Do I want to be married? Or, do I want to get some [other things] out of my system before I do those things?”

It’s exciting to know that editorial content has become limitless — from politics to war to love to career. It not only helps us stray away from the “female stereotypes,” but it inspires women everywhere to become brave enough to let each other shine. And that’s #GirlPower.