Jenna Bush Hager Hired as Editor at Large for ‘Southern Living’ Magazine
Jenna Bush Hager may have left Texas for New York, but Texas hasn't left her. The daughter of former President George W. Bush, once known for her scandalous, hard-partying personality, has been hired as editor at large for Southern Living magazine.
"I'm kind of like a homesick Texan living in New York," she told the New York Times. "I grew up reading this magazine. My mom had a subscription. It's something that I've always known about."
She'll be contributing to the magazine's celebrity-news fueled "Paper Napkin Interview" column and blogging for them at The Daily South, where she'll also cross-post from The Novo Project, an inspirational blog she founded with her friend Mia Baxter.
Southern Living was launched in 1966 "to highlight the beauty and culture of the growing South," according to its publisher, Southern Progress Corporation, a subsidiary of Time, Inc. Stuffed like a Paula Deen turkey with recipes for comfort food, easy-and-elegant decorating ideas, and articles about the refined and famous, the magazine is a Rosetta stone to southern culture.
The magazine's circulation has held steady at about 2.8 million readers for the last five years, representatives from Time, Inc., told Yahoo! Shine. However, while readership is steady, the magazine faces issues down the line with its aging audience; the median age of Southern Living readers is 51.2 years old.
She's a logical choice for many reasons, but the magazine is likely hoping Hagar will inject her youthful spirit into her writing, allowing Southern Living to grow its audience for years to come.
It remains to be seen just what kind of articles we can expect from Hagar, but she's no first time writer. Writing and reading run in Hagar's blood. Her mother, First Lady Laura Bush, has a Master's Degree in Library Science from the University of Texas.
Hagar also has experience as a published author; she's written two books. "Ana's Story: A Journey of Hope" chronicled her experiences working with UNICEF sponsored charities in Latin America, including visits to drought stricken Paraguay in 2006, while working as an intern for United Nations Children's Fund. Hagar's share of the profits went to UNICEF; the remainder went to the women whose lives were the basis of the book, assisting in the young woman's continuing education.
Hager wrote a second book, in conjunction with her mother, "Read All About It!," which she published in 2008. The book was designed to encourage children to read.
Hagar's writing credentials, as well as her work as a teacher's aide and part-time reading coordinator at the SEED Public Charter School in Baltimore, Maryland, make her an ideal candidate for the job, according to Lindsay Bierman, editor in chief of the magazine.
Hagar also regularly covers lifestyle and education stories for a monthly spot on NBC's "Today" show, so she has plenty of experience to draw from, Bierman said.
"I did get the sense that her heart is still very much in the South," Bierman told The New York Times. "I felt her passion for the South was going to translate into what she would do for Southern Living."
Hagar will continue to live in New York and "she is still staying at the 'Today' show," Megan Kopf, the press representative for the show, told Yahoo! Shine. But Hagar's new job with Southern Living will give her a chance to take on topics she hasn't tackled on television.
"There's a new generation of Southern women that I'd love to speak to," Hager said. "Entertaining and food and all the things that Southern Living does so well is something I don't do on the 'Today' show."