Former EIC of InStyle Laura Brown is writing a book
Former EIC of InStyle Laura Brown is writing a book about being fired. Courtesy of Laura Brown Instagram

If you're not familiar with Laura Brown, she was the editor-in-chief of InStyle Magazine from 2016 until 2022 when she was abruptly fired. Or rather "eliminated" as per the wording on the press release announcing her axing. Known for her self-effacing down-to-earth attitude and for being hilariously funny, Brown is a longtime magazine writer and editor from Australia who has lived and worked in New York for two decades. Anyone who knows Brown will testify that if anyone can turn being fired into an exciting new career chapter it's her. The news that she is writing a book "All the Cool Girls Get Fired" and has already signed with a publisher is typical Laura Brown— I know because I worked with her at Harper's Bazaar.

More than a writer or editor Brown has become something of a brand. She had a strong presence and following on Instagram before it was a thing—her audience is now a whopping 559K—and she used her access to celebrities at InStyle to forge close friendships with them, becoming a bit of a celebrity herself in the process. Brown turns 50 in June and is rumored to be planning a star-studded bash to rival Victoria Beckham. Take a look at her Instagram to see that it's filled with images and videos of her hanging out with "mates" like Naomi Watts, Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, and Lily Rabe. Incidentally, it's also filled with shots of her cat Batty and plenty of kangaroos and Aussie marsupials.

I worked with Brown (or LB as I know her) at Harper's Bazaar during Glenda Bailey's reign and it was Brown who granted me entry into the New York fashion magazine and publishing world when like her I Ieft Australia to try my luck in the Big Apple back in 2014. As the story goes I reached out to Brown as we share a country, career path, and mutual friends and connections in the hope she might answer my email and better still give me a job. She did both. "G'day Koala, welcome to New York, I'd love to get a drink. Actually, do you have a resume? Can you start tomorrow?" Again, so Laura.

Celebrity stylist Tan France, who is a friend of Brown's describes her as "the most charismatic person in the room and everyone wants to be friends with her." Brown's allure according to France is all down to her unwavering confidence, not being afraid to be herself, and her down-to-earth personality and style signature. "When I see Laura at a runway show, she is not wearing the hottest trend or needs to have that Balenciaga moment. She is a woman who is about to turn 50 and always looks sophisticated, usually wearing a great 70s-style jean with a lovely blouse and blaze. And when she walks in she always has more confidence and charisma than anyone else in that room, " said France speaking exclusively to Fashion Times at an intimate dinner in New York recently to launch Citi Shop a new shopping desktop browser extension.

Brown definitely has plenty of rizz and is quite a character. Working with her at Bazaar was a little like watching The Laura Show— in fact, that was the headline I used when I interviewed her a few years back while she was still executive editor of Harper's Bazaar. Her stint at Bazaar lasted 11 years (an eternity in fashion magazines) and she worked her way up from features writer to the number two spot behind Bailey before leaving to go and helm InStyle. And well, we know how that all ended.

Not one to slink off into oblivion, Brown announced on social media and her Substack that her book was in the works. She is co-writing it with friend and former WSJ Magazine editor Kristina O'Neill who "stepped down" (but was really fired) from her gig in 2023 after a stellar 10-year tenure.

Here's what Brown said about the inspiration for the book which was conceived over a wine at a bar. 'All The Cool Girls Get Fired' sprung from, you guessed it, getting fired. It's becoming a well-worn tale but I was canned from InStyle in February 2022, and one of my besties (and a friend I worked with for eight years previously at Harper's BAZAAR), Kristina O'Neill was fired from WSJ. Magazine just over a year later. (The official language: "eliminated" and "stepped down.") My firing wasn't nearly as cinematic as "eliminated" sounds though; it was just a zoom with a boom. Anyway, after Kristina "stepped down," we stepped right into a bar. On the way there, I said to her, "You know what we're gonna do? Take a picture, look really cute and caption it: 'All The Cool Girls Get Fired, '

Perhaps the most anticipated book that will no doubt spill some fashion media industry secrets since "The Devil Wears Prada", "All The Cool Girls Get Fired" is being pitched as "the blueprint for a new way to think about job loss." To inform the book Brown and O'Neill did a call out for women to share their stories about being fired (Hey Laura, I have a few) and Brown said the response was "insane". "All too often, women are too afraid to admit they've been fired, trapped in some weird cycle of panic, shame, isolation, you name it. But we called it out. Guess what, we were really good at our jobs. We also got fired, " she stated.

Losing a job, Brown continued is a gateway to a whole new world of opportunity. "When you look out of your career sandpit, wouldn't you know it, there's a whole beach." While O'Neill has said the pair are out to change the narrative around being fired. "Panic, isolation, embarrassment, and fear are very real. But the most important thing to know is that value lies in the person, not the company. Your equity what you have earned, built, and put into practice over the course of your career doesn't just go "poof" when your job goes away."

Aimed at empowering a mindset shift for women who also find themselves in Brown's position, "All the Cool Girls Get Fired" will include candid interviews from well-known women on how they rebuilt and thrived after being axed from their jobs. It will also be a post-sacking roadmap that offers practical advice about how to manage your money, legal recourse, and how to navigate healthcare, networking, and recruitment. And most importantly how to take care of your mental health (and bruised ego).

This is great news for all the successful women out there— myself included —who have suffered the indignity of being "eliminated" from their positions and experienced the fallout financially, personally, and professionally. I've worked in fashion magazines and media for over two decades and know all too well, that it can be a ruthless, cutthroat Devil Wears Prada type business. Yep, I've been fired a few times and treated rather badly, by major media companies who have a long history and reputation for not giving the employees the support, resources and respect they need and deserve to do their jobs. So, Laura, count me in to share my stories. And we can't wait to hear yours.

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