Reinventing Interview mag for a new era

Speaking at magCulture Live in New York, Interview’s editor-in-chief Mel Ottenberg and editorial & design director Richard Turley discussed how they are injecting a bit of fun back into the cult magazine

Founded in 1969 by artist Andy Warhol and journalist John Wilcock, Interview boasts an illustrious history in the world of magazines. Often nicknamed ‘The Crystal Ball of Pop’, the New York publication became best known for its offbeat and candid celeb-on-celeb interviews – most of which were unedited, in keeping with the style of Warhol’s books.

Fast forward to 2018, and the 50-year-old independent magazine had clearly lost its way. It eventually filed for bankruptcy after facing a string of lawsuits over wage disputes and wrongful terminations, along with a series of sexual assault allegations. A few months later, however, the magazine was back from the dead, under the ownership of the newly formed Crystal Ball Media and helmed by president Kelly Brant (the daughter of previous owner Peter Brant).

Interview magazine
Interview’s relaunch issue, with cover star Agnès Varda

“It was a strange time in Interview’s history because there was all this drama going on, but it was the opportunity of a lifetime to be able to take a burning building and do your thing with it,” the magazine’s editor-in-chief, Mel Ottenberg, told the crowd at the recent MagCulture Live event in New York.