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HELLA


editor’s letter

Written by​ Tessa Luna

I think the best way to begin my editor’s letter of the first issue of HELLA is to introduce myself. My name is Tessa and I enjoy bands (​The 1975​ is my favorite), I’m an Indigo, and I have an obsession with the moon (you could say I’m a bit of a lunatic). You’ll never see me without a bold lip and I value good morals and good eyebrows. I started this zine because I wanted an outlet for young women where words like “feminist”, “spiritual” and even “Directioner” are not just acceptable, but praised. I’ve always been inspired by the history of zines with the punk and feminist movements and I feel like it’s very important to have a form of expression that is not part of mainstream media. Self-publishing allows you to do and say whatever you want and dare to talk about things that big magazines would find to be too controversial or a waste of time. For the first issue, I wanted to focus on different cultures around the world. Through the Internet, I’ve met so many talented people from thousands of miles away who have graced me with their work. I chose Brianne’s photography for the cover and feature because I think it presents a really unique perspective of different cultures and shines light on the little details that make up people’s lives all over the world. I’ve always loved Camilla’s poetry because she really captures teenage culture in this time period, in her area and all over the world. And of course Kea’s thrilling accounts of her experience in Israel during the bombings and the culture’s views on women. Along with their work, I’ve also asked the contributors to give their insight on different cultural aspects and why cultural diversity is important. I, myself, have always been interested in other cultures yet, I’ve never actually left America, but that hasn’t been a problem. From what my international friends have said, they don’t know how different cultures can be within my country. I grew up in Maui, Hawaii, visiting my father in Missouri every break. There are so many differences between the cultures that it can really be a wake up call. Something that I’m still struggling with when I return to the continental U.S. is what clothing is “acceptable” to wear. With the carefree lifestyle of Hawaii, nobody cares if your bra is completely visible (if you wear one) or if you walk into a grocery store in just a bikini, and a small one at that. I think the most confusing thing people don’t realize is the slight language barrier. Many Hawaiian words find their way into your everyday vernacular as well as an entire slang language called Pidgin that has been used for the last 100 years in the islands. Many families moved to the islands to work in the sugar cane fields from all over the pacific. All these languages: Filipino, Japanese, Hawaiian, Portuguese, and several more combined with English to make communication among them easier. The language is still prevalent today and really captures how the cultures in Hawaii have created one bigger culture. The overall way of thinking is so different and that’s reflected in every aspect of the culture from arts and music to who is elected to government; Republican vs. Democrat, female vs. male, young vs. old. This has really shaped who I am and I can’t wait to get out into the rest of the world and let it mold me as a person. Until then, I have to get my fix through the wonderful contributors. I hope you can get yours, too. -T Author:​ Tessa Luna - 16 - Maui, HI, USA tumblr:​ tessaluna ​ instagram:​ @indigo.fairy


all these little things

Photography by ​Brianne Mooiman

island life - Indonesia

artisan - Djerba, Tunisia


scissors - Bruxelles, Belgium


hmm creepy eye - Florence, Italy

Author:​ Brianne Mooiman - 17 - Arnhem, Netherlands tumblr:​ briannehallo

flickr:​ brianne hallo

“T​raveling to different areas of the world has taught me that the poorest people I've ever met are also the happiest people I've ever met and that really says a lot about our society, I think. Experiencing other cultures has had so much influence on my life in that way. Traveling to new places is great because you never know what will happen or who you'll meet my pictures are just memories of those free times in life​.”


prose before bros

Writing by​ Camilla Strain

I’m very quietly excited about all the colors in the world. By colors I mean people and feelings and organisms and life in a very general and specific sense.

I feel like a 13 year old boy walking home from the 8th grade or whatever after a tough day at middle-school, kicking a rock along the pavement and saying “rats” in a sad, pissed-off kinda way

I have found time and time again that as soon as you stop trying tirelessly to make the good things come to you, or for the bad things to cease - they do Just pass through things with as little judgement as you can, let yourself be

let the world cut you open watch the way your blood fills the streets love the lines in your palms breathe with your mouth open to the moon

I feel like something is growing inside of me. Like a light but more full - something with substance. I feel such sincere joy in the pit of my stomach. As if I was stagnant and still for so long and I have just began moving again. As if the cogs in the machinery have begun moving, chugging away. I’m coming home to myself. I am forgiving myself. Forgiving the world for illusory wrongs. I am growing.

Death to the idea that your self worth is based on anything but the fact that your heart is beating and you are in this world already. Chill with how gorgeous that is in itself and forget everything else

I feel very very very good and excited about the self-love culture that is growing on here cause I know a lot of us struggle with general self-loathing and other issues I just feel like we are all getting a little bit better u know? Like we are sisters (and brothers, too) and we are helping each other learn to be soft with each other and ourselves, too It’s a very nurturing and warm thing, please appreciate that it is happening cause it is very important

I’ve always been quietly thankful for my severe lack of conventional beauty. It has granted me more time to concentrate on my studies and comedy sketches. #godbless


Author:​ Camilla Strain - 16 - New South Wales, Australia tumblr:​ nectarblood

instagram:​ @camillastrain

“​I feel personally affected by the importance of culture as my closest friends are Japanese, Filipino, and

Marshallese. I think it’s a largely misunderstood importance as Australia is quite Caucasian in a general sense - although there are so many different cultures and ethnicities within it. This saddens me in the sense that I feel there is so much left to explore within the population or society, really. I think people should cultivate their own beliefs and traditions to whatever extent they please because it’s such an important aspect of our own sense of self. It’s difficult to even explain, I think, because although I am a person I don’t feel that I belong to a truly strong culture. There’s something about the general vibe of being in a Western country, it’s very, it’s very plastic, excessive, artificial. We live in a constant state of anxiety and longing which I think is problematic in that it completely dismisses the blessing of just being here at all. Ultimately, I do think we are in a state of motion in that we are striving for personal freedom, especially within minorities and other cultures. That’s very comforting to me, although I’ll never understand exactly what it’s like to be alienated and dismissed to an extent by the society I’m in. I feel blessed in that I’m living in a time in which we are encouraged to express and explore ourselves and our aspirations, values, etc. I feel blessed by just being here. I can’t explain it, I’m full of light and feel excited and humbled by knowing I have an entire life to enjoy all of this.​ ​”


hummus and hamas, three months in israel Written By​ La'akea Kaufman

I was settling in for an afternoon nap the first time the I heard the rocket sirens sound. For the first few days of the conflict, reports were coming in every hour that there were rockets in the south, or in Tel Aviv, and I remember being worried that I wouldn’t be able to distinguish the rocket sirens from an ambulance alarm, or that I wouldn’t be able to hear them. That day, the alarms vibrated the walls of my small room in Beerotayim, and there was no doubt in my mind what those noises meant. I got to Israel on a free trip after I discovered I had Jewish ancestry on my mother’s side of the family. For a few hundred dollars, I could extend my trip for up to four months. In my mind, I would have been an idiot not to do it. For the first week and a half, I traveled with a group of about fifty people. We slept in a Bedouin tent, rode camels, climbed Masada, and swam in the Dead Sea together. I experienced a lot of Jewish hospitality while traveling in this group. There was a lot of praying, and even more eating. Then I traveled for about a week with a woman who is now my roommate, Dana, and our friend Frank. At around 5pm on our second night in Tel Aviv, we got the news that the three Israeli teenagers had been found, murdered and quickly buried in a territory near the West Bank. Just a few days prior, I had attended an event where Prime Minister Netanyahu spoke about the military's commitment to finding these young men. The audience proceeded to share a moment of silence for them, but at the time I don't believe any of us in that audience thought they truly were gone. I read the news out loud on the hostel balcony, and after I finished I turned to my friend Frank and said, “This changes everything.” Two days later, we travelled to Jerusalem. We were there during Ramadan, so all of the mosques were closed to the public, much to our dismay. We checked into the hostel and decided to go explore the old city. The energy was completely different than what it had been


before; there were police with large rifles on every corner and gathered in groups at intersections, people spoke to each other quietly, and I could hear the faint sounds of helicopters overhead. I didn't know it yet because I didn't have internet access that day, but a Palestinian boy had been murdered in Jerusalem that day, and there were riots on the other side of town. All we knew was that the energy was not good; all night there was noise in the streets, the helicopters began circling directly over the city, and the cannons sounded at 4 am to signify the beginning of the fast for Ramadan. We left as soon as we could the next morning. The remainder of my trip was spent on a goat farm in a moshav near the West Bank. I milked goats, sheared sheep, fed chickens, and spent countless hours out in the pasture alone with the animals. Due to the intense nature of the conflict, I chose not to travel outside of the village unless I was going somewhere with my host family. I read a lot, listened to the radio, did yoga every day, and got pretty good at gin rummy. Israelis are very strong people. I have never been to a place where people are so proud and so involved in their country. I think that part of this may be because they have mandatory military enlistment (2 years for women, 3 for men), so they are fully aware of the price of their freedom, both monetarily and in the price of human lives. Nearly every girl in that country who was my age was in the military. Some would return back into service after they had served their mandatory time for the sake of job security. In any given public place, a train station or a market, it was common to have rabbi trying to approach you to talk about the talmud, people shouting about their produce or pastry prices, soldiers walking around in either uniform or civilian attire with large guns slung over their backs, and little Hasidic children running between the crowds chasing one another. I never felt particularly unsafe or looked down on as a woman there. In fact, most of the Israeli women I met who were my age were commanders in the army, or held intelligence positions with the IDF. Although I lived in Israel during a time that certainly couldn't be described as peaceful or conventional, I am glad to have experienced things in the way that I did. I feel stronger in my ability to connect with people whose language and religion I don't know, confident in my self to find my way in an unfamiliar city, and I have a better sense of when and how to ask for the help that I need. Being surrounded by war is a much more psychologically draining experience than I could have imagined. And if you're on the side who has a more sophisticated defense or military system, you feel guilty for being safe a lot of the time, and the images of those collapsed cities and displaced people in Gaza tortured me more than I know how to describe. The experience of traveling alone in a foreign country for the first time was a riveting one. I would recommend that all women do it at some point in their lives. There is a lot of self trust and turmoil that goes on, but somewhere between carrying fifty pounds on your back, sweating through Middle East heat, and being head-butted by a sheep, I discovered an intrinsic confidence within myself that I don't believe I would have otherwise. Get out, eat the world, and feel it all.

Author:​ La’akea Kaufman - 20 - Eugene, Oregon, USA tumblr:​ treehousesex

instagram:​ @sealionlilikoi


MORE AT hellamag.wordpress.com

Hella vol. 1  

The World Issue

Hella vol. 1  

The World Issue

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