“Make bold plays”: Ben Jhoty on how Men’s Health Australia is reimagining men’s health

Health Australia

“Mental health was already a big pillar for us, but that’s only going to get bigger.”

A month after celebrating its 25th birthday, Men’s Health Australia shared the news that former deputy editor Ben Jhoty will be stepping into the role of editor-in-chief.

In September, Jhoty took on the position vacated by Scott Henderson after serving as Henderson’s deputy editor since 2019.

As part of a team restructure, Jhoty’s new role means former associate editor Dan Williams has stepped into deputy editor, while Henderson remains attached to the brand as fitness editor.

Mediaweek spoke to Jhoty about his new position and the direction he plans to take the men’s lifestyle brand.

From the bottom to the top

Jhoty started at Men’s Health in his 20s as a junior copy editor. Since then, he has climbed the ladder within the organisation to cement his place at the top.

“It feels pretty natural. I feel like I have slipped into it pretty well,” he said. “But it still is different from my previous role, and I’m still learning the ropes on more of the commercial side, but I’m enjoying it so far.”

In 2020, Are Media listed Men’s Health Australia alongside Women’s Health Australia as one of eight titles they were cutting.

In a stroke of luck, the license was picked up by the former publisher of Men’s Fitness, Sydney-based boutique publishing house Paragon Media.

Since then, the publication has gone from strength to strength, experiencing a 42% increase in magazine readership this past year.

On the increase, Jhoty said, “I think it was a combination of distribution and memorable covers that resonated.”

Ben Jhoty

Ben Jhoty

Redefining content 

Like most places, the pandemic has heavily influenced the past few years. Throughout this time, the publication dedicated more space to discussing men’s mental health, with a focus on depression. Now, coming out the other side, Jhoty said some post-pandemic trends include a focus on shining a light on anxiety in men.

“The pandemic stressed everyone out a little bit, so mental health was already a big pillar for us, but that’s only going to get bigger.

According to Beyond Blue, one in eight men will experience depression, and one in five men will experience anxiety at some stage.

“For a long time, depression was the main thing we wrote about in terms of mental health, and anxiety was kind of in the shadows, but anxiety is becoming something that more men are now readily admitting to and want help with.”

In his new role, Jhoty said he wants to continue to make the brand a more open and inclusive space for men’s physical and mental health, with a continued focus on social issues.

“In the last two years, there’s been a lot more diversity in our covers, and that is something I want to continue,” he said.

In October 2021, the magazine featured actor and author Simu Liu on its cover – making him the first Asian to appear on the magazine cover. In August this year, the lifestyle brand featured footballer Josh Cavallo as the cover star, focussing on his journey to becoming the only active openly gay professional footballer in the world.

Simu Liu October 2021 issue

“I want to continue that, but at the same time, we don’t want to make a big deal about it,” Jhoty said about continuing to feature more diversity within the brand.

“I don’t believe in special issues for celebrating those kinds of things. I’d rather it just be an organic thing that you look at a style spread, and the model happens to be Indigenous, but it’s not something you make a big deal about – it’s just happening organically.”

“I think it’s a good time for everyone in our industry to make bold plays to reimagine the way we talk about men’s mental and physical health,” he added.

The future of Men’s Health

In a bid to engage a younger audience, Men’s Health has recently started an initiative called Men’s Health Flex – an Instagram-led cover that features “younger and edgier stars.”

“It’s resonating a lot with our readers, so I feel it’s a good way for us to tap into that younger audience who are online and on socials and give them styles that reflect who they like.

“And it’s a little more agile and nimble than with big Hollywood stars or athletes on the front cover. So this gives us more flexibility and more ability to tap into the online audience.”


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In his free time, Jhoty is a keen NBA fan and plays Saturday morning pick-up games with a group of other dads. When he’s not working on health and fitness content, Jhoty writes fiction, releasing a debut novel in 2020, with a new book, inspired by a Men’s Health feature story, set to be released by the end of the year. 

On the future of Men’s Health Australia, Jhoty said, “We as a team are very excited by this time. We are growing our team, and we’ve got new people coming on in the digital side of things.

“So we’re ready to build partnerships and get some of these brand properties off the ground and try to find a way to reach as many Australian men as we can.

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