Title: Semi-gloss

Author: Justine Cullen

Published: May 2021

Genres: Memoir




This is not a self-help book or a memoir. It's definitely not the Australian Devil Wears Prada.

In her collection of autobiographical essays, fashion magazine editor Justine Cullen takes us on a hilariously candid exploration of her life so far - and all the mistakes she's made along the way.

Semi-Gloss is an intimate, sharp and witty look at growing up and growing older from the kind of woman who seems like she has it all together - the glamorous job, the perfect family, the killer wardrobe. But, chipping away at that shiny, sparkly surface, Justine reveals the beautiful mess that lies beneath.

A wildly entertaining and sometimes bumpy ride through a life well-lived, by one of Australia's most respected female voices.


NICKY'S REVIEW  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

If you haven’t heard of @justine_cullen, well you have now. If you haven’t got around to reading this one yet, well you should 😉. This was such a sharp and entertaining read and I adored it! Given on the face of it, I couldn’t align with her professional journey, and even personal journey for the most part, I still found so much comfort and enjoyment in hearing her tell her stories in such an eloquent, and humorously sharp way. She is respectfully and unapologetically candid in the telling of both sides of the magazine industry, the wins and woes of motherhood, and everything in between. She tactfully dismisses the narrative that everything comes up roses all of the time, and subtlety calls out the toxicity that can filter through. A perfect balance of lessons learnt, dreams actualised and the exploration of what comes next after that.


TAY'S REVIEW  ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

‘Semi-gloss’ is a collection of musings and life stories from @justine_cullen, in which it feels like a friend has opened up the double front doors and welcomed you in to her most intimate thoughts and experiences. We get equal parts career and personal life, and the countless instances where the distinction between them becomes blurred and messy. Her encounters in the fashion & magazine industry are a fascinating behind the scenes insight; from excessive world travel, glamorous events and celebrity run ins (she doesn’t hold back in calling out the difficult ones!). But what I admired most was how candidly she exposed it as an “Instagram aesthetic” lifestyle rather than romanticising it. She kept it real with ferocious vulnerability and self-deprecating humour and passed on some valuable advice, in a way that isn’t preachy. The page count was perfect and the writing itself was 💯; the perfect balance between chatty and stylistic. I really enjoyed this one!


Thank you to Allen & Unwin for sending us an advanced review copy of this book.

You can find more information about the book and purchase a copy here.

RRP: $29.99



"I might be a bit lax when it comes to cooking them gourmet dinners and their school shirts may be very rarely (never) ironed, but when it comes to turning my boys into warriors for women, fighting the perils of a misogynist society, I am Mother of the Year.”



Detailed discussion of abortion and miscarriage



Click here to read the Q&A we had the pleasure of hosting with Justine Cullen.


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