Missfits Magazine: Issue 7
We are so very proud to present our seventh issue! Featuring interviews with talented young artists and photographers including M.A. Alford, Jade Novarino, and Frankie Norstad, political commentary on the recent birth control debates by Taylor Maschger, witty advice on surviving college life by Rosee Mussen, a refreshing perspective on post-secondary education by Molly Higgins, an up-close look at roller derby with Audrey Dimola, a body-positive swimsuit editorial by co-editor Maddie Maschger, and several breathtaking and vivid photo editorials.
The past few months have been crazy to say the least. We have graduated from high school, attended dozens of grad parties, finalized our college plans, and yes, pieced together our seventh issue of Missfits. This fall, Maddie will attend the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon to study photography, and Courtney will attend the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri to study textile and apparel management. Though there will be several states and thousands of miles between us, we are determined to continue publishing Missfits and we welcome the challenge. This issue is packed full of content. We attempted to build more of a community through the hype of Issue Seven, posting web exclusive content and "sneak peeks" to our twitter, tumblr, and facebook. We encourage you to join in on the fun at missfitsmag.com. With that, we welcome you to our summer issue. Issue Seven is overflowing with the talent of our readers, and we are so lucky to have such devoted contributors who are so eager to share their voice. See you this fall, "It's challenging and exciting, entering everyday completely unaware of what it will become." Wandering A personal column and explorer's journal by Molly Higgins "So do you have any idea of what you're doing yet?" Abby asked. God, that is the omnipresent question for high school seniors, isn't it? No. I had no clue. "I don't know, I'm thinking of taking some time off, moving away. I don't really know what I want to be yet." I answered, giving her a fake smile that made me look like I didn't want to pour my iced coffee on her highlighted hair. "Oh. That's... cool." She raised her eyebrows and pursed her lips. I hated the way people reacted to that statement. Like I was trash for not doing what the system had in place for me. The next stop on the conveyor belt of consumerist American life was going to college. Then get a "career." Then get married, reproduce; put your children the conveyor belt, continue the manufacture. "Well, I'm not completely sure of what field I want to go in, and I don't want to waste money doing something I don't enjoy, to enter a lifelong career that will ultimately lead to my unhappiness." Hope that answer wasn't too blunt for her. She nodded like she understood. She didn't. The post-secondary education system in the 21st century is b***s**t (pardon my French). There exists more than one trillion dollars in student debt in the United States alone. In the past nine years, the number of students who have to go into debt to get a Bachelor's degree has risen from 45% to 94% today. And over the past ten years, state schools' tuition and fees have seen a 72% increase. The numbers are not in our favor. "Yeah, but college degrees are really important to have, especially in this economy." Abby chimed. Like her degree was doing a lot for her. She moved back home after graduating, and I'm sure her bachelor's in Asian-American Studies was helping her a lot while she served coffee inside Target. Sorry. Maybe that was too harsh. I promise I'm not a terrible person. Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, J.K. Rowling, Ray Bradbury, JD Salinger, Woody Allen, Clint Eastwood, Theodore Roosevelt, Jimi Hendrix, Jack London, Kurt Cobain. All didn't go to college or dropped out of high school before earning a GED. (Okay, so maybe that last example wasn't my strongest...) You don't need to know all of the answers right away, or know your life plan by the time you're eighteen. It's okay to be unsure. I'm still figuring it all out. And I will be until the day I die. So after graduation, I drove 1,684 miles to Los Angeles with no plans except to simply live; and to let life take me where it wanted. As Mark Twain once said, "I never let schooling interfere with my education." I'm not in school, yet I'm learning more than ever before. Thoreau, Vonnegut, and Hemingway are my teachers. Instead of textbooks, I have roadmaps. I still take the bus, but these aren't yellow or filled with kids. Now they cost money, are much more crowded, and often smell weird. My foreign language classes are constant; Japanese, Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic are spoken as I try to remember the broken fragments of language all around me. I have huge art classes in museums where I learn from the masters; Picasso, Warhol, Pollock, Matisse, Rembrandt. Philosophy is taught by the Harikrishna's banging their tambourines, dancing in the streets, the Japanese Methodist minister, and the long-bearded homeless man, who shouts about salvation and damnation on the street corner. For lunch, I no longer carry a plastic tray of chicken nuggets and a milk carton in an overcrowded cafeteria. I walk down narrow paths, vendors with small stands on each side, filled with ripe fruits and vegetables, vibrantly colored by nature. Small handwritten cardboard signs boast cheap prices for every produce imaginable. I am no longer programmed like a herded cow, moving from one dimly lit white room to another every 45 minutes. I can go where ever I please, whenever I want. I can take the train up north to historic and beautiful Old Pasadena. Or ride the subway to the beach. Or walk to the heart of downtown. Life is more open than I had ever thought. The most fascinating, terrifying, and exciting thing about leaving my hometown is starting new. No one knows my name. No one has seen my face. No one has heard rumors about me. No one knows my dreams or beliefs. It's like I was reborn. But this time, I can create myself into someone completely new. I'm all for "being yourself," but there is empowerment with knowing there is no stigma with your name, no previous knowledge of your life. You can create a whole new legacy, or reputation, depending on which way you want to go. I see new faces, all beautiful and unique. I talk to people with beliefs and values completely unheard of, which open up whole new worlds of opportunity. I meet people for the first time with no preconceived notions, completely unknown. I've experienced many new things and met many new people with lifestyles completely unheard of in my conservative suburban hometown. I want to get a college degree someday. Or at least take classes. I'll take classes here and there over things that interest me, to help me continue figuring out what I want to do with this crazy life. But I don't see the rush, especially with insufficient funds and not a clue of what "career" I want to pursue. I just don't want to end up $75,000 in debt, with a degree I don't use, or worse, that I don't like, to get a job I don't like, to marry a husband I don't like, to get a house I can't afford, to raise the kids I don't want, to keep working the job I hate to pay for all of the aforementioned. So, I'm not saying I will never go to school. That's not my point. I'm just saying not right now, when Mother Earth is showing me so much, and kicking my butt back in check once and awhile. It's challenging and exciting, entering everyday completely unaware of what it will become, but trusting yourself and stepping out onto the city streets, hoping you won't get hit by a bus. "The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page." � St. Augustine Editorial by Ellena "Lou" Deeley Illustration by Mae Daughtrey The Perks of Being an English Student Important lessons I have learned from my first year at University. A regular installment by Rosee Mussen. Photographs by Jess Hodges. It's a widely accepted fact that while you're studying, you're probably going to have very little money, but that's okay, because after a few months you will start to really be at one with the lifestyle of the impoverished student. In addition to my sneaky hipflask trick (read on to find out more!) there are many other little ways you can save your money for important necessities like new clothes or paying off the hefty library fine that you will undoubtedly rack up around deadline time. Here are some more of my "handy" tips for scrimping and saving. 1. If ever an occasion arises where you're having a meal in a cafe or restaurant, pretend it's your birthday! Once when I was at a sushi restaurant I told our friendly waitress that it was my birthday and they gave us twenty percent off! (Side note: It was actually my birthday, but I'm sure if you invest in a badge or a balloon or something you too can be just as convincing as I was.) 2. Always ask if a shop offers a student discount whenever you buy anything. If they don't, pay for your items but look really sad and poor in the hope that you appeal to their kinder side and they might suggest doing a student discount to their manager! (I have yet to see evidence of this working but remain ever hopeful.) 3. Steal pens. When you borrow a pen from somebody you don't know in a lecture or a seminar, if they don't ask for it back, for god's sake don't give it back! They won't miss one little ball point pen, but do you know how much a packet of pens costs?! A lot. The downside of this is that if people catch on to what you're doing you might end up labelled with an unflattering nickname like "pen girl" but the trick is to be sneaky. 4. Another good thing to steal, not that I would normally condone it, is salt! If you're in a fast food restaurant, more often than not there's a counter where you can help yourself to little sachets of salt. When you're taking some salt to add flavour to your meal, just take a few more sachets � say, thirty. If you think about it, they're free, so really you're supposed to take them. The same goes for other condiment sachets. One thing that I didn't really consider until my first year was nearly over was the radical notion that you don't have to be best friends--or even good friends--with the people you live with. I truly wish that somebody had told me this before starting university, so I do feel the need to share it now in order to give at least a little enlightenment. I moved from an off-campus house into on-campus accommodation in February, and when I did so everyone had already been living there for a good five months and were very well integrated. (All three of my flatmates were extremely close and two were in a relationship with one another.) They were all incredibly nice and we did get on very well despite the fact that I didn't really have anything in common with them, but for a long time I felt like a total outsider and pressured myself to spend time with them through no other reason than I worried that they would think I was being anti-social. I realise now that this was perhaps a little neurotic of me and actually, they were totally un-phased by me opting to spend time alone in my room as opposed to sidling into the kitchen while they were all there and offering them all cups of tea in order to make conversation/have something to do so I didn't look as awkward as I felt. I think that it's actually really okay to not be close to the people you live with. If you're all super close, well, that's really great too, but I haven't experienced that yet. My best friends at university are all people who I have met on my course, and I spent the majority of my time with them. My flat was where I spent time on my own. I'm not prescribing reclusive behaviour by any means, but I do think it's important to discourage the sense of obligation that I felt to constantly be around the people I lived with. At the end of the day, you can choose the friends you make but (most of the time) you can't choose who you live with in your first year. (Next year will be different for me as I am moving into a shared house with two of my best friends and I am incredibly excited about doing so!) Feeling comfortable in your living environment is an absolute necessity, so as long as you're all reasonably friendly and exchange pleasantries, then there's no need to feel compelled to be best friends with your flatmates. On a completely different note, the correlation between paying for alcohol and skimpy underwear may not be entirely obvious at first glance, but let me tell you, I didn't fully realise until I started uni just how expensive alcohol is when you're buying drinks in bars and clubs on nights out with your friends. (It's really expensive.) At university in England we like to party (18 is the legal drinking age here). How can an impoverished undergraduate possibly keep up with the extremely high alcohol prices whilst maintaining their image as a sociable and fun young student I hear you ask? If you'd like to enjoy a drink or six for a considerably lower price then I really do suggest you take up my method. I personally like to make further use of an item of clothing that is already usually pretty practical by avoiding paying the extortionate drink prices through keeping a small bottle of vodka in my knickers. (Actually I have since progressed from vodka bottle to a cute little tartan hipflask full of vodka but if you feel that buying a hipflask is too much of a commitment to this fun and ultimately really stingy way of drinking then just stick with the bottle.) Why should you keep it in your knickers (or briefs, boxers, whatever floats your boat)? Because some places will search your bags. I have never encountered a security person at a club or bar who would take kindly to the fact that I was smuggling in my own booze as opposed to haemorrhaging my cash in their establishment. Buy your soft drink mixer at the bar with plenty of ice - your vodka will be pretty warm from all that bottle/skin action. Then sneakily tip your vodka (or whatever is your chosen poison) into your drink when you are sure no bar staff or bouncers are looking your way. If they catch you, you probably will get kicked out. Before you get the guilty heebie jeebies about ripping off your local watering holes I really urge you to man up and consider how it costs me �5.80 to buy a 35cl bottle of Vodka but a drink with a single shot of vodka and nonalcoholic mixer usually costs around �2.80. Ridiculous. I would honestly recommend doing this to anyone, it may not be particularly classy but I have saved myself an unholy amount of money doing this for the past nine months. You will undoubtedly meet a huge amount of new people when you start university and you'll make so many new friends and have lots of new experiences et cetera, et cetera, but everybody tells you that. One thing that I have found particularly nice about the friendship side of uni is actually in terms of my friends from home. The fact that nearly all of my friendship group are all at different universities around the country makes coming home a really wonderful experience. It's like we've all spread our wings and flown the nest...until Christmas where we all fly back to the nest and cling to one another in a joyous friendship reunion. I love the people that I have met at uni more than I ever thought I would, and now I'm home from the summer I spend a considerable amount of time on the phone to them and texting them, but at the same time, it feels so good to return home to the people that you've done a lot of your growing up with. The mutual excitement that is shared when you all get together for the first time since you've been away is totally incomparable with anything else you will have ever experienced! In terms of the more educational side of student life, one of my seminar tutors once said to me in a one-to-one meeting we had towards the end of the final term of my first year, "If, through your studies, you find one thing that interests and inspires you when you had previously had no knowledge of it before, then your first year of university has been a success." I was feeling morose about my lack of inspiration for my creative writing module and she asked which part of my studies I had enjoyed most this year. I told her about my new found love for feminist literary theory and criticism, and she smiled and proceeded to tell me how important it was that I had discovered this new passion for something that I previously had no knowledge of (and subsequent interest in) whatsoever. Her words really stuck with me, which I suppose is good considering that our meeting didn't really inspire any other productive outcomes whatsoever. It's important to come out of your first year with the reasons you have chosen to study the subject that you're studying totally affirmed. In fact, I would go as far as saying that it's the most important thing you can take from your first year. I certainly have. If you're going to be starting university at the end of the summer then good luck to you, study hard and remember not to ever pay for salt. Keep up with Rosee's uni adventures through her twitter. @RoseeMussen Let the Seasons Begin An Editorial by Giulia Parlato M.A. Alford is an artist. In attempting to sum him up as a friend, a colleague, or just a guy you once saw tacking screen-printed skulls onto a stop sign, he is, at the core of his existence, an artist. In describing M.A., there is no other term. Launching himself into the art world while still in high school, he has built up quite an impressive resume. Just a twenty-year-old art and broadcast journalism student at Pepperdine University in Malibu, California, he has already exhibited in eight group exhibitions and three solo exhibitions. His work has been featured in major publications like Juxtapoz and on several major shows including CNN, Fox Kansas City, NBC Kansas City, and 96.5 The Buzz KC. He has spent the past year studying abroad in Florence, London, and Buenos Aires, and now he sits down with Missfits to discuss his work and growth as an artist. When did you begin really getting into art and taking it seriously? I've always been a conceptual person, constantly racking my brain for ideas like "Ooh, what if they took this and did this with it," or "what if instead of a pool filled with water it instead was filled with Coca-Cola?" The first time I realized that this intellectual energy could be focused into art was about sophomore year of high school. That's when everything changed. You're studying broadcast journalism and art. How do the two come together for you? Broadcast journalism and art are both forms of visual communication. Art, in a sense, is simply a human-to-human connection via visual/auditory/ experiential/etc. means. Broadcasting is just a specific form of that communication. I have a knack for it, and it is the family business, so I am adding it to my college experience. It also is educational for using forms of video and auditory technology, which my work is very focused on. And, I learn how to do my own P.R. and how to market my work into stories applicable to the public. You've spent a great deal of your schooling studying abroad... Why, and why do you think travel is important to your growth as an artist? Studying abroad is important for everyone, especially our day in age. We live in a world that is so universally tied and connected, and more and more intercultural change is happening, especially in the US. I know that for me, I have learned so many things about different cultures and ways of life that I hold in such a higher regard than I used to. Becoming less ethno-centric is a benefit to being relatable on the broader scale, not just the people that surround you. I think the sign of a powerful artist is being able to be understood crossculturally, because then you know they are touching on things that are much more universal and widely understood and not creating things that are only understood by those who know their context. A great example is Ai Wei Wei, who is a Chinese artist who has shared with the world his culture but in a way that has been understood by the multitude of his audience. My Italian photo professor, Jacapo Scantilini, said something really profound about experiencing different cultures. He said something along the lines of, "At first, when immersed in a different culture, a different world, you notice everything that is different and strange. It becomes seemingly overwhelming how complex and how many things are so different from what you know. However, after spending time, you begin to notice everything that is similar and begin to notice the similarities more and more, until you can't really pick out that many differences anymore." I saw this too pass everywhere I studied, whether in Florence, London, or Buenos Aires. I feel that is another reason why studying abroad is important, because you can't get that same conjecture from just spending a few days or weeks in a place. And from noticing all of the similarities, I have come to realize more the universal nature of the human race, and I definitely believe that will continue to affect my work for the rest of my career. A great deal of your recent work includes classic Americana imagery and pop culture references, especially the masks you used for your American Identity exhibition. What is the significance behind this? For my photography class in Florence, I really wanted to have a series to focus on. I didn't want to just take photos of architecture or people or landscapes, mundane stuff that people have seen before and would only be interesting to me, and maybe my mom. I wanted to document my experience of being in a foreign country for the first time, being an ignorant American learning about the ancient roots of the western civilization (and enjoying the young drinking age...) So I chose masks that represent the archetypes of American culture. For instance, Abraham Lincoln, who represents immediately so many things to anyone who has grown up in the states, e.g. the penny, 5 dollar bill, civil war, being assassinated, the emancipation proclamation, end of slavery, etc. However, to Italians, his face meant very little to them. In a way it is a representation of having such a divide in cultures. It represents being Americans and wearing the mask of being American but also questioning what America looks like, because unlike other countries, we don't have a specific race or ethnic group that is solely American. We are truly a melting pot of all different races and cultures yet have such a strong history and culture that is specific to us as well. I enjoyed exploring and playing with those meanings through the masks in Italy. With the use of the Americana imagery, I would say that it is a painterly extension of my mask series and playing with icons that represent different aspects of the American way of life. One funny anecdote is the cowboy image that I have used in many of my recent books. The image source comes from an Italian comic book from the 40's or 50's called "TEX." It is about cowboys and indians but is entirely in the Italian language. I found it really interesting seeing what a foreign country interpreted as the wild west. What I found even more interesting was when I told Italians that I was from the midwest, many would ask me if I was a cowboy and rode horses and roped cattle etc. Ironically, I do have a horse and our family used to have a ranch but not in the same context they understood what that meant. And the fact that it is still pretty out of the ordinary to have a horse anyway. So in a way, the cowboy represents my misinterpreted self portrait. I like how it speaks to so many people, everyone understands what the cowboy means and it also brings up so many memories of childhood and strictly American culture. I guess these images are a way to try and synthesize the visual history of American culture. You had your first solo gallery show fresh out of high school, and as a senior you had your work featured in several major magazines, radio stations, and television broadcasts. What gave you your entrepreneurial confidence? Do you think starting out with a bang at a fairly young age helped you as an artist? I am going to be honest and say that I love attention. I don't think it is because of selfish or self centered reasons, but because I really enjoy sharing my concepts and work with other people. I like having people engage in my work and contemplate it, whether it be in a positive or negative way. Lisa Lala, who has been my mentor in the art world, was the first to give me the confidence to exhibit my first show, the Ethereal Water series. I remember her showing the photos and her saying "You need to exhibit these." Not only was that a confidence booster but it also gave the answer to the question I had raised to myself as to why I was creating these underwater photos. It was fun creating them but I had really no idea of what to do with them besides put them on facebook and show them to friends. Then that opened the door to creating more of a conceptual and greater push to the work which led to my first show. I was young but I thought, why not? I have always loved the 1 Timothy verse from the Bible which goes something like "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example." I definitely have used that for inspiration for contacting galleries and setting up shows. I have always been a sort of self-started and now that I had something to work for, it was easy to shift all of my energies into one task. I think that starting out so young and seeing some success before graduating has given me more confidence to strive for my goals, and has helped convince my parents that and art degree isn't completely useless. Who are some of your art idols? I have a lot of art idols, and some artworks that are inspirations in themselves. Obviously Warhol is an influence in my work, i.e. screen-printing, iconography, the "why not" attitude. I am also reading a great book called "On the Way to Work" by Damien Hirst and George Burns which goes through a ton of interviews with Hirst. He is such an incredible intellectual wrapped into such a British white trash vessel that it makes for an incredible conversation, ripe with 4-letter words and high-brow references to Bacon and philosophy and modern culture. Other artist I love are Marina Abramovi, Louise Bourgeois, Picasso, Matisse, Rauchenburg, Johns, Agnes Martin, David LaChappele, Wolfgang Tilmans, gosh so many others I can't even list. I love that they all had or have something to say and they said it, they don't mess around with smoke and mirrors but truly are attempting to elucidate the human experience by visual means. Where do you want to be in ten years? Ten years? I want to live in suburbia with a wife and 2.3 kids, drive a minivan, and work a nine to five. Or do the direct opposite... Where do you hope to go after art school? I hope to get my MFA at Yale or Central St. Martins and open up a studio with Cayman Robson and Lydia Bryan and create the best think-tank the world has ever seen. Tell us a little about your band. "Jasper & Poissons" is a band started by my brother, Spencer Alford, and I and also features Anna Schuler and a kid named Eric, I don't remember his last name. Anyway, I like to sing and I'm not bad, Spencer plays guitar and we got together with a little keyboard and in 30 minutes we had made up out first song called "Salt Water Truth." We've made a few more songs, trying to make a mini album and make some music videos to them. I pretty excited, this is a fun crosscultural art project in a way. Any closing remarks, life advice, or words to live by? Overall, for advice, I would say give it all you got. I obviously am not a master artist yet, and it will take some time, but I think I am headed on the right track. In the end, you want others to appreciate your work, but you gotta surround yourself with other intelligent and encouraging people, maybe wise long term choices, and don't be scared to approach galleries or other people about your art. And learn some business skills. I'd say that art is only 20% art, the rest is business skills, people skills, writing skills, perspiration, and wine and hors d' oeuvres. REPTILE PROJECT Photographs by Maria Denomme THE HEART, SWEAT, Article by Audrey Dimola; Photos by Darren Mayhem and DERBY It's a Saturday night in New York City. Music is pumping, the air is charged with energy, and the stands are filling in the Hunter College gym. A red, white, and black banner is hanging behind the announcer's table, emblazoned with the visage of a fierce-looking lady sporting a sly smile, brass knucks, and a Statue of Liberty crown - as "jeerleaders" shake their shimmering pom-poms and skaters zoom around a flat blue track lined with electric pink tape. It's the ladies in black versus the ladies in blue tonight as athletes such as the cheekily-dubbed Anne Phetamean, Megahurtz, Sexy Slaydie, Ana�s Ninja, Pippi Strongstocking, and Puss N' Glutes are preparing themselves for the bout. This is the 2012 home season opener of Gotham Girls Roller Derby, and they are ready to blow your mind. Modern women's roller derby is a sport as much about skill and physical endurance as it is about altering the public's perceptions, shattering expectations, and overcoming boundaries. Founded in 2003 and first bouting in 2004, Gotham Girls is NYC's only all-female, DIY, skateroperated roller derby league, made up of four home teams and two traveling teams, all of which compete through the Women's Flat Track Derby Association - the international governing body founded "by the skaters, for the skaters" to promote flat track derby. The WFTDA is a non -profit organization and so is GGRD - there are no salaried employees, which means there's a lot more to roller derby than just skating around and elbowing people. These women are doing double duty as not only the competing athletes, but also the professionals who manage the administrative, promotional, and production needs of their organizations. The pure passion these girls have for roller derby is immediately apparent - how else could they devote so much physical and mental strength to it, both on the track and off? Tonight at Hunter College, the Queens of Pain are up against the Brooklyn Bombshells in an intense reprise of 2011's bout of the year, from which the Bombshells emerged victorious with a 149-139 overtime win. Sitting on the sidelines (in a tiny glittery hat!) is Dainty Inferno, a player from GGRD's Bronx Gridlock team who has come to support her fellow derby girls. Miss Inferno, who just celebrated her five year "derby-versary" at the beginning of the year, doesn't hesitate for a moment when asked what keeps her engaged in the sport. "The energy. And it's not just the energy of the game," she points out. "I mean yeah, it's a fast-paced game - but the thought that goes into it, too.. There's a lot of planning and strategy. There's also the energy off the track," she says. "My team is a bunch of people I love spending time with, on skates and off skates. It's a great network to have - one of the greatest things is that I can go to any place in the world that has derby and say, `Hi, I'm from Gotham Girls Roller Derby, can I crash at your place for a week?!' and they'd be like, `Hell yeah!'" She laughs. "Once you have this thing in common, you're instantly friends. That whole energy and sisterhood, and even brotherhood with the guys who play that's really what keeps you here." Dainty though she is, Miss Inferno also makes the case for how remarkably inclusive Gotham Girls is. "My thing is - people are like, `Aren't you too small to be doing this?' And, well - it takes all sizes. There's definitely a range of sizes, there's a place for everybody. I think the conception is that we're all these big bruisers and we eat babies for breakfast and that sort of thing," she jokes. "I think people think you have to have some sort of mean streak, too, and I'm like - no! We're nice, we're not mean! We're not gonna punch you or anything! We're everyday people just like you.. We just have an unusual hobby." In a few moments a lady in black and silver rolls off the track in helmet and gear to chat - there's mere minutes before the bout begins and adrenaline is high. This is Splint Her's second year with Gotham Girls and her first bout with the Queens of Pain. And what a bout to begin with - the crowd begins to roar over the echo of the announcer, and she raises her voice to reflect on her derby experience thus far: "It's constantly a challenge - things just keep on evolving. It will never get boring! I think most of us are the type who don't like to just sit in the gym and do the same thing every single day. This is always changing, always a challenge," she shares before heading off to join her team on the flat track battlefield. "You have to be on your feet, thinking about what's going on around you.. or else you'll get knocked down!" The bout tonight strikes the balance between grace and aggression, with the active players linking arms, hugging the turns, pressing against and through opposing team members, deftly switching directions, bumping each other out of bounds, and sometimes even hitting the floor as their teammates and coaches look on, both seated and standing around the rows of chairs in the center of the track. Em Dash, an All-Star player and vice captain of the Manhattan Mayhem in her fifth season with GGRD - who happens to be wearing a wicked pair of tights covered in punctuation marks - sits down for a few moments on the sidelines in between fielding press inquiries and keeping a close eye on the game. She offers an easy explanation of derby rules: "Each team will have a player with a star on her helmet, and that's the jammer - and the four other people on the team are blockers. Each jammer wants to get past all the opposing blockers on the other team, then lap the pack, skate all the way back around, and then pass them again," she says. "On the second and each subsequent pass the jammer scores one point for each opposing player she passes legally - so the blockers are trying to do both offense and defense at the same time." Sorting out the rules isn't the only important point when it comes to derby education. The term "roller derby" was originally used to describe roller skate races in the 20s, but the foundation of the team sport we know today was laid in the late 30s. Roller derby then continued to metamorphose through the decades until flat track derby finally emerged relatively recently. For fifty years the sport was played primarily on concave or "banked" tracks, but starting in the early 2000s this new wave of derby - which is totally unscripted with real rules, fouls, athletes, and champions - started sweeping the globe. "Primarily I'd like people to know that [roller derby] really is an athletic endeavor," Em Dash remarks. "It's not all WWE, campy, fixed outcomes - because that's the perception a lot of people have about it, and I think [2009 film] Whip It really helped to change that a little bit. But I'd also like people to know that you don't have to have been an athlete for your entire life to play derby. It's still such a new sport that people from all different backgrounds are coming to the sport, bringing what they have to it, and finding success in different ways." The roller derby of today fights to assert its authenticity, and its formidable female athletes are perpetually doing the same. "Typically in our culture men are the ones who are violent and aggressive," Em Dash says, "so I think people are very surprised when they meet a woman who seems maybe a little bookish, and find out that she's aggressive or violent - that totally doesn't fit with their image of what a woman is, so I think that we're working to expand people's ideas of what a woman is." The women of GGRD - who Em Dash describes as "passionate, hard-working, teamoriented, and driven to excel," certainly break the mold, and the ladies competing at the season opener tonight are no different. The bout is hot all the way through, with both teams clawing tirelessly towards victory - tying and surpassing each other's scores several times as the crowd erupts again and again each time a jammer breaks through the pack, until finally... The Brooklyn Bombshells once again force the Queens of Pain to submit with a 178-162 win. The beaming Nikki Nightrain is one such elated Bombshell in blue, who has only been skating with GGRD since May. "Who is a derby girl?!" she exclaims at the question. "Any woman who wants to put on a pair of skates can be a roller derby girl. All it takes is a desire to do it and a willingness to learn, and if you want to challenge yourself and get fit and work with a team of amazing women, roller derby's for you!" Midchat, a group of three little girls in Bombshell blue - one even wearing a bright blue wig - come up to her, all smiles. Nikki is clearly thrilled as she signs their souvenirs, poses for pictures, and engages them in sincere conversation. "Do you guys love roller derby?!" she inquires, to a loud affirmative shout from these special fans. When they leave, Miss Nightrain assures me: "That's another reason I love roller derby. Having children - ten, eleven, twelve year old girls - come up to me.. I was just telling this little girl that I have a niece - she's one of the most amazing people I know in my life, so it's so great to see these young girls come out and see us doing something positive and working ourselves really hard to be good role models." Upon exiting the gym that night, it couldn't be any clearer: roller derby is a full-contact sport, but not only in the way you'd usually imagine. These incredible women are constantly slamming up against stereotypes, age-old misconceptions, and straight-up sexist bias, proving time and time again - that roller derby girls possess admirable physical strength, but also strength of the mind, and, of course - strength of the heart. Find out more about GGRD at gothamgirlsrollerderby.com, and more of the author's work at audreydimola.com. Illustration by Emma Daffin Editorial by Allyson Busch An interview up-and-coming art student Jade Novarino When meeting Jade Novarino for the first time, few words can accurately describe the feeling of absolute comfort and kindness she exudes, towards herself and others. She is humble, inventive, eclectic, and most of all, human. She describes herself simply. Her short-and-sweet snippet of a flickr autobiography hits the nail right on the head-- "Creating small things here and there in hopes to fit into a bigger picture someday soon." As an incredibly talented incoming freshman at the Pacific Northwest College of Art, finding her way into the big picture seems like a natural next step. When did you first begin creating art? It depends on what your definition of art is. I began drawing since the day I could wield a pencil � like most children do � but I began creating bodies of work that began my immense interest in the arts at the beginning of high school. I think it takes a while for us [artists] to realize and distinguish the difference between art and artwork that you would feel comfortable displaying or intended for an audience. For me, these things can both overlap and exist separate of each other. It is all considered art, however. Do you view yourself as an "artist," or do you think that is something you grow into? This is another silly definition thing. The so-called art world is such a subjective one that it's difficult to define who "is" and "isn't" an artist. I definitely think art is something you grow into but that doesn't mean that I can't consider myself one nowadays. Art is about a thought process and a visual process to aid the concept � art could be nonverbal, though, art could be all about feelings and instinct and thinking. My boyfriend recently exposed me to this entirely new (to me) area of art that I never even thought about � that exists in the cyber world and created by and within technology. To me, art is ever changing and ever growing, as am I. What about art school are you most excited about? I couldn't be more excited to be around people and teachers that understand the passion behind art. Having gone to a high school impacted by budget cuts and slow depletion of arts funding, I know what it's like to make the best out of what you have. The facilities, the ideas, the city, the people, and having a faculty that works with you and not against you is something that I can't wait for. On top of that, I have these three lovely roommates that I couldn't be anymore lucky to have found. I think living with people who are submerged in the arts as much as I am will be helpful for expanding perspectives and techniques. You have an internship this fall with Anthropologie! How did you land it, and why did you seek it out? I guess I just heard about Anthropologie's internships with college students through the Maryland Institute College of Art (I applied there, as well) and since I decided not to attend, I figured the least I could get out of it was learning about some of the things they offer their students and bring it upon myself to seek internships out! I called the Anthropologie in Portland and asked if they needed any interns for the Fall and sent them my portfolio. The rest will come together when I'm there in August, but hopefully this position will give me a lot of work and experience in design, 3D, building, and paying attention to detail. What do you define as "art"? Gosh, golly, gee - I don't know. In the words of Sol LeWitt (and I use this quote every time), "All ideas are art if they are concerned with art and fall within the conventions of art." It's hilarious because it doesn't define art at all and yet it does, 100%. Chew on that one for a while, will you? You started a collaborative poetry blog called The Spoken Place. Where did your interest in poetry begin? What do you hope to accomplish through the blog? E.E. Cummings inspired me, ever since I read his poetry which, to the naive and untrained eye is esoteric and nonsensical. He gave me this strange feeling in my gut that poked at me and said, "Damn, where is he right now? What universe? Can I go there?" I wanted to be at his level and yet his level seemed attainable because he spoke raw truth and used unconventional placements of text and exclamation that I always just seemed to connect to. I've always been one for writing things in unconventional prose and I guess I channeled that into a more "serious" project my senior year when my best friend, Mia, finally decided to acknowledge how talented she was with her writing. We came upon starting this poetry blog so that anyone who writes can also record him/herself reading their poetry - sort of like a poetry slam, but on the Internet. We thought it would be a lovely conglomeration of feelings, words, and talent that would serve as an archive to document writers in a time and a place. We'll see where it goes! Do you think being a young adult in today's society has helped you grow as an artist? How so? Yes and no. I find that a lot of people (my age, older, and younger) are so trapped by this social media driven world that we are in fact constantly inspired. And although it sounds like there's no danger in that, we sometimes tend to lose our ability to come up with our own concepts and ideas. If we see something we like, aesthetically, we may go out and try it - but what's the point in that when the actual process isn't yours? There is a fun factor in this and sometimes, it is really nice to prove to yourself that you, too, can do it...but I myself am a victim of the system. I also can't lean too far that way either though, because at times I do appreciate this constant feedback, these clicks and scrolls that take me to artists and biographies, movements and new styles. I am always feeling refreshed and inspired but it certainly takes a bit of mental work to keep me grounded - to get me back in the zone to be observant and the original artist I want to be. How does your work as a visual artist translate into your wardrobe? I think this goes for a lot of broke teenagers my age who aspire to time travel to an era of excellence: I shop at thrift stores. It started out with my grandmother giving me my first romper in the sixth grade (it was white, with green polka dots everywhere) and my mom giving me my first pair of skinny jeans before the word got out that they were "cool again." But style is style and it's personal. I just do what feels right and I must say, going out and feeling beautiful beats wearing sweats (which I don't own) and oversized hoodies (also, which I don't own). To better answer your question, I dress in neutrals lately, blacks and browns and beige - and I won't ever be caught dead in light grey (don't ask me why, I just really don't like it). I am a big fan of high wasted skirts, black denim, and collared shirts. Oh, and anything forest green (especially if it's a coat) count me in! I don't dress "outrageously" but I also don't feel comfortable in plain-Jane attire. You'll always find me in a pair of earrings that dangle (mostly my silver, handmade spoon earrings). Where do you hope to go and achieve? I just want to be happy. That's what we all say. But I guess there's something to said that we all want it. It must be hard to find in the end so we try our hardest to attain it, when in reality, it's all simple. "Do what you love," and the rest will fall into place... It's what we're all told and I plan to listen this time. Anything and everything involving human contact, art, and education is where I want to be found. SUMMER SKIN Maddie Maschger Article by Maddie Maschger While scrolling through recent posts from the blogs I follow, stumbling upon positive images encouraging a healthy lifestyle is nothing out of the ordinary. I follow several "fitspo" (fit-inspiration) blogs in hopes that the bright and cheerful images will rouse within me the extra energy needed to log out, stand up, and lace up my running shoes. Almost one year ago, I decided that it was time to put my health first. I had grown up as the chubby kid and I had never really lost the baby fat, or the bad habits. My relationship with nutrition, exercise, and self-image was dysfunctional, to say the least. I found myself on a stage in St. Louis at a body-positive fashion show, giving a speech on the importance of loving yourself, and to be completely honest, I didn't. So I decided to change my life. Not to fit a societal norm or dress size, but to prioritize my health and my happiness. I wanted to be strong and fit. I started running almost every day, working up from one mile to three-and-ahalf within a few short months. I watched tons of documentaries and read several books and essays to research what I was eating and discover where it came from (and whether or not I should continue to eat it). As a result, I began eating extremely "clean." I gave up meat as a personal choice (my reasoning was something along the lines of "better for me, better for the Earth, better for the animals") and limited my intake of overly processed food. I gave up fast food and junk food. As a result, I lost a little over twenty-five pounds. I started posting updates on my journey to my fitspo blog, sharing "before and during" photos and NSV's ("none scale victories," i.e. fitting into my dream dress for my spring formal--one that didn't zip whatsoever six months prior). I made friends, and we inspired each other, keeping up the progress. A few months ago, as I was looking through some of the fitspo blogs I had bookmarked, I discovered an incredibly frustrating (and frankly confusing) backlash. The image featured was from a blog called "arthlete" run by 21-yearold girl named Kim who describes her beautiful illustrations as an effort "to make art and fitness collide" (arthlete.tumblr.com). The illustration showed a girl crossing her arms with a jump rope in hand. To her left, it read, "YES, I'm trying to lose weight," and to her right, "NO, I don't hate my body." I had seen the image before and obviously found it relatable and relevant to my journey. However, this time, it came with a caption. A self-proclaimed feminist (I might add that I, too, am a self-proclaimed feminist) said something along the lines of "the desire to lose weight directly correlates with body hate in every conceivable way." Her intentions were sincere and good--she went on to say that she wanted people to love themselves as is, but her main point still struck me as completely unfair. How does the desire to lose weight equal self-hate? Certainly there can exist an unhealthy balance--people losing weight in an unhealthy way (or even healthy) to fit societal standards because they hate their body. But to assume that "the desire to lose weight directly correlates to body hate in every conceivable way?" Well, inconceivable! Personally, I think losing weight can often embody self-love. I struggled to love my body before, but I have definitely learned to love it now--not because it is slimmer or more toned than at my starting weight, but because I have shown myself how strong I am. I found out I am capable of running, and running far and fast. As I watched myself increase my distance and speed and reach levels of fitness I had never before accessed, I felt completely comfortable with myself--even before I lost a single pound or inch. Statements like these are body-policing in the same way often exhibited regarding sex and contraception. Making the statement that it is impossible to lose weight without hating yourself or to exercise without showing subconscious insecurity is just like saying that women who enjoy sex are "sluts," or that those on birth control only desire the prescription to have intercourse constantly, recklessly, and without consequence. While this is a strong comparison, it remains true. These statements completely ignore the choice of the individual and the existence of incredibly diverse and subjective situations. I am in no way making the argument that weight equals health--I understand that health is attainable at any weight. However, there is absolutely nothing wrong with losing weight or setting personal goals, and the process is often full of self-love. In the same way that gaining weight does not necessarily point to body-hate or insecurity, losing weight does not automatically indicate these either. In fact, most people who set out to lose weight for these reasons almost always gain it back within a few months, because the emotional issues behind the weight were never addressed, and the old habits return. To attack fitspo and fitness communities is completely unfair. These environments exist for people who enjoy fitness and exercise and want to discuss their goals, triumphs, slip-ups, etc. I have found that fitspo environments are incredibly motivating and empowering. True fitspo is nothing but inspiring and encouraging to those who are choosing to lose weight or become fit (notice the use of "or" since weight does not necessarily determine physical fitness). This past year has been one of the happiest and most successful years of my life thus far, and I really do credit that to my transformation. I could do it all over again, this time without losing a single pound or changing in appearance, and my statement would still hold true. I became healthy, and therefore, happy. Endorphins are a truly spectacular thing. I list a lot of this in past tense, as I have gained back about ten pounds. Towards the end of April and beginning of May, as I finished up my last year of high school, the emotional stress of adulthood, graduation, and the beginning of the end's hit me like a locomotive, and unfortunately, I stopped running and began eating a lot of unhealthy, processed food. I'm getting back on track currently, but one of the most important lessons I learned over the past year is to constantly give myself grace. I know that when my life calms down and I am ready, the good habits will come naturally. I prioritize my health because I have learned to love myself. And that will never change, at any weight. Editorial by Dana Al�ce GETTING TO KNOW FRANKIE NORSTAD My name is Frankie Norstad. I am a creative photographer and a non-fiction writer. My portraits are vibrant and somewhat surreal. My goal as an artist is to make work that pulls at the heart strings and makes the audience pause for a moment. My first exposure to photography was after my mother disappeared and my sister and I landed under the care of our Aunt, Jerilyn Lee Brandelius. She was heavily involved in the San Francisco hippy scene. The year we moved in with her, 1986, I was four years old and my sister was five, Jerry Garcia went into a diabetic coma, and my Aunt's book The Grateful Dead Family Album got picked up to be published by Warner Brothers. We lived with our Aunt in her cluttered office where every surface was covered with images of iconic hippies. I remember searching through these magical photographs for shots of my parents. There weren't any, but the pictures seemed to be a key to a larger puzzle that was playing out around me. These photographs were obviously special. Growing up around well-known artists and musicians was wonderful, and though it was definitely chaotic, I didn't know any different. But I always knew I wanted to be an artist in some form - they were my heroes even though I was not very good at drawing or painting or music. In elementary school, I began writing bad love poems about being carried around the playground by the boys that I had crushed on. It was silly, but it was a creative outlet. My sister and I ended up bouncing between caregivers and for a short stint we landed in Sequim, Washington. It was here where I picked up my first camera at 10 years old; a Kodak disposable in a golden yellow cardboard box. I began posing my sister and cousins on the playground and immediately felt at ease in the role of photographer. As a teenager I was adopted by a wonderful, equally artistic, more stable foster family. My adopted grandfather gave me my first camera, an Argus C3, and by 15 I was shooting regularly. I had my first solo show at a cafe in downtown San Rafael at 17 years old. I talked to the owner and asked him how he picked his artists. He told me to bring him some photos. It was all much easier than I would have thought. I can complicate life so much by over thinking or assuming I will be rejected. Naivety and curiosity have served me greatly in pursuing my dreams. At 19 years old, I enrolled in a year-long vocational photography program, and at 21, I began assisting advertising photographers in San Francisco. I didn't pick up my first commercial clients until I was 24. The best advice I've ever received was to shoot what you love as much as possible. The hardest part of being a photographer for me is hustling up work. I love shooting, but I hate talking about how great I am and how everyone should hire me. When I do send out those emails it feels like I am jumping into a freezing river or ripping off a band-aide. My head will tell me that I'm a fraud. I do it anyhow, as quickly as possible, and hope that I come across as charming and confident, instead of an insecure tortured artist. The most rewarding part of being a photographer is shooting and having these incredible moments where I feel like I am a part of the creative universe, and that I am doing exactly what I was put on this planet to do. Today I record my photo ideas in the notes section in my phone. I write my ideas down as soon as they come to me. I keep a traditional pen to paper journal as well, however, it tends to primarily be emotional purging and urgent scribble of how I think I could better my life before I go to bed. Currently I am finishing my memoir Gypsy Bred (working title), which talks my wild childhood and the messages I received regarding creativity, talent, destruction, and addiction. One of my goals is to recreate the memories from my childhood in photographic form to be paired with chapters of the book. Find more of Frankie's work on her blog, frankieshotme.blogspot.com, or on her website, frankienorstad.com. The Royal Family A photo editorial by Claire Christerson A COLUMN BY TAYLOR MASCHGER R ecently in U.S. politics, there appears to be a continuous and tumultuous feud between church and state over a very wide spectrum of important issues that have managed to find their way into the public eye. One of the most recent debates between religious organizations and the government is that of whether or not birth control ought to be covered by health care providers. Beginning as early as October 2011, the Obama Administration began receiving the attention of the media after making a statement saying that beginning January 1, 2013, health insurance plans would be required to cover birth control expenses as preventive care for women, without copays. With the new requirement in place, the Administration had hoped that many of their goals, which included preventing unwanted pregnancies and ensuring less risk during planned pregnancies, would be met. Though widely celebrated and embraced, the requirement was also faced with a growing amount of backlash and opposition, mainly from those with religious affiliations. Especially in the Catholic church, it is against the belief system to use contraception; therefore, if a government mandate requiring contraception costs be covered by insurance plans were to be passed, some religious employers would be forced to provide a service that went against their morals and faith. As a result, religious organizations such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, declared that the mandate was an abridgement of religious freedom. Before I reveal my feelings on all the opposition the proposal received, let me make something very clear: This mandate was not issued as an attack on religion. This mandate was issued as a campaign to further women's health and reproductive rights. That said, the first issue I had with the accusation that this mandate would overstep the healthy boundary between church and state was the sheer hypocrisy of it. According to those who oppose the bill, the government would be tremendously overstepping the border between church and state were a requirement to cover birth control to be passed. However, the bishops and various other religious figures who were trying to prevent the bill, simply because it contradicted their religious beliefs, thereby incorporating the church into the government, were completely in the right. Additionally, though it is often difficult to find a clear or easy way of separating the two, the Obama Administration, upon realizing the amount of backlash their proposal was receiving from the Catholic church, made a large and very obvious effort to please those speaking out against and criticizing the mandate. On February 10, 2012, the administration proposed an accommodation of sorts, which stated that health insurance companies, rather than religious institutions, would be responsible for providing employees with contraception coverage. Many members of the Catholic church, including Sister Carol Keehan, head of the Catholic Health Association, announced that they were "very pleased" with this compromise; others such as Miami Archbishop Thomas Wenski, however, felt as though Obama "hadn't really addressed the concerns" and that the only logical thing to do would be "to take back the whole thing back." If you ask me, the Obama Administration had extended a clear invitation to compromise with the Catholic church, and was then refused. You're not always going to get your way � that's life. So if there is truly an opportunity to find a feasible solution, it should be more greatly considered than this one was. Secondly, while the mandate may offend or contradict some religious beliefs, I don't find it okay to walk on eggshells to avoid hurting the feelings of a small group of people when studies show that a majority of women would greatly benefit from this new mandate. What many who oppose the "fundamentally anti-religious, anti-conscience and anti-life contraceptive mandate*" don't seem to understand is that A. Not everyone is of the opinion that contraception is anti-life or anti-religion, and, moreimportantly, B. Women take birth control for numerous personal reasons, not only as a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies (though, that reason alone is perfectly justified). No, birth control is, generally speaking, an affective way of preventing pregnancy, but it is by no means the only function. Birth control is also prescribed to women who suffer from irregular or absent menstrual periods, menstrual cramps, acne, PMS, endometriosis, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. Say what you will, but I'm all for having easy access to contraceptive products, especially when they cover such a wide spectrum of medical issues that can affect me as a woman. It seems I'm not the only one who feels that way either. A 2009 study shows that nearly 90 million contraception prescriptions were made in that year alone. Other research has shown that even the most modest copays on medical expenses have been known to discourage use. And might I mention the study conducted which showed that nearly 98 percent of Catholic women have used some form of a contraceptive in their lifetime? Ironic, huh? All I'm saying is with such staggering statistics, as well as the countless health benefits that contraceptives provide, it would be silly, and nothing short of selfish, for the Catholic church to entertain this debate any further. *Said by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. Missfits believes that the birth control debate is an open discussion with many valuable and differing points of view. The views expressed in this column are the views of the writer and do not necessarily represent the opinion of the magazine as a whole. Editorial by James Hayden IN THE ISSUE front and back cover photographs by Jade Novarino. wandering photographs by Maddie Maschger. migle in milgi lounge photographer & stylist: Ellena "Lou" Deeley; model & make-up artist: Migle Mikulenaite; photography assitant: Darren James Coles; venue: Milgi Lounge. the perks of being an english student photographs by Jess Hodges. let the seasons begin photographer: Giulia Parlato; model: Francesca Genco. man behind the mask interview by Maddie Maschger; photographs and art by M.A. Alford, maalford.com. motion and shape photographer: Eleanor Bennett. the reptile project photographer: Maria Denomme; models: Molly Rooyakkers, Meghan Frayne, Jocelyn Van Aaken, and Niamh Macginty. heart, sweat, and derby article by Audrey Dimola; photographs by Darren Mayhem. new freedom photographer and editor: Allyson Busch; models: Veronica Young and Kyle Brown. becoming jade self-portraits by Jade Novarino; goodsilence.tumblr.com; thespokenplace.tumblr.com. summer skin photographer: Maddie Maschger; models: Blade Sbisa, Tasha Tuong, Tyler Cline, Courtney King, Ren Coker, Katey Carlton, Christian Twillegar, Paige Lockard. live and let lose article by Maddie Maschger; photo by Amanda Eaton; illustration by Kim Favorito. summer sundaes photographer: Dana Al�ce; model: Summer Stevens @ Prodigy Model Management; hair and make-up: Lucianne Giammattei of Face2Face-Art; stylists: Lizzie Rae and Danny Brito. summer sundaes (cont.) wardrobe provided by: The Modern Historic (themodernhistoric.com) and City Song Vintage (www.citysongvintage. etsy.com); special thanks to Jaxson's Ice Cream Parlor. getting to know frankie all photographs by Frankie Norstad; frankienorstad.com. the royal family photographer and stylist: Claire Christerson; models: Vita Kurland, Mike Bailey-Gates, Nicole Poor, Allyssa Yohana, Claire Christerson. wake up column by Taylor Maschger; header design by Maddie Maschger; illustration by Joseph McGehee, artistflu. tumblr.com. on the rocks photographer: James Hayden; photography assistant: Charles Vigus; models: Mandalynn Rea and Alyssa Taylor; wardrobe by Mother of London, Barksdale, and Galeana; wardrobe assistant: Charles Vigus; jewelry by Serket Jewelry; hair by Kayla Frei; makeup by Josh Lucas. find us online. missfitsmag.com