Talking Shop… with KATE WHITE

Kate White is Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan, the largest-selling, most successful young women's magazine in the world. She began her career as an editorial assistant at Glamour, after winning their "Top Ten College Women" contest and appearing on the cover. She has worked at Mademoiselle, and was Editor-in-Chief of Child, Working Woman, McCall's, and Redbook, where she launched the annual "Mothers and Shakers" awards. White became Editor-in-Chief of Cosmo in 1998. She recently received the Matrix award, which honors "extraordinary achievements of outstanding women in the communications field." The busy White is also the author of the Bailey Weggins murder mystery series (Warner Books). The first two books, If Looks Could Kill and A Body to Die For, were New York Times bestsellers. The third book, 'Til Death Do Us Part, will be published this month. ABC Television is currently developing a pilot based on the series. White is also the author of two nonfiction books: the best selling Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do; and 9 Secrets of Women Who Get Everything They Want, which was named Best Motivational Book of 1999 by Books for a Better Life Awards. Kate White lives on the Upper East Side with her husband Brad Holbrook, host of the syndicated TV show, Business Week magazine's Money Talks, shown locally on ABC, Sundays at 10am. Married 18 years, they have a son Hunter, 16, and a daughter Hayley, 14.

Favorite mystery writer: The Inspector Wexford mysteries by Ruth Rendell because they're traditionally English but, unlike P.D. James, whom I also like, there are always little, good clues to who the killer is — if you're smart enough to find them. That's what I've always wanted to do with my mysteries — to leave enough clues so that readers can solve them on their own.

Favorite non-mystery writer: I've been re-reading Shakespeare's plays lately. Man, that guy holds up! I've been blown away by how delicious those plays are. As a mystery writer, I'd have to say my favorite is Macbeth — it's exhilarating!

What you do with one spare hour and no commitments: I go to the Met Museum and take an audio tour. I'm a member of the museum, so I go a lot. Often it will be to see a new exhibit, like the current Chuck Close, or I'll take an audio tour of an exhibit in the permanent collections. Then I sit in the new Petrie Court Cafe and have their tuna entrée with a glass of wine. It's so pleasurable.

Best "Cosmo" mom (self excluded!): There are a number of mothers at my kids' school (Trevor Day School on the Upper West Side) who have great spirit and always look great. I so enjoy their company.

Favorite beauty treatment: Well, doing the research for A Body To Die For (which is set in a spa) was the hardest work I've ever done. Of course, I say that completely facetiously! I fell in love with massage. During the two years I was writing that book, I went for a massage once a week, and I never had a cold. After I finished the book, I stopped for a while — and the colds returned! So now, once a week, I try to go to Ajune on the Upper East Side. I sneak in there on the way home from work. It's a lovely place, not at all pretentious — every mother should know about it! And I never get a cold!

What your kids would call your "coolest" attribute: My kids think I'm the un-coolest person in the world. Even when my son read my first book, he said: "Mom, this is really good. Did you have it ghost-written?"! But there has been one exception: when I was on The Apprentice and they auctioned off a day with me. The kids thought that was pretty cool.

Best piece of parenting advice you've ever been given: I've always been the kind of parent who talks to other parents and reads the books — I do a lot of homework. A friend once told me something that has always stuck with me. There is some kind of educational philosophy — I think it's the Montessori method — where parents are encouraged to include their kids in what they are doing. So, instead of saying: 'I have to snip the green beans now, so why don't you go into the living room and color,' you hand them the green beans and show them how to help you do it. I've tried to include my kids in everything. I've even given them internships at Cosmo — though they're on the young side for that.

Best ever family vacation: We've gotten to love adventure trips. I would have to say our trips to Peru and Kenya would be a tie. We love traveling where we can do bird watching and see animals and nature.

Best coping strategy for working to a tight deadline: Taking some deep breaths and trying to relax. The great thing about being 'of a certain age' is that you recognize that what really matters are the people in your life and you don't get as frazzled by other stuff. I remember we were doing a cover shoot and the actress refused to wear silk on the cover because she's an animal rights activist and felt it was cruel to silkworms. I just had to laugh to get through it. One of the great things about my husband is that he and I have the same sense of humor; during the stressful times, he keeps me laughing.

Favorite designer: I'm an eclectic shopper. I might shop for designer clothes to wear to work, like something by Prada. But I also love J. Crew, and agnes b.

The gutsiest girl you've ever known: I've met Mrs. Clinton on a couple of occasions, and I think I'd have to nominate her. Her transition to the Senate has been stellar, and despite all the criticism she's faced, she never looks like it gets to her.

Favorite NYC family outing: This is an easy answer — it's something we've been doing since my daughter was 3 and we continue to do it as a family, once a month without fail. We go to Benihana — and we also like to bring out-of-town friends with us.