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Penny Martin
Editor, The Gentlewoman

Penny Martin is Editor-in-Chief of The Gentlewoman magazine,
before which she was Chair of Fashion Imagery at London College
of Fashion, University of the Arts London, and Editor-in-Chief of
SHOWstudio. Penny has lectured internationally, served on many
arts juries and has curated numerous exhibitions.

Who are you and what do you do for a living?
I’m Penny Martin and I edit a magazine, sometimes write
articles and do interviews, and from time to time,
give talks

Do you trust yourself?
In most situations, yes. I’m a bit susceptible to accepting
dares if I've had a drink. So that can be a bit of a danger

What have you done since you woke up this morning?
Met my new accountant, had a commiseration lunch with
myself, answered 10 days' worth of email, met friends for

Where do you go when no one is looking?
East Neuk of Fife in Scotland

What is your earliest memory?
Sliding my fingers under a door to open it

Please describe the place you are currently in,
or the view from your window?

I’m looking out of a large Victorian sash window onto
the side of the huge portico that fronts St. George’s

What do you like the look of?
Straight lines. Modernist things

Were you a popular child?
Not unpopular but probably too interested in adults and
adult things to be a particularly good friend to other

What sustains you?
Kindness. Intelligent people

Do you scare easy?

If you could make any one thing free for all,
what would it be?

Healthcare. Education. Housing. All the good,
socialist things

Who was the first cultural figure to influence you?
Margaret Thatcher is the first public figure I can
remember apart from Daryl Hall and John Oates.
But Janet Street-Porter and Wendy Craig were
probably the most influential on me

What’s under your clothes?
Lejaby. Hanro. Fogal. Good, simple foundation

Do you subscribe to a particular belief?
Yes, I’m Scottish. We’ve no end of opinions and

Who did you spend last night with?
My husband, our cat Betty and Homeland

What do you do for fun?
There is a lot of extreme fun to be found in the kind
of work I do (parties, spectaculars, travel, amazing
people to meet). So away from work, I really enjoy
humdrum things: TV, cinema, allotment, swing park.
I love going down the swings

What one thing would improve the quality of
your existence?

A complimentary Addison Lee account

What do you predict for London?
An amazing new Tube line that provides a comfy seat
from Ealing to Holborn in 20 minutes flat

What is your number one priority?
Peace of mind

Why do you do what you do?
I’m easily bored and I need to be constantly learning

Who do you like to talk shop with?
Oooh, everyone! Other editors — Jop Van Bennekom
and Gert Jonkers (Fantastic Man, Butt Magazine),
Susie Rushton (The Independent) and Tyler Brûlé
(Monocle) especially – and I meet the stylist Simon
Foxton for breakfast every Sunday. He’s always full
of scandalous industry gems

Where is the best place to find a late night Cocktail
in London?

The Connaught Bar is great for a cheeky late night
drink but I've definitely tasted the best Negroni at the
St. John Hotel. In truth, though, you're most likely to
find me at the Red Lion in Ealing

What is your most marked characteristic?
Over-excitement? Pedantry?

What would you like to be better at?
I’m a shocking though enthusiastic singer. I wish
I could sing

What quality do you most like in man?
[Do you mean as a race or men as a sex? I'm assuming
the latter] Certainty, strength, humour, kindness and
intelligence combined. It’s not too much to ask,
luckily enough.

What is the quality you most like in woman?

What is sexy?
Self-possession, among other things

What is your favourite sound?
The giant seagulls landing on the roof at home
in Scotland

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Boredom and insecurity in my experience. Poverty
and poor health are presumably far worse, though

Do you collect anything? If so what?
I have a large collection of Vogues that I no longer
add to. I used to be a museum curator so I’m quite
wary of collectors

Which work of art do you most covet for your home?
I don't really covet art for myself

Which image do you keep returning to?
I love the school portraits of my brothers and I

Where do you find most pleasure?
I’ve learnt not to find too much pleasure in work.
Or at least, I’m learning

What’s your favourite public place in London?
I love the pond at the back of Pitzhanger Manor in
Walpole Park

What’s your favourite private place in London?
Simon Foxton's shed

Beauty or intelligence?
Intelligence is always beautiful

What piece of music would you like played at
your funeral?

Oh, it’s a toss up between I Won’t Share You, The Smiths,
My Way, Frank Sinatra and La Vie En Rose (Grace Jones’

Is life serious?
It was. I’m trying to make it less so


Q&A index