Get To Know: FAULT Magazine Editor Miles Holder
While you might not know it by name, chances are that in the last twelve months you’ve come across an image from the pages of FAULT Magazine. Four times a year around the release of their print editions it’s hard to open the morning papers or check in on the entertainment news sites without seeing a report on one of FAULT’s often controversial interview pieces or haute couture makeovers of a mainstream celebrity.
Last week was certainly no exception with the preview of their special edition ‘Made in America’ issue, which showcases the great work being done by culturally diverse creatives in America.
We spoke to Editor-In-Chief Miles Holder to discover how FAULT is using the often exclusive fashion industry to spread a very inclusive message
Why did you decide to devote a whole issue to the cause of promoting diversity?
Funnily enough, this isn’t the first issue we’ve pushed for a culturally diverse line-up or to discuss race, feminism and the LGBTQ struggle but it’s certainly the first time I’ve ever felt compelled to shout about it. I think 2016 just highlighted the bubble we work in [inside the creative industry] and the need for consumers of our content to consciously recognise just how much of the popular culture is made possible by people from different walks of life. Children might grow up with glamorous photographs of their favourite blue eyed and blond haired celebrity on their bedroom wall, which is great, but it’s important that we also acknowledge the migrant photographers, LGBTQ retouchers, female creative directors, Muslim makeup artist and black clothing stylists who also made that possible.
Your John Legend feature made quite a storm, was that your intention?
Whenever we release our feature previews, the press tends to talk about them so I knew that people would have an opinion on our discussion but I did overlook just how many pro-Trump trolls the piece would attract hateful comments from. I’m talking to John Legend about his musical progression, race and his experiences raising a child, but looking at the comments, it’s mainly Trump supporters attacking John or worst, they’re attacking his 10-month old daughter and I was a little naïve to just how low they’d stoop.
You’re British but the issue is largely centred around diversity in America, why not focus on the UK?
I needed the stories inside the magazine to reach a wider audience and that meant reaching people who aren’t already subscribers of the magazine. By shooting in the US, we’re able to work with more famous talents who can help push the message to a larger audience than we could from London. That being said, our next issue will likely be UK based so we’ll get a chance to shout about the diverse teams we use here too.
What do you say to commenters who think you should stay in your lane instead of getting political?
If Trump and Brexit have taught me anything, it’s that when you get comfortable and only surround yourself with exclusively like-minded people, you also allow those outside of your "lane" to go unchallenged for their incorrect beliefs. I took a “do not engage” stance for so long but last year I sat down with a rather right-leaning friend and was stunned to hear about what they believed Islam was and their thoughts on migrants from certain EU countries; bearing in mind they didn’t have either in the small town they lived in. To this day I'm still a little ashamed at myself for not doing more to re-educate him with actual facts while I had the chance.
Don't get me wrong, I’m not about to argue with people over social media, but I promised myself that if I see a genuine chance to change an ignorant perception, I will; and I hope someone would do the same for me if ever wrongful preconceived stereotypes of black men were being discussed in places I’m not present to defend myself.
You want to be depicted as shining and faultless?
Not in my house!
How hard is it to tell a celebrity that you’re about to take control of the image their managers have spent years moulding for them?
The “FAULT Magazine Makeover” is one of our niches in the market and most press agents know that we aren’t interested if we have to play it safe with a creative or interview. There are a lot of entertainment magazines who are now doing the same too which makes it a little easier when pitching. Although that’s not to say I think anyone has copied us, I like seeing how different teams photograph the same celebrities and make them look equally as different.
Where do you go when your niche becomes the norm?
Using hyper-realistic creatives and fan-fare to photograph celebrities became the industry standard around the time that I took over as editor funnily enough and it did make it harder for me to find my feet if I’m honest. One day, standing in a magazine store and seeing all the similarly highly produced, hyper-realistic shoots on different covers, it struck me that if that’s the new normal then reality and a down to earth approach to our features would be FAULT’s new way to show a never before seen side to celebrities. “You want to be depicted as shining and faultless? Not in my house!”
I don’t care... how many Grammys you’re tipped to get, I just want to know that you can sit in a chair and intelligently talk about real life issues
What do you look for when selecting who you feature in FAULT?
Before green-lighting anyone for print, I’ll read up on their life story and see if our readers can benefit from our discussion with the artist. Tove Lo posed nude and talked to us about depression whilst Anastacia revealed the scars from her double mastectomy for the world to see in our last issue. I don’t care about who you’re married to or how many Grammys you’re tipped to get, I just want to know that you can sit in a chair and intelligently talk about personal or real life issues without plugging your latest line of toothpaste every other sentence.
You ask everyone you interview “what is your FAULT”, why?
That was actually started by a previous editor but we didn’t ever explain exactly what we were asking when we would pose the question. Recently, I’ve started to phrase the question as “regardless how famous you become and how great you look in the shoot, what’s the one flaw that’ll always remind you that you’re human”, and that’s what really get the artist thinking.
Finally, what is your FAULT?
[Laughs] It’s surprising how many times I’ve asked that question and how little I’ve thought about what my own answer would be! I think that in an effort to avoid seeming like the high strung fashionista people expect an Editor to be, myself and my team can often downplay our accomplishments and huge successes to the point of being self-deprecating. I think that we all need to learn to accept the pat on the back without feeling like we need to apologise for it because a lot of hard work and 12-hour days go into keeping an independent print publication live and kicking after 8 years.
Words: Edward Barnes
Photography: Noah Shaw
FAULT Issue 25 is available for pre-order now on www.FAULT-Magazine.com