Back in 2011, a film starring Sarah Jessica Parker was released, titled "I Don't Know How She Does It". What should have been a celebration of mothers everywhere instead became an opportunity for women to collectively exclaim, "Duh!"
Unnecessary meetings. All-too-frequent bake sales. Head lice. It was nothing new. Because whether we’re stay at home parents, working full time or a combination of the two, we all do it. All. Of. The. Time.
But one woman who really seems to have earned the exclamation of, “I don’t know how she does it,” is not SJP in her stilettos and pussy bows. It is Justine Cullen.
As the current editor-in-chief of JONES Magazine, Justine previously sat at the top of the masthead at Shop ‘Til You Drop and Elle Australia, where she was twice awarded with the honour of Cover of The Year at the Australian Magazine Awards (including the iconic Elle cover featuring supermodel Nicole Trufino breastfeeding her son). In an industry that is known for its penchant for long hours and gruelling deadlines, she’s also managed to do all this while raising four (yes – you read that correctly – four) sons.
But rather than sharing a glossy story of seamlessly managing school drop off with client meetings, Justine tells it how it is.
“The time I found the most challenging was earlier in my career, when I was a single mother with two kids dealing with the horror that is the lack of affordable childcare in this country,” she says. “If I hadn’t had my mum to help me I’m sure I would have stepped off the ladder altogether and I can absolutely see why so many women find going back to work too hard. ‘Leaning in’ is a mission impossible for more women than we want to acknowledge.” It’s not hard to see why her 35,000 Instagram followers delight in Justine’s every heartfelt, honest move.
We had the joy of sitting down with Justine and her gorgeous clan in their spectacularly serene Palm Beach home, to talk about motherhood, career, 4:30am starts, binge-worthy television, not returning text messages, mentors and so much more, and she was every bit as inspiring yet humble as you’d imagine.
Justine, we still don’t know how you do it.