Former Playgirl EIC Returns to the Sex and Dating Fold

Nicole Caldwell is back, but with an expansive and very different home office view.

In September 2006, four months out of Columbia Journalism graduate school, Nicole Caldwell landed a job as editor in chief of Playgirl magazine. Together with senior editor Jessanne Collins and designer Corinne Weiner, she strove to give the publication relevance.

From a New York Times interview published at the time of the magazine’s end:

The editors printed articles about a campaign to take toxic chemicals out of cosmetics and about problems with Amsterdam’s red-light district. To her delight, Ms. Caldwell landed interviews with Jack LaLanne and Dolly Parton.

The magazine had no marketing or public relations budget, so its editors sought to revive the Playgirl brand themselves, throwing parties at a Lower East Side bar. After [owner] Blue Horizon denied a request to finance a blog, Ms. Collins built one herself, starting it on WordPress, a free platform.

Their efforts, the women said, got virtually no support; indeed, their higher-ups, all of them men, usually resisted their push to give the magazine editorial heft.

When Playgirl exited print with the January/February 2009 issue , Caldwell moved on to Diamond District News before taking a radical turn to sustainable farming. And it is from that rural New York State base that she has begun working as Thrillist’s new sex and dating editor:

In 2009, I surrendered cubicle life to move to a farm in Northern New York. Since then, I’ve conducted my writing from the back deck of Better Farm, overlooking forests, fields, free-range chickens and organic gardens. At the farm, I teach sustainable skillsets to make people more self-reliant, creative and loving – and challenge them to turn the hardships of their lives into vehicles for change. In October I accepted a fantastic position as editor for Thrillist Media Group, which allows me to keep a finger on the pulse of the city I love while working with freelance writers to produce provocative, enticing content seen by 15 million people every day.

Like so many people these days, there is also an Airbnb component attached to Caldwell’s triumphant post-Playgirl life. Currently, a click over to the playgirl.com website brings up a warning that the site contains malware.

Caldwell’s first two Thrillist pieces are about the science of dating and the science of kissing. Meanwhile, in September, Better Farm was a finalist in the Martha Stewart American Made Awards.
 
[Photo via: @NicoleMCaldwell; H/T: Wall Street Journal]