JANE SARKIN

Biography

 

Jane Sarkin is known for her distinguished career as the groundbreaking features editor and “celebrity wrangler” for Vanity Fair magazine. Her reputation for gaining exclusive access to the top stories and the most culturally influential moments in entertainment catapulted the magazine's cover story to become the iconic platform for achieving success in Hollywood and beyond.

 

After studying at the University of Vermont and completing her degree in English, Jane enrolled in a graduate journalism course at NYU where she first gained exposure to the idea of magazine editing.

 

She launched her career by joining Andy Warhol’s Interview Magazine, the premier publication for arts and culture in Manhattan. She quickly grew from her role as a receptionist to serving as an assistant to the editor responsible for arranging interviews with celebrities. It is in this role that she realized her real passion was coordinating all the behind-the-scenes production that goes into a cover story and photo shoot and the collaboration between the subjects, writers, photographers, agents, managers, and publicists.


In 1985, Jane’s reputation led Tina Brown, the Editor of Vanity Fair, to recruit her to the role of features editor where she served under Tina and then Graydon Carter for his 25-year tenure at the helm. During this exciting time, Jane drove the connection between Hollywood and Vanity Fair, ultimately making the publication, and a feature on the cover, the absolute pinnacle of acclaim in the industry. Jane secured exclusive stories and an extraordinary level of access that led to more than 500 influential and groundbreaking feature articles and award-winning covers that have since become cultural icons.

 

Some of the most memorable cover stories include:

 

  • Demi Moore pregnant and nude on the cover in 1991.  

    This revolutionary image ushered in a seismic shift in how the world viewed pregnancy and women. It also earned recognition as the second-most famous magazine cover of all time by the American Society for Magazine Editors (ASME).

 

  • Suri Cruise with Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes in 2006.

    This exclusive introduction of the famous baby to the world was only granted because of Jane’s relationship with the actor. In addition to bringing the exclusive to Vanity Fair, Jane also wrote the cover story after spending almost a week with the Cruise family in their home. She then went on to promote the issue on Larry King Live, Good Morning America with Diane Sawyer, and on the NBC TODAY show in addition to every other entertainment program on television. This issue became one of the top-selling in the magazine’s history.

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  • Caitlyn Jenner’s global coming out as a woman on the award-winning cover titled “Call Me Caitlyn” in 2015.

    This was the first cover ever to be launched online ahead of the newsstand release. This exclusive story not only hit a record-breaking 9 million unique visitors in the first 24 hours, over 3.9 billion impressions on social media, and won the Best Cover award by ASME, but it also represented a revolutionary cultural shift for the LGBTQ community. Jane is honored to be a part of such a historic moment.

 

  • Special issue devoted to Africa with guest editor, Bono, and photographed by Annie Leibovitz. 

    Jane curated this monumental series of 20 covers bringing together the biggest political and entertainment figures of the time with connections to Africa including Condoleezza Rice, George Bush, Alicia Keys, Barack Obama, Oprah, and Madonna. 

     

  • Meghan Markle’s only magazine cover story in 2017 before announcing her engagement to Prince Harry.
     

  • Twenty-five years of booking and coordinating the Hollywood fold-out cover.  

    This issue, which was released during Oscar season, featured a group of the most coveted A-list actors and actresses of the year and became the standard of success in Hollywood for a quarter of a century. This highly anticipated issue also became the catalyst for launching the now-famous Vanity Fair Oscar Party.

 

 

On the heels of the first Hollywood cover in 1995, Jane and her colleagues launched the Vanity Fair Oscar Party, which became the must-attend party on Hollywood’s biggest night as well as one of the most famous parties in the world. This globally recognized event cemented Vanity Fair as the most recognized brand in entertainment on that night and garnered unprecedented worldwide press coverage.

 

Over her tenure with the publication, Jane had the privilege to work under not only editors Tina Brown and Graydon Carter, but also side by side with renowned photographers Annie Leibovitz, Herb Ritts, Helmut Newton, and Steven Meisel, among so many others. Jane left the magazine in early 2018 after Graydon Carter’s departure as editor.

 

Jane is a keynote speaker for many national organizations and philanthropic causes on topics including entertainment and media, work-home-life balance, adapting to management style changes, and how traditional print media stays relevant in the digital age.

 

On top of her extraordinary career with Vanity Fair, Jane has been married to Martin O’Connor since 1990 with whom she raised two daughters, Kate and Lauren O’Connor.

Memorable Covers

While working as a features editor for Vanity Fair 30 years, Jane had the opportunity to produce some of the most iconic magazine covers. Some of these covers include Demi Moore's pregnancy, the reveal of Suri Cruise, and the "I Am Caitlyn" cover. Take a glance at a few of these historic moments below. 

As Featured In:
 

Speaking 

01

Thriving as a Working Mother

In this talk about thriving as a working mother, Jane speaks about the many issues that extraordinary businesswomen face each day: balancing a job while still being a great mother, wife, daughter, and friend. Jane was a working mother while living in an area where most moms stayed at home, so she fully understands the struggle. She gives insight into how she balanced her life while advancing her career, and encourages mothers to not put so much pressure on themselves. Jane inspires women to live a life where they can't wait to go to work, and they can't wait to come home.  

02

Adapting to a Changing World

A big theme in Jane's life has been adapting to a changing world: in the workplace and in media. In this talk, Jane tells her story of how she came to Vanity Fair from Interview Magazine and had to the cultural divide between two magazines. Eight years later, when Vanity Fair onboarded a new Editor-In-Chief, Jane made the adjustment to a new style. Now, with more readers consuming media digitally, print revenue streams are declining. Jane embraced social media, understanding that Vanity Fair's website is vitally important as the print edition. Rooted in successful navigation of her own challenges, Jane encourages women to keep growing and learning in their field no matter what upheavals they encounter. 

 

03

The World of Hollywood

For more than 30 years, Jane was in every celebrity's corner, as Features Editor for Vanity Fair. She collaborated with photographer Annie Leibovitz to create some of the most iconic magazine covers of our time, including Demi Moore nude and pregnant, the first photos of Suri Cruise, and the groundbreaking "I Am Caitlyn" cover. In this talk, Jane gives insight into the world of Hollywood, how the Vanity Fair photoshoots developed over time and the similarity between the covers and producing a movie in the modern age of content. She also discusses developing relationships with top-tier managers and agents as well as writers to produce consistently outstanding cover stories. 

 

 

Contact

To see if Jane will be available to speak at your next event, please fill out our contact form and we will be in touch with you. 

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