In NewsWhistle’s weekly question-and-answer series, Clara Morgan speaks with some of the world’s top influencers and finds out more about their lives and careers.
This week, Clara spoke with Courtenay Hall, Bella Magazine Editor-In-Chief & CEO and OK!TV Correspondent.
After years of working in the magazine industry for publications including Elle Décor and Better Homes and Gardens, Hall found that there were no publications that adequately covered the topics of beauty, fashion, health, and wellness in her estimation, which led to the founding of Bella Magazine in 2011. Published bi-monthly, Bella Magazine is a women’s luxury lifestyle publication offering an insider’s guide to one of the most affluent areas in America.
Each issue of Bella is created with its motto “Beauty is Defined by You” in mind, offering readers a combination of fashion, beauty, health, philanthropy, arts and culture, cuisine, celebrity, and entertainment.
Celebrities who have graced covers of Bella include: Lance Bass, Nicky Hilton Rothschild, Taraji P. Henson, Olivia Munn, and Rob Lowe. In addition to her work with the magazine, Hall also contributes to OK! TV, where she regularly shares celebrity gossip and fashion tips.
For more information on Bella Magazine, visit: www.bellanyc.com
1. What events led to you launching Bella Magazine?
I worked at several national magazines earlier in my career and have always been an avid magazine reader. Since I am a New Yorker, I was also familiar with the regional NYC publications, and although I liked parts of each, I thought I could put together something that really spoke in a fun yet sophisticated way to the NY woman and the NY lifestyle. From there, BELLA New York was born.
2. What is your favorite aspect of editing the magazine?
I love the fact that I have input on the design of every single page in the magazine. It really makes it special when each issue comes out; I feel like all 31 issues have been a labor of love.
3. If you could meet anyone in the world, who do you want to meet? And why?
God. In the end, that will be the only one that matters.
4. Who influences your personal style?
My personal style is influenced by a few women in my life. First, my grandmother was always the most elegant woman in the room. Whether she was having lunch at the Plaza or having lunch in her home, she was always dressed to the nines and I loved that about her. Second, my daughters who are 12 and 10. When they think I am trying to look “too young” with some of my choices, they certainly let me know! Lastly, my stylists are the greatest! They have influenced my personal style tremendously over the past few years. They have chosen looks I would never have considered and have opened my eyes to the more diverse and fun side of fashion.
5. Proudest career moment?
I am so lucky that there have been a few. The one time I remember having to take “a moment” was when we had our first event in LA. Los Angeles is our next market, and I felt such a positive vibe from the 200+ guests and press. I really felt like I can do this, and I can do this in every major market! It was a great feeling.
6. If you were not the Editor-In-Chief of Bella Magazine and OK TV Correspondent, what would you want to be?
I can’t imagine doing anything else, but I have always been and always will be an entrepreneur at heart, so I am sure I would think of something to keep me busy.
7. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Being the head of a major publishing house. We (BELLA Media Group) have a lot of expansion in our future with launching additional BELLA titles in major markets throughout the US as well as launching new titles, both national and regional.
8. Best international dining experience you’ve ever had?
I will never forget the loveliest dinner I had one night at Le Sirenuse in Positano, Italy. I was on my honeymoon and we couldn’t wait to try this Conde Nast Traveler top recommendation. Aside from the stunning dining room with views of the Mediterranean, every item on the menu was spectacular! I am still dreaming of the lobster and champagne that we enjoyed all evening.
9. Favorite vacation spot and hotel?
I absolutely love Laguna Beach, California and the Montage Resorts are my favorite. I first visited when I was in high school, and immediately fell in love with this picturesque artists colony that sits on the most beautiful southern California coastline. Laguna reminds me very much of Positano, where the mountains meet the sea. To me, that is perfection! The original Montage Resort and Spa happens to be in Laguna as well, and one of my favorite places to stay (and dine) when I am in town. I have also stayed in their recently opened Maui property and it was just stunning.
10. Which three items must you always have in your purse?
My cell phone, my favorite lipstick, and my pepper spray. Living in NYC, you always have to be prepared for anything.
11. What song can you listen to on repeat?
Anything by Billy Joel.
12. What does fashion mean to you?
Originality and fun. I think fashion is the ultimate exterior expression of who you are and how you want to be perceived. Living in NYC, the streets are a catwalk every day of the year, and I love that out of the millions of people in the city, everyone has their own unique take on personal style.
Image Courtesy of Courtenay Hall