MB: A lot had to do with timing. When More launched in 1998, it was a great time for magazines. Ladies’ Home Journal, which I also edited, was doing well. Plus, a demographer pointed out to me that women had extended their average life span by 25 or 30 years—and the net result, she believed, was that rather than just adding a few decades to their old age, women were becoming healthier, wealthier and more vital in middle age. For the first time, women were being valued—and valuing themselves—not for their innocence, which is what they’d been valued for in past millenniums, but for their experience. More encouraged women to examine, explore, empower and enjoy those years. Women liked the magazine immediately and recognized its uniqueness—as they still do.
LJS: What was the craziest thing that ever happened on a shoot?
MB: For September 2002, we shot Jamie Lee Curtis without makeup and then with makeup, which got a lot of attention. I didn’t think she looked all that different.
LJS: Has America’s attitude toward aging changed at all in the 15 years of More’s life?
MB: When it comes to ageism—frankly, I think advertisers feel it the most. They still are marketing based on a postwar notion that if you get someone young to buy your product, that person will keep buying it for the rest of her life. I used to point out that More’s demographic was the most divorced generation in history, and if women could change their husbands, they could change their products. It’s true, and it gets a laugh—but I am not sure it changes advertisers’ minds.
I am delighted to still be thinking about this demographic [at AARP]. The newest story on earth is the mass of people growing older. It has never happened before and will influence so much of our future.
LJS: Why did you choose More as the title of the magazine?
MB: Finding a name was the biggest problem. Lots of good ones were taken. More [was chosen because it] was the name focus groups disliked the least! Later, when I was interviewed during the launch, I told a reporter that when women got older, they used to expect less, but now they wanted more. The reporter said, “So that’s why you named it More.” I said, “Of course!”