Juliet McGuire is a motoring journalist, presenter, and voice over artist. Having been in the industry for 12 years, she has worked with a number of influential brands and titles such as Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, and CAR magazine to name but a few. Apart from being a presenter for Ignition TV and cars.co.za, she also has her own YouTube channel and website. She also contributes to Gumtree Auto and has a motoring show on Cape Talk with John Maytham every second Monday.
Please tell us a little more about yourself and your journey thus far.
After completing my honours in journalism at the University of Stellenbosch, I joined the CAR magazine team as a terrified and inexperienced intern. Little did I know that this would be the start of the greatest career I couldn’t have even dreamed of. I was always interested in cars, but it was an ex-boyfriend who really ignited the passion. He still cannot believe that this is the job I get to do. The jealousy is real!
I spent seven years at CAR magazine and as much as I loved it and learnt more than I could have wished for, I was always considered junior. Women on Wheels came knocking at my door and offered me an opportunity I could not pass up on. I became editor of the annual magazine as well as the website about a year after joining the company and remained with them for four years. Again, the learning experience was invaluable. I eventually built up the courage to venture out on my own and start my own website. It was the greatest decision I ever made. I live my dream job, travel the world and this beautiful country and spend time with incredible people.
How did you get into the motoring journalist industry?
As mentioned, I started my career at CAR magazine as an intern. It was before I started my journalism degree, however, that I decided it was something I wanted to do. I just never realised how much I would actually enjoy it. After my four-week internship ended, I refused point blank to leave. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Have you experienced any challenges in this male dominated industry?
Almost on a daily basis! It has gotten better as my confidence has grown, but there have certainly been times when I wanted to just throw in the towel. It can be quite difficult to be taken seriously in this industry as a woman and so you have to work almost 10 times harder than what a man would have to. There have not only been moments of sexism, but far too often, the sexual misconduct of many men within the industry has been a real challenge. I have taken a lot of it on the chin, but there have been moments where it has been too shocking to ignore. It can make for a very uncomfortable working environment. Thankfully, most of the men in this industry are wonderful.
What advice would you give a woman wanting to pursue a career in this industry?
Develop a thick skin and don’t take things too seriously. But at the same time, do not stand for anything other than total respect. It will be tough, but it will be worth it.
What is it that you are passionate about?
I am passionate about my friends and family. They are my everything. If it wasn’t for my husband, I would never have taken the leap that I did. I love what I do, but it is the people around me who drive my passion. I am passionate about success, and that can mean different things for different people. For me, it is about being happy. Being true to myself. And being able to do what I love in my own unique way and make it work for me.
Who or What has been the biggest influence in your life and why?
My Grandfather is probably the person I most looked up to. He was a successful businessman, but his family was the most important thing in his life. I am where I am because of him. He believed in me and encouraged me in everything I did. It was him who provided all the opportunities for me to make a life for myself. And even in death, I am still benefiting from his legacy. I have his nickname tattooed on my wrist, I still miss him daily. I would give anything for him to see the life I made for myself thanks to him.
What is your personal “motto”?
Be kind. Be considerate. I believe that if people were kinder to one another, this world would be a different place. There is no better character trait than kindness. Everything else will follow from that.
What advice would you give a woman wanting to follow her dreams?
Don’t even think twice about it. Do it!
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Don’t just accept things as they are, challenge more. And for goodness sakes, believe in yourself. Be confident. You deserve to be here. (I still have to tell my older self this stuff too ha ha)
Your favourite quote:
“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly, and most underrated agent of human change.” – Bob Kerrey
What are your top 3 business tips?
- Be kind to every person you deal with, no matter who or what position they hold. You never know when you may need to call on that person in the future.
- When in doubt, just make contact. If you put yourself out there, something will come of it.
- Be on time. Be organised. Always.
What would you say is the secret to your success?
I still struggle with calling myself successful, it’s that advice to my younger self thing ha ha. I am very organised, prepared and always show up on time (or early), ready to do my job and do it well. So even when I have perhaps failed at something, the effort that was put in to it has always been the most appreciated element.
One general piece of advice you would like to share:
Be on time. It is disrespectful to show up late. For anything. (It’s one of my pet hates when people are late, I take it very personally)