Happy Birthday Just Seventeen!


A couple of weeks ago I read this great feature in Stylist: The magazine that changed our life - and how true it was. 

Just like more magazine (RIP) I got all my sex education, info on boys and fashion and beauty tips from teen magazines, especially Just Seventeen. I'm an only child so it really was the big sister I never had telling me all the bits of information that I was too embarrassed to ask my mum. 

Of course I was nowhere near 17 when I became a reader, I was more like 11 and reading it was a true eye opener. Did I need to know how to turn a bad guy good? Or how to play it cool so he'd notice you? Probs not, but that information proved very handy a few years later. Just Seventeen  was a revision guide for the real world and most importantly it gave me my one true love - Take That. 

I poured over every interview (in there hey day of the mid-90s they adorned the pages a LOT) and cut out the pictures of Gary to blue-tack onto my wall or glue into my Take That scrapbook (don't judge.) 

Of course, it's quite racy content meant that my mum didn't allow me to actually buy it so it was smuggled into me by a friend at school who had very relaxed parents. I then shoved it to the bottom of my school bag before getting home and stashing the issue under my bed which had become a graveyard for magazines I shouldn't really have been reading… 

When Just Seventeen went monthly and glossier, changing it's name to J-17, I loved it even more and when I was 15-years-old I applied fro work experience and got a one-week placement. My school wasn't happy because they wouldn't be able to send anyone to check on me, my mum was a little nervous too about letting me loose in London. I didn't care, I was going and no one was stopping me. 

I'd just turned 16 when I finally stepped into the J-17 offices on Shaftsbury Avenue and I knew there and then the only thing I wanted to do was work for a magazine. It was glamorous! It was fun! And when I heard one of the writers interviewing Gary Lucy, my mind was blown… 

OK, so I spent the week making tea and sorting through letters and competition entries but it didn't matter. I was sold and loved every minute. 

It's a shame that J-17 isn't around today. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I know you can get all the information you could ever need with one click of button on the Internet, but it's not quite the same or as fun as lying to your newsagents that: 'Of course you're 17' is it?

Happy Birthday J-17. Hope you have a fabulous day in the great magazine heaven in the sky.  

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