Cosmo Editor Kate White: “Girls Should Play Hard to Get”
Cosmo’s editor-in-chief dishes with BettyConfidential about sex in the era of technology and social media – and her new book, “Hush.”
As editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan, Kate White has spent nearly 12 years teaching glamorous girls how to keep mystery alive in the bedroom. She’s also a master of mystery in her own life – penning bestselling thrillers and balancing a magazine job “a million girls would kill for” with marriage and children.
Kate’s latest heart-stopping thriller, Hush, debuted yesterday. To mark the occasion, she chatted with BettyConfidential about love, lust and writing it all down.
You seem to have figured out how to do it all – editing one of the most popular magazines in the world, being a wife and mother, and writing celebrated nonfiction and fiction books. Can young women still expect to have it all – and be sexy doing it?
That’s what we all hope for. I think it’s important to build in time in your twenties and thirties, no matter where you are in your life, to sort of step back and say, “Is it all going as well as I think it is? Should I shift some things around?”
I certainly put my writing on the backburner when my kids were younger because they were such a priority for me. And as much as Cosmo’s been the best job in the world – it’s just been delicious – one thing I gave up at Cosmo was the sort of “after hours” part. I never went to movie premieres, I never went to fun parties, I never went to the fashion shows – except on occasion.
If you’re lucky, your life is long today. If you put something aside now, it doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t come back to it.
In 1998 you wrote 9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want. What secrets would you include in a 2010 version?
I think one thing that has made a huge difference for me is a technique I learned when I was editor of a women’s business magazine: “You have to learn to drain the swamp as you slay the alligators.” Slaying the alligators is the day-to-day stuff you do at work. But the draining of the swamp is the big picture stuff. It keeps you focused on the future and strategizing.
Go to Starbucks on a Saturday morning, get a little notebook and think, “Where do I want to be a year from now? What are things that are going to help me with the bigger picture? If I want to get married, have I really done anything to get a guy lately?” To me, that strategy has been just amazing.
So what are the things young women want right now?
Right now there’s such a variety of what women want. There are young women who want to be stay-at-home moms, then there are women at the other end who aren’t even sure they want to get married. Even though marriage may not be at the top of everyone’s list, women definitely want a partner. They love the idea of having someone to go through life with.
Sometimes women in their twenties and thirties are a little paralyzed by all the choices. There’s a fear of making one choice and being afraid it’s the wrong choice.
And we hear a lot from our interns that they want to have the life they had with their parents. They traveled with their parents, they went out to dinner with them. I think these young women are seeing that because of the economy, and because of changes in the world, they may not get the sort of things they thought they’d have.