Paige Rense, aka Paige Rense Noland (b. Des Moines, Iowa, May 4, 1929) is the editor emeritus of Architectural Digest, where she served as editor in chief from 1975 until 2010. She is also the founder of the Arthur Rense Prize poetry award. Rense founded the cookery magazine Bon Appétit, was editor in chief of GEO, and is the author of a mystery novel, Manor House (Doubleday, 1997).
A high-school dropout, Rense began her career in journalism in the mid 1950s, as a member of the editorial staff of the skin-diving magazine Water World, where her future husband Arthur F. Rense was the managing editor. After leaving Water World she wrote a how-to beauty book and a novel, in addition to articles for Cosmopolitan, and worked in publicity and advertising.
In October 1970 Rense became associate editor of Architectural Digest. Six months later she was named head of the magazine after the murder of its editor in chief, Bradley Little, and was appointed editor in chief in 1975. She held that position until 2010, having transformed the magazine, which was founded in 1920 as a trade journal, into "a bible for the design world and increasing its circulation to more than 850,000 from 50,000 during her tenure".
Paige Rense has been the recipient of:
- The Museum of Arts & Design Achievement Award (2006)
- The American Academy of Achievement Award (2000)
- The Pratt Institute Founder Awards (1997)
- The Interior Design Hall of Fame Award (1985)
Adopted as an infant by Lloyd R. Pashong (1895–1988), a public-school custodian, and his wife, the former Margaret May Smith (1890–1983), she was originally known as Patty L. Pashong and took the name Paige as a teenager. In the early 1940s she and her parents moved from Iowa, to Los Angeles, California, where, after running away from home at age 15, she worked as an usherette in movie theaters.
Rense has been married five times. Her first husband was Richard Gardner, a Los Angeles advertising executive. She met her second husband, David Thomas, while they were both working for the US Armed Forces Radio Service in Tokyo, Japan in the early 1950s. Her third and fourth husbands was Arthur F. Rense (1916–1990), a sports journalist for the Los Angeles Daily News and the director of public relations for Howard R. Hughes's Summa Corporation. By this marriage she had three stepsons. The couple were married twice, from 1957 until March 1974 and from 22 December 1987 until Arthur Rense's death. In 1998, Rense established the triennial Arthur Rense Prize in poetry in the honor of her late husband, an amateur poet; it is given by the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
- Arthur F. Rense obituary, New York Times, January 5, 1991
- American Academy of Arts and Letters
- Joanne Powell, "Paige Rense, Editor in Chief of Architectural Digest, Bon Appétit, and GEO", Washington Journalism Review, May 1983, pp 36-41
- Charlayne Varkonyi, "Murder (and Interior Design) She Wrote", Miami Sun-Sentinel, 21 March 1997
- Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, 21 February 1994, page 37
- Joseph Plambeck, "Editor of Architectural Digest To Retire", The New York Times, 4 June 2010
- Name change cited in Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, 21 February 1994, page 37
- Childhood move and running away cited in Amanda Vaill, "The Only Dame in Town", New York Magazine, 21 February 1994, page 37
- Parents' names, maiden name, age (10 months), and father's occupation cited in 1930 U. S. Federal Census for Des Moines, Iowa, accessed on ancestry.com on 16 October 2010.
- The RIP Post
- Dates of marriage and divorce and bride's maiden name stated on the California Divorce Index, 1966-1984, Case No 029389, accessed on ancestry.com on 16 October 2010
- Kenneth Noland obituary
- Architectural Digest website
- Charlie Rose interviews Paige Rense
- "The Only Dame in Town: How Condé Nast Made Architectural Digest's Paige Rense the 2,000-Pound Gorilla of Interior Design", New York Magazine, 21 February 1994