The Woman Behind the Words:
An Interview with Tanya Kovarsky

By Michelle, age 16, South Africa

Tanya Kovarsky is the current editor of the South African edition of CLEO Magazine. Recently I was lucky enough to get an interview with her. She shared with me what it's like to head up one of SA's most loved magazine publications.

Where and what did you study?
I studied a bachelor of arts degree - one year at Wits University, and the last two at the University of Cape Town.

Did you ever have a career plan or did everything "just happen"?
After university and living in Israel for a year, it was a toss-up between journalism and teaching. I had always wanted to write though, and had more of an interest in journalism, so that's what I pursued. I didn't have a career plan", but one day, on someone's advice, I made a collage of things that I wanted to attain one day, and one of them included a contributor's picture in a magazine. (I dreamed of writing for a magazine and "appearing" in one as a writer.) So while it wasn't a set career plan, it was a dream that I worked towards. I don't think that things necessarily "happen", as corny as it sounds - one often has to make them happen.

What is a typical day like at CLEO, and what do your editorship duties entail?
I'm sure every editor will say that there is not one typical day. Duties include overseeing the running of the magazine and the team, planning each issue, proofing and signing off each issue, writing for the magazine, dealing with the various departments in the company (e.g., marketing, management, and sales), meeting with clients, going to functions, and doing any necessary PR work (e.g., radio interviews). Being up to date with trends and other magazines is also an important "duty".

What do you look for in people when you hire for CLEO?
I look for people who can write (naturally!) and who could probably be a team player and get on with everyone. I also look for a willingness to work hard, a love for magazines, plus a knowledge of the magazine that they want to work on. It's frightening how many people I've come across who've barely looked at the magazine.

Have you had any obstacles to overcome during the course of your career?
I wouldn't call them obstacles - just challenges, whether they were market related, or a difficult colleague, or my own self-doubts along the way.

Michelle's Advice

If you would like to enter into a career in media and publications or if you would like to write for a magazine one day, the best advice I could give as an aspiring journalist would be to build up your portfolio. If you want to work in the layout section, design! If you want to become an editor, write and submit! Gaining hands-on experience or having proof of your capabilities will count in your favor during the time you are not academically qualified for the job. There have been many success stories of people who did not further their studies, but worked hard to get where they wanted to go. It's only a matter of time until that success story is you!

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February & March Magazine Issues

March 15, 2012

The February and March issues of Sweet Designs Magazine are now online, featuring a combined 53 new articles and features!!

- Cover: Stephanie Lynn reflects on 5 years
- Cover: India (of Darn-licious knitwear)
- Life in the dumps (moving in with my bf)
- The difference between men and women
- Angels among us (parts 1 and 2)
- Arts graduates & the dark night of the soul
- Triple threat (how I survived my teen yrs)
- Dating isn't easy (my true story)
- How to turn not-so-great gifts ... (fashion)
- Ten reasons to love being single
- Taking the big leap (college)
- Valentine's Day (not what you'd expect!)
- The last of the cold (hopefully) (fashion)
- A month full of love
- Ten tips for successful airline travel
- Reasons I love writing for SDM
- Who needs love?
- They're not all the same
- The life I'm glad I don't have (fiction)
- Professional dress/ finding Fendi (fashion)
- An airport anniversary: a true story
- Inappropriate Facebook photos
- The perks of a big city (college)
- A night(mare) to forget (part 2)
- The Anita Blake series (book review)
- Saving June by Hannah Harrington (book)
- Under the Mesquite by GG McCall (book)
- The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (book)
- If I Stay by Gayle Foreman (book review)
- My sweetheart (original poetry)
- Isn't it funny (original poetry)
- The stranger (original poetry)
- A winter wonderland (original poetry)
- One night valentine
- The thick envelopes (college acceptance)
- Southern love
- Healthy hair and vitamins
- It's a date (dating idea alternatives)
- The 30 hour famine
- School's out forever!
- Marching right back into spring? (fashion)
- Dear John
- When TV shows depict your life
- 3 Fun ways to rock spring's hottest trends
- Neglected teeth
- Starting something new
- Guy movies
- To hesitate or dive in?
- Deadly, by Julie Chibbaro (book review)
- Beastly, by Alex Flinn (book review)
- I don't care (poetry)
- Together, alone (poetry)

Sweet Designs Magazine
The Magazine You Can Write For
The Voice of a New Generation


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