“I was lucky to be part of the transformation of this media as a complete content platform”, says editor-in-chief of Vogue Brazil, Paula Merlo. Photo by Luciana Prezia

Paula Merlo, 41, speaks to Lorena Lobo about how she became the editor-in-chief of Vogue Brazil, the cover featuring soccer icon Marta and her thoughts on AI.

Have you always seen yourself working in a magazine?

Yes. Working in a fashion magazine was a teenage dream. I was lucky to be part of the transformation of this media as a complete content platform.

How did you get started?

Seventeen years ago I had just finished an internship at Teen Vogue, in New York, and with a good recommendation letter in hand, I tried my luck sending it to the editor-in-chief at Vogue Brazil.

After an interview, I entered the publication as a Bookings Assistant. Years later, with a Master’s in publishing, I changed publications and role: Glamour Brazil was launching in Brazil and I became an editor there before overseeing the title as editor-in-chief. From there, I went back to Vogue as the editor-in-chief.

How did your Master’s help your current role?

It was crucial for the development of certain skills (like critical thinking), essential to become a leader at Vogue or any other publication.

But my academic education plus curiosity, thirst for challenges, patience, and hard work was what took me here. And luck. I was at the right place, at the right time – with the right attitude.

Glamour or Vogue?

Vogue is a cultural compass. We are the biggest fashion media in the world. That alone makes us different from all other fashion publications in the world.

What was the most challenging part of your career?

The biggest challenge, which is daily, is creating excellent content aligned with Vogue´s values: diversity, respect, optimism, sustainability, and creativity. Vogue is a cultural compass, we are relevant, and we help define the zeitgeist. It is a huge challenge doing so with responsibility and ethics. 

What is your daily routine?

As I overlook the brand, including print, digital, social media and events, my routine is different every day. I have many meetings with the editorial team to define our content, as well as with the commercial and marketing teams for ideas, and brand alignments. 

Do you know Anna Wintour?

Yes. It is essential we know each other and brainstorm together. So all the editors meet once a month.

Who’s been the most memorable cover star?

Being a Vogue cover is about being memorable, so there isn’t a “most”. But I enjoyed a lot seeing soccer player Marta on the cover. It was iconic!

For Paula, the cover staring the soccer player Marta was memorable. Photo by: Vogue Brazil

What is one key thing you learned as an editor?

Teamwork.

What are your thoughts on AI?

It still lacks emotional engagement and feeling. For example, a great interview is about connecting to someone else, understanding the moment, and capturing feelings.