How Anna Wintour Landed Her Dream Job at Vogue

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From her iconic bob and oversized black sunglasses, it is easy to recognize the fashion icon, Anna Wintour. She is best known for her editorship for American Vogue and contributing to the MET Gala. Her amazing sense of style and her no-nonsense attitude is what has made her the success she is today.

Growing Up

Anna Wintour was born in 1949 in London, England into an upper-class family. Her dad Charles Wintour, was the editor of the London Evening Standard for 20 years, leading him to become one of the most influential journalists in the second half of the 20th century. Charles Wintour and her mom Eleanor Trego ended up divorcing in 1979. Anna has two brothers and a sister, with her being the oldest.

In her early teen years, Anna dropped out of fashion school and instead, decided to explore London life. Growing up in the ’60s was a revolutionary time in style for young Anna. She fell in love with the style and everything that was happening. It was at this point she knew fashion was her calling in life. During this time is when she would cut her hair into the iconic bob we know today and hasn’t changed since.


The career of Anna Winter comes with an expansive resume, here we go through her timeline in which she ultimately gets her dream job as editor in chief of US Vogue:

Biba boutique – Anna gets her first job working at Biba Boutique, which was a hugely popular London clothing store.

Harpers and Queen – Worked in the fashion department of the publication that would later be called Harpers Bazaar.

Harpers Bazaar UK -joined Harpers Bazaar as an editorial assistant. This was her kickstart into fashion journalism. With her opinions and decisions not feeling heard by the editor at the time, she moved to New York with her journalist boyfriend Jon Bradshaw.

Harpers Bazaar US – In 1976, her move did not mean changing companies. Despite the conflict at her past job, she was still offered a job as a junior fashion editor with the US version of the magazine. The job, as with the last one didn’t come without disagreements. The editor at the time, Tony Mazola did not like her style and felt as though it was pushing the boundaries as what was considered acceptable. She was fired after only working for 9 months.

Viva – While still in New York, she got a job at Viva that praised Anna’s work. Arranging photographers and shoots, she was given a substantial budget and creative freedom. With her success at the publication, they provided her with a personal assistant.

Savvy – In 1980, Anna Wintour served as a fashion editor to the publication Savvy. The readers of the magazine were career-focused and loved leadership. This resonated with Anna, which would be helpful to her when she arrives at Vogue.

British Vogue – Arriving back to London in 1982, Anna interviewed with the then editor in chief at Vogue UK, Grace Marabella. Knowing what she came for, Anna told her she wanted her job. This did not end well and ended with her not getting the position. However, she got help with one of her connections, Alex Livermanwas. He was the editorial director of Conde Nast; who offered her the job of creative director. As a creative director, she had her own ideas and made sure they happened even if it meant Marabella’s ideas not being heard.

In 1985, she received the job of editor in chief at Vogue UK. She took control of the magazine by firing much of the staff and coming up with new practices. She believed her readers were energetic, executive women with their own money and interests. While some of the staff loved her strong work ethic and new ideas, others found her controlling which led to nicknames such as “Nuclear Wintour” and “Wintour of our discontent”.

House and Garden – Returning to New York in 1987, she is tasked by Conde Nast (the publishing company that owns Vogue) to revamp their publication called House and Garden. With the changes consisting of renaming the publication HG for short and inserting fashion articles; came drawbacks. This led to subscribers started dropping as well as advertisers.

US Vogue – In 1988, she was named editor and chief of American Vogue. She was tasked with yet another revamp, but instead of consisting of home and DIY related topics, it was all about fashion. At the time, Elle Magazine was a three-year-old magazine that was seeing great growth unlike Vogue and taking some of their market shares. The leaders at Vogue were concerned that it was not producing content that people were interested in reading.

With her experience, she knew what she had to do for Vogue to be fresh and exciting. With all of the financial baking and creative freedom she needed, she went to work. Wintour first decided to stop putting supermodels on the covers of the magazine, as she discovered celebrities sell magazines. Also, she loved mixing high-end and low-end products in photoshoots as well as less heavy makeup.

In 1989, the magazine featured Madonna which was the first celebrity to ever be on a cover. With these changes, Vogue is now one of the leading fashion magazines with over 12 million readers in print.

Conde Nast – In 2013, Conde Nast gave her the role of artistic director of all publications while still at Vogue. She describes this as being an extension of what she is already doing now but with a broader scope.

Personal life

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In 1984, Anna married a physiatrist named David Shaffer. With this marriage came two kids named Charles and Bee. The two later divorced in 1999. Her daughter Bee worked on the late-night show with Seth Meyers, until leaving in 2017 to work for the Ambassador Theatre Group. She married the son of late Vogue Italia editor in chief, Francesco Carraozzini in the summer of 2018. In 2014, her son Charles married Elizabeth Condry in which Oscar De La Renta designed her wedding dress.

Anna enjoys living in New York in her townhouse located on Sullivan Street in Greenwich Village. The home was built in 1899, and features 4 stories with 3,960 square feet. While not married, she is with longtime boyfriend Texan investor, Shelby Bryan. People say this relationship is good for Anna as she smiles and laughs more.


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Not only does she put her hard work into fashion, but also charity work. Her work includes raising money for the Twin Towers after 9/11, as well as helping new designers with her role at CFDA. She is most known for her contribution to the Met Gala, which happens every May at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She has been chairing the fashion event from the 90s and has helped raise $50 million throughout the years. With this, the museum renamed a wing the Anna Wintour Costume Center in 2014.

Debby Wong /

Interesting Facts

Helped create the careers of designers such as Marc Jacobs and Alexander McQueen.

Told Oprah to lose 20 pounds to be put on a cover of Vogue.

Anna Wintour wears her black sunglasses to fashion events so people won’t notice if she is bored.

She is close friends with James Corden and helped get him his late-night show by talking to the president of CBS.

The Devil Wears Prada was written by her former assistant.

Has attended more than 3,000 fashion shows.

An annual salary of $2 million with an annual clothing budget of $200,000.

Candidates interviewing with Anna, spend big bucks to impress her with a current season outfit.

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