“Sorry for the interruption, folks, but I always do the last dance of the season. This year somebody told me not to. So I’m gonna do my kind of dancing with a great partner, who’s not only a terrific dancer, but somebody…who’s taught me…that there are people willing to stand up for other people no matter what it costs them. Somebody who’s taught me about the kind of person I want to be. Miss Frances Houseman.”
Johnny Castle, Dirty Dancing
It may not be the most profound quote ever but, hand on heart, these were the lines that convinced me to leave my job and set up new online magazine, Express North, a year ago.
I wanted to do my kind of writing about my kind of people - incredible women.
As a senior reporter at The Northern Echo for eight years and The Hexham Courant for three before that, I’ve covered some big stories, from murder trials to elections and went down to London for The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Royal Wedding. I’ve visited prisons, interviewed celebrities, sat on the front row at London Fashion Week and even dug up a Roman shoe.
But what moves me most is speaking to women about their lives – what makes them tick, what they have overcome and what they have achieved. I am a journalist so I’m nosey and like asking personal questions because, if I’m curious, then I’m sure you are too.
As a journalist I was fed-up of of many of the so-called women's magazines out there pedalling tales that were body-shaming, dumbing down and, quite frankly, rubbish. The business press is largely made up of men in suits yet I knew of numerous women with inspirational stories to tell that couldn't find a column inch and I wanted to redress the balance. I was determined to create a platform that was wholly supportive and positive featuring predominately exclusive stories as well as pieces from guest bloggers so they could tell their story in their own words. As well as career profiles and real-life features it includes stories about hard-hitting topical issues as well as fashion, style and beauty. Express North magazine champions women, by champion women.