Heir to O? Drew Barrymore launches lifestyle magazine

Can Drew Barrymore save the fashion magazine?

That’s what the actor turned entrepreneur is attempting to do with the announcement of Drew, a quarterly lifestyle magazine, which will continue where Oprah Winfrey’s O magazine left off.

With fashion magazines such as W, Paper and Love all closing or reducing their output due to advertising changes resulting from the Covid pandemic, Barrymore is hoping that her magazine will buck the trend.

“Magazines are such a huge part of my life and they’re such a huge part of my inspiration for everything I do,” she told WWD. “I’ve lined my walls with magazine tear sheets since I was like 10 years old. I have a picture of myself in my bedroom and it’s like floor to ceiling and wall to wall. I’ve always loved magazines because of the paper and the experience.”

Drew the magazine will lean heavily on her celebrity, and feature beauty, travel and food. It will be available first at Walmart and then on US newsstands a week later, and sell for $9.99 (£7.30). Barrymore calls it an “optimism magazine” that is both “very commercial” and “very personal”. Crystal Meers, who has contributed to Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop website, is expected to act as editor-in-chief while floral stylist Christy Doramus will serve as editor-at-large.

Barrymore is expected to provide an agony aunt column as well as acting as founder of the publication. It will be published by Bauer Media, who in May closed seven Australian magazines, including the Australian version of fashion magazine In Style.

Despite Barrymore’s celebrity, the question remains whether people will pick up a magazine centred on the lifestyle of a Hollywood star; a print magazine version of Goop closed after only two issues while O magazine closed in December. Barrymore admitted that print wasn’t “the safest bet to go into” but Bauer’s CEO, Steven Kotok, remained optimistic about the magazine landscape. “A lot of the magazines that are struggling are very, very driven by advertising,” he said.

“Our focus is always on the consumer revenue stream. And we start with something that can make money just from engaging the consumer the right way. Our philosophy has always been if we do that, the advertisers will follow, versus trying to start someplace where we think there’s a really nice ad market and what can we create to satisfy that.”

Barrymore said she wanted to concentrate on getting the first issue right, without thinking too far ahead. “My goal with the magazine is to get to do a second one and to keep going from there,” she said. “You just need chances so I hope to get the chance to do another one. That’s where my focus is – not being afraid and not planning too far ahead for what I don’t know is possible yet. I’ve never been good when people are like: ‘Where do you see yourself in five years?’ I’m like: ‘I have no idea.’”

In the spirit of O magazine, which featured Winfrey on its cover for every issue in its 20-year run (save for its September 2020 issue, which featured Breonna Taylor), Barrymore is expected to feature on the cover of the magazine. “We certainly think [Barrymore] is our best cover,” said Kotok, “[but] the reader will always decide.”

In the last year, Barrymore has moved away from acting. In September, she launched her talkshow on CBS, The Drew Barrymore Show, setting herself up as a natural successor to Ellen DeGeneres, whose show Ellen was hit by allegations of a toxic workplace culture in July. Earlier this week, Barrymore launched a kitchenwear line, also with Walmart.

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