Before They Were Big: Anna Wintour

May 28, 2011 3:02 PM

Anna Wintour Montage

One of our favorite expressions at Empirella is “opportunity must find you working”.

The more you learn about successful people and celebrities, the more you realize that there’s no such thing as overnight success, but rather a chain of events, jobs, opportunities and usually years of hard work that lead up to the moment where they’re big enough to imprint on your psyche. Even Rebecca Black took dance classes, went to summer music camps and auditioned for school shows before she and he parents found ARK Music Factory and created the viral video hit “Friday”, widely dubbed “the worst song ever”.

Anna Wintour is a better example, and the first in our Before They Were Big series:


Anna Wintour

She’s been the editor-in-chief of American Vogue for 23 years, but before that she enrolled in the training program at Harrods department store when she was 16, she was fired from her job as a junior fashion editor at Harper’s Bazaar in New York, she disappeared for a week in the 70’s with Bob Marley, she was a fashion editor at an adult women’s magazine, Viva, and finally became the creative director at Vogue in 1983 before becoming editor at House & Garden and almost running it into the ground. Fortunately, the editorship at Vogue came shortly after.

She did know what she wanted though. It’s rumored that when she first interviewed for a position at American Vogue with then editor-in-chief Grace Mirabella, she told her she wanted her job. And that was the end of that interview.

“I think my father really decided for me that I should work in fashion”, she says in the documentary film The September Issue. He got her her first job at the hot London fashion boutique Biba when she was 15. Her first cover for American Vogue is featured in the bottom right of the above photographs.


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