Giovanna Gray Lockhart already knows what it means to hit the ground running with style.
In only her second week back from maternity leave — daughter Beatrice was born in January — and in her new gig as Glamour’s Washington editor, she hosted more than 100 people at her house in Kalorama and participated in Glamour’s cover story about Michelle Obama with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington (aka Carrie Bradshaw and Olivia Pope). But this former senior aide for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (Lockhart and Gillibrand are still close: the senator officiated her 2014 wedding to former White House Press Secretary Joe Lockhart.) is remarkably down-to-earth when we sit for an interview at D.C.'s Blue Duck Tavern. She was ready to reminisce about her time working on Capitol Hill and its many rewards, in a lightly edited Q&A.
Q. So how did you make the switch from Capitol Hill to Glamour Magazine? A. I left about a year ago, [having] worked for Sen. Gillibrand. She is an amazing woman and obviously really incredible at her job and [has] been a great friend to me as well.
Q. You met the New York Democrat before she won [her House seat] in 2006? A. Yes, this was in 2003. You never know who is going to make an impact on your life and you may meet them when you’re 23 years old.
One of my first jobs out of college was working on Howard Dean’s presidential campaign. It’s funny, when I talk to students, I’m like, "Well, there was this guy named Howard Dean, I don’t know if you remember ..." Anyone who works in politics remembers.
I came to the Hill in 2010, after Sen. Gillibrand had won her special election. I’d come from New York City and it was a total change. But I’d always wanted to do public service. ... It was hard trying to navigate your way and getting a job on the Hill; it’s not that easy. Luckily, I had built a relationship with the senator over many years. I figured I’d do it for a year and go back to New York, and here I am four years later, married with a baby and probably going to be here for the foreseeable future.
Q. D.C. is a great place to raise children. What's your take? A. I’ve already started realizing that. I love my pediatrician, I joined this PACE group [a local group for new moms]. PACE is amazing. ... No one talks about what they do, no one talks about themselves from a work perspective. It’s all, "How do I get my baby to sleep through the night, or eat more," things like that.
Q. How can the Capitol Hill community see themselves in Glamour, or will they see themselves, now that they have one of their own representing them? A. We have 20 million readers; we represent all different types of women and professions. One of the things I’d like to highlight, especially this year and next year, are the young women who are working on the campaigns and working on the Hill who are truly making a difference. Part of the reason I chose to come to Glamour is that there are so many women reading this magazine. The content is empowering, whether it is about beauty tips or military spouses and the issues they face. Let’s bring them the content they want to read and put it in a magazine they are already reading. In the coming months and election cycle, I think you’re going to see from Glamour really interesting campaign coverage, highlighting the people on the ground doing the work.
Q. Does Glamour delve into policy? A. Absolutely. We’ll be taking on issues. ... Any kind of women’s health issue we are going to be covering. We are a nonpartisan magazine, so we will always be covering both sides of any issue.
Q. From the Glamour viewpoint, what is the perception of Washington? Do people see Capitol Hill as a glamorous place? A. I think there isn’t a wide understanding of how laws get made or how the political process works. One of the challenges for any publication outside of D.C. is explaining how D.C. works. When women are engaged, they vote. When women vote, it changes the outcome of elections. ... This audience is so valuable to the process, it’s our responsibility to inform them. Which we'll be doing, we just need to come up with very creative ways to do that.
Q. Any creative ways that you can mention? A. I think [what] you’re going to see is we're going to be enlisting a variety of contributors from both sides of the aisle. ... I'm building on the 20-year legacy Glamour has had in Washington. They are one of the first magazines to have a Washington report in their pages.
Q. What can Capitol Hill staffers take from Glamour Magazine? A. It’s all about empowering women. I’m not sure that a male staffer would want to get a subscription to Glamour Magazine, but they could certainly impress their girlfriends by reading it. (Laughs.) I think one of the neat opportunities one gets working in government or in the administration or on Capitol Hill is a perspective on the lawmaking process that so few people in this country get to see, and understanding that the public service that you’re doing is really affecting people’s lives. Remembering that is really valuable, and understanding that great responsibility that you have, especially at such a young age. [Glamour] has empowering stories about all types of businesses and fields, but I think what you’re going to see in the magazine going forward are their peers and their colleagues also being highlighted.
Q. How did your role as a Hill staffer prepare you for your role as a magazine editor? A. Relationships. It’s always something that is very important on the Hill, both with the constituents and also with my colleagues in my office and in other offices. It’s not to be underestimated, the power of relationships.
Q. Anything else? A. Good communication skills.
Q. And where do you see this job taking you? Is there something you think you’ll be doing? A. I plan on doing this for a long time.
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