Samira Larouci

KHAMSA talks to Samira Larouci about her career and the traits of the profession.

Samira Larouci is a London-based editor, writer, and creative consultant. She is a popular name in writing and journalistic circles thanks to her years of experience and stellar work. Throughout her career, she has worked with clients like Cartier, Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bvlgari, Nike, FarFetch, New Balance, and many more. She has also conducted cover interviews with the likes of Travis Scott, Grimes, Zayn Malik, Harmony Korine, Barry Jenkins, and JW. Anderson, and spoken on panels for Photo Vogue, Vogue Italia, L’Uomo Vogue and Photo LA – California’s longest-running photographic fair.

Born and raised in Sussex, England, Samira Larouci is deeply connected to her Moroccan roots. Her career path is one that can be studied by those aspiring to get into her line of work. KHAMSA had the chance to quiz her on a variety of professional topics.

١. What inspired you to pursue a career in journalism, writing and editing?

Curiosity. I’ve always been an adept reader and consumer of media in all its forms from a very early age, whether that was punk zines as a teenager or more dense books as a child. There’s something so special about the juxtaposition between the written word, and carefully curated and sourced imagery. It’s a very DIY approach to storytelling that can carry sometimes complex subjects in a simplified way to reach as many people as possible – and that’s super compelling to me. 

٢. What were some of the early steps you took to start this career path?

Honestly, just being extremely engaged, aware and curious. Taking a natural interest in the human condition and how it’s evolving through the prism of culture, or how culture reacts to those changes, has always given me a level of insight that’s become paramount to my work, even if I didn’t realise it at the time. The next step was to find ways in which to interact with those interests, even if it didn’t A. Pay very much B. Seem logical at the time. As a teenager, I worked on a beauty counter to practice and better understand the way in which beauty functions on both sides, I worked for luxury fashion brands for the same reason, I started a magazine with my friends for pure creativity, we created arthouse films and travelled across the world just to experiment, I wrote short stories for literary journals for money on the side, and each of those decisions, even if they were a bit off-piste at the time, have led to where I am today. 

٣. Would you say any form of writing as an art is the same as any form of writing as a profession?

Writing has a certain pace and architecture to it. If the foundation is solid, and you understand the form and functionality of basic storytelling, it can be applied to all aspects, whether that be copywriting, screenwriting, creative writing, feature writing or even news. There’s a fluidity you gain through practice.

In order to truly succeed, though, you have to learn restraint, which can be tough when you’re an expressive person with a lot of ideas to get across. The more professional your work becomes, the more restraint needs to be applied — and that’s not because the ideas need to be minimised, it’s that they need to become digestible for the broadest audience possible. Every writer, deep down, wants their words to be read by as many people as possible, and every publication wants your words to be effective. 

٤. How has the process of modern magazine writing and editing evolved? Do you see any changes to its defining traits in the coming years?

My career began with print publications, which in and of itself is a whole different thing. I still work heavily in print, but I learnt the art of digital publishing when I was at i-D magazine. Both processes have changed massively over the last 10 years, and even over the last year. The amount of words people digest has shrunk, and that feels quite obvious to say, but it’s still shocking to me. Word counts used to be in the thousands, and now they’re in the lower hundreds. Online news can be anywhere from 100 words to 300 depending on the title. Although it sounds quite trivial, it’s symbolic of the attention spans we’re now dealing with. And if writers rely on a word count based pay scheme, it can be financially crippling for someone to rely on writing to pay the bills, despite the exhaustive time it takes to write and research for an article.

As an editor, it’s been exciting to see a surge of text-based posts on Instagram from publications, and seeing the written word perform better on socials than on most websites. There’s a huge opportunity to meet people where they spend most of their time, rather than trying to divert them, or change their habits.

٥. How do you nurture and maintain your creative inspiration over time?

Keeping a childlike sense of wonderment and curiosity about the world around me. There is always something new to learn, watch, read and listen to. And even when I step away from all of that, there is inspiration to be found in every interaction. My mum is still one of my greatest motivators, just chatting with her for five minutes can shift my mind into a completely different sphere and make me more perceptive to new ways of thinking or doing. Also, Reddit. 

٦. People in your line of work are ever-learning. What’s your approach to self-improvement?

Never allowing myself to be bored, and always trying something new. It’s important to add that these new things needn’t be tied to anything work-related – I often find my best ideas come to me when I’m playing tennis or working out. Having space to expand the mind is the most important aspect of creativity for me. 

٧. Lastly, is there any advice you have for aspiring writers and editors, and the public in general?

If you need to make money to survive, do what you can to support yourself first and foremost. Once you have a semblance of financial security in place, and your rent is paid, make space and time around that to engage with at least one or two subjects you’re interested in, in any capacity. Define your “expertise” and passions. Become obsessed with them. Find a niche for yourself, and develop that. Learn as much as possible about that subject, and stay one step ahead of what is happening. Try and know the subject so well that you can guess where it’s headed next. Read magazines and decide which ones you like the tone of, highlight writers you admire and follow them.

Start small and work your way up. If you want to be a writer, just start writing. Even if no-one reads it. Make a substack, and keep practising. Make a hitlist of writers and editors you admire, and when you have the confidence, reach out to them with your ideas. If you want to be an editor, all of the above applies, but you’ll want to be even more aware of the photographers, stylists, art directors and writers that are shaping culture, and which ones might be shaping culture in years to come. Create your own community, and build and grow together. Once you have the infrastructure and authority, collaborate with your heroes. 

Follow Samira Larouci on Instagram.

Pranav is a writer and editor who always strives to weave stories and narratives with his words. He has written for multiple publications across a wide variety of beats. A keen opinion enthusiast, Pranav pursues the art of writing balanced pieces that explore every available POV before making his conclusion. In his free time, Pranav rages at his favourite sports teams and practices impressions.
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