Behind the Business: Eve Simmons
What exactly do you do for work?
I am a editor and writer, co-author of Not Plant Based ; a website that celebrates all food and busts health and nutritional myths and deputy health editor of the Mail On Sunday
How did you get to where you are now? What was your journey?
I did an MA in magazine journalism after my BSC in psychology and was lucky enough to get a job on a national newspaper within a month of graduating - I was also extremely lucky to get a place on the course. It opened unlimited doors
I did a year MA in mag journalism at City university which gave me a great grounding in journalism, writing and reporting. From there I was told about an opening on the fashion desk of the Financial Times - an internship - I jumped at the chance even though it was unpaid. I was only able to do it because I am from London and was living at home at the time. Then I went to various spots on newspapers and online - Grazia, The Debrief and The Sun; as well as building my profile by writing lots of freelance pieces for other national publications. Then, last year I applied for the dept health ed job at the Mail On Sunday. My only experience in health had been the work I’d done on the website - Not Plant Based - and a handful of freelance pieces. But by some miracle I bagged the job!
Looking back, what advice would you give yourself when you were starting out?
Grab EVERY opportunity and never say no... even if it sounds like really hard graft. Stay late, come in early and go above and beyond to prove yourself - it never goes unnoticed by the people who matter. Also have more faith in yourself and your abilities. Women constantly downplay their experience and talent which stops them applying for opportunities they may thrive in. Don’t let the men nab all your challenges just because they have the arrogance.
How do you stay feeling creative and inspired?
Read read read and read! I’m constantly gobbling up sociological and scientific articles, studies and papers that I find fascinating. I go to events and talk to people about what they do and how they stay passionate; what their interests are. I always find other people’s passions rub off on me.
What does a good work-life balance look like for you? And how do you maintain it?
Work life balance is tough for me as I find there aren’t enough hours in the day to fit everything in...I’m working on it! But if I feel myself becoming ill or especially stressed, I check in and get tough on myself when it comes to work and working hours. I’ll go for a week or two when I leave exactly on time and come home and relax if I feel my body and mind needs to recoup. Otherwise, I find a long holiday a few times a year where I totally switch off usually does the trick.
How does being a woman affect your work?
Being female in a male dominated industry is tough. Although there are a lot of women in journalism, in most companies it’s the men who are pulling the strings. There’s a definite glass ceiling and it’s very very hard to maintain a successful, senior career in journalism whilst also playing an active role in your family, looking after young children etc. As a young woman who is ambitious and passionate - but also very much wants a family - it’s something I can’t help but be conscious of. However it does make me more determined and dog-headed about succeeding above my male counterparts. I just think my path to the top may look slightly different to my male equivalent.
How do you stay motivated when work and life get tough?
It’s a lot easier to keep motivated when you’re doing something, or writing about a topic, that you’re passionate about. Generally I find this is more possible if it’s helping someone or shining a light on something that is otherwise rarely spoken about. I’m lucky as in the health sphere these boxes are usually ticked.
How do you ensure you practise self care?
Adequate time off! I have a wonderful boyfriend who I live with and he is quick to chime in when I’m working too hard or answering emails during a relaxing dinner.
What does money mean to you?
Money is a necessary evil. The Marxist in me would do away with all of it and have us all living peacefully on a shared commune. But unfortunately it is needed to survive so as far as I’m concern, enough to keep myself and my family with a roof over our head and enjoying the odd holiday is more than enough for me!
What one piece of money advice would you give to your younger self?
Don’t spend too much on handbags, Eve.
What’s next for you?
World domination. Obvs.