Rebecca Weef Smith, 54, is the uber stylish editor of new luxury magazine ‘Goldie’ but she hasn’t spent a lifetime in publishing. In fact this chic, unique and inspiring woman launched this, her first ever magazine, in her 50s. Here she talks to Lumity about fulfilling your dreams no matter what your age.
“It’s funny that when I was rejected from fashion school as a youngster my mum was working at the Telegraph and said I should go and work there,” explains Rebecca. “I didn’t take the job up at the time and if I had I might have just retired from being an editor of a magazine now. But instead I’m just starting one up.”
While magazine editing may be new to her there’s no denying Rebecca’s stake as a style guru. She looks effortlessly cool which would explain how she’s had a long running career in fashion. She even admits her claim to fame was that in her early 20s she was the youngest ever worldwide Gap manager!
Although she was a success in her fashion retailing career she also wanted to be around for her two daughters and so she juggled motherhood with working as a freelance fashion stylist and even launched a couple of her own labels too.
“I wanted to be a stay at home mum but I still needed to earn money,” she admits which is why she kept her name in the fashion game.
Then in her mid 40s everything changed.
“It was about 12-years-ago. I had a year where a lot was going on in my life,” Rebecca tells Lumity. “My father died, my first marriage broke up and there was a lot to deal with.”
As many men and women feel at that time in their life Rebecca wanted a change.
“At first I decided I wanted to retrain as a counsellor. I had been through numerous breakdowns myself and been supported by therapy. So I retrained and was working as a therapist. But I was still working in fashion too as a boutique buyer, a trend forecaster and fashion stylist. I was also more or less a single parent to two teenage girls.”
Rebecca successfully navigated her busy life and career change. She fell in love with her now husband, her daughters became more independent. Life was looking up and then more tragedy struck.
‘Within the space of a month one of my sisters died and my brother-in-law died too,” she reveals. “That made me realise that life is very fragile.”
And so in her early 50s she went back to University to earn her Masters in Positive Psychology. “It was a huge step outside of my comfort zone,” says Rebecca who combined positive psychology and fashion for her dissertation and later even got published on the subject.
Never one to back away from a challenge she attempted to get funding for a PhD on the subject but found herself hitting her head against a brick wall.
“I thought it was me,” she admits. “Until someone pointed out it was my age! Someone told me they won’t get their money back in academic publishing because you’re not going to have long enough in the academic field. It hadn’t occurred to me to think like this before.
“I started wondering if there were lots of other men and women coming up against these issues thinking it’s them when it’s actually society?
“The frustration of not being able to get these ideas out there is how Goldie magazine came about.”
Now the quarterly, glossy publication for over 40s – geared towards both men and women – has been around for a year and Rebecca could not be happier as she builds the publication with her art director husband by her side.
“There genuinely isn’t another magazine out there like us and I’m absolutely loving it,” she says. “You are never too old to do anything and you should never limit yourself.”