Last month, L’Officiel announced the launch of a USA book and digital platform, with Joseph Akel at the helm as editor-in-chief and editorial director. So how well do you know Akel? Formerly editor of V and Vman, he writes in for the latest installment of “10 Things.”
10 Things You Don’t Know About…L’Officiel USA’s Joseph Akel
1. Before magazines, the academic life was in my cards: I was going into the fourth year of my Ph.D. at U.C. Berkeley when I got a call to interview for the editor’s position at V. The rest, as they say, is history.
2. I’m a voracious reader: I am always buying books, but it’s a vicious habit; an unread book in my house is a small defeat.
3. My great-grandfather, and namesake, was a secret British agent who fought alongside T.E. Lawrence, aka “Lawrence of Arabia”: As the papers reported at the time of his death, even those closest to him knew next to nothing about his time in the desert with Lawrence.
4. I loathe heights and am terrified of flying: Anything above the 12th floor induces mild feelings of dread. 30 floors and above feels wholly unnatural.
5. As a rule of thumb, I try never to meet my idols: I find the myths we fashion around those who inspire us so readily vanish once we meet them in person.
6. I was born in New Zealand: My parents arrived in the US when I was quite young. The story goes that on my first Halloween, upon greeting a candy-wielding homeowner, I shouted “Happy Birthday” instead of “Trick or Treat.”
7. Believe it or not, I studied Ancient Greek and Latin: At one point in time, Aristotle and Virgil were the men in my life (talk about dead beat lovers).
8. My first job in New York was working for the McNally Jackson bookstore: One summer I worked at the independent bookseller in Nolita. I think I actually ended up losing money working there as I spent my paychecks on books.
9. I eat out pretty much every night: Much to my lovely partner’s dismay, I am a terrible cook and I love to dine out. I think the only cookbook I really enjoyed was Amy Sedaris’ “I Like You: Hospitality Under the Influence.”
10. Alicia Keys once sang to me on the phone: I was interviewing Alicia for a cover feature that ran in V and, before I knew it, she began singing a classic track by En Vouge. It’s still my favorite interview to this day.