Q&A: Under New EIC Joyce Chang, Self Magazine Mixes Fitness With Fashion

Relaunch targets the SoulCycle-Instagram generation


Who Joyce Chang

New gig Editor in chief, Self

Old gig Executive editor, Cosmopolitan

Age 38

You've increased the amount of fashion editorial in Self, and especially high-end fashion. Are you concerned about the magazine becoming too aspirational?

I don't think so. We have one of the most affluent demographics in the building. These are women who work really hard and they can buy whatever they want. But we're not out to say that you should only spend a ton of money on clothes. I just came from a run-through and there was a fantastic look from H&M as well as from Reed Krakoff and Proenza Schouler. It's about having a modern mix.

How have readers responded to the new Self?

They really like how clean it is. So many magazines seem to feel that millennials need to be shouted at from every different direction in order to get their attention, and that's not the case. Treating the reader with respect is really important, and I feel like it gets lost in the design of so many other books.

Three of your five cover stars so far have been models, which is pretty unconventional. Why models?

I love using models because it is unexpected and it is different, and we're not chasing after the same people that everyone else is chasing after. Not that we don't love celebrities, but it's more about whether that personality embodies what Self is. There is a new breed of models that are not all skinny and bony; these are strong, healthy women who work hard and take their jobs and their health really seriously.

It seems like everyone on Instagram is posting about their latest workout or the marathon they just completed. What's your take on the popularity of fitness in social media?

People are rightfully proud when they've finished a really tough workout, and this is their badge of honor. I also think that people treat fitness almost like travel now because it's an experience, and when you have a great experience, you want to share it. A SoulCycle class, a Tracy Anderson class, a yoga class, all of these things feel special.

How do you see Self evolving from here?

We have our formula and our focus; I just want to do more of it. We're really going to be focusing our energy on how we can make the digital experience as rich as the new book is. We're looking for different ways to really create an immersive experience.

What's the craziest fitness trend you've tried for the magazine?

I did aerial yoga this weekend and I hung upside down, which I definitely felt a bit ridiculous doing initially. But then I got really into it. It was hard, but my back felt amazing afterwards.