Meet the fitness enthusiast leading Women’s Health

New editor Jacqui Mooney takes over from Felicity Harley

Being in an interview environment wearing sports gear is not an unusual thing for the new editor of Pacific Magazines’ Women’s Health Jacqui Mooney. Turns out it’s something that happens every Friday at the title’s office in Eveleigh, Sydney.

“I have done many interviews and many Facebook Lives in athletics gear. I would recommend it. It’s very comfortable,” Mooney told Mediaweek.

However, it was definitely a first for this journo – something that Mooney found amusing.

“May there be many more,” she said. “You are welcome to come and hang out on Fitness Gear Friday in the Women’s Health office any time.”

Mediaweek spoke to Mooney just before the second annual Women’s Health Fit Night Out, which was sold out. There was loud music pumping in a hall at the International Convention Centre in Sydney, getting the participants psyched for what the night had in store. Mooney was evidently excited about the Tim Robards session, which was on first after the warm-up session: “You don’t want to miss him!”

Mooney took over the editor’s chair from Women’s Health’s launch editor Felicity Harley at the beginning of December 2016. Harley had kept the seat warm for about eight years, in which she launched initiatives like the Fit Night Out and the I Support Women In Sport Awards, which have been since rebranded as Women in Sport.

“It’s a huge privilege to be leading this brand in Australia,” Mooney said. “I can’t speak highly enough of Felicity. We’ve known each other for many years and used to work with each other back in the old days on Cleo.

“Felicity championed the brand, and that is very much what I intend to do.”

Luckily for Mooney, fitness and exercise aren’t something that she had to force herself into. They come naturally to her.

“Fitness and health are a personal and professional passion of mine,” she said. This development has happened in the last few years.

“I have become a bit of a runner – I never thought that that would happen [Laughs]. I can legitimately wear my sports gear to work on Fridays. It’s one of the many perks of the job.”

Having worked in the publishing industry for nearly two decades, Mooney said becoming the editor of Women’s Health was “a dream job” for her.

Launched in 2007, Women’s Health will be celebrating a decade this year. Despite the grey clouds surrounding the print sector at the moment, Mooney still confidently predicted, “I know that the next 10 years of Women’s Health are going to be even more successful.”

Speaking about the parties in store to celebrate the 10-year milestone this year, Mooney said: “We’ve got lots of plans for our 10th birthday. One of the most incredible things about Women’s Health is its events. We are all about empowering women.” However, she remained tight-lipped about the details.

Apart from Fit Night Out and Women in Sport, another event run by the brand is Speed Mentoring Night. This year the event was held in February and had some big names from the media and sporting industries participate to share their words of wisdom with aspirants. This event was Mooney’s first outing as editor, something she did about two months into the job.

“Events are really important. The Fit Night Out 2017 is a ticketed event which has sold out. It’s fantastic to see that reader engagement and response. We’ve got some great sponsors on board this year who are keen to engage with our audience as much as we are,” Mooney said.

Mooney credited Women’s Health with pioneering the health market in Australia.

“There’s been a really interesting change in health and fitness,” Mooney said. “Many years ago it was something that was seen as being quite niche. That has changed. The definition of what healthy is has changed as well.

“It’s a lifestyle. It’s about being the fittest, healthiest and happiest self.”

Mooney said Women’s Health is a brand for everyone. “It’s not just for the gym junkies. It’s for every Australian woman.”

The fight for eyeballs against user-generated content

The health and fitness space has been flooded with user-generated content. There is a lot of information available for people to surf through in this category on social media, on blogs and video-sharing platforms like YouTube. How does Women’s Health attract eyeballs?

“Our credibility gives us an edge in the market,” Mooney said. “We have been here for 10 years and we do have that authority. The space is really crowded and there is a lot of content out there.

“We really see ourselves as content creators and leaders. With so much information out there, the brands that really do have that authority and credibility are only going to become more important.”

One way that Women’s Health is also tapping into the growing craze around health and fitness is by working with influencers in the space. This is through initiatives like the Women’s Health Fit Night Out event and a “Fitfluential” feature in the magazine. The recent May edition of the magazine included a list of 25 powerful influencers in Australia at the moment. This list includes trainers, foodies and sports personalities like captain of women’s AFL team the Western Bulldogs, Katie Brennan.

“Something we definitely will be working on is partnering with such influencers, because we are all about growing our community and helping women be their best selves,” Mooney said.

Photo: Mentors at Women’s Health speed mentoring event. Back [L-R] – Catherine Cox, Cate Campbell, Louisa Bowden, Bronte Campbell, Jackie Frank, Michelle Bridges, Sarah Chibnall and David Koch. Front [L-R] – Leisel Jones, Mark Beretta, Jacqui Mooney, Kelly Cartwright and Shelley Watts.

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