Tell us a little about who you are and what you do.

My name is Eleanor Pendleton, I’m a mother of two and the founder & publisher of Gritty Pretty Magazine – a premier digital beauty destination.

Share with us a little about your childhood and how it shaped you.

I grew up on the NSW Central Coast in a working-class family. At 29, my mother emigrated to Australia from the Philippines where she was born and soon after met and married my father who is Australian. 

My father ran his own small businesses throughout my entire childhood – first as a sailmaker making sails for paragliders and yachts before owning and operating a local newsagency business. Both were hard work and long hours; he would often be up at 3:00 am each morning to wrap and deliver newspapers before spending an entire day at the shop serving customers their newspapers, magazines and lottery tickets and then arriving home late. My mother was a stay-at-home mother who worked 24/7 to make our house a home. 

Growing up, both of my parents worked hard to provide my younger sister and me with a decent education but money was never readily available and so because of that, I think subconsciously I grew up knowing the importance of hard work and that it doesn’t just provide money, it provides privilege, choice and freedom. My first job was at age 12 as a local newspaper girl for my dad’s shop. 

I remember being so excited to work and earn some pocket money. I sat out front of a local church selling The Sunday Telegraph and The Sunday Herald and I remember I used to earn great tips. It was really during those younger years of visiting my dad’s shop that I fell in love with magazines – the smell of ink on paper, the glossy pages and the well-written editor’s letter. At age 9 or 10, I found my greatest passion, which was publishing.

How did you get into your line of work and was it always the plan?

I was born with a tenacity and determination to make my wildest dreams come true and so with that ingrained in me, I knew I needed to find a way to break into the publishing industry to land my dream job of working at a magazine, which I did at just 19 years of age. 

I didn’t have any family contacts who could help give me a break or work experience opportunities so I tracked down email addresses for all of the editorial coordinators at my favourite magazines such as DOLLY, Girlfriend, Cosmopolitan, CLEO, Total Girl and Wave Girl. 

Whilst I was studying for a Diploma in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts, I received a call from the editorial coordinator of Cosmopolitan magazine who asked me to come in for a week’s stint of work experience – working unpaid in exchange for exposure to an office environment. 

I knew, even back then, the significance of that opportunity. I knew how competitive it would be to land a job – after all, if there were only 7 or so women’s lifestyle magazines, that was only 7 or so entry-level jobs that would become available only every few years. I knew I had to stand out and get noticed so I arrived early, I stayed back late, I fetched the deliveries for the editors from the mailroom and distributed them to ever-stylish women without being asked… 

On my last day of work experience, then-editor Sarah Wilson offered me a 6-month internship; working one day a week unpaid. She put me into the beauty department with the beauty editor at the time, Zoë Foster Blake. 

Zoë opened my eyes to this section of a magazine where you got paid to write about beauty products. I had no idea such a dream job existed but it was safe to say, after a day of shadowing Zoë, I knew what I wanted to do with my career. After a year of interning at Cosmopolitan magazine whilst studying, I was offered the role of Editorial Coordinator/Beauty Writer at Cosmopolitan Hair & Beauty, Cosmopolitan Bride and Cosmopolitan Pregnancy magazines – and the rest they say is history…

What or who has been your greatest influence and why?

I can’t say there has been one single person or woman but rather a collection of entrepreneurial-minded women within my industries of beauty, fashion and media. 

I have always had so much admiration and respect for Edwina McCann, Justine Cullen and Marina Go – three exceptional leaders and editors with over 60 years of combined experience in leading the VOGUE and ELLE businesses.

Which public personality has your favourite fashion style and why?

Rosie Huntington-Whiteley – she nails the balance of feminine and masculine every time.

How do you keep up to date with the latest fashion news and trends?

In my line of work, I’m fortunate enough to work with leaders in their craft such as top fashion photographers, designers, buyers, artists and stylists. Fashion surrounds me and so I suppose I’m exposed to style on a daily basis, which impacts my own sartorial sense subconsciously.

What did you learn from your mum or sisters about fashion?

My mum is the first to admit she isn’t stylish – she loves a tourist, postcard-style t-shirt to no end but that’s what I also love about her. She’s unapologetic in what she wears – if colour clashing brings her joy, then that’s all that matters. One of my favourite quotes is by American writer, Gore Vidal, who said: “Style is about knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn.” I love that.

What would you say is your greatest professional accomplishment to date?

Unequivocally, it would be growing, birthing and raising my son and my daughter.


Favourite drink? 

Coffee (regular cappuccino extra hot).

Favourite room in the house? 

My kitchen – I love cooking with my 3-year-old.

Go-to dish to cook for friends? 

Cacio e Pepe, baby cos lettuce with vinaigrette, roasted duck fat potatoes and heirloom tomato salad – simple yet always delicious.

Favourite season? 

Summer, always.

If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? 

I’m currently writing this from Uluwatu Surf Villas in Bali where I’m travelling with my family and this is pretty spectacular.

Credit: Chantell Brown (Bianchi Photography).


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