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EDITOR'S NOTE Growing up, I was an avid fan of reading. This could be storybooks, biographies and, of course, magazines. I loved magazines because of how current and relevant they were to their audience. However it wasn't soon before I realised the 'audience' they were catering towards didn't include me, a working-class Pakistani teenager. The lifestyle they had portrayed to be an 'ideal' were demonstrated by women who grew up with money and status, and a lot of these women did not have the social barriers that acted as obstacles on their road to success. The tools required to attain their level of excellence had more often than not been handed to them at birth, very rarely had I read about women who made it from scratch. Take me, for instance. My dreams of being anywhere near the fashion and creative industry was crushed by the lack of representation demonstrated in these fields. Funnily enough, I even wanted to be the editor-in-chief of a high-end fashion magazine at one point. This catapulted my passion for social equality and wider representation of race and class in the media, this being the exact reason I have embarked on this journey. Rather than campaign for this cause, I instead took the bold step of making it happen for myself. Working on this first issue in the past two months has easily been one of the most rewarding experiences so far. The number of friendly and supportive women from across the globe who share my passion was not the biggest shock, but the fact that many went out of their way to contribute to this first issue was. You guys have brought a whole new definition to social media. The barriers I have seen broken on Instagram by you wonderful women will never stop inspiring and motivating me to be a better individual than I am today. The fact that as a whole community, we can inspire and motivate eachother is truly moving, and I am so proud to say I am using my own voice to take part in this movement. Think of this first issue as more of a 'taster' issue. I have made this issue smaller than the issues that will be following on purpose as I would love to hear your feedback first. At the heart of this whole project is you guys. 


YAS IT'S  DIVERSITY I’ve sat here for the last hour or so (honestly it’s probably a lot longer I’m not sure), trying to think of how I want to start this piece off. I still have no idea. So I guess I should start by telling you a little bit about me. My name is Karishma. I’m dark skinned. And I’m a freelance creative MUA trying to get my name heard and work seen. Throughout history, WOC have always been seen as less desirable to European skin tones and features. So I understand why back then it would have been harder for WOC, but we are in 2017! I am grateful that the makeup industry is finally giving us variety in shades but honestly it shouldn't have taken this long. Now I didn’t grow up seeing many women of colour being represented in the makeup world. In fact I grew up seeing hardly any at all. It was something I couldn’t help but always notice. There was such lack of diversity of skin tones for foundation, concealers, contour, highlight you name it. Even the make up artists themselves, I found very hard to relate to the as the majority of them were not WOC and the ones that were, were light skinned. So it was hard trying to understand what products were good for my skin colour, which is probably why I spent the majority of my teen years walking around with a face that was 4 shades lighter than my actually skin tone! I laugh about it now, but honestly at the time it was frustrating. The makeup industry, however, have made a massive come up in recent years,  making a conscious decision to bring out

different ranges of foundations and concealers, which is great! With the likes of KatVonD and Anastasia Beverly Hills coming out with a whole new range for WOC in more than just two shades! However these brands are high end and expensive to some. Go into your local cosmetic store on the high-street though? With usually the dark skinned shades making up only two shades out of the 10 they may have, and people are sill wondering why we are making a fuss?! Don’t get me wrong, fast forward to the revolution of social media, we’ve come a long way since then in the form of getting exposure, as it opened up a whole new world of, talent, opportunities and voices for our generation and especial POC. However I can’t seem to help but still notice it’s dominated by light skinned women. Where my dark skinned South Asian women at?! We fight hard enough for it, so why aren’t we being represented enough? Maybe I wasn't looking hard enough?  I took to Instagram and posted a question on my story; “DM me some dark skinned MUA you follow!” I got replies back from three people. Now my following isn’t massive I have just over 2k followers and that post got about 500+ views. I know I wasn't expecting a lot but I was expecting A LOT  more than three people! On top of that two out of the three people directed me to the same MUA.  I guess that’s one of the main reasons I started posting  my work via social media, not only for

my love of creative makeup but also because I want to encourage and inspire other dark skinned women to put their work out there, whether it be makeup, baking, clothes designing, photography! Whatever their passion. I want to see us on the map more! I want our needs to be tended to more! I want our work to get the recognition it deserves more! My advice to any aspiring MUA: Keep building. Keep believing. Keep going.  Don't forget that practice makes perfect and try to gain knowledge about everything you possibly can about your craft and you WILL succeed.  Everyone’s definition and perspective of success is different! It isn't defined by where people THINK you should be! It's knowing where YOU want to be and working towards pursuing YOUR goals.

"Whatever their passion,  I want to set us on the map more!" My advice to any aspiring MUA: Keep building. Keep believing. Keep going.  Don't forget that practice makes perfect and try to gain knowledge about everything you possibly can about your craft and you WILL succeed.  Everyone’s definition and perspective of success is different! It isn't defined by where people THINK you should be! It's knowing where YOU want to be and working towards pursuing YOUR goals.

MY CONFIDENCE IN MY CULTURE BY ADIBA AHMED @ADIFUSION I was born and raised in Qatar for about eight years, then I was in Bangladesh for a year, and my final stop was in Canada where I am now living just over a decade in counting. Even with all that moving around, my brought up was always embellished by the south Asian culture. From hours of Bollywood movies, to luxuriously dressing up in jewels during times of celebration, to of course having food babies after plates of biryani and rasgullahs(a Bengali’s favourite sweet). That was easier in Qatar because there was a community of people like me, so I never thought twice about any part of my culture being an outcast to normal day to day activities. But once I was in Canada, that was when I couldn’t find myself. Let me explain. Whenever we go into a room we look for ourselves in a visual context, meaning someone who looks like us because we assume that people who look like us might have stories that would reflect ours. I couldn’t find that, so I had to create myself gradually but it wasn’t the easiest. Growing up in Canada my parents never involved themselves in the Bangadeshi community due to personal reasons. This meant, I was not going to all the fun cultural celebrations and meeting friends who came from my cultural background, so I was quite detached from a big part of my identity that made me feel whole. But in contrary to saying that, I think that was the best thing that ever happened to me to be honest. That disconnect helped me to connect with my culture very unapologetically. It was in grade nine where it all started. I used to literally wear fitted caps, funky harem pants, suspenders, and bright coloured tops. I used to dress different than other people because it made me feel happy to not fit in and I was blessed to have my friends support me for my uniqueness, which helped me further in being true to being myself. On a side note, I wasn’t looking for validation, but as humans we would be robotic to live without feedback in Bmy opinion. So far, I sound like someone with confidence at the time, but in reality, I wasn’t.

There were days where people would talk down on how I used to dress behind my back and that hindered my self esteem a lot. People would call me weird all the time. Later did I recognize that word as a compliment but at the time I felt insulted. I remember walking casually in the mall with these purple coloured satin harem pants. This girl was literally staring at me from a far. When I went past her she yelled, “I don’t like your pants”. I was intangibly knocked out but I started smiling. I had this “aha” moment like Oprah would say. I realized, I was able to manifest attention towards me and move something in people that makes them think and even do, with the way I dress. That’s pretty powerful if you ask me. I went home looked at my outfit and found out all these harem pants I was wearing for years looked exactly like a salwar from all south Asian clothes I grew up wearing. That’s when I thought, I can diffuse my culture into my style. I thought that if I can embrace my culture without hesitation, I can maybe inspire even one other person to do the same. I turned it into a form of celebration for myself wearing my cultural jewellery and aspects of my clothing that sang, I am not just from Canada but I am a fusion of every cultural experience I have lived through. That thought process of infusing my culture with my style made me feel at home within me. I didn’t look for representation because I was recreating myself every step of the way because no one can fully represent me. I am not my culture, but my culture is an enormous part of me. Once I accepted that, I accepted myself and there is no better root of confidence than that. Adiba Ahmed, 20 years old, is a fusion fashion addict and hennascript owner majoring in finance. She passionately lives to use the force of creativity to impact and influence people to be their best selves.

BREAKING FREE To be very honest, I never expected to write an article for a magazine. I’m not being modest, it’s just that my love for drawings only came about recently and quite unexpectedly. Okay that sounds a little dramatic, but here’s a quick back story. I was diagnosed with depression earlier this year, and had been battling with it ever since. Things got so bad that I had to be admitted into the hospital for my own safety. In short, I wanted to harm myself. Depression can cause an unimaginable amount of pain, and can make one feel isolated and caged. There’s a misconception about depression, in that it only happens to the weak; but let me tell you, mental illnesses’ do not discriminate. And it can affect anyone: everyone’s feelings are valid.

While I was in the hospital there were several therapy classes offered to us, one of which was an art class. Now I can’t say that that’s where I learnt how to draw, but that’s where I learnt how to shade using coloring books. My time at the hospital consisted of me constantly coloring. It made the days go quicker and distracted my mind from all the awful thoughts that were adding to my depression. Soon after being discharged, I began drawing at home. My first drawing was of myself, a picture I had taken in the bathroom in my underwear when I was feeling fleeky (you know what I’m talking about ladies). Surprisingly enough the drawing didn’t look that bad. I loved the shading, I loved the details, I loved my cellulite! It’s crazy but the more I drew, the more I became more accepting of my body. Like many people, we are selfconscious of all our bits and bobs. We always want to show our best angles, which is great! But I wanted to draw the angles and bodies that we are told to hide, our tummy rolls, our snail trails, our un-shaved under arms, our hairy vaginas! In a way, I was using my drawings to set my mind free, and set myself free.


depression insecurities stereotypes

I drew purely for therapy, and naturally I started posting them on my Instagram page. What I didn’t expect however, was the support and love I got from everyone. I realized a lot of girls had bodies like mine, and they loved the idea that it was/is okay to show it off. Now my drawings have escalated into t-shirts, sweatshirts etc. I design them online by myself, and print the shirts at home as well. I also do custom nude drawings of people. And for that I am very touched; to trust me with such intimate photos is such an honor. Again, this is my very first magazine article, and I honestly can’t believe that the girl that got admitted into the mental health ward just a few months ago, now has an etsy shop and the most supportive followers. Whether you want to lose weight, or put on weight, or get rid of your lumps and bumps, that’s your right. But know that the body you have on you right now, the one you have while you’re reading this, is yours. And girllll it is sexy as hell. Curves, folds, cellulite and all. Be proud of yourself girl. (And buy my prints for motivation! Lol).

Check out Heather Moradeyo's artwork: @heatherdeyooo Click here to shop Heather's art

Flawless Shades, the brand-new UK online makeup and skin care retailer for darker skin tones has officially launched. The company, with an ethos of inclusive beauty, set out to work with brands that cater to various ethnicities and skin types to rebuff the ‘one size fits all’ approach of mass-market brands. The company has combined product knowledge, consumer research and meaningful collaboration to bridge the gap in today’s global beauty and cosmetics market. Setting out with a goal to offer a greater choice of products without compromising on quality or price, through a careful brand selection process Flawless Shades brings together a curated line-up of tried and tested, UK and international cult products with smaller, innovative brands who are deserving of a bigger spotlights and who cater to people of colour. Use the code "FLYGIRL10" when you shop!

"THERE IS NO PLAN B. I AM AN ARTIST." Vry Sora is an upcoming singer and songwriter from Richmond, Virginia (although currently living in Atlamta). Fly Girl Magazine caught up with her to discuss her journey so far, and where she is headed.

How do you keep yourself motivated every day to pursue a dream to be a musician, especially in such a competitive industry? Of course, in the physical realm my motivation is my family. But to be completely transparent; what you believe, creates your reality. I rely heavily on my spirituality, so to believe in my creator, is to believe in myself because I was made through his image. So walking in that, confidently, motivates everything that I do especially dealing with my music. Yes, it is a competitive industry but every being has their own path, so I know not to compare or contrast..that would lead to insanity! The competition for me, is within, everyday. Before pursuing music, what was your ‘Plan B’ option, if any? It has always been a dream of mine to allow my passions to take me far. I did, however, go through a few lukewarm seasons. I started settling for the “Plan B” option. You know, the “American Dream”. Go to school, work my ass off, retire before I die, blah blah. I’m over that now. There is no Plan B. I am an artist. I will create a beautiful life for myself and those around me, through my artistry. What valuable life lessons have you learnt through your music that you think would help other people chasing goals and dreams? There is really nothing I can say, that hasn’t been said before. But, it is really important to remember, it is God’s will, not our own. That’s something I have to repeat to myself, daily. He only has 3 answers… “yes,” “not now,” and “I have something better for you,” which is why it is so important to make sure you are right within, and right with God. If you don’t know what he sounds like, if your ear isn’t open to him, you will literally find yourself in a constant cycle of selfsabotage, I know I did. Once I tapped into Him again, it led me to myself, which allowed me to feel light on so many different realms. 

"He only has three answers... "yes," "not now," and "I have something better for you"" What are your next steps in music? Are you in the process of creating another single, or maybe even an album or an EP? It’s funny because I have so much music just stored up, I think every artist does. I am forever in “creator mode”, and I think things can be done better each time, kind of that annoying perfectionist princess. But I have a lot coming up, especially now that I live in Atlanta. Be on the look out for a new single dropping, the release date of my EP, some performances, and also a few announcements regarding my music career! God is so good, and he has already shown out.

Is there a certain artist you take inspiration from? Of course, artists like Andra Day, Solange, SZA, Badu, all inspire me but no one can make me want to create like Thugger. That man is RAW as hell, a true GOAT. Just like Andre 3000, and Busta Rhymes he shows being yourself is the best way to go. Your single ’Stay’ is definitely full of passion and soul. Was this song inspired by a particular person in your life? Thank you! Everyone thinks my single ’STAY’ was inspired by a lover. It was actually inspired by the loved ones that I’ve lost and those I don’t want to lose now. You know, to see their faces when I wake up, have a session, spend one more day with them, allowing me to love on them once more. When I mention not praying for forevers, because they don’t last, I was referring to ones’ life itself, not a relationship. I wish my mom and brother could live forever, I want them to STAY. I wish my Grandad could’ve lived forever, I wanted him to STAY. More than anything, the song is more so a cry out to feel the love of those I’ve lost, and to keep the love of those I have now. The purity and honesty. The security in knowing the love is accepting and unconditional. Those feelings that only their love could bring to me, just to have that back and never turn off, I would do anything. CLICK HERE TO BUY VRY SORA'S FIRST SINGLE 'STAY'




Gabri Marcia is a 20 year old photographer from Atlanta, Georgia. Her interest in pursuing a career in media sparked from being raised in a city which was heavily cultured. When she's not working on projects such as her 'Chromatography collection,' she is pursuing a major in journalism.


1. If you are interested in photography, try it! I was thoroughly interested when my father, who is a photographer, would take amazing shots of landscapes and portraits, and from that I wanted to create my own art.


2. Kit lenses are the truth. Do not let someone who is more seasoned in this art with more resources deter you from what you can create with a kit lens. I have created many of my projects with my kit lenses. Being in college has put me in a collegiate budget and I know that my creations are just as awesome.


3. Shoot everything! Take your camera everywhere with you. Take pictures of your day to day life and continue to learn your camera with things you are comfortable with.


4. Lighting, lighting, lighting! Be cognizant of the times and places you shoot, because the lighting is the key behind every single photo!


5. Follow your vision. Be true to yourself and your art! Shoot what interests you.



"To me, art isn’t all about aesthetics and beauty. To me, art is representation, and representation is very important to minorities and the bullied and abused. Although each and every one of our stories are different, there are intersections between them, and when art (short films, music, visual arts) captures our stories, it helps others indirectly. Ever since I’ve realized this, my main goal when creating work is to be raw and honest and myself." Ilina is a 15 year old artist from New York, USA. All proceeds from her artwork is donated to charities in the US and India to ensure all are given equal access to education, economic, social, and political rights. Click here to shop her art on her RedBubble.


PERSERVERANCE acrylic & pencil this piece is very special, as it's the first woman of colour I've ever painted, and ever since then, I've never stopped painting beautiful dark skinned women.

MANGO WALLAH digitally painted in photoshop  A lot of the artwork I create is to empower and break stereotypes of brown girls, but Sikh and Muslim men are also seen as “scary,” “terrorist,” and “ugly.” Often, in the eyes of westerners, turbans and thick beards are associated with danger. The point of this piece is to show how gentle and loving these faiths really are. BINDAAS  watercolour, colored pencil, and pastel “5 Reasons Why You Should Not Date Indian Girls” is one of those things that comes back to haunt me. The words: “ugly”, “prude”, “fat”, and “crazy” especially. This piece defies all these ideas. Indian girls are beautiful because we are bindaas, we are carefree.

"Growing up, I always knew I wasn't meant to be a lawyer or doctor. I was always really observant and had an eye for vibrant colours, patterns, and illustrations. I spent a lot of time studying video games, animation, and movies (I have countless sketchbooks filled with fantasy concept art and comic ideas), but I began to closely follow trends in couture fashion during my university years. While working as a mobile game artist, I began posting my personal art on social media just for fun, but figured most people wouldn't be too interested in it. After a few months, I was surprised to see that my Indian fashion and wedding illustrations had gained attention. I also love drawing illustrations about being a 21st century brown girl, whether it has to do with relationships, family stuff, or society in general. I am happy to see my sense of humour and opinions have sparked conversations, and it's really cool to see other people relate to my art and stories." Anu is an artist and graphic designer from Vancouver BC, Canada. Click here to shop her art at

Bhadrangi Reena Soni is a Gujarati-American Artist living in Danbury, Connecticut currently studying at Western Connecticut State University. She enjoys all mediums of art but has a particular interest in painting using acrylics and gouache. For her, painting South Asian women is not simply putting paint on a canvas. It is about celebrating the diversity and beauty in her culture in which these women hold inside of them. She is painting their stories with each brush stroke, celebrating their unique characteristics and trying to prove that these women are so incredibly talented, beautiful, intelligent, strong and most importantlyproud women of color. Bhadrangi hopes that she can inspire young girls to love and embrace their melanin and culture as well as understand the power, strength and beauty they have within themselves as women of color.Â

Acrylic and gouache painting of the talented poetess Rupi Kaur.Â

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan as Jodha from the movie Jodha Akbar. Acrylic Painting.

Jasmine Lakhesar, certified makeup artist. Gouache and acrylic painting


BLENDING THE HYPHEN The concept revolves around the hybridity of Indian American culture, the interlocked growth of a person as they live with a dual identity and come to accept both. This is shown through the combination of traditional South Asian and American clothing.

"I am PhD student at Duke University working on developing more sustainable food through genetic engineering. People have been altering the genomes of plants and animals for many years using traditional breeding techniques. In recent decades, however, advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed for precise control over the genetic changes introduced into an organism. Some benefits of genetic engineering in agriculture are increased crop yields, reduced costs for food or drug production, reduced need for pesticides, enhanced nutrient composition and food quality, resistance to pests and disease, greater food security, and medical benefits to the world's growing population. To determine whether my plants are indeed better than the existing ones, I constantly perform statistical analyses on the data to find significance. I run ANOVAs and t-tests at the moment, but I'm learning how to use unix and cloud-based computing so I can use other methods in the future. I love being able to prove that my methods indeed work, and back up the science with numbers as well Many people raised eyebrows at me when I explained the other 'half' of me. Scientists couldn't believe I was interested in things like fashion and makeup, while photographers were amazed that I was in graduate school. It was quite apparent that I fit outside their box, and a bit unnerving. Models sometimes scoffed at me, but some were curious to learn how I balanced both and how I had become interested in such seemingly separate fields.Young women gain valuable technical and problemsolving skills through STEM, as well as increased confidence and autonomy. Being in STEM doesn’t exclude a woman from more traditionally feminine activities either – I’m still free to model and express other aspects of my creative side as well! Being in science doesn’t determine all of your identity. I love both sides of myself and hope young women can see scientists as multi-dimensional women."



COULD THIS VOCALIST BE DRAKE 2.0? DEAN ALEXANDER MEHMOOD, ALSO KNOWN AS SAL HOUDINI, IS AN AMERICAN ARTIST OF GREEK AND AFGHAN DESCENT MAKING A BIG COME UP THIS 2017. SINCE DROPPING A VERSE ON DRAKE AND BEYONCÉ'S 'CAN I?' HE'S MADE A NAME FOR HIMSELF THROUGH GENUINE & HEARTFELT MUSIC. How has your upbringing and hometown had an impact on the music you produce today? Well, I'm American. I'm a New Yorker. A Brooklynite born and raised in Brooklyn. I grew up to R&B music. Dancehall music. Reggaeton. I do feel the music I grew up to has a lot to do with the music I make today. I have 3 older sisters and we used to have like MTV, VH1, BET on in the house all the time with music videos playing and artists showing up on You've also been peeped partying with Drake and Rihanna. shows to promote their new songs. Artists these days aren't really writing or singing about the stuff I am. There's What was that like?  It was eye opening. We were all at this after party after a very few of us. Coachella and everybody that I listened to or people Really not sure if this is just me but I feel a lot of The around me listened to were all there. Face Weeknd vibes coming through from your music! Is he  to face. I didn't really feel anything at the moment. I  an inspiration to your music or am I just dreaming?  guess I was in shock but then later on I was like I personally don't hear it. A lot of people have said that. I'm wow, I was really with these talented artists that I  look up to. I never thought that would actually happen. a very big fan of Abel. As well as Drake. I'm always told I'm Drake and Weeknd combined into 1 person and I always Definitely caught me off guard. take that as a compliment. These 2 men are legends and amazing at what they do. I'm still stuck in the 2011 era At only 23 years old, how do you feel about adjusting where OVOXO was starting up. That's my favorite sound  to a life of fame? It's always very exciting to me. I'm like a kid in a toy       from both artists. It's very me and I relate to it a lot. Drake is definitely my biggest inspiration. I've been listening to store. Everyone around me tells me to keep it cool Drake since "So Far Gone" days. I can't get enough of "Take and play the role of being used to it. In reality I'm  jumping with joy as if it's the first time every time. I         Care". You've recently performed in Kuwait, how was it? Kuwait was amazing. I wasn't expecting that good of a response. Hospitality was amazing, the people, everybody I met everywhere I went were just  beautiful. Kuwait is definitely my second home. I've seen stats of where my music is played the most, and Kuwait has been the number one country for some time now. I hope to keep it that way.

love every single bit of it. The cameras in my face, the screaming and yelling, the "omg it's him". This is all love that I receive and reminds me that even though I lack a relationship, I have people who truly do love me from all around the world and I wouldn't trade that for anything.

Click here to purchase Phantom by Sal Houdini on iTunes for only £7.99 now!

7AM in Kuwait' and 'Phantom' are noticeably to do with relationships. Was this inspired by an episode of your life? Everything that I release is based off of true events. My own experiences. I write about stuff I've been through. I was always fond of writing. I wanted to write a book in junior high school (middle school). I've been in a lot of relationships (12) and they all seem to end the same way. I get too attached and they tell me they're just looking for a fling. My music is my diary. Every album I release is a chapter. A lot of readers are likely to be going through heartbreak, either now or at some point in their lives. What advice would you offer to those who are?  I like to live by my lyrics. I do live by my lyrics. I think I said it best in "Phantom" on the song 'Take Time', "everything will take time". Patience is the key. Time heals everything. There's better coming. You can only go down so much till you go back up. If it's meant to be, they'll be there. God always has the best planned for you. Leave it all in God's hands.

"you can only go down so much till you go back up"

Amma: a photobook by Sinthuja Yogachandrabose

Click here to view the full photobook on Sinthuja's instagram: @sjdrabose


DESTRUCTIVE THOUGHTS One thing I’ve always struggled with and am still struggling with is overthinking- to have thoughts constantly running through your mind with no filter or no break. Sometimes it feels like the only time I’m not overthinking is when I’m asleep. I over think everything. Did I make the right decision? What are the people around me thinking right now? Am I doing the right thing? What is my purpose? Am I doing too much? Am I not doing enough? In essence my overthinking becomes so harmful that it eventually turns into self-sabotage. Overthinking prevents me from living my best life. The constant fear and doubt in myself continues to hold me back from accomplishing my true goals and figuring out who Smrithi really is. Paired with anxiety, overthinking can truly make you feel like your life isn’t in order. I tend to focus on overthinking all the bad things, often jabbing at myself like I’m on my own enemy. We constantly are comparing ourselves to the people we see on social media and even the people around us. So how do I break this vicious cycle? The cycle of waking up with a clear and happy mind but going to bed filled with damaging and undesirable thoughts. How do I separate reality from the destructive world I have created inside my mind? How do I break this toxic behavior that has become so natural to me that it feels normal? The first step 

is to stop and breathe. We often take breathing for granted and don’t notice that those small gasps of air in our busy lives is what keeps us alive. In order to stop overthinking, you must identify that it is a problem you are facing. Not all overthinking can be harmful; overthinking on your goals and aspirations is a behavior that will only get you farther in life. Its important to distinguish between what thoughts are productive and what thoughts are destructive. It may feel normal to think about destructive

"Break that cycle. Tear those roots out. Plant new ones." thoughts, only because your body has made it seem like that’s all you know. Break that cycle. Tear those roots out. Plant new ones-positive ones that will push to grow to be the best you that you can be. Water those new ones. Take care of those new ones. After all, you are in control and never lose sight of that. It may seem easy to get lost in your thoughts and enter a world of distorted reality, but do not fall into that trap. Acknowledge the positives and make an effort to grow from the negatives. Most importantly, give yourself time. You are delicate, beautiful, and ever growing. Provide yourself with the tools to kill any harmful roots that are planted so deeply in you. Remove yourself from toxic situations and people and realize that what’s growing inside is worth so much more. Feed into the positivity you feel, even if it’s only for one minute. Recognize that the positivity you felt for one minute can last a lifetime with your effort to grow and constantly become a better you.



Jessie Brar, founder of The Mental Health Spotlight is a mental health advocate. She dedicates her activism towards erasing the stigma of mental health in South Asian communities by sharing stories of those affected by mental health on her Instagram page (see below). She is a huge fan of chocolate and is a Bollywood dancer in her spare time.

Silence is a silent killer. When we’re silent, we let our problems take over our lives. We let others have control. We live in fear and shame. Silence takes away a piece of us. I let silence rule me. I let silence slowly take away pieces of me, day by day. Growing up, I went through a very long period of time where I suffered from emotional, verbal and sometimes even physical abuse at the hands of my alcoholic father and his parents. I saw as my mother suffered as well and she kept quiet about the injustice that was going on. When I would ask her, she would say it was out of respect for her elders and for her relationship. She never told her family or her friends what was really going on. Thankfully, my mother was strong  enough to eventually take me and my siblings out of that environment, but a lot of damage had been done. I saw as the silence ate at her. She struggled as people made their own speculations about what was going on in our family life while she put on a brave face and took care of her 3 kids. A few years later, I moved 3 hours away from home to go to university. Moving away and having to start over caused a lot of anxiety. I had struggled with anxiety and depression before as a result of the abuse and relied a lot on my mother and siblings for emotional support. Being so far away from home and my support system amplified my mental health 

problems. I started spiralling. I skipped classes, slept all day and stayed awake all night. I was too scared to tell anyone about my problems. I was scared of what they would say and that they would say I was weak. So, I stayed silent. Things got worse the more I kept it in. I started drinking heavily to try and shut out the thoughts in my head. I remember sitting alone and crying my eyes out and then when I would hear someone coming, I would quickly wipe my tears and put a smile back on my face. I was fine on the outside and slowly falling apart on the inside. There were times where I wanted to speak up, but each time I would stop myself because I was scared of what people would say. What if they didn’t believe me and thought I was doing this for attention? Maybe I wasn’t important enough. Maybe my voice didn’t matter. I suffered in silence and I let it control my life. Then, one day, I went to a presentation where I heard a young South Asian man talk openly about his past troubles and mental illness. He spoke about how he had struggled in silence for many years and how he found the courage to reach out for help and was now thriving. He inspired me to speak up and reach out. I stopped being quiet. I spoke up. I talked to a therapist. I talked to my doctors. I even talked to my friends and family. And let me tell you, it was the best I had ever felt. I felt free. I felt like my past and present problems did not have a hold on me anymore. What I came to realize was that as much as

silent hurt, sharing healed. Mental Health Spotlight. It’s an online forum where we share stories about South Asian mental health in the hopes of erasing stigma and getting rid of the silence around the topic. We share stories every Sunday from a member of the community to raise our voices. This idea of sharing turned into what is now The Mental Health Spotlight. It’s an online forum where we share stories about South Asian mental health in the hopes of erasing stigma and getting rid of the silence around the topic. We share stories every Sunday from a member of the community to raise our voices. Silence is doesn’t need to have control of our lives. We each have a story to share and the world needs to hear it. No voice is too small. No voice is too young or too old. Your voice matters. You matter.


MEET EBONI In 2010, Eboni launched her blog directed at women with natural hair. Over time, this grew into a showcase of her fashion style and beauty routine, which she shows off with an air of confidence.










the poetry corner Your new home of literary excellence by women of colour. Want to have your poetry featured in the next issue of Fly Girl Magazine? Submit your work to

SHORT BUT SWEET TASTE OF THE 90S BY @LEANDRA.ABIGAIL I’ve always wondered where we would’ve went, if I hadn’t expressed how I felt. You met me when a pen and paper were all I needed to let my emotions down. 9t seems like now; I can’t even get a word out. a part of me wishes that you remained the same when I first noticed you. Until the other part of me remembers the woman I was before I met you. I’ve always wondered if I picked up my phone less, stop checking to see if you were checking for me, maybe I wouldn’t stress about your absence. When I met you, every moment felt timeless, it felt like what the 90s would’ve been. Even though our shared path didn’t last long, “nothing even mattered… at all” To me, at least.   I no longer want to wonder how it could’ve been, if the timing was aligned with a shared connection. Whatever is meant for me, will be for me, effortlessly, I gave you my honesty, shared my raw emotions, and even uncovered my body. All I wanted was your time, until you stopped noticing my company.     xo Leandra Abigail  

STARING OUT THE WINDOW BY @RAWRIGHTEOUS Summer heat in my stare, Staining my panties with possession. Who can I call to Keep me company? Last summer’s lover. Breeding & hoarding Memories to Comfort my winter. Like a blanket on rainy days, And I giggle when I think Of the look on his face. He needed me too. Marking my spot is my gift To humanity. Pleasure as a profession… Looking for a professor, And a profession. I’m looking for another side To the story, But I hold my pride in my own arms again. 9-7-17 K.E Jackson

TONE DEAF BY @LOVELEEELF “How to lighten skin” Over 1,200,000 “remedies” appear As if brown and black skin Are diseases in need of a cure, As if existing tainted the white world so we grew up ashamed to be, As if our melanin is a crime so We’re treated as felons, As if we are to blame for all injustice While white privilege bathes in it Without any indictment.  - Loveleen Saini

Issue One  
Issue One