Elizabeth Ann "Liz" Jones (born 5 September 1958) is a British journalist.
She originally followed a career in fashion journalism, but her work has broadened into confessional writing. Jones divides opinion. While she has gained positive responses, a "beautifully natural writer, as well as a funny one" according to Deborah Ross in The Independent, some of her articles have also received fierce criticism.
A former editor of Marie Claire, she has been on the staff of The Sunday Times and the Evening Standard. Jones currently writes columns for the Daily Mail and The Mail on Sunday.
Early life and career
Jones is the youngest child of an Army father and a former ballerina. Her six siblings are Claire (1941-2015), Philip (1947), Nick (1949-2011), Carolyn (1951), Tony (1952) and Sue (1956). She grew up in the village of Rettendon, near Chelmsford in Essex, and attended Brentwood County High School for Girls. Jones says she has been vegetarian since the age of twelve.
According to Jones, "I was six when I first realised how hideous I looked", and she has been an anorexic since the age of about 11. By the age of 17 she wished to look like model Janice Dickinson. Discovering Vogue magazine in Southend Public Library in August 1977, was a revelation for her. It "wasn’t just a magazine to me, its cover was a mirror: how I wanted to look, dress and be". Jones studied journalism at the London College of Printing.
After leaving college, she began to work for Company in 1981, initially as a sub-editor, eventually becoming a staff writer before leaving to go freelance in 1986. In 1989 she began an 11-year stint at The Sunday Times Magazine, becoming deputy editor of their "Style" magazine in 1998.
In April 1999, Jones was appointed editor of the UK edition of Marie Claire. An announcement by Jones during June 2000 that the leading fashion magazines were setting up a self-regulatory body concerning the size of models was "contradicted" by the editors of rival magazines. Faced by a declining circulation, she was sacked from this post two years later for refusing to use bulimic models and (according to Jones) listing in the magazine the freebies she had been offered in the previous month. She has continued to write about the fashion industry. In July 2013, Decca Aitkenhead wrote that "no one deconstructs its futile, psychologically destructive false promises more forensically than Jones – and in a mass market tabloid at that".
During her period at Marie Claire she began to write about her life, and met the journalist Nirpal Dhaliwal, who had been sent by BBC Radio in 2000 to interview her. Jones embarked on a seven-year relationship with him; their "disastrous" four-year marriage ended in 2007. Wanting to become pregnant while with an earlier boyfriend, she has written: "I resolved to steal his sperm from him in the middle of the night. I thought it was my right, given that he was living with me and I had bought him many, many M&S ready meals... One night, after sex, I took the used condom and, in the privacy of the bathroom, I did what I had to do." On a short-lived chat show presented by Katie Hopkins on the TLC channel in 2015, Jones again described attempting to deposit the sperm in her vagina, "Cos it can crawl, can’t it?" Hopkins asked her: "Liz are you normal?"
At the Mail titles
After four years as Life & Style editor at the London Evening Standard from 2002, she left to join the Daily Mail as Style editor in early 2006. Jones claims that she is disliked by the fashion industry: "The fashion industry stinks and everyone in fashion hates me. No one talks to me when I go to the shows. I'm barred from a lot of shows now. I've been barred from Armani, Louis Vuitton, Chloe, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Victoria Beckham..." She also writes for British Airways' High Life magazine on destinations and hotels. Jones has been described by Deborah Orr as a "very gifted writer and apparently very flaky human being".
Often considered somewhat self-obsessed, with the veracity of her confessions questioned, she has been defended by Tanya Gold who wrote: "There are many confessional journalists in Britain, but none as forensic or as self-critical as Jones." She has reported from Bangladesh, and was sent by her newspaper to cover the famine in Somalia in the summer of 2011; her suitability for this assignment was questioned by Ros Coward. In June 2012 she caused controversy by slating Holly Willoughby for posting a photo of herself on Twitter without makeup as a "betrayal to women." This Morning co-presenter Phillip Schofield defended Willoughby, saying "I swear there can be no greater force against all womankind than Liz Jones. She is inconsistent, bitter, nasty and unhinged."
Jones wrote about an alleged current love interest, the Rock Star (RS), in her weekly diary in The Mail on Sunday's You magazine from July 2010. Despite dropping many heavy hints that the "rock star" was Jim Kerr of Simple Minds, in a November 2011 interview in the Evening Standard, she finally admitted it is not Kerr. Almost immediately, she began writing about another alleged love interest, this time a married man living in South America.
In a May 2012 comment piece for the Daily Mail, while referring to the gender discrepancy in male and female mortality rates, Jones wrote "'more men die younger, more are incarcerated’. Well, fine by me!"
Until the end of October 2012 Jones lived in Brushford, just south of Dulverton, Somerset. Her comments about the area and in the book The Exmoor Files angered local people. The journalist Jane Alexander thought Jones opinions were "a clichéd, stereotypical and, frankly, lazy image of the countryside." She now lives in the Yorkshire Dales; a Mail on Sunday column on her surroundings was the subject of four articles in The Yorkshire Post in September 2016.
At the beginning of January 2014, Jones became a contestant in Celebrity Big Brother 13 on Channel 5 with comedian Jim Davidson, rapper Dappy, boxer Evander Holyfield, among others. She was evicted from the house on 22 January 2014 after receiving the fewest votes to remain. Jones describes herself as "mostly vegan" and has on at least one occasion experimented with non-vegan diets for health reasons (though remaining vegetarian for ethical ones).
In November 2012, Jones was named Columnist of the Year at the British Society of Magazine Editors Awards.