“I have literally 25 years of anecdotes,” says Joanna Coles.
The chief content officer at Hearst Magazines has served as the
editor-in-chief of both Marie Claire and Cosmopolitan magazines.
Now, as an executive producer for TV series “The Bold Type,”
which follows a team of magazine editors, she’s drawing on those
anecdotes for creative inspiration.
On an episode of Business Insider’s podcast, “Success!
How I Did It,” Coles told Business Insider US editor-in-chief
Alyson Shontell about which specific scenes are based in reality.
Listen to the whole episode and subscribe
for more Success!
“There’s a wonderful episode where Jane is one of the young
ambitious writers and she gets sued, and when a lawyer opens her
notebook it’s got wine stains all over it. That very story
happened to a friend of mine who was sued and, when the lawyer
went to look at her notes, it was full of doodles and coffee
stains. Actually we changed it to wine stains, but that was very
much based on a real story.”
Coles went on:
“In the second episode, someone gets one of Gwyneth Paltrow’s
Goop Yoni stones stuck in an unfortunate place, and that was also
based on someone in the office. … It was based on someone who got
a sponge stuck and couldn’t get it out, and she was trying a
sponge for a story and came in mortified the next morning and
various people disappeared into a bathroom stall to help her and,
well, it emerges as an anecdote in the show.”
Angela Ledgerwood, the former Cosmopolitan staffer who inspired
the Yoni scene,
wrote an article for New York Magazine’s The Cut and shared
how it felt to see her mishap played out on television:
“I know that writers steal snippets from everywhere — what they
hear in the street, from the people they love and live
with, it’s all up for grabs — but seeing my story
on The Bold Type still stung. The incident had
been such a turning point for me, and I wanted to be the one to
explore and explain it. I’m happy with Jane having her version of
it, too, but only as long as there is still room for my mine —
for the not-so-glossy, messy, sad, hysterical, and
fretful version I experienced.”
(Ledgerwood also says she loved Coles and was “desperate to
impress” her when she worked at Cosmopolitan.)
“I loved the three girls in ‘The Bold Type’ who are sort of
starting out together and there’s envy between them because one
gets promoted at a different time to the other, which is exactly
what happens in real life,” said Coles. “And as a friend, if
your best friend gets promoted, you have to deal with that, and
it’s hard and it’s scary and you and your friend have to come to
a new negotiation of that friendship, and those are the
relationships you see play out in the show. But what I was trying
to do was bring the really strong women I have met in the
workplace to life.”
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