As a writer and Assistant Lifestyle Editor at the well-known newspaper The Independent, Rachel Hosie is constantly in forward momentum in her creative career. In this interview, Rachel talks about her writing, finding inspiration, maintaining creative integrity, and using her platform to empower her audience. She also talks about her podcast Millennial Love – a candid podcast on modern day, dating, love and otherwise unexplored topics.
What’s your background? Where are you from? Where did you grow up?
I was born in Windsor but we moved to Leicestershire just before I turned two – it was in the rural countryside that I grew up until I went to the University of Bristol to study languages at 18.
Have you always wanted to be a writer? If no, how has your background shaped your career/current position?
Pretty much, yes! When I was little I wanted to be a pop star (and when I was really little I wanted to be a fairy princess, obviously), but from around the age of 14 or 15, I was pretty set on journalism. At first, I thought I wanted to be a fashion journalist but I soon realised that a) I wasn’t as fashionable as I thought, b) I wasn’t as interested in fashion as I thought, and c) fashion journalism often involves a lot more styling than writing. I learned this by doing endless work placements – from the age of 16, I spent nearly all my holidays from school and uni doing work experience.
What creative paths have you taken to get you where you are now?
I was essentially just very, very keen and driven from a young age. Aside from all the work placements, I started a lifestyle blog when I was 17 and I was heavily involved in student journalism both at school and uni. As a languages undergraduate, I spent the third year of my degree abroad, six months of which was spent working in BBC News’ Brussels bureau which was an incredible learning experience. Back at uni for my final year, I worked one day a week at the BBC in Bristol and was also Online Editor of our student paper, Epigram, all of which meant I had quite a strong CV by the time I graduated.
So now you work for The Independent as assistant lifestyle editor, I would imagine that with that comes some creative freedom but at the same time some creative restraint as you have to answer to a boss and also meet the guidelines of the company, how do you balance this out?
I’m fortunate in that my editor and I work together really well, and we have a great team of writers. I absolutely love my job because I get to help shape the section by helping decide which stories we write, editing the team’s copy, and also writing myself. I feel a great responsibility to make sure all our articles have integrity and are also empowering – I’m really against sensational articles that prey on readers’ insecurities, but fortunately, that fits in with what the Independent stands for.
A lot of your writing draws inspiration from current happenings around the world, how do you choose what’s worth writing about or highlighting?
It’s a case of weighing up lots of things: what do our readers want to know, and what do we think they should know. And as I mentioned, we don’t like to cover stories that could be sexist or demeaning – for example, we never do stories that recommend crazy diets or are about a celebrity ‘flaunting’ their curves in a sexy photoshoot or getting their ‘pre-baby body’ back in a month.
I’m really against sensational articles that prey on readers’ insecurities, but fortunately, that fits in with what the Independent stands for.
What kind of impact do you want your writing to have?
As a lifestyle writer, I aim to entertain and inform. I hope my writing is enjoyable to read, but it really depends on the piece – sometimes it may be a lighthearted article that I hope will be funny and relatable, on other occasions it’s more serious and hopefully raises awareness for an important issue.
Any advice for someone who wants to be a writer or writers who are still trying to find their voice?
Just keep at it. Keep writing, keep trying to get internships and work placements, get as involved as you can – the more you can demonstrate your passion for what you want to do, the better.
About your podcast Millennial Love, I find it very open and honest with profound dating discussions, what inspired you to start the podcast?
I’m so glad you think that! My co-host Olivia and I love podcasts but found there weren’t really any that addressed the issues we came across time and time again as singletons in our mid-20s, and especially none that did so in a frank, funny, open way. So we decided we’d fill the void! We also just thought it would be fun, which it is.
What do you wish to achieve with this podcast?
Essentially we want to entertain people whilst also informing them – it’s totally possible to have a lol discussion about period sex while simultaneously busting myths about what’s safe and when you could get pregnant. We also want to comfort people by talking about relatable issues that show listeners they’re not alone. We want to break down taboos and talk openly about the bonkers world of dating we live in today – fortunately, neither of us believes in oversharing!
…hard work pays off. My dad always used to tell me “the more you put in, the more you get out,”
Millennial Love Podcast hosted by Rachel Hosie and Olivia Petter
What do you enjoy most about your job?
What I enjoy most isn’t one thing, it’s that I get to do everything. It’s getting to write and edit, to work on first-person pieces, in-depth features, and quick news blasts. It’s having the privilege of talking to interesting people at the top of their game, trying new things and visiting exciting places, having the opportunity to write for a platform that reaches so many people, and getting to do diverse things like presenting video (regularly me eating ridiculous things on camera) and hosting Millennial Love. I also work with incredibly great people, which makes every day a joy.
Besides your writing and podcast, are there any other creative outlets you explore or will like to explore?
I write in a journal that my sister gave me years ago – not every night, but whenever I feel like I have something I need to get out. I find it incredibly cathartic and it’s also nice to write by hand when I spend all day typing on a keyboard. I was also incredibly crafty when I was younger so I would love to make more time for that, but with work, keeping fit and maintaining my social life it’s tricky!
Is there anything you wish you knew when you just started out as a writer?
It depends when we mean – when I got my first proper job? Or when I started blogging and writing regularly? Either way, I suppose I would say that hard work pays off. My dad always used to tell me “the more you put in, the more you get out,” and I’ve always remembered that. I get a lot of satisfaction from my job now and feel very lucky, but I have actually worked hard to get here and will working hard to progress – I’m only at the start of my career really!
Any favorite quotes or favorite books and why?
Career-wise, the one from my dad. Life-wise, my mum always used to say “treat other people as you would like to be treated,” which I always try and remember. And one more that I actually saw on a tote bag of a stranger on the Tube one time but just really stuck with me: “Your outlook on life is a direct reflection of how much you like yourself.” I think it’s really true.