A big impetus for starting the Ponte Vedra Focus was connecting people in the community and drawing people out. There are so many interesting people who live here. Case in point, Jamie Rich. Well-traveled, witty and intelligent, Jamie is worth getting to know.
Jamie is a writer/journalist, and this past year, she has taken on an exciting new project, Flamingo Magazine. Flamingo is Florida’s lifestyle, entertainment, travel and culture magazine. It’s beautiful and interesting, much like its publisher. The second issue will be on stands June 1. Pick it up, or subscribe by clicking here. Meet Jamie….
We moved from London to Ponte Vedra on December 26, 2012
What is your favorite thing about Ponte Vedra Beach and Northeast Florida?
The landscape and ecosystem surrounding us in North Florida is gorgeous. I love to ride my bicycle down long stretches of coastal highway and canopy roads. My family and I have taken our boat on trips as far as Savannah, up through the Intracoastal the entire way. And every time I drive east bound over the “bumpy” bridge crossing the Intracoastal where it opens up a bit wider and turns into marsh, I think about how much I love that view and living in Ponte Vedra.
What spurred you to start Flamingo?
I was a journalist writing for international and regional magazines and newspapers. I kept discovering rich stories about people and places in Florida, but I couldn’t find a media outlet that reached Floridians across the state. The idea of starting a magazine for the entire state was overwhelming at first, but my husband kept encouraging me to go for it. About a year and a half ago, I started studying the publishing business. Then last summer, I leased an office space behind the Cultural Center and haven’t looked back since.
Where does the name come from?
Choosing the name Flamingo was one of the first decisions I made. Flamingos are our state’s unofficial mascot– iconic, fun and undeniably Floridian. And they just make people smile. Florida had to have a magazine called Flamingo.
How long have you been a writer?
I remember writing letters to my mother to try and get out of trouble as a little girl. Does that count? My first real journalism job was as a copy editor at the Moscow Times in 2005 when my husband and I lived in Russia. Before that I worked in PR and media relations for 5 years.
Can you share with us your favorite writing piece?
My favorite published work—that I’m most proud of—is a story that I reported and wrote about the tradition of breast ironing in Cameroon in 2009. Breast ironing is a practice in which women press the breasts of young girls, using blunt objects like stones, to prevent them from developing. While it sounds gruesome, it’s a complicated story rooted in love and ignorance. For six months I reported the piece, interviewing mothers and daughters in the villages of Douala and Yaounde, Cameroon. Then I spent another few months writing and editing the story and pitching it to newspaper editors around the world. The breast ironing piece was my first article to be published in the Washington Post, a full page in the paper back when people still read printed newspapers. That entire experience really propelled my passion for journalism.
What should people know about you and Flamingo?
Floridians finally have a magazine that connects people from Pensacola to Key West and inspires them to go out and experience the land, waterways, arts and culture of Florida. And like our state, this new issue is pretty damn hot.
What are your hobbies outside of writing and editing?
I don’t have hobbies since starting a business. Haha! I love being outside on the water, on a bike or on the beach. I love listening to live music, and a lot of great musicians come through North Florida to play the Florida Theater, PV Concert Hall and St. Augustine Amphitheater. I also recently caught Better than Ezra at the Jax Beach band shell. What a great spot.
If you could have lunch with anyone, who would it be and why?
Dolly Parton because she would be a hoot and give unfiltered advice in life, love and business. I love her story and her music.
What was your favorite subject in school?
Ceramics. I took pottery classes in high school and college.
What is your favorite football team?
The Cinnamon Rolls, as my five-year-old daughter calls them. (Otherwise known as the Florida State Seminoles!)
What is your favorite book?
Into the Wild by John Krakauer—a brilliant journalist and story teller—was my first introduction to narrative non-fiction. It’s the only book that after reading the first word I didn’t put it down until I was finished.
Favorite and least favorite trend in the media business?
Favorite: Readers still love print
Least Favorite: 24-Hour barrage of news and commentary keeps people chained to their electronic devices. We all need time to unplug everyday.
If you can change one thing about the beaches what would it be?
More healthy, organic restaurants with outdoor seating.
Last time you laughed out loud uncontrollably?
When my husband whispered a joke in my ear in the middle of a religious ceremony.
Well I can’t repeat it.