Elle’s Robbie Myers Steps Down After 17 Years: Her Biggest Contributions To The Iconic Magazine
By Emily Kelleher
After 17 years at the helm of Elle, editor in chief Robbie Myers announced on September 11 that she was stepping down. The next day, Hearst named former Marie Claire creative director and Project Runway judge Nina Garcia as Myers’ replacement.
She dove into the industry first as an assistant at Rolling Stone, eventually worked under Jackson Pollock at Interview, and was named editor in chief at Elle in 2000. Myers has had a storied career that will continue on as she transitions into a consultant of Hearst Magazines president David Carey. She’s also served as a vice president of the American Society of Magazine Editors, which gives out the much lauded ASME awards each year, and has been nominated for three herself. Under Myers, Elle produced more editorial content than 90 percent of U.S. magazines, was featured on Ad Age’s A-List more times than any other fashion publication, and despite industry-wide lethargy, saw a 16 percent increase in readership over the past five years.
One of Myers’ notable moves was changing Elle‘s “Letter To The Editor” in the June 2013 issue, after it had been published online, to respond to the New Republic article, “Can Women’s Magazines Do Serious Journalism?” Besides pointing out the obvious that yes, they can and they have been, Myers expressed frustration at the perception that men’s magazines fall in the general interest category, while women’s magazines are considered niche. She addressed a story Elle covered in February 2013 that only became a topic of “national conversation” when the the New York Times Magazine reported on it. It was a story on mothers choosing selective reduction for complicated pregnancies with twins. The hashtag #WomenAtLength was created to encourage people to share long-form pieces written by women, because, as Myers put it, “it might be time for some nonwomen to crack open a magazine edited for half the population, so that they can be conversant about what we’re actually doing over here before they comment on it.”
Prior to Elle, Myers was editor in chief of Tell, the first collaboration between a magazine and TV network, and fittingly, in 2004, then Elle fashion director Garcia appeared on the first season of Project Runway, gaining widespread recognition for herself and Elle.
Garcia will return to Hearst after her five year stint at Condé Nast as the creative director of Marie Claire, bringing her large social media following with her. As of Oct. 10, she has 424,700 followers on Instagram and 3.34 million on Twitter.
In an email to the Elle staff announcing her departure, Myers expressed pride in all that the magazine accomplished during her tenure. “Elle redefined what a fashion magazine can be, by assuming that a cultured woman could be simultaneously captivated by what Raf is doing at Calvin Klein, and, say, an (exclusive) interview with Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.” And for that, we thank her.