I was introduced to the illustrious Jenny Andrew just over 15 years ago by then Elle Décor editor Cathy O’Clery. Cathy had taken a huge leap of faith by entrusting me with the title of editor-atlarge, despite it being my first job in magazines.
I gleefully embraced the position — bright-eyed between shifts and after hours while working on Business Day — armed with my all-access pass to my new home, Johannesburg. I was immediately enamoured of this incredibly stylish, well-read, sharp-witted red-head. Although Jenny was a well-established insider, she was an endearing, willing accomplice of adventurers around the city, the country, and later, the globe. She never uttered an unkind word and was always curious rather than suspicious. Her exuberant personality was infectious, and she had the ability to strike up a meaningful conversation with the most unlikely characters.
A shared hunger for a colourful story and her appreciation of good design made Jenny the obvious choice for co-pilot when I launched Wanted in 2004. The numerous awards are a testament to her remarkable talent and inventive editorial style. Her vast experience in film, theatre, décor, and fashion was also an invaluable contribution to the magazine’s narrative. In the early days, we’d discuss the ideas for wondrous spreads over glasses of bubbly or G&Ts at her grand dining-room table — and creative ways to stretch our tiny budgets so that we would never have to compromise on our vision. Needless to say, our very first fashion editorial would set the tone: Jenny arranged Singita Lebombo Lodge in the Kruger National Park as our luxurious shoot location for three days — all on the house. From bush lodges to exotic island locations, soccer players to royalty, award-winning paper dolls to supermodels, Jenny has worked with our most talented photographers to capture the magic of fashion.
Jenny was an insightful friend and mentor. She taught me how to survive the industry “hustle” and that you’re never too old to chip in. Most importantly, she taught me the true meaning of luxury and quality time. Jenny was a true inspiration: she knew how to live large and never missed out on life. She’d find a way to get to Paris Fashion Week and be totally glamorous even when times were tough. And she’d invariably return home with the most captivating stories to relay. Jenny was always immaculately turned out in iconic attire, and her presence will be sorely missed by the Wanted team and the industry at large. Her seat in the front row at local fashion weeks will be a challenge to fill.
Bottoms up my dear friend and colleague. To a rich life, lived to the fullest, and with such remarkable style and sparkle.
- Gary Cotterell, founding editor of Business Day Wanted.