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How Many Minders Do I Need

There was a time when a journalist in an interview scenario might be trusted to be left alone with their subject.

I think of all the big stars I interviewed for ELLE and various glossies in the 2000s where it was just one-on-one and somehow hell didn’t freeze over.

Now I’m lucky if I’m able to speak to the founder of a swimming trunks business without a multitude of media advisers on hand to interrupt, raise eyebrows and draw things to a close at precisely 29.59 minutes.

Last week I interviewed a fashion designer with four PRs in the room. Four!

I can understand it as an intimidation tactic or even a legal necessity if I were interviewing a Cabinet Minister – but when you’re talking about posh frocks? Is it really necessary?

Still, it wasn’t as bad as that time I interviewed a veteran designer who had collaborated with the Royal Mail on a collection of stamps.

Before the interview one of the SIX-STRONG team of PRs whispered to me that the subject was hard of hearing and although under no circumstances would the designer admit that to me, I would need to shout.

Half an hour of BELLOWING questions to 80-something designer who sat in front of a row of PRs adding up to half a jury was one of the most embarrassing interviews I’ve ever done.

Sometimes, guys, an interview doesn’t need an audience…

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