Cosmopolitan.com’s former editor Amy Odell, who started her career at New York Magazine as a freelancer before launching its fashion blog The Cut, brought her unique digital experience to one of the most well-recognised legacy media brands in women’s magazines. In her tenure there, which began August 2013 and ended in January 2018, Odell grew readership from 12 million to 23 million monthly unique visitors while staying true to the site’s audience of 21st-century “Cosmo Girl.”
Odell started her career as a freelance party reporter for New York Magazine, interviewing celebrities on the red carpet. “You see people do it all the time on TV, but it’s actually really hard to go out there and especially to do it for New York Magazine because they aren’t looking for the stuff that a lot of publications are looking for, like, ‘What’s in your purse?’ They wanted news and jokes and I was terrified every time I went, but I was determined not to fail,” Odell told BoF.
That training honed her on-point, sometimes biting, sense of humour, which she applied to her work as a writer of The Cut, New York Magazine’s fashion blog. After four years there, BuzzFeed, known best for easy-to-digest, shareable content, lured Odell away to launch its fashion vertical, BuzzFeed fashion in early 2012.
“You can think of news as what’s in The New York Times today or what’s in The Wall Street Journal. What are today’s stories? It’s a one-dimensional way to think about it. Or you can start with that and then ask, what are people saying about this over here?” said Odell. “That’s what I learned at BuzzFeed: how to think about news in the context of the Internet as opposed to just news. I try to get everyone to think about sharable content.”
In August of 2013, it was announced that Odell would become the digital editor of Cosmopolitan, replacing Abby Gardner. As editor of one of the longest-standing legacy women’s media brands, Odell brought a sharper, smarter edge to an online destination that, by her own admission, had been attracting viewers based on sex-related search terms rather than shareable content. Under her editorship, the site won a National Magazine Award for its 2017 package about how to run for office. She left the title in 2018 after four and half years, with Marie Claire's Jessica Pels taking over the role.
Odell was named part of Crain’s ‘Top 40 Under 40’ in 2014 and has sold her first book, Tales from the Back Row: An Outsider’s View From Inside the Fashion Industry, to publisher Simon & Schuster. She lives in New York with her husband.