Behind the Covers of Australian Rolling Stone: Negotiating the Persona of a Female Music Magazine Editor


  • Rebecca Johinke University of Sydney, Australia



Rolling Stone, magazine editors, music, persona, women and leadership


Singers, songwriters and musicians create personas and perform the (gendered) role of rock star, punk, heart-throb, crooner, diva, or rock chick. Magazine covers are a key factor in consolidating and marketing that constructed persona. Magazine covers have visual power that is calibrated for maximum impact with a defined audience and a key part of the editor’s role is to decide on the cover image and cover lines. Moreover, there is now an expectation that editors of glossy magazines are recognisable ‘influencers’ who personify the values and commodities that their titles promote. We expect performers to put on a show, but do we expect music magazine editors to adopt a gendered celebrity persona and a public self too? This article examines the persona of the music magazine editor and the construction of music celebrity with a particular focus on Australian Rolling Stone magazine. Interviews with Kathy Bail and Elissa Blake, the first two women to edit the title in magazine format, underscore the self-fashioning of cultural intermediaries and the challenges for women in leadership roles in Australian media workplaces.


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Author Biography

Rebecca Johinke, University of Sydney, Australia

Rebecca Johinke is an associate Professor at Department of English, School of Literature, Arts and Media, University of Sydney.


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How to Cite

Johinke, R. (2019). Behind the Covers of Australian Rolling Stone: Negotiating the Persona of a Female Music Magazine Editor. Persona Studies, 5(1), 75–91.



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