Eleanor Pendleton, 27
Founder and Editor, Gritty Pretty
Eleanor Pendleton always knew she wanted to work in magazines, but by the time she graduated high school she didn’t want to spend another minute waiting for her dream job.
“In high school I was terrible at mathematics and science,” Eleanor, 27, said, “I was always really good at English and always knew that was my strong point and it was my calling.”
“I always knew I wanted to work in magazines, it was a given for me from a very young age… From 9 or 10 I knew I wanted to be a writer.”
Upon completion of her HSC (Higher School Certificate), Eleanor was accepted into two universities; one in Queensland and one in Sydney but she loathed the idea of having to spend the next three or four years at uni.
“I just wanted to start working in magazines – it was all I could think about. I just wanted to email everybody and try and get work experience.”
“You could do the diploma and then do the BA at Southern Cross within a two year accelerated program… so if I could do my degree in two years, that’s a no brainer.”
Eleanor never made it to the bachelor course, laughing at herself as a ‘drop-out’ having landed a job after completing an internship at Cosmopolitan magazine while studying at Macleay.
“I had every intention to do the BA in the second and final year but I never made it because I got a job – I’m a bit of a drop-out.”
“While I was there [at Macleay] I managed to land an internship at Cosmopolitan magazine and when I was there they put me with Zoe Foster Blake and I got to assist her and I got to really watch how I guess a beauty editor works day to day.”
Up until her internship, Eleanor hadn’t even known the life of a beauty editor existed, assuming that she would land a job in the features or entertainment department of a magazine.“When I was with Zoe I was exposed to this incredible, creative world where you were able to write about beauty products and play with them at your desk and that was an actual paying job!”
“After that I was pretty much hooked.”
After graduating from her diploma, Eleanor landed a job at Cosmopolitan in titles as an editorial coordinator and beauty writer before landing the role at Famous magazine as Australia’s Youngest Beauty Editor at just 19 years old.
“When I was much younger I had a bit of a complex when it came to age, I used to lie about my age a lot; I didn’t want people to think that I was naive or I didn’t want them to underestimate my talent purely because I was young.”
“When I landed that job at Famous, my editor Gereurd Roberts, I just think maybe he saw something in me and I think maybe he took a massive gamble hiring someone so young to head up that department.”
“He is still a massive mentor of mine – I am just grateful he hired me.”
While working at Famous in 2010, Eleanor launched Gritty Pretty – a website which aims to educate and inspire women about trends, techniques, products and innovations.
“It was a time when fashion blogs were only just taking off, blogging firmly had really just become a thing – at lot of the blogs that were out there were Swedish fashion blogs”
“I loved fashion and style, but beauty was my passion and I just realised there wasn’t anywhere I could go that I could be inspired.”
Eleanor originally treated Gritty Pretty as a creative outlet to talk about the beauty products and tutorials that she didn’t necessarily have the room for on her print pages but wanted to share with other like-minded women.
The website has since taken off and is now Eleanor’s full time job, alongside being the first local Australian ambassador for skincare brand SK-II, and Journalism & Magazines Lecturer at The Fashion Institute.
And what is Eleanor’s opinion on achieving so much so young?
“Age is just a number and you are only as old as you feel… Just because you are 19 doesn’t mean you can’t be a beauty editor or you can’t be a fashion editor, I mean you can do whatever you want to do – I genuinely think age is just a number.”When you were 10, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to work in magazines.
If you had one day to try any job in the world, what would it be?
Astronaut – I just really like the idea of seeing space.
**This post is a part of the Career Crush X Macleay College series. You can read other graduates career journeys here.