Welcome to “Future Talks” by RTF, a captivating series of conversations with the visionaries who breathe life into design narratives.

In this insightful interview, we have the privilege of sitting down with Ayesha S. Shehmir, an exceptional Australian-Pakistani Editor who currently resides in the vibrant city of Dubai. Ayesha’s journey through the world of design journalism has been nothing short of extraordinary.

For the past two years, Ayesha has been the guiding force behind Harper’s Bazaar Art, a publication that has become synonymous with innovation and exploration. During her tenure as Editor, she has transformed the magazine into a dynamic and engaging platform, breathing life into the cultural, creative, and contemporary art scene. Ayesha’s vision has given birth to “ART BOOK,” a city-specific, dynamically curated masterpiece spanning over 400 pages, redefining the way we perceive and appreciate art in our modern world.

Currently, Ayesha leads Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, steering the ship as Editor of the magazine. In this role, she not only oversees the brand’s print and digital arms but also provides us with an exclusive glimpse into the homes of inspirational individuals, stretching from the enchanting landscapes of Muscat to the bustling metropolis of Manhattan. Within the pages of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors, we are transported into a realm of luxury and contemporary design, where innovation and inspiration seamlessly merge.

Ayesha’s illustrious career is marked by her remarkable ability to engage with and extract wisdom from some of the most influential figures in the realms of art, design, architecture, and beauty, both within the region and beyond. Her interviews serve as windows into the minds of those who are actively shaping the creative landscapes of our world.

Join us as we embark on a fascinating journey into the world of design, led by the insightful and innovative Ayesha S. Shehmir. Through her experiences, expertise, and unique perspective, we aim to uncover the stories and visions that breathe life into the captivating designs of tomorrow. 

RTF: Hi Ayesha, we are so glad to have you as a guest on Future Talks. Thanks for joining us. How did you first become involved in magazine editing, and what inspired you to pursue this career path?

Ayesha: Ever since I was a little girl, I was obsessed with print. My bedroom was filled with magazine posters and I loved visiting the supermarket just to add to my growing magazine collection. Lois Lane was my hero. Reading a physical book was, and still is, my cup of tea. 

I went on to get a degree in journalism from Melbourne, Australia and the rest was history. Everything about journalism captivated me – reporting on camera, writing and editing, storytelling, being the first to know – it was all so exciting. After moving to Dubai in 2018, I contributed to several publications before landing my current dream role as Editor of Harper’s Bazaar Interiors.  

RTF: What does your typical day as an Editor at Harper’s Bazaar Art and Harper’s Bazaar Interiors look like?

Ayesha: Whether it’s running around at photoshoots and events, interviewing on and off camera or travelling – I’m mostly on the go. When I’m not wishing I hadn’t worn heels, I’m sitting behind the desk responding to emails, writing, reading pages and pages, and editing. I love every bit of it. 

RTF: What are the most common challenges that you face when dealing with designers regarding the stories that you cover?

Ayesha: Honestly, any challenge is an opportunity in journalism. I deal with all sorts of personalities and this is what makes a good story.  

RTF: Magazines cover a wide range of topics and genres. What factors do you consider when selecting content or themes for your publication, and how do you ensure they resonate with your target audience?

Ayesha: Within the discipline of interior design and architecture, I always go for stories that cover a bold and exclusive angle – one which offers readers insights and perspectives that are equally fun and engaging as they are informative.  

RTF: What trends do you see emerging in magazine publishing, both in terms of content and distribution platforms?

Ayesha: The return of true print. Although digital mediums are taking over the world, I’ve seen that this has separated true print-lovers and created a whole new community. So I think we’ll see even more passion and tenacity as we hold on to print and work towards its longstanding success in future. Take Harper’s Bazaar Art as an example – we transformed the quarterly magazine into an enormous book and it couldn’t be more of a success! 

RTF: How do you handle criticism and feedback from readers or stakeholders, and how does it impact your editorial decisions?

Ayesha: As an editor it’s so important to connect with readers on a regular basis – I really value their thoughts. It’s crucial to take these insights on board, while at the same time never compromising the brand’s long standing values and heritage. I’m committed to evolving with the times while staying true to our foundation. 

RTF: What is the most rewarding aspect of your job?

Ayesha: Having the opportunity to meet and tell the stories of so many talented individuals.  

RTF: What advice do you have for aspiring magazine editors who want to break into the field or advance their careers?

Ayesha: Don’t be afraid of originality. If you think you can positively impact society, voice your opinion – even if it creates a storm.  

Author

Rethinking The Future (RTF) is a Global Platform for Architecture and Design. RTF through more than 100 countries around the world provides an interactive platform of highest standard acknowledging the projects among creative and influential industry professionals.