For over ten years, KISS magazine was every Irish girls best friend. It got so many of us through the tricky teenage years providing loads of really useful advice accompanied by all the celebrity news we needed to distract us from person we were convinced we were in love with, the study we were avoiding, or the massive spot that was brewing on our forehead.
So many of us were devastated when in 2014, KISS launched that they were printing their last issue. One of those most devastated was Megan Roantree, who had written in her journal as a young girl that one day she would be KISS’s editor.
She needn’t have worried as last November, KISS announced its triumphant return, with Megan at the helm. The magazine is only available online at the moment but it shares all the same positive, inspirational, funny and practical content. We recently met with Megan to talk about her journey to the top of her favourite publication, and what we can expect from Kiss in the future..
Megan, how would you describe your teenage experience?
My teen years were not without heartbreak. I lost my dad to cancer when I was 13, in first year and then a few years later I lost my best friend Shauna, who also had cancer. Several other people I was close to also passed away in my teen years, so there was a lot of upset. It was a difficult time where I was quite angry and confused about why cancer exists any why people I love die. And I was confused about what kind of person I would have been without all the grief and pain. But I also had a very positive teenage experience in the sense that I had wonderful friends and family, a safe home and a good school life. I grew up on the Aran Islands so it was quite sheltered but I think it’s what I needed when I was going through so much.
What did KISS magazine mean to you during those times, and why where you so intent on working there?
Growing up in a small place meant there wasn’t a huge amount to do every day or on weekends, so KISS was the perfect escape for me. There was so much fun, entertainment and celeb interviews in there for me to enjoy, but also loads of really interesting helpful features on friendship, health and life in general. The advice I got from KISS was so useful and informative and made me feel like there was someone out there to help. I wrote a lot when I was sad and kept a diary every day of my teen years so I loved the idea of writing down what was important, and that I could make a career out of it.
How did you get into journalism, and how can we follow in your footsteps?
After my Leaving Cert, I studied Journalism in Dublin City University for three years. I was lucky in the sense that I knew writing features was what I wanted to do. While in college I was part of a lot of societies like media production where I got to play around with radio equipment and cameras. I also wrote a lot of features and sent them to different publications, many of them ended up getting published. We’re lucky in DCU that there is an internship at the end of the degree which you have to do. I worked as an intern for a few months in a media company and they ended up hiring me. I then worked in a newspaper and then came to VIP Publishing, which has several magazines including STELLAR. I worked on VIP Magazine and STELLAR For about two years, all the while speaking about the relaunch of KISS, which happened in November of this year!
What can people expect from KISS reborn? What do you hope to keep and what do you hope to bring?
KISS is still the encouraging, helpful, supportive place it was in print years ago. We’re still talking about health, confidence, relationships and everything we did in the last. But this time there is even more emphasis on topics like sustainability, LGBT+ guidance, representation, and girls in sport, science and other male-dominated industries. Plus, we’re online so we’re more up to date and interactive than ever and encourage our readers to get in touch with their opinions and suggestions. I think now there is a lot of information coming at us at all times because we are always on our phones, so we want something online that can be a positive, educational and fun place amongst all the noise.
And finally, whats the most important message that you and the KISS team would like teenagers to know?
We want teenagers to know that we know that those teen years are tricky, because we’ve been there. We understand that it’s a complicated time but that there is lots of fun and amazing things about being a teenager too, and KISS hopes to cover it all.