Simply You

THE WOMAN WHO STARTED IT ALL

PAULA Ryan is a presence. A coupe of Champagne in one hand, strings of red balloons in the other, she perches atop a grand piano. There’s electricity in the air – and it’s not just the quick-fire camera flashes in the studio. “We’ve got it,” says the photographer as soon as he starts to capture our cover image. “We haven’t even started,” shoots back Paula.

The media mogul (70) has spent plenty of time on photographers’ sets – both in front of and behind the camera. Her infectious enthusiasm has seen her build many successful and stylish businesses, including Simply You magazine and her fashion brand Paula Ryan, and she’s still brimming with ideas. “I won’t retire. I’d rather fall over on the job,” she quips.

While Paula looks at home on set today, complete with stage lights and gold streamers, it was her upbringing on her Catholic family’s mixed-crop farm in South Canterbury that armed her with the necessary self-possession to get to the top of the New Zealand fashion industry – as well as our Steinway piano. “I remember being

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