Who to wear podcast: Amy Odell

I like the practical details of how it all comes together, so I’d be curious of anything you can share about your process.

It was a very difficult thing, a very difficult thing. At first, I thought I was going to have to give up, and I wouldn’t be able to get that work done because you have to call a lot of people and reach out to a lot of people, and I’ve had a lot of “nos,” like week “no”, and that is really offensive. But I finally found a way to make some progress. I went back to the beginning of Anna’s life, and I decided to report in chronological order. I have had success with that strategy. The thinking is that the people she knew when she was 20 are much further away from her than the people she knew when she was 60. And that turns out to be true of those people. It has long been easier for people to talk. I had made great progress, and after about a year and a half working on the book, Anna realized that I was working on it. I was very careful. The reason I’m so careful is because when I approach people, they’ll say one of two things. Some people say, “She’s going to shut you down, and she’s going to use Conde Nast to shut you down. And they’re going to do everything they can to make sure this doesn’t happen and if they have to threaten the house, they’re going to do everything they can. However, they will threaten your publisher.” The other group said, “I think she’s great, and I think she’ll help you with this.” That group of people turned out to be right. She finally helped me. And what happened is, after about a year and a half, I talked to a representative in her office, and I explained that this is a biography of a woman in a unique position of power, and what What came out of that conversation was that they said, “Anna wants to meet up with some of her closest friends and colleagues for an interview.” They sent in a list of names that included people like Tom Ford , Serena Williams and Hamish Bowles, who were at Vogue For a very long time. And then I asked her if she was okay when I interviewed several other people who wouldn’t talk to me and she said it was okay, and she said yes to each of them. All done through her agent. She declined to participate in an interview. She turned down several requests for interviews. But once that happened, the floodgates opened up for me, so I could get people who would become the mains of her career, like Grace Coddington, Phyllis Posnick, and Sally Singer in addition to Serena Williams. and Tom Ford. So that’s important and those who have [first] hang up I pick up the phone to talk to me. You have to be really, really persistent as a journalist, as you know. And you have to go back and ask people over and over, and in the end it all comes together. That’s a lot of work. It is very, very difficult. Lots of doubts along the way.

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