Paul Lowe is Sweet Paul—the man behind the internationally popular lifestyle magazine. Born and raised in Oslo, his beloved grandmother and great-aunt instilled in him a passion for cooking and crafting that’s designed for fun over flawlessness. He captures that spirit in his quarterly magazine and blog, where he invites his readers to share in his love of what he loosely calls “creating things.” “Let’s not be so serious about what we do,” he says. “I honestly think that that’s the philosophy that kept me relevant for so many years.” We spoke to Paul about some of his career influences, the challenges of making a magazine, his experience in the queer corner of his industry, and more.
Sweet Paul—the magazine—came to be because of the success of the Sweet Paul blog and the community it fostered. What are some of the less obvious differences between creating a magazine versus an online publication?
It’s a big difference. You have stricter deadlines, more people involved and of course more money. One of the hardest things with being a magazine publisher is running after freelancers and getting their material in. It’s also a huge difference between doing a blog post and a 146-page magazine. The logistics alone can be hard, printing, sales, ads etc. It’s all about surrounding yourself with great people who can help you where you yourself lack.
What keeps you curious, challenged, engaged in your work? Who are your influences or inspirations?
I love to create, if it’s baking bread or crafting it’s kinda all the same to me. It’s all about creating. The quest for always creating keeps me going. Early on I was very inspired by Martha, I still admire her, but I’m not that inspired anymore. Inspiration can come from anywhere. Fashion, a restaurant meal, art, music. I always comes up with my best ideas in the bathtub, that’s why I always keep a notebook and a pen in the bathroom.
Do you enjoy the collaborative process?
Yes and no. Sometimes I do, I love to listen to other ideas and collectively coming up with something. And other times I’m just like "Hell, I know best."
What has your experience as a gay guy been like in your corner of the food industry?
The great thing about being gay is that wherever in the world you go there is always the gay universal language. There are always like-minded people on set that you can joke and have fun with. For me this job is not so much a job, more a lifestyle. And I want to have fun in this life, really we are cooking, it’s not curing cancer. Let’s not be so serious about what we do. I honestly think that that’s the philosophy that kept me relevant for so many years. The good thing about us gay guys is if he meet someone bitchy on set we can always give it double back. But you know, 99% of everyone I ever met here is super nice and warm people.
If you weren't styling food and publishing a magazine, what would you be doing instead?
Be a famous model!
Photos by Quyn Duong.