Lately, the buzziest magazine writers aren’t J-school alums—they’re A-list celebrities. This month, Drew Barrymore started as a beauty columnist for Brides (she’s also writing for Refinery29) while February’s Vanity Fair includes a guide to watching rugby by Pippa Middleton. Redbook has its new “Team Red” group of celebrity experts, now including actress-turned-lifestyle coach Alison Sweeney and designer Tracy Reese, and InStyle, its Q&A column with fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg.
Now, Glamour is reaching outside the traditional editorial box for its two newest columnists: Parks and Recreation star Rashida Jones and Girls’ Zosia Mamet. In her bimonthly column, “My Zo-Called Life,” launching in Glamour’s February issue, Mamet will tackle issues facing young single women, from insecurity to dating to fashion. Jones’ illustrated monthly column, “Love, Rashida,” will kick off in the March issue and focus on relationships.
Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive said that Jones and Mamet weren’t tapped for their on-screen résumés alone; both have serious writing chops. Jones is already an accomplished screenwriter and comic book author, while a monologue Mamet wrote for Glamour’s “These Girls” series last year impressed Leive so much that she asked Mamet to expand it into an article for the May 2013 issue.
“I remember reading a profile of Rashida in the Times, and she was talking about relationships in this incredibly, smart, funny, on-topic way,” Leive said. “I thought, ‘OK, this person needs to be writing for Glamour.’
“What these women have in common is that they write the way that women talk,” Leive continued. “This is the Lena Dunham generation of women who are used to speaking about themselves.”
Lest readers wonder whether these actresses are really taking time out of their busy schedules to write magazine essays, Leive asserts, “Make no mistake: they are writing and thinking about every word. We really wanted to do something that rises above ‘just another column.’”
The new celebrity columnists could help bring some needed hype to Glamour, which, like other fashion magazines, has struggled on newsstands lately. Single-copy sales tumbled 28.8 percent in the first half of 2013 versus the year-ago period, per the Alliance for Audited Media. Glamour has also been under the eye of Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour.
So far, celebrity-written columns have proved to be a major draw for Glamour. Actress Olivia Wilde’s “The Dos and Don’ts of Turning 30” from the September issue and a Jones-contributed story about “The Pornification of Everything” from January were among the top 10 most-shared stories of 2013 on Glamour.com.
Barrymore: Doug Inglish/Brydges Mackinney; Sweeny: Andrew Eccles for Redbook; Jones: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images