Skip to content
Maxine Leonard, editor, Beauty Papers
At work with

Maxine Leonard, editor, Beauty Papers

Today we’re having our Monday morning coffee at the work place of Maxine Leonard, editor of beauty magazine Beauty Papers. To celebrate the newly released issue four, we’re chatting to Maxine about how her title sets out to be a punk antidote to beauty industry conventions. Bright, messy, and filled with blemishes, Beauty Papers is deliberately at odds with the sponsored product pages of regular fashion glossies.

We’re also catching up with Maxine ahead of our magCulture Meets this Thursday, where she’ll be discussing how the magazine breaks down the notion that there is an ideal way that someone should look alongside Beauty Papers creative director Valerie Wickes.

How was your weekend?
Took my daughter to the Hockney Exhibition.

Tell us about your journey to work.
I drive to the office and listened to Three Worlds Music From Virginia Works by Max Richter... it’s on repeat there and back.

Describe the state of your desk.
Organised Chaos.


Which magazine do you first remember?
Smash Hits... I loved the posters.


What magazine matters to you the most this morning?
National Geographic.

What make up matters to you the most this morning?
Eyebrow pencil!


What frustrations with how beauty is covered in the media spurred you to launch Beauty Papers?
Our underlying agenda is reigniting readers appetite for ambiguity and contradiction, fostering a greater appreciation of the reality of beauty. The world is full of relentless imagery of pseudo glamour masquerading as beauty. In reality this has nothing to do with ‘beauty’, it is about conformity, brand and formula.

You’ve worked in the industry as a make-up artist for a long time, but what have you learnt about the beauty industry through the process of making this magazine?
Beauty is undervalued. The idea that beauty is unimportant is the real beauty myth.


Tell us about the new issue.
Themed ‘The Beautiful Question?’, it shows the extraordinary minds of contributors taking risks, revelling in their obsessions and convictions to explore the very definition of beautiful.

What’s the concept behind the six different covers?

Screen Shot 2017-03-18 at 19.22.21

Pick a spread from the new issue and tell us what it says about your magazine.
Amusement goes in many forms. This spread looks at the memories captured in a piece of stone. The fragments of daily life and death too precious to discard. This piece reveals how, at Beauty Papers, because we can, we do.

What are you finding most frustrating about your work this week?

What’s going to be the highlight of this week for you?
The magazine being on sale and celebrating with the BP team. We are also working on a new website where you can buy photography prints from our issues, and we’re re-stocking our shop.

What will you be doing after this chat?
Boiling the kettle... Again!

Previous post Exotism #1
Next post Paul Willoughby, creative director, Weapons of Reason