April 7, 2011

Welcome Pilar Guzman, Our New Martha Stewart Living Editor-in-Chief

As many of you know, Martha Stewart Living, our flagship magazine, has a new Editor-in-Chief: Pilar Guzman.

Pilar is a highly accomplished, inspired editor who was the founding Editor-In-Chief of Cookie magazine, an award-winning publication that reinvented the parenting category for contemporary moms.
I thought it would be nice to introduce her to all of you and provide a richer sense of who she is and why she is such an excellent fit at Living.  We recently sat down for a Q&A session in my office at our corporate headquarters in the Starrett-Lehigh Building in New York City.

I’m sure you will find Pilar as intelligent and interesting as I do and we look forward to hearing your thoughts as Pilar continues Living’s rich tradition of editorial and visual excellence.  And we invite you to contact her with your ideas and questions at MSLeditor@marthastewart.com

Q1. When did you first become a Living reader?
A1.  I was in my twenties, so I was an early adopter.  I remember we rented a ramshackle beach house with a bunch of twentysomethings.  My friend Chelsea, a fellow renter and die-hard Martha fan, showed me these upside down ice cream molds from Good Things.  We made them as well as the battered fish tacos from that July issue.  I’ve always cooked—even in high school and younger—but it was rare that I ever saw a recipe in any other magazine that made me want to copy the whole thing—from the table settings to the cocktails.

Q2. As a longtime Living reader, what was typically the first section of the magazine you turned to each month?
A2. Good Things and the food pages.  However aspirational they are, the Good Things pages are relatable because they’re idea-driven moments.  And the food is always so beautiful.

Q3. What is the most surprising thing that you’ve learned since joining MSLO?
A3. How many amazingly creative people there are under one roof!  Then again, it’s not so surprising, given all the talent that has been tapped and carefully cultivated.

Q4. What did you learn from starting Cookie and Momfilter.com that will influence your vision for Living?
A4. You really have to listen to your reader.  You really need to pay attention with every story that you always have them in mind.  It seems like a simple thing but it’s not.  A lot of editors edit for other editors or for themselves.  You have to strike the balance of aspirational and attainable.  Too much of either and you lose them.

Q5. What are you making for dinner tonight?
A5. I made lentils on Sunday and I have a beautiful sausage I’ll throw on the grill if it stops raining!

Q6. It sounds like you really live the life—the children, the husband, the home, the little garden with the grill.
A6. It’s about elevating the everyday in big ways and small whenever you can do it.  Even when you’re eating take out don’t eat it out of the container!  I found a mate who cares about the same things—everything from the family rituals surrounding food to the plates the food is served on.

Q7. What’s your favorite thing to do [on the weekend]?
A7. The first thing that comes to mind is Sunday night dinner.  We have a unique situation.  We share a brownstone with my brother-in-law and his family (we have separate living spaces and entrances) and Sunday dinner is a joint effort. Sometime around mid-morning we decide what we’ll prepare.  Sometimes during the winter months we do project cooking with the kids—homemade lasagna or chicken pot pies where the kids get in involved in rolling out the dough. Sometimes it’s a one-pot meal, like fish stew.  My in-laws come, too (we imported them from Chicago to Brooklyn) and they’re very fun and helpful.  There are nine of us in all—my husband, our two children, my brother- and sister-in-law and my nephew and my in-laws.  It’s a very grounding ritual.

Q8. Can we do that as a story in the magazine?
A8. I would love it.  I’ll really have to clean my house!