Rachel ‘Rae’ Egglestone – Evans is the Editor of Vintage Life Magazine and as it says on their website, “this super glam magazine is full of vintage style.” It has been a Tootsie staple from the early days, giving us inspiration and an insight into other vintage lovers lives from all over the UK (and now all over the world). We were lucky enough to bump into Rachel a few years ago at Twinwood Festival. We hit it off straight away. Compelled by her passion, determination & shared sense of fun we have been firm friends since. We were thrilled to be asked to come onboard ‘The Vintage Life Team’ as Music Columnists and it has been incredible to see Vintage Life Magazine soar in popularity and distribution. However, with Rachel at the helm we always knew that it would.
We’re delighted to to have her as our first interview in our series of #tootsieleadingladies blogs.
What route did you take to become VL Editor?
I set up my publishing company in 2004 and launched a number of successful titles, but I wanted to create something that was a reflection of the Vintage-loving me. It literally hit me in the face Vintage Life! That’s what I’m all about, so why not do a magazine that’s second nature to me? After months of industry research, building contacts, etc., Vintage Life was born. Being the Editor was actually the last thing I wanted to do I was happy making tea! 😉
What did you think you wanted to be ‘when you grew up’ as a child?
A countess, a dark mysterious one. Wait… No, I actually wanted to be a heart surgeon (even though I hated science at school)! But before that a forensic scientist…(I still hated science though). You know, simple jobs. Heck, what was I thinking, I hate bones and veins! I also went through a phase of wanting to be a Naval Officer and that was something I was seriously planning. I began looking into the OTC (Officers’ Training Corps) while at uni and was all set up to start, when I was taken seriously ill and had heart surgery so that blew the Naval career out of the water and also put me off being a heart surgeon! Looks like I need to work on being a Countess!
Have you had any moments where you thought you might give up? How did you get through them?
I suppose I probably felt like it from time to time, but I knew that giving up was never an option. It’s always hard to start an independent magazine from scratch, but I worked hard and had the support of an amazing team behind me, so we faced any issues together. I never felt alone. When you have a great plan in place, work hard towards it and work through any blips logically, with a cool head, and with your end goal in mind, you can get through whatever is thrown at you. With the addition of gallons of coffee and pretty dresses to distract you from the looming deadlines, of course!
If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice when you were starting out, what would it be?
Don’t do it? Ha, no, I think I would probably tell myself to really trust my gut instincts, and follow my own ideas without any elements of doubt, and although I did do this, it would have been nice to have known in advance!
What are your ambitions?
Well we already talked about being a Countess…! I would love to work on period dramas or be an historical advisor for films and TV series. I’d love to present military or social history documentaries. I’ve very passionate about getting the human interest stories across, plus you don’t tend to see many women in the military genre.
What’s your proudest achievement? Gosh, that’s a hard one. I suppose seeing the magazine on the shelves sat next to Vogue and Tatler is something to be proud of. I’m proud of everything we have achieved. It’s all about steps taking small steps, improving and growing constantly. Being an international selling magazine is quite an achievement and I do need to pinch myself on occasions.
When I received a letter from a young, lonely teenager saying how Vintage Life had changed her life and that it had connected her to a world she was previously unaware of. She said it had helped grow her confidence and that now she had connected with others and made some friends! That is priceless! How do you top that?
Describe the VL office in 6 words
Manic. Exciting. Creative. Homely. Comforting. Welcoming.
Dead or alive who would be your ultimate person to meet and why?
Only one? Easy Jeanne D’arc (Joan of Arc). Any woman, of that age, in that time period (early 1400), with that much courage, ambition, drive and vision, is out of this world. After years of humiliating defeats, France was demoralised and she gave hope to a regime that was near collapse.
What sparked your passion for the past?
Re-enactment. My parents were re-enactors before I was born, so I was brought up in a history loving family, spending my weekend running around stately homes and castles. From a young age I grew to understand the importance of not forgetting the past and I was fascinated by first person accounts from battles and the affects of war. It made me feel very connected to the past and I was so lucky to visit and stay at all these amazing historical places of relevance. I still don’t think I know what time period I’m in. Human interest stories that you don’t get to hear, always fill me with great compassion from those that have lived before us, is all kinds of situations and hardships. I’m getting a little heavy; it’s my passion coming through!
Who has your biggest female inspiration been?
Elizabeth I. To reign as queen for such a long period, in a time when men certainly controlled the world, her 44 years on the throne enabled stability for the kingdom and aided towards the creation of a sense of national identity. Known as ruler of a golden age, she was a strong leading woman, in a sea of men.
Tell us something about yourself we won’t find in other interviews.
I’m a Sacred Harp singer (sacred choral music that originated in the American South) and I’m currently looking to create a small traditional American folk band! FASOLA!