Letters to Linda Wells: The Industry Shows the Love

by Ashley Baker

Linda Wells

News of Linda Wells’ departure from Allure shocked the media, fashion, and beauty worlds this week. Her frequent collaborators toast her accomplished 24-year tenure:

“Linda Wells is a pioneer who created this bible of beauty with compelling photographs, explicit how-tos, and cutting-edge diet, fitness, and beauty news. Linda was the first one to really report about beauty. She approached the beauty industry with a reporter’s eye and that made the magazine stand out. There will never be anyone as talented as Linda.” —BOBBI BROWN

“Some of my best and forever and most innovative shoots were for Allure. Before the days of shooting advertisers and having a million rules, Linda Wells let us do our best work. Thank you, Linda! Onward, upward, next.” —LORI GOLDSTEIN

“It’s truly the end of a beautiful era, but I’m personally looking forward to Linda’s second act. Given her support of beauty innovations and evolution of the Allure brand, I can’t wait to see what she has in store. Thank you, Linda, for your influence and leadership that has meant so much to all of us in this truly dynamic industry.” —JOHN PAUL DEJORIA, co-founder of John Paul Mitchell Systems

“Linda Wells is seriously the most supportive, loving, amazing person I have ever met in this business thus far. As an L.A. hairdresser, we don’t get much attention over here, but Linda has always been loyal and supportive. I remember being in my early twenties and picking up my first-ever issue of Allure with Paulina Porizkova on the cover and being in complete awe. I couldn’t wait for every issue. Linda is one-of-a-kind, and I can’t wait to see what she does next. I am first in line, and with her 100 percent.” —CHRIS MCMILLAN

“I first met Linda at Vogue in the ’80s. Our relationship quickly grew into friendship. Upon launching Allure in 1991 she created, for the first time, a magazine strictly devoted to beauty. She is elegant, smart, and has always had an eye for talent. But most importantly, she is my friend.” —GARREN

“Linda has been so supportive of my career. She is an inspiration and equally amazing to work with. She will be missed by the entire beauty industry—she inspired us all.” —RITA HAZAN

Allure magazine and Linda Wells have always been supporters of ted gibson beauty, from Allure’s Directory to the Best In Beauty Awards. We are so grateful for Allure’s support and all the work Linda has done to shine a spotlight on indie brands like ours.” —TED GIBSON

““Linda Wells has been my most important writing and editing mentor. I worked at Allure as the beauty director under her for five years, and it was a transformative experience. Linda is tough and razor-sharp, and pushes you to places you wouldn’t have gotten on your own–simply put, she demands excellence. The day I left Allure to come to Women’s Health, I wrote her a note saying that, when working on a story, I’d always think, WWLWD: What would Linda Wells do? Years later, I still think WWLWD as I put out a magazine. Linda taught me to never take anything at face value, to always dig beyond the press release, and to put any subject into a relevant, cultural context. These are lessons that work whether you’re writing about mascara, skin cancer, or women’s rights.”—AMY KELLER LAIRD, editor-in-chief, Women’s Health

“Working at Allure was the true turning point in my career. It’s where I learned how to edit, how to meticulously report a story, and how to develop a voice in my writing—and that’s all due to Linda’s tutelage. She invests in you and guides you in a way that few other editors do and as a result, she brings out the absolute best in you and your work. It’s been 6 years since I left Allure and yet every day in my job, I find myself using skills or tactics that I learned from Linda. There’s a reason why those who work for her go on to do great things.” —VICTORIA KIRBY, beauty director, Redbook

“Linda Wells taught me to report harder, write sharper, and to always strive for the ever elusive combination of wit and originality.” —ANGELIQUE SERRANO, beauty director, InStyle

“There has never been a more dedicated, loyal, truthful, demanding, wickedly funny, resourceful, clever, and smart individual at Condé Nast. Linda was able to do things as simple as going backstage at fashion shows and cover behind the scenes—backstage beauty [coverage] was because of Allure and Linda Wells. No one else ever covered that in print. No one was reporting or investigating plastic surgery. (Remember Michael Jackson’s surgeon and his baby mama-Debbie Rowe’s six-page portfolio?) And what I was always most taken with was how the magazine reported on what was going on in the streets. The nail salons who were specializing in fierce manicures and pedicures and actually editorializing the technicians who weren’t linked to an agency. Unheard of. Solid reporting with CSI precision. She read every single word and edited until it was right. She also managed, in 25 years, to be the only freestanding, high-level beauty magazine on the newsstand! Each issue is timeless and a keeper, dealing with the same or similar stories issue after issue but managing to make it all fresh. And always having the sense to have the best team around her. My babies and better quality of life happened for me as a result of working for Linda Wells. She will kick some major ass moving forward, and I will jump at the opportunity to be her bitch.” —SASHA CHARNIN MORRISON

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