How to interview someone about their life

An interview may seem intimidating, but what we may not realise is that we actually interview each other constantly in order to get to know one another. We ask questions about work, hobbies, opinions and so much more about someone's life. Not only is it a nice and easy way to find out more about a person or topic, but it's also very useful when the goal is to put it in print.

So, how to interview someone about their life? In its simplest form, an interview is two people having a conversation, where one person asks questions and the other person answers them. The people, questions, and answers depend on the goal of the interview. Whether it is for a birthday, school, wedding, or gift magazine, you can personalise the interview for the occasion. Below you will find some example questions and tips to help you conduct and create an interview in your magazine.

Birthday Magazine Interview

Say you're working on a magazine for your spouse's birthday, a good place to start with interviews is by interviewing the caretakers. They will have good insight about your significant other and will provide valuable information that will make the magazine even more unique and heartfelt. To help get the full picture, it is a good idea to interview more family members, close friends, and colleagues. Invite them out to dinner or coffee and talk about this special person you all have in common.

Example questions for a birthday magazine

  • How do you know the person that's celebrating their birthday?
  • What is one thing that is typically them?
  • What is the one thing the birthday person cannot live without?
  • What is something they dislike?
  • What is the first word that comes to mind when you think of them?
  • What message would you like to give them on this special day?
  • Do you have a story or memory you would like to share?

Wedding magazine interview

If you're making a magazine for a wedding or an anniversary, you could of course start by interviewing the couple that's getting married or celebrating the anniversary. If you want to keep the magazine gift a surprise, it is best to interview close friends, family members and even colleagues. We suggest bringing a photo you may like to know more about. This way the person you are interviewing can tell a fun anecdote that you can add to the page alongside the photo.

Example questions for a wedding magazine:

  • What is the secret to their successful relationship/marriage?
  • What do they love doing together?
  • Is there anything you have learned from their relationship/marriage?
  • What are some things they have in common?
  • Are they alike at all, or is their relationship a case of 'opposites attract'? Why?
  • Describe their relationship in your own words.

School magazine interview

We love the idea of interviewing a student or group about their lives and writing an article about them. The questions will largely depend on the student or group, but there are some general questions you can ask to get the ball rolling during the interview.

Example questions for a school magazine interview:

  • Who are you?
  • What does a typical day or week look like for you?
  • What's your most memorable experience at school so far?
  • What is your favourite thing at school?
  • What is your least favourite thing?
  • If you were principal for a day, what would you do?
  • What are some of your thoughts on local or international events?

Once you have got all the answers, it's time to add them to a page and create a nice looking format. You could choose one of the many pre-made interview templates available in the makerspace or start from scratch and create your own. It is best to use a simple or transparent background to ensure that the words will be legible.