Susanna Negovan is the brains and beauty behind Chicago’s favorite weekend read, SPLASH. Susanna is not only the publisher and editor of the Sun-Times’ Sunday magazine, which is marketed as “Chicago’s dose of style, society and celebrity”, but she is also credited with the publication’s launch, a task she had previously tackled as the founding editor of Michigan Avenue magazine. Aside from having one of Chicago’s most coveted journalism jobs, Susanna is widely regarded around town for her poise, professionalism, and great style! Amelia sat down with Susanna in her office at SPLASH.
Was a career in journalism always the plan? What initially drew you to the world of media?
I was 14 and knew nobody at my new high school. My older sister suggested I join the school paper to make friends. My first story was about being a nerdy freshman, and when it came out people talked to me about it — and I actually started to make friends. My sister, who was then a freshman at Northwestern, told me that they had a great journalism program and maybe that’s what I would want to pursue. That planted the seed, and whenever anybody asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I said “a newspaper reporter.”
What’s been the most difficult part of getting SPLASH off the ground to where it is now?
Hiring a team, developing prototypes, crafting a business plan and then launching in just three months was grueling. And then the hard part began: finding a rhythm that would allow us to put out a weekly product. I was used to putting out a monthly magazine, but writing and shooting cover stories and features at a 52-times-a-year pace is a whole different proposition. It took us a good six months before we could leave the office at a reasonable time.
If you were just entering the world of journalism/media today would there be a blog involved?
People often ask me why I don’t have a blog, and my response is, “I have a whole magazine!” I think that when you have so many pages to fill each week the last thing you want to do is create more space. But I’ve intended to blog for a long time and I really admire people who do it well (like you, Amelia!).
What’s your personal relationship with social media like? Do you fully embrace it, or is it strictly business?
I use it both ways; personally, I enjoy keeping up with friends and sharing news. But it’s fun to watch how a Facebook post or tweet about a story can amplify its reach beyond our usual Splash audience. In our world, it’s an essential part of doing business.
Being such a public persona in Chicago how do you protect your personal life and decide what to keep private?
There are things that are precious to me that I keep private, like my relationships with my husband and my sister — you won’t find much on social media. They’re just for me.
Around the height of Sex and The City’s popularity you were a columnist penning Susanna’s Night Out and Shopping with Susanna for the Sun-Times. Were there Carrie Bradshaw comparisons constantly made? Did you embrace the show?
Back then pretty much every girl who wrote anything compared herself to Carrie, so I tried to avoid the trap of seeing myself that way (but I often heard the comparison from other people). I think a lot of women have taken inspiration from that character, and if it encourages them to enter the field, that’s a good thing.
How would you describe your personal style?
I’m Greek, which means being flashy is in my DNA.
What are the cornerstones of your beauty routine?
I love trying new products so there are no official “cornerstones” other than washing my skin with something mild every night and moisturizing heavily morning and night. Plus plenty of restorative sleep.
How did the idea for the SplashShop come about?
I met someone who had developed the technology we wound up licensing for the SplashShop — and since we’re committed to being a resource for all things style, we thought it would be an ideal complement to our site.
What should readers be excited to find in the SplashShop?
[Photos By Hallie Duesenberg]