Tara received a £240 fee for successfully pitching a first-person piece to ELLE Magazine editor-in-chief Farrah Storr for the title’s anonymous digital series Secret Lives of Women.  

For obvious reasons we are not able to reveal the story that Tara wrote, but recent articles in the series have included secrets as diverse as ‘I’m Well-Paid, But I Steal Hundreds Of Pounds From My Parents’ to ‘I’m A 30 Year Old Highflier… And I’m Addicted To Porn’.

Farrah described Tara’s pitch as “instantly intriguing”. She said: “The headline had me hooked. She outlined her idea succinctly and it really had a sense of drama and jeopardy to it. Our Secret Lives stories can be quite dark and intense sometimes, so I liked that her idea bought some humour and lightness as well as exploring more serious issues of obsession.”

Tara lives in Glasgow and usually writes about food and drink for publications in Scotland, including The List and The Skinny.

With most of her work connected to the hospitality industry, she said the pandemic has been quite difficult for her professionally, which was part of the reason she pitched to Farrah through Editor Under the Spotlight. The series interviews top female editors and asks them to create work opportunities for Women in Journalism members who have never written for their titles before by inviting them to pitch for an exclusive paid commission.

“I love ELLE magazine so much. I have a subscription,” said Tara. “I really want to write for female monthly magazines and ELLE is my favourite, so this was a really exciting opportunity for me.”

Farah said: “Tara was a joy to work with. She took notes well and each draft was a strong improvement on the last. So much of writing is rewriting. I rarely see a piece that is perfect when it’s first filed. It’s always good to work with someone who evidently enjoys the process.”

Tara said she felt “surprised and very flattered to know Farrah was impressed by my pitch” and the compliments she received about her writing from Farrah and her team have been “a real boost”.

Alison Phillips, chair of Women in Journalism, said: ‘It’s great to see another Women in Journalism member secure a fantastic commission for a title they’ve never worked on before – and even more so knowing how much of a fan Tara is of ELLE. Thank you to Farrah Storr for taking part in our Editor Under the Spotlight series.”

Encouraging WiJ members to pitch for future Editor Under the Spotlight commissions, Tara said: “Go for it! It is such a great opportunity to get your ideas in front of big editors and maybe even get a terrific byline.”

Look out for our next Editor Under the Spotlight coming later this month. Not already a Women in Journalism member? Sign up now so you’re eligible to pitch. Remember, journalism students join free.