One year ago today, we released the launch issue of T Australia.
I decided to bring The New York Times Style Magazine to Australia, knowing that it was time to go against the flow of doom and gloom and to start something new, vibrant and different.
From our debut issue last March to our first international cover star in February 2022, T Australia has had the privilege of sharing intimate profiles, thoughtful essays and the best global journalism from the flagship US magazine – all throughout a year that continued to challenge us all.
Some of my personal highlights have been:
- Seeing readers subscribe to T Australia for three years – before we even launched in news-stands; in fact before we even knew who was on the front cover of our launch issue. The confidence our audience gave us was truly incredible and we knew we were onto a good thing. No pressure or anything.
- Shooting Emma Watkins in the most spectacular natural surroundings at Seidler House, Joadja in rural New South Wales. We had an Australian global ambassador in a quintessentially Australian setting, using all local talent to produce the shoot and story, and it just felt like we were at the start of something really special. I also played a practical joke on the crew who had never met me before by telling them I was the catering chick, and they all believed me.
- As incredible as the interview and photo shoot with Simon Baker was (on location Little Felix, Sydney), my favourite part of the day was asking one of Australia’s favourite (and sexiest) acting exports some unexpected rapid fire questions such as “Speedos or Boardies?” or “Pie or Sausage Roll?”. That man truly creates magic on screen; Simon’s short video was viewed nearly 200,000 times in the first few weeks.
- Incredible interviews: Kylie Minogue, Mick Fanning, Emma Watkins, Jordan Barrett, Idris Elba, Simon Baker, Margot Robbie, Miranda Tapsell, Nick Cave, David Hallberg, Jane Barnes, Gillian Armstrong, Anna Schwartz. After months of negotiation, we were fortunate to capture F1 driver Daniel Ricciardo just days after his Monza win and boy was this a happy shoot!
- We managed to squeeze in a launch function a year ago (in between lockdowns): an intimate breakfast at Chiswick in Woollahra about The Future of Culture. Our inspiring speakers included Artistic Director of The Australian Ballet David Hallberg, film-maker Gracie Otto and music legend Mark ‘Diesel’ Lizotte.
- The People. My team and their incredible passion and commitment to the project. They work hard and fast. We put the prototype together for The New York Times’ global headquarters in just six weeks and haven’t slowed down since. Our advertisers have shown belief, interest and shared excitement in the T Australia journey as well.
- Let’s talk about Miss Minogue. As I wrote in my editor’s letter in Issue 01, I basically modelled my autograph on Kylie’s, getting that little loop in the K just right, just the same. So an opportunity to interview her was not only a pinch-me moment, but also showed what a complex, whip-smart and awesome Aussie she is. Also her range of wine is bloody delicious.
- The story I like to affectionally call “Hot Nannas” in Issue 2 garnered the strongest response all year. Writer Lee Tulloch and photographer Tony Amos produced the most heart-warming series of stories and portraits representing five Australian matriarchs who exude style and sass. This age group is sadly under-represented in media and we received wonderful feedback from readers and other fellow hot nannas.
- Covid-19 chucked us lots of challenges, especially in terms of logistics and photoshoots, but one of the best things that emerged over the past year has been a strong sense of community. Writers, creatives, organisers, CEOs – we all became one and the same over Zoom and we all struggled with the mute button and we all worked collaboratively, seamlessly and happily. Long may it continue.
- Idris. What can I say? Coolest dude on the planet. He generously gave us almost an entire day to shoot several videos, interviews, behind-the-scenes specials, poses, jokes, and more. The power of the T brand is real and we pinch ourselves every day.
It’s an honour to present T Australia: The New York Times Style Magazine to you. I am grateful to have shared this journey with you so far, and can’t wait to show you what else we have in store.