Living just above the smog line in Los Angeles, California, Janis Hirsch has left a permanent imprint on situation comedy. She’s a behind-the-scenes star, writing and producing the Emmy-nominated wit and wisdom that television viewers have quoted around the water cooler for years, including hits such as Will & Grace, Frasier, Murphy Brown, It’s Garry Shandling’s Show and The Nanny. She’s also worked on a lot of forgettable series but is quick to note that you work just as hard on the crap and happily, you laugh just as hard. She’s also contributed special material for Bette Midler’s latest Las Vegas show. Between writing funny scripts, Janis pens the VroomGirls column, “No, YOU Shut Up and Drive!”– giving us a check-your-blind-spot look at life from her Toyota Prius.
Aaron Gold started his car-writing career as an intern and gofer for the British car magazine What Car?. He has written car reviews for several automotive publications, including J. D. Power and Associates and Woman Motorist. Currently, when he isn’t getting in touch with his feminine side and writing for VroomGirls.com, Aaron runs the Cars site for About.com and is a consulting producer on the History Channel TV series Top Gear. Aaron lives in Los Angeles with his wife (Robin), sons (Robert and Andrew), Boxer (Bayla), tarantula (Fifi), gecko (Frankie Four Fingers), goldfish (Big Fish and Little Fish), and horses (Raz and Aiden). Aaron is currently being pursued by collection agents from Pet Smart.
KIMBERLY PHIPPS, Art Director
Kim has been obsessed with art and photography for a long time, since there was this stuff called film that you put in cameras. Her most memorable car was a hot pink Ford Escort from her University of Texas at Austin days. It was known as the Tab Can. You don’t have to be an art director to match your pedicure polish to your car’s exterior, but it helps. She lives in Los Angeles, where she loves to watch French films, roast her own coffee beans, and find obscure Chinese noodle houses.
Joni Gray knows cars. Her experience includes online automotive editor at The Los Angeles Times, and senior editorial roles at automotive websites Kelley Blue Book and AutoTrader. Before making the leap to the edit side, Joni was an advertising exec at three major car corporations – Mazda, Hyundai and Honda – giving her a unique perspective on what motivates car-buying consumers. Joni has written for Advertising Age, Automotive News, Westways and Edmunds.com. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Motor Press Guild (MPG) in Southern California. Joni is also an auto enthusiast, with a particular passion for electric cars. She owns an all-electric Nissan Leaf!
No matter where she is — basketball game, cocktail party, Apple Store, health club — if she tells a man that she test drives cars for a living, it’s like turning a white light…on HER! She loves her job. Writing about cars has taken her to such far-flung places as Monaco to explore the south of France in a Jaguar, Mongolia to camp out Range Rover style in the Gobi desert, Italy to race Maserati’s around a track and Estonia to drive Bentleys on Muhu Island. When she’s not doing all that, she lives in NYC (behind her computer) reporting on a variety of topics for pubs including NY Daily News, Elite Traveler, Hamptons Magazine, several syndicates and live media including Fox News, The Speed Channel and Autolab radio.
Why not focus on la dolce vita? That’s been Meg’s philosophy when it comes to both writing and life. She covers fashion, beauty, automotive, travel, health and food. After working on staff at InStyle Magazine in New York, she headed West to pursue a freelance career, which affords her time to experience all those passions that she writes about. She’s a Pacific Northwest native, who received her bachelor’s degree at the University of Washington and her master’s degree at the University of Oregon. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, socializing, eating, exercising, drinking champagne and cooking.
Matt Stone is a self-described car fool. It’s been his passion to make automotive journalism, road testing, history, motorsport, photography, and racing, wrecking, and restoring cars his personal and professional life. As a professional automotive journalist / photographer since 1990, Matt has written books and, until recently, was the executive editor of MotorTrend and editor of MotorTrend Classic magazines. He’s the collector car commentator on SPEED television, and chief class judge at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. His specialties are history, design, and interview features. Matt’s voice was often heard on the syndicated MotorTrend Radio Network. A California native, Matt hopes to own a Ferrari Daytona, a Ford GT, and a Shelby Cobra 289 – some day.
Formerly the online automotive editor for The Chicago Sun-Times and the print auto editor for Pioneer Press Newspapers, this 5th percentile (aka petite) female tells it like it is from the fun to the functional. Jill currently writes car reviews for The North Star National, a national syndicate based in Grand Rapids, manages an automotive blog for ChicagoNow called “Drive, She Said,” and has occasional guest appearances on WGN Radio. When she can subdue her lead foot, she also freelances for the fuel-efficient-focused website MPGomatic.com.
Petrina Gentile is an award-winning automotive journalist – one of the few women who cover cars in Canada. She writes weekly reviews and celebrity test drives for The Globe and Mail newspaper and MSN Autos. She produces a national TV show called “Car/Business with Jeremy Cato and Michael Vaughan” on CTV and BNN. She appears regularly on CTV’s Canada AM, CTV News Channel, BNN, and CBC reporting on the automotive beat. She has written several non-fiction books for kids including Big Trucks, Big Wheels and Dirt Movers.
JESSICA BLAIR HOWELL
Jessica Blair’s writing career began at a young age. Since penning — and soliciting subscriptions to — a weekly family newsletter (think: who’s on dishwasher duty) at the age of eight, she’s been enamored with the craft. After earning a degree in journalism, she spent time as a travel and automotive writer before launching the eco chic travel blog, Green Globetrotter. Today, she divvies her time between writing, perfecting blue-ribbon banana breads, tearing pages from Lucky and Elle Décor in an ongoing quest to reach style nirvana, and traveling.
LIESEL KOPP, Photo Wizard
Liesel has been messing around with images in Photoshop for more years than she cares to count. She also really enjoys acting in horror films, eating cheese, and playing with her furry feline pals.