I LNER. VOLUME ONE
THIS 2016 WOMEN IN CHARGE ISSUE IS DEDICATED TO FEMALE-DRIVEN CONTENT AROUND THE WORLD.
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DEDICATED, AS ALWAYS, TO TIFFANY THOMAS.
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PHOTO Kelly Searle
WELCOME A NOTE FROM OUR EDITOR ABOUT THIS ANNUAL WOMEN IN CHARGE ISSUE
In this species that we gave birth to, we can often feel unsafe, undervalued, unwelcome. And in spite of all that, we fight back with unconditional love and ambition. In a world that can often feel like it wants to break us, we rise up and retaliate with life and grit. Behind every giant leap for humankind is a woman blazing her own trail in spite of her many obstacles. And behind that woman is a network of other women fighting for the same cause. A woman on the street carries her keys as a makeshift knife because she does not feel safe in a city she calls ‘home’. A young girl gets acid thrown on her for wanting an education, and yet she seeks it anyway. A woman’s cervical cancer goes undetected because the affordable option in her area has been forced to close its doors. These are not accounts of foregone days: this is our present. Throughout history, women have been a sturdy backbone in a life of unequal treatment across every society. In olden times, we were called sluts for wearing makeup, and today if we choose not to,
we’re labeled cold and unfeminine. If a woman is living in a man’s body or was once in a man’s body, she is disrespected by a world that can’t accept someone becoming the woman she already is. Here is the truth, though: Every woman in the world is becoming the woman she already is. Deep down, we know we are beautiful, we know we have worth--even if it seems the world at large cannot see our light. We will shine, into that black night, until we are seen. We will take up space even when there is seemingly so little of it for us. And in taking up space, we claim our rightful place as daughters, mothers, sisters, lovers of this world. A world where women’s voices are suppressed is not a world at all. A society where women are not seen is not a society at all. A world of tired ideas about femininity is not the world anyone needs. As sisters united, we show compassion for the present, and a vision for what’s next. The future is female.
“Prior to my career as an artist, I worked in the beauty industry in dermatologist offices and salons where I witnessed firsthand the effects of that industry on women. Insatiable comments on the normalization of beauty practices that have thus created unattainable standards. This standardization leads us to a notion of beauty that cannot be reached without outside intervention. This instills a deep feeling of inadequacy and often leads to an insatiable appetite for these rituals. Insatiable reveals what lies beneath the polished surface of our culture’s idea of beauty.”
INSATIABLE Photography and Words
KAT KAYE Models
Nova Chez-Wells, Sarah Navratil, Savannah Snyder, Sophia Mayer, Brooklin Thacher
ufo photography JESSICA PORTILLO makeup ERIN NAKASHIMA hair NICOLETTA GAUCI model CHLOE BRAATAN @ TWO MODEL MANAGEMENT assistants DAVID WANG & NATLI PACO featuring SUGARPILL COSMETICS ELECTRIC HALO, OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE COSMETICS SILENCE, SUGARPILL COSMETICS GRAND TIARA AND LUMI, OBSESSIVE COMPULSIVE COSMETICS CRÃˆME COLOUR CONCENTRATE IN MERCURY
HEADPIECE JESSLABELLE AVELAR TUNIC VINTAGE PANTS VINTAGE
Maddie Pugmire-Hinmon, Izzy Kowell, Talya Kaltman-Kron, Natalie Voydat, Kira Mesch, Sofia Britten, Emma Martin, Effy Reavis, Natalie Ware, Lilly Landis-Croft
â€œThere need to be more positive relationships shown between women in the media.â€? -Maddie Pugmire
â€œThough I am constantly struggling with who I am and who I want to be, being creative is an outlet for me to exist on my own terms.â€? -Kira Mesch
“I believe I have the right to decide what happens to my body because it is mine and nobody else’s.” -Sofia Britten
â€œIt is most important to come together and support one another because we are the only ones who truly understand what we go through.â€? -Effy Reavis
The Driveway photography KELLY SEARLE model KRISTINE CLAGHORN words KELLY SEARLE
In this issue about women, I think it’s important to acknowledge an unfortunately major part of womanhood: sexual assault. I have never publicly spoken about this before. In fact, after my freshman year of college, I can count on one hand the number of people I have told about my rape and the subsequent impact it’s had on my life. I remember thinking that rape was bad and I would never want it to happen to me, but until it happens to you, you can’t imagine the uproar it causes in your life and psyche. I hope you’ll forgive my lengthy account here. I feel it’s finally time to speak up, and share some lessons I’ve learned along the way.
ually assaulted. I believe that rape is the unstable tectonic plate that our society has built its views of women upon. Is she a slut? Is she a “good girl”? Would I have sex with her? Am I pretty? Am I worthy? These are all questions that stem from the power that sexual violence has inflicted on our views of ourselves and other women. To fix the gender gap, we must fix rape culture.
We need to speak about this. Every two minutes, an American is sex-
It was an after-prom party. I had only been to one other party. This
A Little Background While victim-blaming is insanely common, I think each story is a little different. The nuances of my situation before the rape definitely colored my experience.
would be my second time drinking. This was not characteristic of me. I was a “good girl”. I was probably very annoying. I went to an intense college prep school where I did 4-7 hours of homework per night, ran cross country, founded a literary magazine, ran the arts section of the newspaper. I did what every after-school special tried to promote, sometimes to my dismay. I was graduating from high school with 9 other people-our school tended to dwindle in size and by senior year, left us a band of ambitious and close-knit teenagers “destined for the ivy leagues”. For six years, all we knew was working hard and each other. These were my brothers and sisters, and we knew each other as well as we knew ourselves. To say we were secluded was an
understatement. Our coursework guaranteed we never had time for meeting people outside of school, but I loved my English classes and laughing with my best friend so much that it drowned out the other
stuff. After prom I lied to my parents for one of the first times (I know, crazy) and told them I was going to a friend’s birthday party. Instead, we headed up the tree-lined roads to where the mansions were. The May breeze wafted pollen into my hair and flapped my new
Rolling Stones t-shirt against my shoulders. I remember everything I wore that day, which would soon be secured in a police evidence locker. I felt an unfamiliar mix of guilt and anticipation as we winded up the road toward the house. My best friend and I turned up our mix CD we made for the occasion and could imagine our graduation on the horizon like an island mirage. Once we got there, everyone was asked by the host mom to put their car keys in a bowl and then she headed upstairs out of sight. For the rest of the night we drank and danced and kissed. I remember the moment my crush kissed me and I felt a thrill: after years of being afraid someone would find out I was bi, she accepted me. We had laughed and had a connection, but I didnâ€™t know if she sensed I felt more than that for her. I never even told her. But she kissed me under the spring stars while we laid on the driveway. At 17, I felt like I was finally a teenager for the first time in my short life. I had never been able to experience
freedom like this. All of the sudden, 2 shots turned into 4 and four turned into 6, and soon I was only seeing things in little snaps of action, like a flipbook with some of the pages torn out. I noticed that she and I were no longer alone and there was another boy there kissing her neck. I sat up, feeling nauseated from the alcohol and her obvious feelings for this boy. The Rape I think when we hear about rape, we understandably donâ€™t want to think about what it actually entails. As survivors, itâ€™s important for us to tell people what it really means--in black-and-white terms-to be sexually violated. Only then can they understand the trauma of the event itself. Rape is more than just a crime: it is a violation of your very self. Once we establish that, we can begin to change rape culture. Before I could gather my thoughts
or balance, a boy in the grade below us grabbed my arm and pulled me up. He dragged me behind the garage into an alcove by the back door and started kissing me. I realized that in all the missed moments leading up to this, I couldn’t place who I had had my first kiss with. I felt like crying and throwing up. He pushed me onto the concrete, unbuckled his pants and forced himself into my mouth and I tried to run. A face I had seen a thousand times became so unfamiliar before me that he seemed to be a new person entirely. A person who didn’t show emotion. He unbuttoned my pants and I turned away from him, saying no and crying. I was unsteady and suddenly I felt like I had no control over my movements at all. I said I was a virgin and tried to escape. I pushed against him trying to make him see that I wanted to leave. I would fall over when I tried to crawl away. I cried no over and over while I tried to make it to the door. He pulled my arm and yanked me down and forced
himself on me while I tried to get away. I felt a searing pain that seemed to cut me like a knife. At a certain point I became so scared and overwhelmed that I stopped struggling. I just remembered someone saying on 60 Minutes that playing dead can make an attacker leave a victim there, and I felt like I might pass out from the pain and nausea and fear. I let myself drift away. I didn’t want to be alert for this. All my other friends would have amazing moments with loving boyfriends and this would be me--of course it would. I went limp and couldn’t feel my legs at all. When he finally finished, my mascara was smeared and I felt blood running down my legs. He hadn’t used a condom. My heart pounded. I felt so tired. So tired. I could sleep forever. I finally stood up, legs quivering and tears running down my face. He grabbed my arm before I could try to run and grasping tightly, he said that we had to date after this. Tomorrow we needed to tell everyone we were dating. That we had liked each other for a long
time and now finally we’re together. He asked if I understood. I just wanted it to end and was scared of saying no, so I said yes, crying. Would he have to be my first boyfriend? I used all my strength and ripped away from him, half-crawling towards the door. I went inside and pushing my palms against the cold walls, made it to my friend’s bed, where several of my other friends were laying. I laid there unable to think, breathe, feel. Out of nowhere this thought bubbled up and wouldn’t let go: “I said no.” I’ll never forget this moment in the dark. I rolled over and whispered to my friend, “I just had sex with ---.” She couldn’t compute this information. Then I
whispered, starting to cry, “I said no.” That was all I needed to say. She hugged me. I shook and felt everything spinning, and felt like I was leaving my body. I shook until I passed out. Everything went black.
The Next Morning According to NIH, “Estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Among 34 cases
of rape-related pregnancy, the majority occurred among adolescents and resulted from assault by a known, often related perpetratorâ€?.
the seat, feeling a wave of a new sensation I would become very accustomed to: complete hopelessness.
Sometime in the early morning, I was awoken by the mom and she told me that the police were there. Her daughter, my friend, volunteered to go with me to the police station. I went to grab my sweatshirt and tell my best friend where I was going. I wondered if I could ask her to come? The cops looked impatient. Everyone was sitting on the couches, looking at me. I felt like crawling under the coffee table and never being seen again. I rushed out of the room without grabbing my sweatshirt while everyone watched me silently. The police asked me to take them to where it happened. They took pictures and took my friend and I to the patrol car. The cop was nice, but I felt like throwing up. I held my friendâ€™s hand and watched the sage brush blur, thinking of my parents. Who would call them? This is the end of our relationship being normal. This is going to change everything. I sunk into
I was right; everything changed. A detective came to greet me at the station. She would become one of the only people to believe me, despite the blood, the semen, the evidence, my shaking body and bruised skin. She took me to a small room. She showed me an anatomically-correct doll and I thought how weird it was. And then I realized what they used it for, as she began to touch parts of its body and ask if I had been touched there the night before. I started to cry and violently shake and realized with a disgust so pure that this must be the doll they use for children who have been molested. I immediately threw up all over myself. I cried and apologized, and she held me and took me back to some police lockers, where she gave me a DARE shirt in XL that went down to my shins. I shook and cried and she showed me the bathroom, where I ran in and threw up violently, shaking
and sore all over. I felt a pain so sharp emanating from what seemed like my organs, throbbing and twisting through me. I realized there was blood and I tried to clean it up. The detective rubbed my back and she said, “I believe you. Whatever happens, I believe you.” I didn’t realize that this would be rare and a memory I would cling to in my darkest hours. She lead me back to the room and I described in detail where I had been penetrated, held, pulled. The things he said to me haunt me still. His pockmarked, chubby face, twisted grin and focused eyes bore into me as he spat: “Let me see that pussy”, “put me in your mouth”, “get back here”, “don’t run”, “you’re a little slut”. I was driven to the hospital next. There, cold metal instruments examined me on a stiff stirrup chair while to my embarrassment, they filmed it and showed it on a television screen above me, while my friend held my hand. They told me this was the rape kit. I thought
“kit” was a strange way to describe it. They took blood, scraped under my nails, took photos of my bruises and cuts. They clipped off a bit of hair and put my clothes into a bag. They collected DNA from all over me and then had me stand. They gave me two Plan B pills and some water to wash them down, since he hadn’t used a condom. They said I could choose if I wanted to take them. They told me there was a high probability I had gotten pregnant from the situation (citing the statistic that rape victims are twice as likely to conceive as from consensual sex). I swallowed those pills like they were going out of style. They took a Polaroid of my face. As it developed, I watched the foreign image of myself fade into existence, revealing mascara-stained cheeks, knotted hair, puffy features and an expression so emotionless it barely registered as one of my own. They found evidence. My cervix was permanently damaged. I was internally bruised. They bagged it
up and gave me some paperwork. They gave me a voucher for some hours of free counseling I could use if I wanted. They showed me to the bathroom and I cried on my friend’s shoulder while she held me, and I just kept saying how much I wanted to take a shower. My parents picked me up from the hospital. My friend’s dad called them, to my relief. It was weird seeing them, and I felt so embarrassed. When I got home I hugged my brother and went to my room. I showered for two hours. Every part of me ached and I wanted to shrivel upand never have anyone look at me again. I didn’t want to have attention on me before this, and this ordeal certainly wouldn’t help that goal. I got into bed. I slept and slept. The Aftermath According to the Journal of Traumatic Stress, 94% of survivors experience PTSD symptoms within two weeks of the assault. 30% experience PTSD at a nine-
month check-in. The Department of Veteran Affairs reports that 1 in 3 rape survivors experiences an episode of Major Depressive Disorder in their lifetime. The months that followed honestly hurt worse to me than the rape itself. My school forced me to go back and finish my 70-page thesis, despite my writing a letter to the headmaster explaining my situation. I finished the school year, struggling to form coherent thoughts. I had to see my classmates at a few “check-ins” while we finished our senior internships. It was horrible and so awkward. I could hear people whispering about me, and some people would give me dirty looks or just abruptly leave the room in disgust. At one of these heinous gatherings, my English teacher pulled me aside and asked how I was doing. I had dyed my hair black and was barely alert, so I’m sure there were some pretty big red flags. She said she could tell I looked so exhausted and hurt. I was thankful for her care, but also a little embarrassed.
That summer, I kind of retreated into the house, sleeping in my parents’ bed all day, reading books and trying to avoid everyone. When I did see my friends, they tried to comfort me, but slowly I got the feeling that something weird was shifting in our dynamic. The DA had started to conduct depositions and witness statements, and interview everyone about my character. Through the detective, I was learning that everyone thought I was a quiet, shy, introverted girl who was kind of weird. Some boys expressed how the rapist and I had never showed interest in each other, and so how could we have slept together? I don’t think those boys really got the concept of rape. People who I wasn’t really close
to jumped to his defense, saying I was a liar. One of my friends explained that he touched her boobs randomly at school and she had to push him off, and how he had tried to do something to another girl
at a party and someone had intervened. He had pretended to pass out and said he didn’t remember it. Apparently, this is exactly what he had done when the police came to investigate what happened to me. I would drive alone endlessly, blasting the Rushmore soundtrack
as I blazed through the gravel backroads, tuning out any thought that could reach my consciousness. My best friend would come over and I talked with her about the news station reporting on me, the headmaster saying in the local newspaper that until my rapist was proven guilty, he and the school would assume his innocence. In effect, he was saying I was lying. Old classmates IM’ed me, asking who had gotten raped at school. I had to explain that it was me. My friends all started to say “this sucks”, and slowly it became apparent that they weren’t really talking about my situation, but their situation of wondering how to treat their other friend, the rapist. I got a feeling like everything I knew was slipping out of reach and something was sucking my personality and functionality out of me. Suddenly, I couldn’t watch any movies. I loved movies. I wanted to go to film school. Everything had love in it. I felt so sad that I
wouldn’t remember my first kiss, and that my first time with a boy was against my will. I lost interest in pretty much everything. I would sweat and silently scream through the nights, and be dazedout during the days. My brother, my best friend and I watched a box set of The Tom Green Show and reruns of Six Feet Under on an unending loop, and that was a true silver lining in the shit-storm. If you’ve just been raped, I highly recommend watching Tom Green tuck poop into a dollhouse bed. For two years, my friends and I had been planning a summer European backpacking trip. I almost backed out so many times, but my best friend luckily convinced me to go. That trip brought laughter and fun into my gloomy little heart, and I will always cherish it. Memories of staying in Rome with my best friend after her passport was stolen, while everyone else flew home, make me so happy to this day. It was not all grand. I was starting to unravel. On the flight to
Dublin, I looked out the window and I thought how lucky I was to be doing this, but how pointless my own existence seemed. How undeserving of this trip I was. I felt so hopeless, like this net of optimism that had been holding me from touching reality had been ripped, and I was falling through and finally seeing the world for what it really is. Depression’s twisted logic had started to rot my brain. I felt like my dismal worldview was the true one, and that everyone else who was cheery was just ignoring the truth. In that perspective, there isn’t a lot of room for optimism. I started to be scared of everything. I felt so overwhelmed and tired all of the time. The boy who raped me lived only a few blocks away, and for some reason, he still wasn’t in jail. A psychiatrist put me on emergency Prozac, Seroquel and Klonopin. I started to feel a little better. I thought I could handle college maybe. One day at my dad’s office, I bent over in pain. He took me to the
emergency room. I was bleeding. I had ovarian cysts from the Plan B. A week later, my throat started to hurt and I felt so weak I could barely move. My mom took me to the doctor and she tested me for mono. Boy, did I have mono. She explained that the testers usually gave a positive result at 99 parts per something, but I had over 1,000. She told us that this was extremely dangerous and that my spleen was in danger of bursting at any moment. I needed to lay still and was ordered on strict bed rest. This hot new trend of shitty things happening was only getting hotter. At least I had a medical reason to stay in bed all day. I named my spleen Billy and to my dad’s and my delight, we jokingly made suspenders for Billy to hold him up. Jokes like this really made me grateful for my morbid family. We packed my stuff. My best friend and I were going to be moving to Oregon and living in the dorms together, going to a small liberal arts school. I felt safe and like this was a stable thing for me. I am very attached to my family.
Being away from them was made less scary by the excitement of choosing my classes and having daily fun with my BFF. Off to College According to the Department of Justice and the National Victim Center, 70% of rape victims experience moderate to severe distress, which is a higher rate than any other violent crime. Rape victims commonly use drugs and alcohol to cope with PTSD symptoms. They are 3.4 times more likely to smoke pot, 6 times more likely to use cocaine, and 10 times more likely to use other major drugs. It was time to start my college life. My mom and I planned a road trip and were going to be stopping along the coast on the way. I was refreshingly excited for something. My mom surprised me with a bag full of awesome clothes, since I had been wearing a uniform for six years and didn’t have any “street clothes”. My mom strapped me in in my
fully-reclined passenger seat lined with pillows to prop me up in a spleen-friendly position. We were listening to cheesy music, eating snacks and having a pretty great time, considering my situation. On our first night, I checked Facebook. I had a message from my best friend. It told me that her parents weren’t letting her go to my school and were taking her to some college in California. She was super upset. I completely fell apart. I cried and screamed and heaved on the bathroom floor, and then woke my mom to tell her. She held me and tried to reach my friend’s parents, but couldn’t. I cried for the rest of our trip and for the two days we set up my dorm room before she had to go back home. My poor mom; she really did not want to leave me like that. I was so distraught. When she left, I sat in my empty room and cried for 24 hours a day for about a week, looking around at my room full of things she and I had bought together, that I would now have to use alone.
Suddenly, my sleeping totally stopped. Whenever I dozed off, 20 minutes later I would scream myself awake. Anxiety rattled through me and I could not make friends at all, let alone attend classes. I could barely do anything but walk endless loops around the campus, day and night. Finally, my anxiety broke me down into my darkest days. I met a boy online and he seemed nice enough. We began a tempestuous, extremely toxic and emotionally abusive relationship. He was the only person I would see, and when I was away from him, the crushing thoughts that would engulf me would sink me into an abyss I can only describe as pure doom. If you’ve never felt doom, that is excellent. I felt a lot of doom. I cried and sat alone, barely able to focus, crawling out of my skin with disgust for myself, the world and that night that started all of this shit. Slowly, friends of my boyfriend began to realize his strange behaviour and my depression, and
how he seemed very controlling and manipulative of me, and then very distant. One of them took me to the school sandwich shop. I had been at school for 3 months and still didn’t have one friend. He was concerned. He told me he never saw me with anyone and that I seemed very sad and he urged me to leave my boyfriend, and told me he was ending their friendship because of how upsetting my boyfriend’s behavior had become. I cried because I felt seen for the first time in a pretty long time. Someone was noticing me slipping through the cracks. We became friends. He urged me to just try to hang out with him and his friends. He invited me to a snowball fight. I just let loose and finally started to meet a couple nice people. I made other friends who lived off campus and were older. One of them introduced me to drugs and I started taking them. I don’t remember these couple of months well because I was constantly taking pills without knowing what they were and being stoned 24/7.
I was drinking more and more, heading to weird frat basements and weed dealers’ houses. My nights were sleepless, and the new roommate they placed in my room was intense, to say the least. I would walk all night, not caring what happened to me. I honestly did not care at all. I wandered fields behind the school from dinner time until sunrise, and my nice friends started to worry a little. But, no one really noticed how bad it was getting. My roommate visited her boyfriend hours away every weekend, and my friends often had drama club, parties and other things going on. I could kind of conceal how bad things were getting. My boyfriend noticed, but he seemed to feed off it, saying how he was jealous because he always wanted something bad to happen to him so that he could be pitied and get attention. He told me he even “tried to be gay” to get attention. I told him that’s not really how it works. As a bi person and a human in general, I understood
that’s a very crazy thing to say. He just kept seeming more and more excited the deeper I got into my depression, and saying weirder and weirder things. I would scream and thrash awake when I slept over and I felt like everything about this sickness in my head was annoying to everyone else. I would try to breakup with him, and he would cry and pull me back in. I was so weak I didn’t have the self-confidence to say no. I just couldn’t bear to be alone. I am really not proud of this part but it is a part of the story and I now know it’s pretty common among people with PTSD. On weekends when I was alone, I would start cutting myself. It was just a test at first, to see how bad it hurt. Once I realized it was bearable, I kind of thought it was an option. Like, a safety net. So I went about my anxious days and tortured nights, walking train tracks alone like an Avril Lavigne video extra. One night, my boyfriend told me to get out because he wanted to be alone for a few days. I pretty much spiraled into
a doom hole and dragged myself to my therapy appointment at the school counselor’s office. I looked terrible. I knew it, but I didn’t really think it was a big deal. I walked in, and my therapist, one of the coolest people ever by the way, looked shocked. He said I looked extremely pale and like I wasn’t even showering or anything. I told him he was right about that. He read some questions off of a form, definitely not his style. I was skeptical but answered honestly. He finished writing and then begged me to go with him to the hospital and check myself in. I thought about it and was too scared. I said no and he tried to convince me over and over. He reluctantly let me leave and I went outside into the cold.
to push through and speak about it, because so many rape survivors go through this. According to the Department of Justice, 33% of rape survivors contemplate suicide. 13% attempt suicide.
I packed my things for winter break. I went home and I was decidedly not myself. My family seemed wary of me and my brother told me that I seemed super weird. But, we were trying to be normal. Rape affects the whole family, and all of them had been dealing with repercussions themselves while I was at school. My dad told me that one of my closest friends had said I was lying and she defended the boy who raped me, and every one of my other friends had followed suit, except for my best friend. Everyone I trusted had betrayed me.
This part is extremely hard for me to write, because it is about the night I almost ended my own life. I have not shared this part with anyone besides my best friend and my husband. But, I feel like I need
I went on Facebook and put together that they had all had been hanging out with my rapist for months behind my back. I messaged a few of them and they told me “we love you both, so hopefully you can understand and we
can still be friends”. I’m sorry, but being friends with a guy who pretty much was destroying my soul? And being friends with his victim at the same time? I was so hurt, confused and angry, I couldn’t even comprehend it. These people I had known for so many years. How could they turn on me like this? Was I really that insignificant of a blip on their radar? I felt so worthless. I felt that maybe I really wasn’t important, or needed in this world. There was physical evidence, but my mom informed me that they just couldn’t pursue the case any longer. I asked the detective why, and she said that I was in bad shape and wouldn’t be able to be a reliable witness on the stand. My therapist had disclosed that I was definitely not doing well and was acting erratic. She said the lawyer believed me, and she believed me, but sometimes that just wasn’t enough when everyone was saying I was lying. They told me that this was unfortunately a very common phenomenon. People just don’t believe the girl a lot of the time,
if the rapist is a popular guy. My ex-friends might leave reasonable doubt in the jury’s minds. It was risky. I walked away and felt my world deflate. My boyfriend called me and begged me to come back. He talked into my most insecure self and convinced me I should leave in the middle of the night. He wired me money and I wrote a scathing and incomprehensible note saying something to the effect of “I’m leaving for my sanity”. Nothing could be further from the truth. I was literally going insane. The anxiety and depression and PTSD were completely taking me over, and I made the whole drive without a cell phone, in the dark, chain-smoking through snowy mountains and black-ice roads, talking to myself the whole way. Things were not alright. In this state, I arrived on campus. My boyfriend said I looked skinny. That’s what happens when you stop having interest in food. He said he was so glad I was there. He told me he only really
liked girls with short hair, and so I should cut mine. He took me to Great Clips and I received the most botched Audrey Hepburn pixie in the history of mankind. My brother still jokes that I looked like Jamie Lee Curtis in Freaky Friday. Hungry and depressed at my reflection, I told him I’d drive us to a Chinese restaurant. He was saying things to me about how jealous he was of my situation and depression, and I snapped. I turned the volume all the way up and blasted Karen Ann into our ears. He screamed to stop. I was so full of anger and so many other things, and swerved hard around a curve. He told me he was scared and wanted to get out. I told him that’s how I always felt around him. He left for work and I went into my empty dorm room. I laid in bed and things got very scary in my head. No one was on campus. I felt so alone. I am so ashamed of this to the core of my being, but I took apart a razor, sat on my bed and cut myself. I could not see how this situation could
get any worse, or any better. I cut deep, up-and-down like the movies showed, not across. I thought, I’ll leave this one up to chance. According to my arm, chances looked bleak for my survival. As I started to bleed heavily, I thought of my family and my best friend. How could I be so fucking stupid? This would destroy them. I wrapped my arm up in a sweatshirt and went into the bathroom and took a shower. I went to my boyfriend’s dorm and waited for him. I was so relieved the bleeding stopped, there are no words. In that moment I decided my life was going to change. I couldn’t let this kill me. I told him what had happened and showed him. All he said was, “next time, can you tell me first so I can just get a few things in order?” I just looked at him. I realized then what a sick person he was. He was truly sick. I saw in his expression that this would be his ideal scenario and what he had been hoping for all along--imagine the pity party once the girlfriend dies.
It was a process, but I told him I wanted a break. My dad came to school and picked me up. We drove in awkward silence while he looked at me like I was an alien. He seemed very scared and very worried. My poor dad. We got home at 3 in the morning and my mom was waiting. She ran and hugged me. I went into my room and laid in my bed and breathed in the smell of home. I felt safe for the first time in a long time. 10 Years Later I wish I could say, “...and now I’m completely changed and over it”, but that wouldn’t be the truth. The truth is more of a grey area, where most days I feel great, but I’ve also struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD over the last ten years. When my best friend passed away two years ago this month, I can say I completely unraveled. The trauma from my rape and her being one of the only people who believed me compounded my immense grief, because now I can count on four fingers the number of people who believed me
back then. In losing her, I lost my closest confidant, my soul sister, my heart. I also lost my past. No one remembers who I was back then and what happened. I lost my platonic soulmate, the one who got me through it all. It’s very surreal. She was also the only one who knew me before I was raped in a deep, complete way. Because of the statute of limitations, I can’t press charges any longer. That chance slipped by when I turned 21, and was in no state to go back to my hometown and face all that trauma again. The court doesn’t let you choose when you’re ready to fight. According to the Department of Justice, 994 out of every 1,000 reported rapists walk free. Now though, I feel like I could fight, and would in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, it’s not possible. My rapist is still out there. I’ve heard rumors but haven’t seen him since that night, and hope I never do. I don’t know if his family still lives in the same house, but every time I go home, I worry I will see
him. Sometimes I still cry when I think about him putting another woman through this. I still get flashbacks and I can never drink again because the smell just takes me back to that night. I certainly tried in college, but that just isn’t good for me. At all those parties, when everyone is drinking and having fun, I’m shaking and my brain is raging with anxiety and flashbacks to that driveway. I stopped drugs and am never going back to that way. I have a lot of intense anxiety over big crowds, parties and others drinking, and I’ll probably be working on those things for the rest of my life. I’m never going to be trusting again. I’ve learned that people who you would trust your life with can turn on you in the blink of an eye. In human nature lies a dichotomy. You never know what side of the coin you’ll fall upon. Some people think this is a cynical way of seeing the world, but I see it as a positive perspective: the people I let in are special because they’re truly worth my love, and I can
count on them. You can’t say that for most people. Even the people who didn’t betray me sort of fell off the map in the face of awkwardness. I’ve severed basically all ties with everyone I went to school with, save for 3 people. They have tried getting in touch, and one even spent the night at my house before I realized she was hanging out with my rapist on a regular basis. Over and over, these people told me, “Would you really cut us out of your life because we want to hang out with him? You’ll lose all your friends. Can’t we love you both? Why do you have to think so black-and-white?”. I can’t describe how much these comments cut to my core. I’ve had to rebuild myself from the ground up, and it has been hard. He is still out there, and I live with that every day. The guilt can be overwhelming, and however much I want to get him behind bars now, there’s no way to do it. The justice system fails women in this way every day.
The one thing I can do is speak out. I can tell people about what happened, and hopefully in speaking out, I encourage someone else to as well. If we stand together, we can effect change. We need to change the way people think of rape and how it’s prosecuted. I will never forgive him, and I don’t think I can ever forgive the people I was closest to in this world for turning against me. But, I choose not to see this experience in my life as a deficit. I’ve tried to see it in a constructive light. I’m a much more compassionate person than I was back then, and I am much less judgemental of other people. I know that I’ve not told most people about this, and they would never know. The night I won my film school’s annual film festival, I received one of those cryptic messages from an old friend. No one would know that standing on the stage, I was both elated and crushed. And in this knowledge, I find empathy: you really never know what someone is going
through. The human heart can conceal deeper wounds than could be imagined, and endure them as well. I know I’m stronger than I ever thought I was. And I do find meaning and purpose in helping others. I think I was drawn to photography and makeup because I drift into a calm, otherworldly headspace, and capture the peace and strength I see in the world around me. I like making people feel good about themselves. It’s a way I care for others. Doing that slowly helps me rebuild my self esteem. I can safely say that I use this experience as a motivating force in my life. Since that night ten years ago, I’ve gone to film school, fallen in love, gotten married, moved around the country, traveled all over, become an esthetician. The way I see it is this: if I had let that night destroy me, as much as it almost did, I never would have the life I have now, or experienced any of these amazing things. Whatever you’re going through, hang on. Hang on tight, by what-
-ever means you can, and things will get better. Your strength will surprise you. You never know
what’s just on the other side of the storm. It’s worth waiting for.
her. If she can’t stand, stand for her. If she can’t see the light, show her.
As women, we’re capable of so much more than anyone will ever give us credit for, and we need to believe each other when we say
If she can’t speak up, speak up for
If you or a friend has been assaulted, you’re not alone. National Sexual Assault 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-656467. Or Visit Centers.rainn.org.
we. Photographer Kiu Ka Yee HMU Jac Adair Stylist Jasmine Liddell Models Ryley Paskel & Zachary Carlson
BLUE FEVER PHOTOGRAPHY Sam Zachrich MODELS The women of Blue Fever WORDS Greta McAnany and Lauren Tracy
Blue Fever An interview with the women behind a new platform of female entertainment
LAUREN: Okay G, tell everyone who we are! GRETA: We are X-Factor Films, soon to be renamed Blue Fever-but we will get to the new name later! We are building a better version of Netflix for millennial female content. And we’ve curated group of high-quality filmmakers who we’ve partnered with to showcase their work to an audience who is starved for content that reflects them. LAUREN: Entertainment is our true passion because it’s a basic human need. But our global entertainment is almost completely one-sided. Most people don’t realize that 85% of mainstream Hollywood movies today cater to male audiences and are told by male filmmakers. We’re sooo over this. GRETA: Preach. We’re working
with our growing collective of incredible filmmakers and content creators to build a premier digital destination where young women can consume, and have conversations around, the best movies and shows for them. Check out our alpha site at xfactorfilm.com! In early 2017 we will be changing our name to Blue Fever and launching the first layer of our platform that will feature incredible short form content. think high quality digital series, short films, comedy sketches, etc. LAUREN: Oh and the meaning behind the name is because Blue is the most common color in nature but the most difficult color for the human eye to perceive. Literally for centuries people were not able to see the color blue and today, with people still asking if the dress is blue/black or white/gold, they
continue to struggle to see the color. GRETA: So we equate Blue with women in the industry and the world at large. What you can’t see you don’t have a name for. And just like blue we have been nameless because no one could see us. So now we are going to be seen and spread like a rabid fever. LAUREN: Okay so now that we have covered our exciting plans for the new year, we have to plug our filmmakers, who we call ‘Creators,’ because we’re not talking about just anyone here. Their accolades include being nominated for an Academy Award, winning an Emmy, appearing on the New York Times Best Seller list, having projects distributed by HBO and Netflix and creating viral videos with millions of views. GRETA: We believe anything is possible with the Internet. It has an inherently feminine energy: a sensibility that encourages sharing common experiences, connectivity and community. It’s perplexing why there isn’t a place dedicated for women to gather online, safely, to discuss entertainment we
love. For example, when Beyoncé dropped Lemonade, we could have used a central digital gathering place to have our minds blown together instead of freaking out individually. LAUREN: Talk about the first time I blew your mind. GRETA: Lol. Okay, Lauren. We met in line for a movie in the freezing cold at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Lauren was working the line, telling people about her feature film Sweet Desert Palm. LAUREN: That’s an exaggeration, I wasn’t “working” anything. Greta is an actress (a truly talented one, FYI). GRETA: I was cautious of this chick who was selling herself so hard. But when we both didn’t get into the movie she was like, “Let’s hang out!” and I thought, Why not? From there we hit it off, and I really felt for the first time that I’d found my tribe: a comrade and collaborator who wants to tell stories that have value with a capital V. LAUREN: Greta is literally, the most network-savvy human I
human I know. Though she clearly has a cautious side, it doesn’t come across at first glance. This is what we love about young women: we’re fucking complex. G and I are constantly looking to expose and promote the authentic layers of our filmmakers, characters and audiences. GRETA: On my first feature film Bite Size, I worked with a team of all men. I was expected to function as a secretary on a project where I was a producer. I found myself constantly being put down about my body, my emotions or my opinions. When I told another producer about this he said, “I see what you are saying, but it’s hard for me to want to change it because this [bro] culture serves me.” This was a low budget film run by a bunch of kids right out of college. I couldn’t imagine what it was like in the studio system where there is real money and a majority of men have more power. LAUREN: Simultaneously, I realized that I didn’t have more than one favorite female filmmaker, or any favorite female characters! But I was writing female charac-
ters, and that confused me. How was I going to build a robust business around stories about female characters, when they rarely exist in Hollywood? When I met G, I finally saw that I wasn’t the only creator like me. Looking back, that was life-changing. GRETA: After that feature film I knew I wanted to work in an environment that respected me and I wanted to be surrounded by like-minded people. When I heard about Lauren’s seed idea for X-Factor Films I immediately saw huge potential. We could create a long tail of people and ideas, not a one off film. LAUREN: We spent 2015 looking for more creators like us and found a surplus of filmmakers making incredible content for young women – outside of the studio system. We found over 500 of us. And we’re partnering directly with them to distribute their content. GRETA: Though this fact is often quieted, entertainment about women makes 20% more money on average than content about men protagonists.
A Selection of X-Factor Films Creators Monica Sender: An existential Russian Brooklyn Jew creating characters who are unapologetically imperfect in the most perfect way. Lauren Tracy: A confident dreamer who furthers the existence of her friends’ art and who can’t stop killing off characters in her own. Erin Brown: A reliable pro and acrobat of the air who injects vibrance into the stories and images she touches. Monica Hewes/Diana Gettinger: A writer/actor duo whose dry humor shows us that there’s more to female friendship than catty crap and rainbow friendship bracelets. Rachel Goldberg: A genuine being who infuses her characters with a heart that’s clearly too large for her Earthly form. Mara Tasker: A chill human writing fiercely specific women who call out bullshit via clever dialogue or a swift metal pipe to the face.
LAUREN: This is nothing to eschew. With 51% of the population seriously underserved, there are billions of dollars left on the table. We’re working as a group to claim that money (we like to call ourselves socially conscious capitalists). We’ve built a community of like-minded creators, ambassadors and fans who understand each other personally and in terms of our collective business endeavor. [Laughing] We’ll riff about motherhood, periods, you name it without batting an eye– even around male colleagues. That’s truly revolutionary in terms of workplace comfort for women. GRETA: Because of this rare female creator-to-fan relationship and high-quality content, we are also creating sustainability. In an industry where most creatives have so little control, it’s empowering to be building a future where I manage and own my own content by giving it directly to my fans. And we are empowering other creators to do the same. LAUREN: What I’m most excited about is empowering our audience. Young women all over the
world deserve to be entertained by work that will inspire them, motivate them and let them experience themselves in all their complexities – good, bad and everything in between. We are building a space for young women to obsess over relatable narratives they know to be undeniably true, but which are almost never culturally recognized. GRETA: So please check out our creators at our site. And stay tuned because in early 2017 we are relaunching our website with our new name Blue Fever and a huge collection of digital series and short-form movies you can watch!
To be notified when that releases, sign up for our ‘Become a Badass’ email list at xfactorfilm.com/fan.
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SECRET KEEPER PHOTOGRAPHY Tamar Kasparian MODELS Toni Gaal // Breeanna Judy // Vera Delgado // Alexis Livingston WORDS Amanda Montell
SECRET KEEPER When I was 14, I had a best friend named Hallie. We met with mouths full of metal under the flourescent lights of freshman year American Government. “I’m Amanda,” I said, tapping her on a shoulder of pink polka dotted cotton. “I like your braces colors.” She tucked a lock of blonde hair behind an ear and smiled big. “Thanks, I’m Hallie.” Hallie and I were in the same gym class, too. And the same lunch period. She always waited patiently for me to get changed so we could walk to the cafeteria together. She was a dancer, had ballet class a few times a week, and after gym she’d tuck her hair up into a neat bun, coat her wrists in a fine layer of Miss Dior. She was elegant and gracious, like a grownup. Hallie
always brought the best lunches—mile-high sandwiches, homemade cookies—and she’d share with me almost every day. “Here, have a piece,” she’d say. I didn’t even have to ask. After school, I’d go over to Hallie’s little brick townhouse, where we’d make up dances to old Britney tracks and laugh until our insides ached. As we got older, after we’d ditched Britney for Pearl Jam and polka dots for pleather, we’d bitch about love, our bodies, and who we hoped we’d grow up to be. We’d split cigarettes in her backyard. We’d get in trouble together. She was my favorite person. I was often afraid that no one would ever understand me, or love me, as much as she did. I remember the night Hallie told
everything. I remember the glow of the computer screen as I read her Myspace message and the capital P-L-E-A-S-E in her request that I not tell. I don’t remember feeling angry or sad, though. Just very confused. In fact, and I know this sounds crazy, at first I thought she might be making it up. Not lying exactly, just embellishing a lower-stakes truth in the spirit of being confessional. I preferred this idea. It made more sense to me. Kids dramatized stories with new friends all the time. It was easy for me to believe that she had made up a secret to use as currency for our budding friendship, an offering to establish trust. It was not easy to believe that a person could do something like that in real life, especially to someone as kind and selfless as Hallie. I responded to her message saying I’d always be there for her and that her secret was safe. I said that even though we hadn’t been friends for very long I could tell she was brave and wise. I didn’t know exactly what all of that meant, but I figured it’s what I’d
want someone to say to me. She sent a note back saying thank you and that she’d always protect my secrets too. At lunch the next day, she bought me a bag of pretzels, and we discussed our favorite cartoons. As time went on, and Hallie and I grew older, the truth of her story eventually sunk in. Still, for a long time, I looked at it not as a life-changing, identity-shaping experience, but more as just something really bad that happened to her a long time ago. Like a hailstorm or a broken bone. Like how some bonehead backed into my brother’s car in the Starbucks parking lot. He honked his horn and yelled STOP you asshole, but it happened anyway. It wasn’t his fault. He was scared to tell our mom, but once he did, she wasn’t mad. “Things happen,” she said. I told myself that Hallie’s bad thing was just like that.
When I was 19, I had a friend named Alayna. We met outside my apartment under the sepia light of a Los Angeles summer. I was her new neighbor, just staying for a few months until I had to go back to school. She was bikini clad and glistening, stretched out on a lawn chair in the back alley. I was carrying a load of whites to the laundry room. “I have an extra foldout,” she said. “Wanna tan?” Alayna was a poet and a sculptor, an introvert and a bit of a hippie. Later I’d learn it was grossly out of character for her to extend such a gregarious invitation like she did with the chair. “I just had this feeling about you,” she whispered, “I’m so glad I acted on it.” Alayna was tiny, five feet tall and 90 pounds with giant brown eyes and waist-length, jet-black hair. For that entire summer, I only ever saw her in sheer dresses and sandals. She was 18 years my senior, which I didn’t know until months later, because she looked like she could have been 25. The woman had a quiet, waif-like sultriness to
her that was clear to everyone she met. I don’t know if it was that sweltering summer or her spirit, or both, but I felt sexier just being around her. Almost every afternoon, Alayna would stop by my apartment, or I’d come over hers. She’d offer me tiny pours of Chardonnay, and we’d read each other poems or stories we’d written. Sometimes she’d bring over an old vintage sweater of hers for me to keep, or she’d read my tarot, or we’d walk over to the local co-op together and pick out ingredients for that evening’s dinner. She didn’t drive, so she lived her whole life within a mile’s radius by the beach in Santa Monica. That summer, I did the same. Over carefully assembled veggie platters, she’d tell me romantic stories about old boyfriends, old adventures, always ending with a piece of sage-like advice. Alayna told me her secret two months after we first met. It had happened half a decade before I
was even born. An eighth grade teacher. A hand between her legs. A threat to fail her out of English, her favorite subject. I remember the afternoon she told me about it. I remember the color of the printer paper and the smell of her tanning oil as she sat crossed-legged on a paisley floor cushion, reading me a letter she’d written to her 13-year-old self. Again, and I know it makes no sense, at first I almost didn’t believe her. This was just another one of her poems, I thought. Just another chapter of her novel. I squeezed Alayna’s hand and poured her another splash of wine. I told her she was strong and brilliant and that I’d never tell a soul. It’s what I figured I’d want someone to do for me. She squeezed back and told me she loved me. As time went on, and I got a little older, and the complexities of adulthood became both thornier and clearer, the truth of Alayna’s story eventually registered. And in turn, Hallie’s sunk in deeper. I still didn’t feel angry or sad, though. Just helpless. The damage was
already done. I couldn’t change it, couldn’t rectify it. There was nothing I could do but be their friend, distract them from their memories. Feeling anything else wouldn’t do anyone any good.
When I was 23, I knew a girl named Nicole. We met under the track lights of an office job I’d taken in west Los Angeles. We weren’t best friends or anything. Actually, I didn’t even like her. She was just out of college, hired as a writing assistant, and was terrible at her job. She took two- hour lunch breaks to go to her Kickboxing class and never responded to emails. She had a thick Minnesota accent, which she wielded to interrupt meetings and say racist things without realizing it. She had hair the color of a school bus and got in trouble often for wearing tight, backless dresses. Coworkers vented to me about her on GChat. “Why hasn’t she gotten fired yet?” they’d say. One day, I overheard Nicole complaining about how hard it was
wasn’t.“I kept saying no, but he wouldn’t get off me,” she recounted, slicing a piece of salmon with a plastic knife. “He was really strong so I couldn’t get out from under him. I was on my stomach. He covered my mouth and ripped We agreed to meet up the next off the condom. I must be an idiot weekend at a popular eatery in for going out with him.” She took West Hollywood known for its complimentary biscotti and sunny a bite of her fish and shrugged. My heart dropped to my gut like a outdoor patio. Nicole was twenty medicine ball. “I am so sorry that minutes late when I called her to happened to you,” I declared, my see if everything was alright. She picked up on the last ring and told voice quivering, a lump materializing in my throat. “That is so me she’d decided not to come. unbelievably fucked up.” I told her “Yeah, I don’t really eat breakfast,” she said. “That’s okay, right? it wasn’t her fault and that if she needed anyone to talk to, please I’m going for a hike with my text. She thanked me, eyes wide roommate, so don’t wait up. I’ll with perplexity. see you Monday!” I hung up and ordered an omelet to go. I excused myself to the bathroom Four months after Nicole started and sobbed into the sleeve of my at the office, she decided to skip blazer. Kickboxing to eat with a few of us at work. We were sitting at the lunch table, exchanging small talk I don’t know whether it was about our weekends, when Nicole Nicole’s unembellished delivery or the harsh office lights, but the told us about her Saturday night. truth of my friends’ stories finally It was a second date gone wrong. bulldozed me over that day, right A 35-year-old she met at the there in the beige bathroom stall. gym. He seemed nice at first, but It never stops, I panicked, my face to make new friends in the city. I remembered that feeling, so I figured I’d invite her out to brunch. “Everyone in LA needs a brunch buddy,” I offered.
my face buried in the fabric. Never. People in every city, of every age, of every demeanor. No one is safe. I left the office at six on the dot that day and screamed in my car on the way home. I strangled the steering wheel. I punched the dashboard. I fantasized about the ways in which I’d seek revenge on the assailants—Hallie’s and Alayna’s, even Nicole’s, these people who were never persecuted, never punished. I pictured myself six stories tall, crushing them under my feet. I saw myself beheading them on national television, a crowd of thousands cheering.buried in the fabric. Never. People in every city, of every age, of every demeanor. No one is safe. When I woke up the next morning my hand was so sore from hitting the dash, I could barely move it. I felt a wave of guilt surge over my body, tickling my skin, like ants. *** Often I wonder why what hap-
pened to Hallie and Alayna and Nicole never happened to me. Was it luck? Was it because my family never hung out with our neighbors? Was it because all my distant relatives lived in other states? Was it me? Was it because I was always such a jerk to the boys on my floor? “We’re having a kickback in 614,” they’d purr. “Sorry asshole,” I’d snarl, shutting the door. “I’m studying.” Did the boys I turned away go ruin someone else’s life? Could I have done something to help them?Sometimes I think if I had the answers to these questions, I could change what happened. I could prevent it from happening again. If what happened to my friends happened to me, I’d like to say I’d do everything right. I’d save the evidence. I’d call the fuzz. I’d testify, loud and relentless. I know this is awful, but sometimes I wish it would. So I could vindicate us all. Earlier this year I read a story in the LA Times about survivor’s guilt in army veterans. “The
wrenching guilt that soldiers often feel when they live and others die,” it explains. I’ve never been to war. Not even close. But this story felt familiar to me. I’ve always been a serial monogamist when it comes to female friendships, ever since I was very small. When I meet a friend I like, I fall fast and hard. I get right to the swapping of braided bracelets and life stories. I swath the walls of my room in photobooth strips of us giggling, and frowning, and pretending to kiss. I tell her I want her to be my Maid of Honor one day, and that I’ll protect her always, no matter what. We prick our fingers with sewing needles and press them together, our co-mingling DNA sealing this lifelong promise. But the important thing I’ve learned is that even though it can make you feel things you don’t want to feel, sharing these stories helps make everyone stronger. It educates the listener, while helping to relieve the speaker of a shattering burden, even in
the smallest way. In the moment that someone confides in you, it no longer matters if she’s your best friend or someone you never even liked. In that moment, we’re all connected by something bigger. Of course I can’t say for sure what I would do in Hallie or Alayna or Nicole’s situation; but even if I didn’t call the fuzz or behead my aggressor, I am almost positive that the first thing I’d do would be to tell a woman I trusted. She’d take me by the hand, and tell me I was brave, and promise to defend me forever. She’d do her best to follow through. There are few people more willing to go to bat for a woman than another woman to whom she’s told her deepest, most intimate truths. I don’t know how to change the bad things that have already happened, or even how to prevent the ones that have yet to occur. But what I do know is that listening to one another is the first step. Maybe one day, that will be enough.
DRESS HOWL NECKLACE KATE MISS
photography ANTHONY BACA stylists ARIANA VELAZQUEZ & BIANCA KOFMANwardmodel RMARJORIE CORKILL assistant KELLY TURLA featuring BASE-OLOGY
TOP Elizabeth Top BOTTOM Christopher Shorts
PHOTOGRAPHY Spencer Kohn DESIGNS AND WORDS Jordan Alexandra
TOP Laight Top BOTTOM Franklin Shorts
DRESS STYLIST OWN
OUTERWEAR Mercer Coat TOP CALVIN RUCKER PANTS STYLISTâ€™S OWN
“When designing, one pattern seems to be apparent; blurring the lines between masculine and feminine. Personal style means having the freedom to dress your body according to your personal taste. It’s your canvas and yours only. In this sometimes harsh world I think it’s important to remember to be yourself fearlessly.”
DRESS Lexington Dress
rise Photography and Words Sharae Foxie
“People always say about me, ‘You’re so happy all the time’. This photo is proof that I exist both in and out of the light. This is what someone with mental illness looks like. I struggle with manic depression. The stigma attached to mental health is ugly, limiting and silencing. We never know the history people carry. We don’t know their wounds. I jope you feel supported and loved and are getting the help you need.”
“When jet lag, flu and bipolar brain are like what’s good ma? But you stay grateful because detoxing and healing is neat and look at this blue Cali sky.”
“‘Why do you look so sad?’ I told him I wasn’t but what I meant to say was that it was ok to not be ok. It’s ok to be sad sometimes. I can feel myself coming out of this low. ‘Be gentle with yourself and others’ is something I always tell myself.”
ZOE SEARLE WORDS ZOE SEARLE
“You should never have to make yourself uncomfortable just to adhere yourself to standards set by men (because the patriarchy isn’t cute).”
“It’s quite a universal experience among trans women to feel alienated throughout their lives, and it can get difficult trying to relate to your peers or even be social to begin with. The thing is, it’s nearly impossible to transition alone. Support is everything!”
“I get so frustrated thinking about how I can never make everyone understand gender beyond this simple 2-option system. I wish it was taught in schools. It’s been too easy to allow my sadness and self-loathing distort my view of my beautiful and knowledgeable self. I’m worth much more than I give myself credit for. By continually and constantly affirming myself, holding myself up, and practicing self-care, I have no doubts about loving myself.”
HEART OF G O L .
Kelly Searle FEATURING Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick and Multisticks and Lorac Alter Ego Lip Liners AN INTERVIEW WITH MODEL AND CRISIS COUNSELOR KARALYNE THOMAS
HAIR: LANZA REDKEN TIGI
“My sister passed away recently. I have first-hand experience with a lot of trauma in my own life. It helps me to help others. It’s the only positive way I can look at those struggles I’ve endured. I can help others by using the skills I’ve had to learn.”
“The hardest part of helping people in crisis is that it’s hard to seperate myself from their pain. You just want to help them and sometimes you can’t. Sometimes they need to help themselves.”
TOP/SOCKS NASTYGAL DRESS/GLOVES STYLISTSâ€™S OWN
â€œBeauty should be enjoyed and admired. I try to appreciate the beauty of the women around me. I hate jealousy.â€?
“I wish people knew that you really can’t fix depression and anxiety magically. It makes me mad when people are told to ‘get over it’. If you lost your arm, you couldn’t just ‘try and use it’. It’s not possible. A mental disorder is just as real as a physical one. Managing your mental health takes work, therapy and a support system.”
“If you put the time aside each day to do something you love, when crisis hits you’ll already have a self-care practice. It cuts down on the panic. You don’t have to think, you just do.”
CONTRIBUTORS Kelly Searle | Editor in Chief | kellysearle.com Karalyne Thomas | Model | @karalion Kat Kaye | Photographer | katkaye.com Jessica Portillo | Photographer | jessica-portillo.com Kayee Kiu | Photographer | kiukayee.com Blue Fever | Artists | xfactorfilm.com Tamar Kasparian | Photographer | tamarkasparian.com Amanda Montell | Writer | amandamontell.com Base-Ology | Apparel | base-ology.com Jordan Alexandra | Designer | jordan-alexandra.com Sharae Foxie | Artist | @sharaefoxie Zoe Searle | Artist |
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