Andre McLeod is one of Live magazine’s success stories here in the UK. For a forthcoming piece in Live, he talks about his experience with us and how it helped launch his career… (check out his blog here)
Andre McLeod, Freelance travel, music and lifestyle journalist, Shortlist
When did you come to Live, and why?
I came to Live in 2007, on work experience. I heard about it through my nephew who was given a copy of the magazine at a prospective college day. I started out as a general writer but became News Editor pretty quickly.
Hanging out at the old building. Meeting loads of talented and creative people. Meeting Kano and generally learning about the job from pros like Fiddy and Warren. Also remember getting a free Nando’s steak sandwich which was pretty tasty.
Getting too old to stick around.
What did you do next?
Emma took me to meet Jonathan Heaf at GQ and and it convinced me to pursue my freelance writing full-time. I’ve worked for loads of men’s magazines including Esquire, Loaded, Maxim, Empire and Manzine. I go to events, gigs, fashion shows, festivals and afterparties around the world for work and I’ve been on press trips to Brazil, Barcelona, LA, Guatemala, Portugal, Turin, Montreal and Monaco. Most recently I went to New York to review a Harley Davidson bike, Las Vegas and Thailand to review villas, clubs, spas and restaurants. An amazing experience, especially for a boy from Streatham Hill.
What’s your advice to people who want to make it in the creative industries?
Take full advantage of being at a great place like Live. You get to learn about the industry and make a tangible product that you can add to your portfolio. Also utilise people you meet at Talk Tuesdays - you never know where it could lead. This industry is all about who you know and your reputation. Think of every experience as an opportunity and every person as a peer. Do as many work placements as possible. From the age of 14 I think did around 20 work placements. You get to learn about the work place and make important contacts. Loads of the editors I work with today are people I first met when doing work experience. For example I recently went to Vegas to review a few suites and clubs. Ended up going with the editor of Maxim who got me my work placement when I was 18. This is a very small world.
Also most importantly network as much as you can. Collect cards and follow up any opportunities. I got my first press trip abroad to Brazil because I met a PR at a random party. This then snowballed into me becoming a luxury travel writer.
Try to be bold and unique and listen to what the mentors have to say.
What’s the most memorable piece you remember reading in Live?
Two pieces spring to mind. One is something I wrote about the dangers of Facebook, which became a column piece for Loaded and led to me going to LA for Maxim and being taught how to drive by the LAPD. Also I wrote and directed a photo story about binge drinking. I’m still waiting for my BAFTA nomination for best adapted screenplay. I also would like to say a massive thank you to everyone at Live but especially Emma Warren, Gavin Weale, Callum McGeoch and the legend that is Chantelle Fiddy who have all helped and guided me hugely over the years.