Meaghan B. Murphy is what we at Thrive like to call a triple threat—as the Executive Editor at Good Housekeeping, a health & wellness influencer and mother of three, she is living proof that hard work and dedication can take you anywhere you want to go. Meaghan hits the gym every morning at 5am and you can follow her inspiring days via her Instagram: @meaghanbmurphy.
Have you ever wondered what it’s like to run one of the world’s top magazines? We’ve got the scoop—check out our exclusive interview with Meaghan B. Murphy, Executive Editor at Good Housekeeping below.
Q: You’ve been an actress, fitness star and leader at some of the world’s top magazines. Walk us through your career journey.
I got my start at YM magazine when I was 19, after winning a Horatio Alger National Scholar essay contest on overcoming adversity, and being spotlighted on an NBC special. YM wanted to profile me and I said, “Sure, if you give me a job!” They did! I studied acting and english at Rutgers University at night in NJ, while working as a contributing editor at the teen title in NYC and also serving as a cub reporter at The Newark Star-Ledger newspaper. Two years later, my boss at YM was tapped by Time Inc. to launch a new teen magazine and she brought me with her. We worked for 8 months creating Teen People magazine from scratch. It was a thrill! Simultaneously, I landed an on-air gig as a lifestyle correspondent on MTV, appearing regularly on The Carson Daly Show and the MTV Beach House (Jersey Shore and Bahamas), while paying some bills with a few voiceover spots and commercials. From there I dabbled with the web, launching a community-based website for the clothing brand Delia’s called iTurf and later served on the creative team at Victoria’s Secret, producing the catalog and helping to launch the PINK line. I jumped back into magazines to work on the launch (I love a launch!) of Lifetime (based on the TV channel) at Hearst and quickly moved to a senior editor role at Cosmopolitan. I spent three years there assigning, editing and writing sex and relationship content and even penned Cosmo’s AquaSutra (a waterproof sex guide) for Random House, before heading to SELF. I was the Fitness Director/Deputy editor for 8+ years, top-editing health and lifestyle content, doling out expert advice in my own fitness column, starring in workout videos for Self.com and Exercise TV and regularly appearing on TV as a spokesperson for the brand. Currently, I’m the Executive Editor at Good Housekeeping, where I was brought on almost 2 years ago to help “dust off” the 130-year-old megabrand. We have a massive audience— 18.4 million strong! I top edit and guide the content and represent GH as a regular guest on the Today Show and GMA, frequently with my kids in tow!
Q: Did you always know you wanted to write?
I’m a total word nerd! I have always loved language and get excited when I can make a sentence sing. There’s a rhythm to writing that’s fun to play with. It didn’t hurt that my Mom was an English teacher either!! That said, writing is a small piece of what I do as the Executive Editor of Good Housekeeping now. My big job is to package key information into news the reader can quickly use in a way that is engaging and entertaining.
Q: You’ve mentioned that your career has paralleled your life. Can you tell us more about that?
I laugh because my career has truly mirrored my life phase. I’m a passionate person. I need to care personally and deeply about the subject matter I’m covering and the audience who I’m engaging in order to be convincing. That’s probably the actress in me — I have to be truthful in the moment. So, when I was in the teen books, I was a teen. I was single in the city as a Cosmo editor. During my time at SELF, I came into my self, getting engaged, then married, having three babies. Not so ironically, I had just given birth to my third child and moved to my first home in the suburbs (with a white fence!) before starting Good Housekeeping. When you do what you love, it isn’t work, right?
Q: You are a woman of many amazing mantras. Which one is your go-to when you need a motivation boost?
I love a mantra! I have a whole Pinterest board of so-called Meaghanisms. They change all day long. When I’m trying to drag my butt out of bed at 5AM for a work out, it’s “Roses are red, violets are blue. Go. To. The. Gym.” When I’m stressed out, feeling frustrated, trying to juggle too many things, it’s: “I exercise because punching people is frowned upon.” Those times when I need to call upon every once of strength to deal with the grief of losing my father to cancer in January it’s: “Make your mess your message” or “Whatever you are, be a strong one.” And then on Fri-yay around 3pm when all I want to do is head home for family movie night, it’s: “Pizza!” Words really do have the power to move you!
Q: What’s the best part about your job at Good Housekeeping?
I’m very lucky. My husband jokes that I work at Candy Land because every day really is a sweet adventure! I’m not balancing spreadsheets or pushing papers. I have the privilege of helping women find more happy in their lives, whether it’s leading them to the best vacuum, giving them a fun craft idea to try with their kids or a quick and delicious 20-minute dinner recipe — Good Housekeeping makes life good for our 18.4 million readers! And I often get to work with my kids, filming videos for GH.com, “employing” them as Toy Testers in the GH Lab or roping them into TV spots for Today Show or GMA.
Q: You inspire so many people on a daily basis. Who inspires you?
We feature incredible and inspiring women in the pages of GH and I am constantly wowed by these power women. But on a day-to-day basis, my fire comes from my kids, Charley, 5, James, almost 4, and Brooks, 2. Getting to re-see the world with their excitement and innocence has been the ultimate gift. I take myself less seriously and embrace the power of awe.
Q: What’s your favorite beauty tip?
I’ve always paid attention to my abs, butt and thighs as a fitness fanatic, but since turning 40, I’ve suddenly realized that, “Oh, geez. The face!” So, I finally saw a top dermatologist, Dr. Neal Schultz in New York, and had my first skin check. He made two game-changing tweaks to my regimen: 1) Wash your face BEFORE the gym, even if you’re going at 5am with no makeup. Sweat clogs pores! I use his BeautyRx cleanser now every morning and I’ve seen a huge improvement in my skin. 2) Serum! I apply his Beauty Rx serum every night before bed and I have to say, I’m glowy!
Q: What advice would you give someone who is looking to get their big break in journalism?
Think about creating engaging content on all platforms, not just print. Make sure your Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat feeds reflect your personal brand. I pay attention to potential job candidates’ social activity. I want to see how they create content on a daily basis and edit themselves. Follow and engage people who you admire!
Q: What excites you most in 2016?
Oh, geez. I’m a very excitable person. Right now I’m amped about reversible workout leggings from WITH and gluten free protein pancake mix you can nuke in the microwave. It doesn’t take much! But, seriously, we’ve got so much in store for Good Housekeeping readers. Subscribe now! ;)
Q: What do you challenge all women to strive for in their lives?
Consistent workouts. Strong body = strong mind. I really believe that.
Photos courtesy of Meaghan B. Murphy.