Cindi Leive: Nonstop Days, a Red Carpet Night

On Monday, Cindi Leive, the editor in chief of Glamour magazine, was sitting in a mostly empty Carnegie Hall, discreetly sipping a smuggled-in container of coffee. She had just run through a rehearsal of her speech onstage for the magazine’s annual Women of the Year Awards due to start in a few hours, and was debating with a handful of her staff members the merits of using the word “Gaga-licious” in reference to the honoree Lady Gaga.

The speech needed tightening up. “I have to put Spanx on my speech,” the editor said.

The caffeine was a necessity. Ms. Leive had appeared earlier that morning on the “Today” show with two of the honorees, the philanthropist Melinda Gates, and the model Christy Turlington Burns, whose foundation works on issues of maternal health. Next was a taping with Katie Couric, again with Ms. Turlington Burns, and two other honorees, the model Liya Kebede, who also has a foundation devoted to making childbirth safer, and Kaitlin Roig-Debellis, a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. Ms. Leive had started the day in a blue print Proenza Schouler dress, changed to a red Prabal Gurung for the second taping, and then reverted to the original outfit.

The rail-thin Ms. Leive, 46, who has a chic pixie haircut and broad smile, started her career at Glamour in 1988. She rose to deputy editor, and went on to become editor in chief at Self, another Condé Nast magazine. She returned to Glamour in 2001 for the top editor’s job.

In 1990, she was a lowly editorial assistant at the first Women of the Year event, which was held in the Rainbow Room. “I was nowhere near senior enough to score a seat,” she said, but added that she was thrilled to be assigned to escort Chai Ling, a protester in Tiananmen Square, which she noted at the time, “had happened five minutes ago.”

Glamour has booked its award dates for the event through 2017. This year, the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Awards were scheduled for the same night, causing a calendar conflict among two of Condé Nast’s biggest publications and generating much gossip in the offices of the two magazines.

If Ms. Leive was irritated by the encroachment on her big night, she wasn’t saying. “We’ve worked with the CFDA to ensure that will never happen again,” she said in her characteristically upbeat manner. “It’s nice for everybody to get to go to both.” (One person who managed to do so on Monday was the Australian director Baz Luhrmann, who stayed at the Carnegie Hall event long enough to see his wife, Catherine Martin, get an award, then raced in a car across town to give a surprise tribute to Anna Wintour on her 25th anniversary as the editor of Vogue. There, he also complimented Diane von Furstenberg on the speech she had just given at Carnegie Hall, to which the designer first looked nonplused before realizing she had taped it in advance.)

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Posted on November 13, 2013 at 3:29 pm

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