With a journalist for a grandfather and an editor as a grandmother, Alanna Fincke grew up loving words and the power of language. After her graduation from Syracuse University, Alanna went straight to work for Elle magazine, followed by instrumental roles at US Weekly and the then-fledgling, InTouch. Now, at the helm of the Martha Stewart Living publication, body + soul, Alanna Fincke is able to combine her literary talents with her passion for healthy living. She also contributes to the Survival Guide here at Mommy Tracked. Listen in and learn more about this amazing media powerhouse—and mom.
Since we’re a mom-focused site, could I start by asking you to share a little bit about your children?
I have two wonderful children. Eva is 20 months old and Jonah is a rambunctious 4 ½. Right now, Eva is obsessed with hoodies and her new Target princess pink shoes, which she has to wear until the moment she goes to bed. Meanwhile, Jonah insists on taking all the cushions off the couch, turning the entire family room in to some sort of fort/gymnasium, which makes both the kids squeal with joy, while my husband grumbles that there’s nowhere to sit.
Eva and Jonah are both redheads, which is really quite funny, because neither my husband nor I have red hair. My husband was a red head when he was younger, and I was strawberry blond as a very young child, too. But what’s even crazier: my brother’s two children also have red hair, and neither of their parents are redheads. It must be a very strong recessive gene in our family!
You’ve traveled a wondrous -- and enviable -- journalistic path. Please tell us a bit about the steps on your route to your current role at body + soul. Any memorable/humorous/growth-spurring tales from any of your earlier positions?
I grew up on an organic farm, and my parents were hippies. Now, I treasure that I had the experience of growing our own food and living sustainably. But I resented it for most of my younger years. After all, it wasn’t cool when my mom showed up to my stuffy private school recitals in her Birkenstocks. But being raised this way has informed my perspective on life. It has taught me to always prioritize my health, promote my own wellness, and to live by eco-friendly principles. Through crazy jobs and a fast-paced New York City life, I always came back to these ideals.
I started at Elle magazine right out of college and stayed there more than five years. I learned so much about how to talk to women and how to do top-notch health, fitness, news and fashion stories. And I got to live the glamorous New York life of fabulous parties and fancy dinners. Then I went to US Weekly, soon after it went from a monthly to a weekly. It was incredibly intense. The hours were long, the bosses were tough, and the celebrities were crazy! In the midst of this chaos, I dove into yoga. It provided a wonderful balance to the stress. Then, when my job was at its busiest, I signed up for a yoga teacher-training program. I wanted to learn more about the practice and dive more deeply into the spiritual side of it. It was amazing and truly life changing. I learned how to let go and flow more smoothly with the inevitable ups and downs of life. And I went from someone who feared change to a person who can embrace it. I also started writing a yoga column for body + soul. Then I got a call from editor Richard Spencer. He wanted to start a new celebrity weekly called, InTouch. I really liked him and his vision, so I joined the team and helped launch the magazine and stayed for almost four years.
My time in celebrity journalism taught me worlds about how the consumer thinks, how to package and sell a magazine, and how to write powerful cover lines and headlines. When I got a call about coming to body + soul, I knew instantly that it was the perfect next step for me. The position would bring together my expertise as an editor and my passions as a human being. When I met our publisher Jan Bruce, I also knew this was the job for me. She and I connected immediately with our vision for the magazine and the brand. And then something strange happened that affirmed this move even more: Going through the interview process, I noticed that the address of the offices outside of Boston looked familiar. I’m from the area originally. It turns out that my dad and his friends had a meditation center in the seventies in the same building, on the same floor, of our offices! I used to hang out here as a kid. I have come full circle, and it has felt right from the very first moment.