The story teller

By Drum Digital
24 October 2011

This senior editor at a glossy women’s magazine writes about new trends and interesting people who are making their mark

There is nothing about her job that Aurelia Mbokazi (35) finds tedious or boring. She loves every aspect of being senior editor at Destiny magazine.

“In a way it’s an extension of my personality and my hobbies all rolled into one,” she says enthusiastically.

Aurelia has been at Destiny in Joburg for four years, having worked at the Saturday Star and the Sunday Independent newspapers and True Love, another glossy women’s magazine, prior to joining the title.

Her day-to-day duties include coming up with interesting story ideas for the magazine, conducting interviews and writing features.

“I identify trends and people to watch, then come up with ideas on how to write about them in the magazine.”

Once her ideas are approved, she sets up and conducts the interviews, does research and writes the stories.

While she works normal office hours, she often represents the magazine at functions in the evening and does a fair amount of travelling.

“There is a lot of flexibility. I’m not office bound but I work long hours and am also away from home a lot,” she says.

Being in the media industry is not all glitz and glamour, though, and the stories she covers often break her heart.

“Writing about women or children who have been abused is always a challenge,” says Aurelia. She always presents her stories in a balanced way but admits to sometimes getting emotional while interviewing people.

“I’ve often had to be consoled by the people who have been pouring their hearts out to me!” she confides.

Being a magazine journalist has exposed her to different experiences and even the challenges become valuable life lessons, Aurelia says.

And she thrives on the fact that there’s always something or someone new to write about.

“It’s truly exciting and refreshing . . . there’s never a dull moment,” she explains.

Best part of the job

Meeting many inspirational people who have amazing stories to share.

What I wear

I have to make a good impression so I wear clothes that are presentable but comfortable. I enjoy wearing dresses and flat shoes during the day and for evening functions I dress up a bit in more formal outfits and wear high heels.

How I destress

When encountering challenges and stress I tell myself, “This, too, shall pass.”

MAKING THE MOST OF MY NATURAL TALENT

I matriculated at Ennerdale Secondary School in Ennerdale, Joburg, in 1995 and then enrolled at Birnam Business College in Joburg to do a short certificate in journalism.

In 1996 I did an internship at Mayibuye, the journal of the ANC, and then spent six months at Venue Africa, a travelogue aimed at promoting travel in Africa.

I then got my first big break when I was employed as an editorial assistant at the Saturday Star and Sunday Independent, before moving to the Saturday Star permanently as a junior journalist.

I left in 2000 to join True Love as features co-ordinator and then joined The Star as senior writer in 2003. In 2007 I was appointed senior editor at Destiny. I am also midway through an honours degree in journalism at Wits University.

HIGHLIGHTS

Managing the motoring portfolio – I get to drive the latest, fastest cars and travel extensively to launches!

CHALLENGES

Meeting print deadlines and coordinating interviews is challenging.

PITFALLS

There’s never enough time! The days never seem long enough to get all the work done.

Read more about her career in DRUM, 27 October 2011.

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