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pril marks the start of the festival season with Coachella and we’re celebrating five years of Local Wolves this month! There are so many memories to cherish with the collaborations we’ve shared over the years as a publication. This specific issue focuses on what pride means to our readers and embracing your true self. There has been a lot of self-reflection during the past few weeks for me and I am happy to be back on track with more exciting projects within this upcoming year. Truth be told, this is only just the beginning as a publication. There are so many more ideas that are just written down on paper but I am excited for our readers to see the refreshing content that we have in store!

Cathrine Khom

founder / editor-in-chief twitter & instagram: @cathrinekhom

Lettering by Leah Lu Illustration by Laura Filas


classics 08







art club


take care


the orange peel


safety pinned


wolfie submissions



features 34

a trip to joshua tree


riley gable


carrie lane


eric jess

50 54

tonya smith violett beane


wesley stromberg


grace kaufman


karen yeung


jamie curry


nikia phoenix


ross butler


ally brooke






photo journal: recess

ISSUE 47 / KAREN YEUNG local wolves is an monthly online and print based publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of entertainment, arts and culture. the magazine is driven by a passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. SAY HELLO / LET’S CHAT general info@localwolves.com press press@localwolves.com get involved community@localwolves.com

many thanks ally brooke @allybrookeofficial san antonio, tx

riley gable @rileyelisegable akron, oh

carrie lane @officialcarrielane los angeles, ca

ross butler @rossbutler los angeles, ca

eric jess @ericjess los angeles, ca

samone @lavender.honey los angeles, ca

flor @florsounds oregon / los angeles

tonya smith @themoptop portland, or

design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, izzy lamb, lisa lok, leah lu, bethany roesler

grace kaufman @imgracekaufman los angeles, ca

violett beane @violettbeane los angeles, ca

contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, olivia clark, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, maria elena, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, chloe luthringshausen, t’keya marquez, emma matthews, mackenzie rafferty, jasmine rodriguez, celeste scott, lauren speight

jamie curry @jaamiecurry new zealand, nz

wesley stromberg @wesleystromberg hollywood, ca

julia rose muller @juliarosemuller new york, ny


contributing photographers mila austin, pamela ayala, megan cencula, elliot desai, emily dubin, danielle ernst, amanda harle, katy johnson, saskia kivilo, taylor krause, chris lampkins, penelope martinez, jenson metcalf, naohmi monroe, emellia nguyen, bran santos, myrah sarwar, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu

karen yeung @iamkareno los angeles, ca

wolfie team founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung hair / makeup jessie yarborough stylist katie qian social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo danielle ernst

nikia phoenix @nikiaphoenix los angeles, ca

website / localwolves.com twitter & instagram / @localwolves read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag




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munchies + go d d ess an d the b aker +

goddess and the baker, a hidden gem on one of the busiest streets in Chicago, Illinois. Not only do they serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, their delectable desserts are available all day long. They cater to those Chicagoans who crave fresh food and good coffee. Some personal favorites on the menu include: avocado toast, homemade granola, and the scones. Speaking of scones, Goddess and The Baker makes sure to highlight all their daily baked goods from layered rainbow cakes to cookies and brownies. Not only is the food delicious, the atmosphere here is quite charming. It’s the perfect place to chat with friends, read, or do some work. With neon signs hanging inside and out, it’s super photogenic and will make for the perfect Instagram post. After coming across this place, it has quickly become one of my favorite spots to hit when I’m in the city.


coverage by lexI barnes Location 33 S. Wabash Avenue Chicago, IL 60603

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Looking for foodie paradise? Then you definitely need to make a stop in Berlin. Full of incredible cafes and restaurants with affordable prices, you can basically eat out every day of the week. Here are some of my personal faves: 12

cafe frida SCHLESISCHE STR. 28 / 10997 BERLIN

I discovered Cafe Frida this past summer while coming back from Bread & Butter. This new cafe is a family owned establishment where all the dishes are homemade. They have a ton of healthy choices and excellent coffee as well.

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kaffeebar GRAEFESTRASSE 8 / 10967 BERLIN

Kaffeebar is my favorite cafe to grab a healthy meal at when I find myself in Kreuzberg. Not only is it aesthetically pleasing, the food is incredible AND healthy. If you are looking for your avocado toast fix, this is the place to go!

latodolce berlin GRAEFESTRASSE 11 / 10967 BERLIN

If you are looking for authentic Italian baked goods, then you definitely need to check out Latodolce Berlin in Kreuzberg because not only do the pastries look beautiful, they taste just as delicious.


monti caffe’ bar SIMON DACH STRASSE 3 / 10245 BERLIN

Monti Caffe Bar is one of my favorite local spots to grab breakfast on the weekend. They have incredible breakfast plates and are extremely accommodating when dealing with dietary preferences. In addition to excellent coffee and breakfast, Monti Caffe’ Bar also specializes in incredible Italian food.

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The Bowl is an incredible clean-food restaurant located in Friedrichshain. They specialize in organic dishes that are 100% vegan. Non-vegans do not fear! Everyone is welcome here and the food is so flavorful that you won’t be missing a thing! My personal favorite? The California Bowl!


maedchenitaliener ALTE SCHÖNAUER STRASSE 12 / 10119 BERLIN

Maedchenitaliener has been my number one go to spot for Italian food for years now. Located in Mitte on Alte Schönhauser Strasse, it is a great place to grab lunch or dinner. Be sure to grab a spot outside in the summer time!

michelberger hotel WARSCHAUER STRASSE 39-40 / 10243 BERLIN

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+ BY H A N N A L A S A LV I A +


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KNOW YOUR WORTH / You wake up, plant your feet on the floor, and exhale. The day ahead of you is a maze of decisions and laughter and trying. And sometimes it’s easy, and sometimes it’s not. Sometimes you want to paint all your mirrors black because you’re embarrassed or ashamed. Other times the air smells like roses and when the day ends you feel like a child begging your parents to let you stay up just a little longer because life is so exciting and you want to keep experiencing it all. We face many choices daily. One of them is how we view ourselves. Today, I want to encourage you to ponder what the word “pride” means to you. Is it a dirty word? An unfamiliar word? A word that resonates? Knowing your worth and having pride in yourself is essential to your happiness. It means having a positive self-esteem, which can be a day-to-day battle. Here are some specific examples of what you can do to help yourself out in this branch of self-love: − write down things you like about yourself − reject what the world says about what makes you worthy (social status, career, relationship status, appearance, etc.) − define your individual sense of pride − find what you appreciate about yourself and embrace it. (I am artistic, I care a lot about people, I’m great at storytelling, I’m the most pleasant morning person you’ll ever meet)


I urge you to take pride in things that are of substance. How well you love your family, friends, strangers; how hard you try; emotional intelligence such as patience, openness, optimism; your passions; the life you have created for yourself. Know the difference between healthy pride and unhealthy pride. Healthy pride motivates you to continue to build upon your positive qualities. It is confidence. It is believing in yourself. It is being proud of the choices you make. It is not settling. Unhealthy pride is considering reputation and shallowness over authenticity and depth. Don’t let your desire for perfection ruin your ability to recognize your flaws, accept them, and move in a better direction.

I have a keychain that says, “love you. love people.” on one side and “so worth loving” on the other. It is a reminder that love must be the motivator each day. How better to help someone remember their value than by treating them like gold? Likewise, it prompts me to treat myself this way as well. We are all So. Worth. Loving. Don’t forget that. Now, this is important: do not require the approval of others and do not compare yourself to others. It will destroy you. My lowest moments have been when I’ve relentlessly put myself next to someone I decided was better than me and used that as an excuse to hate myself, or when I stayed up until three in the morning trying to defend myself to strangers on the Internet who didn’t even know me. Pride is most pure when you decide that it doesn’t matter what others think, as long as it matters to you. Your values and beliefs are deeply personal and therefore should not be easily influenced by outside, cold opinions. Know that your beauty—inside and out—is extraordinary and not dependent on whether anyone else recognizes it or not.

Do not settle for less than what you deserve. There are some basic entitlements (life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; a healthy romantic relationship; general respect; safety) but otherwise, you get to define what you believe you deserve. If you do not believe you deserve good things, you will likely drown in dissatisfaction and hurt. If you think you deserve good things, you will cultivate a world that is beautiful and bright. If you’re ever uneasy or uncomfortable about how you’re being treated or a situation you’ve put yourself in—question it. Consult your loved ones. Is this what you want? Would you let someone you love live this way?

When you are striving, every day, to grow in love and goodness, you will radiate. When you are the truest version of yourself, you will feel most proud. Do not live a life that someone else has carved out for you. Find your own path. Be intentional about your choices—what you eat, what you wear, where you learn, how you interact with others, who you love, what kind of energy you put out into the world. You define your own sense of pride. Please do not forget this. Take care, Madisen

This idea of knowing your worth is not a foreign concept in our society today. Younger generations have dedicated themselves to prioritizing the importance of mental and emotional health. We care. We really care about each other. I think that’s freaking beautiful. A company known as So Worth Loving has built a business around caring for people, encouraging them to know their worth. “No matter my history, past mistakes, relationship status, or career choice, I am worthy of love. I am not defined by my past. I am prepared because of it. While my own voice and others may tell me different, I will lean into the safe people that affirm this way of thinking. When I encourage others to love themselves I am encouraging them to treat themselves with kindness, patience, respect, and all that embodies love. We live our life knowing we have worth. So Worth Loving. It's a lifestyle.”

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I was 18-years-old when I realized I was black. I was on my very first camping trip. And I hated it. All of my white friends on the trip seemed to have this natural, outdoorsy ability I simply did not possess. It was like they instinctively knew how to set up the tent, climb steep hills and work the camp stove. Meanwhile, I was shuddering at the mere thought of peeing in bushes and the feeling of perpetual dirtiness. Before this camping trip I’d lived my entire life dodging stereotypes typically associated with my ethnicity—not listening to rap music or being “too loud”—hoping that if I assimilated to white culture enough everyone would just forget I was black. I hoped, by dodging these stereotypes, to develop a perception of myself that transcended my race. Yet, on that trip I found myself representing a stereotype I could not escape: The stereotype that black people hate camping. And so, it was in the midst of hot dog roasting and sweaty hikes that I became utterly aware of the weight of my blackness for the very first time. It felt almost like I’d gained a brand new pair of eyes. I was seeing what everyone else had always seen—what I’d spent so many years of my life trying not to see: I was different. I looked different. My experience was different. I felt clunky and clumsy all of a sudden. Like an elephant amongst a flock of flamingos or an ugly, brown sore thumb. A cocoa puff in a bowl full of cheerios. When I became aware of my blackness my eyes were opened also to the consequences of my blackness. I’d been so busy trying to blend in, that I’d shoved any negative experience pertaining to my ethnicity down into a deep, dark hole. And now they were all coming up: the micro-aggressions and the macro-aggressions, all of the harmful experiences I’d suppressed in the 18 years of pretending the color of my skin wasn’t different than that of those around me. I could write an entire book on what my process looked like during this time of self-discovery. But to sum things up, it was hard. Even that is the understatement of the century. I was sad, mad and confused. It seemed as though everything in the world had been set up against me. Everything was unfair.


At some point along the way, however, there was a shift. Slowly but surely sparks of goodness began to light my path. I was introduced to the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Malcom X, and Solange. It was through listening to black voices and hearing black stories that my perception of blackness was redeemed. The things I’d once fled from in an attempt to not be labeled as stereotypical, I began to embrace. I started listening to rap music and joined the gospel choir at my school. I began to study African American history and read black literature. I began to embrace the heritage I’d swept under the rug in an attempt to gain what I thought was respect from my peers. I came to a place where the beauty of the black experience had become so evident to me, I wondered how I or anyone else could ever possibly ignore it. I was different! And that was good! My experience was different! And that was good! I was free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, free at last! And then one day, after I’d learned to love my blackness and I thought I was done with self-discovery, I realized I was a woman. This other identity had somehow, snuck up on me, tapped on my shoulder and whispered, “You’re not done yet.” And so, the weight fell upon me yet again. I realized that in the same way I’d learn to love my race, I’d also have to learn to love my gender. There was more pain to go through, more beauty to discover. And though I was ready to embark, yet again, on this difficult but rewarding journey of self-discovery, it felt different this time. Harder. Because for some reason, my womanness felt oddly secondary in light of my blackness. It became evident to me that the world viewed me first and foremost as a black person. My femininity was but a side dish. Just a little somethin’ extra. And yet, somehow I still experienced the pains that come with these identities in equal measure. BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU

What I was experiencing, was the weight of my intersectionality—a phenomenon I became aware of in my discovery of what it means to be a woman (which, if I’m being honest, isn’t quite over yet.) We all carry different intersections of identity within our existences. It is, however, the amount of privilege linked with one or more of a person’s identities that shapes the nature of their experience. As someone holding the identities of “black” and “woman,” I face trials on a daily basis that someone who possesses only one of these identities will not. While a black man might experience racism, and a white woman may very well experience sexism, as a black woman I experience the intersection of both. I get the “you’re basically white” comments and the subtly sexist remarks made by professors in the classroom. The cringe-worthy hair touching and the objectifying stares from men on the street. I don’t get to choose what kind of discrimination I experience on a given day. I experience racism and sexism in close succession and sometimes, simultaneously. This phenomenon is limited not only to black women, but to any person who finds themselves at the intersection of two or more disadvantaged identities. With women’s issues at the forefront of many of the political conversations today, I often find myself in a difficult spot. I want to speak out against the injustices women face in this country, but feel it’s not my place. If I’m being completely honest, I sometimes feel that the oppression I face as a person of color transcends the oppression I face as a woman. I find myself thinking, even, that feminism is better left to white women. That feminism is primarily for white women. But to myself, and to women of color everywhere I say, this couldn’t be farther from the truth.

And so, I encourage you, women of color, to join me in what I have challenged myself to do: to wholeheartedly embrace your femininity. To cultivate love for your gender as deeply as you cultivate love for your culture. To do research on policies that affect women in government and to show up at women’s marches and protests—because you absolutely belong there. As a woman of color I am well-aware that this is a heavy existence. There are days during which it may feel as if darts are being thrown at you from all sides, that the world itself is not set up in your favor. The intersection of identities at which we reside may lead us to believe that there is no hope for us. But to my black, brown, red and yellow sisters, I say, we are the hope. The fact that we are here, alone, speaks to our strength. We are 100% woman. 100% of color. We don’t have to choose what identity to fight for. Because women and people of color everywhere need us to fight for both.

Women of color are necessary to the feminist movement. Our multifaceted experiences are unique and important. Our voices speak to the undying resilience of women in the face of adversity. We are no less feminine than our white counterparts. And if we feed into the false belief that we are so, the female cause will suffer greatly.

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Springtime materialized into a field of tall grass and yellow flowers, much like a scene in which I imagine Kat Stratford in 10 Things I Hate About You. She lies in the sun listening to Blondie or reading Betty Freidan. In these warming months preceding summer (along with every month of the year), I love to channel looks of the powerful women we all look up to. Red patent faux-leather boots, a flouncy skirt and beret pay homage to Debbie Harry’s commanding presence on stage. A strappy tank top and flowing high-waisted pants remind me of Fiona Apple’s cooly unkempt style that always screamed, “I couldn’t care less.” Whatever female artist inspires your spring look, wear it proudly and make it your own. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST BANNER BY LAURA FILAS


LOOK 1 thrifted graphic tank top thrifted striped pants

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LOOK 2 thrifted harley davidson tee thrifted cherry skirt thrifted red go-go boots thrifted studded beret


LOOK 3 thrifted overalls thrifted silk tank vintage ffa jacket

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show your pride + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +

CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL ILLUSTRATION (LEFT) BY LAURA FILAS Five years of Local Wolves is a lot to be proud of. For this month's Wolfie Submission's, our readers talk about their own achivements, and how they set themselves apart from the crowd. An Ode of Pride. Pride is a word that is hard to describe because it always seems to be on my mind. I think and think about who I am proud of, and it is hard to think of just one love. I am proud of my people. Proud of the people who continue to march on even when they are knock down. Proud of the people whose blood, sweat, and tears inspired a generation to rise and cheer. Proud of the songs of freedom and the dances of redemption my people created. Proud of the beauty it generated. We have black girl magic and black boy joy. And all I can say is it is something that will not be destroyed. Time and time again I think about all of the upsets my people have gone through. Just so that I can win a few. Proud of mama and dad for giving me all that they had. Proud of the people who said they were true, even when the masses didn’t believe you. Proud of the people who even on their knees sacrifice all they had. Just to say that their black is more red, white and blue than you on this land. So, again I think and think about who I am proud of, and yes, it is hard to think of just one love. I am proud of the people who made me who am I today. Without them I am nothing, and that is shame. I am magic. I am joy. I am love. I am everything they are, strong, lovely, and all of the above. I am proud of my people who are brown and black. I am proud of my people, I can attest to that. – ASANTEWAAH OFOSUHENE / NEWARK, NJ

Pride. I stared at that word for a long while trying to figure out and decipher what it actually meant to me. As far as my memory goes, I’ve done nothing but write myself off. I was never good enough for this or I was never good enough for that. Every fiber in me screamed out that I was never... enough, but that’s all I ever wanted to be. I just wanted my best to be enough for someone else. So, I worked harder. I let myself loose. I performed in front of crowds. I joined sports. I was in leadership programs. I did what I could in my power to put myself out there. And voilà. I was out. After a while, I realized that I did things for other people and not necessarily myself. That’s where my logic went wrong. 0+2 did not come out to be 1. It took me a while to figure out some sort of magic formula in my mind, and then I got it. I gained confidence in my writing, and slowly, it transpired into my soul and mind. I unapologetically shook myself out of the daze that I called sadness and saw what the world had in store for me. I got rid of expectations and grew more aware of the possibilities that I could actually take on and conquer. I am so proud to be me. That is the first time I have ever said that, but through writing this, I see more than what I see in the mirror. Through this, I see all my rough edges and broken lines. Through this, I see the sudden dips and negative space that tackle my life. Through this, I found me. Everything that I am is all that I could ever possibly need. And, I want to scream that out from the mountaintops. I want dive into the sea and feel the water awaken my nerves. I feel alive, for once. I feel like I have finally understood what it means to be me. So, that is what pride means to me. The fine details are in progress, but for now, I’ve got it under control. I guess my best is actually enough for me. – JULIA JAVATE / LOS ANGELES, CA

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I found a comfort in poetry, a warmth I have come to adore. My words are transparent feelings of heartbreak but with the ability to seek closure. To be ripped apart, to be taken advantage of, but to piece myself together and save myself: that is what I am proud of. a fable. It’s a graveyard of gestures where the weeds bloom into wallflowers and the full-bellied woman makes love to the half-hearted man under the intoxication of the blue moon, waning. It is magic: his eyes dilate before he gropes her spine before falling between her thighs- an addiction- and she keeps the drug of a boy from seeping into her skin like coconut oil because she knows he will lose his head when she saves herself. – KELLY PEACOCK / MADISON, NJ Five years. Five years ago I was still a kid who had a lot of learning to do. I hated myself. My body. My personality. There was so much I wanted to change about myself. But couldn’t. Five years. Five years ago I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I had just started taking pictures. I had moved to a different country. I didn’t have any sense of identity. Five years. Five years ago I started to hide my anxiety, my depression, and my problems and put on a mask. So no one would judge me more than I already judged myself. It took five years to figure out how to love myself. How to find good in bad. How to laugh at myself. What it means to be an Asian American. What it really means to be a woman. A lot can happen in five years. – MADISON PAE / LA MIRADA, CA (PHOTO BELOW) – MOMO GUTIÉRREZ / MEXICO


of. I think admitting your fragility and learning how to conquer that and find the beauty in yourself is one of the bravest things a person can do, and something I will always really cherish about myself. I feel that we often look at our accomplishments in the form of awards, trophies, or other visible memorabilia and we don't give the things we can't see (i.e. the way our hearts heal, the growth of our minds, and our strength) enough recognition. – KELLY BERTZYK / MINNEAPOLIS, MN

I take pride in my ability to stick around and wait. Growing up, I’ve always been into the arts that a career in a creative industry just seemed obvious. I shocked everyone by going to dental school. I would be lying if I said I didn’t regret it at one point. Four years into it, I started feeling drained and uninspired, with only art as my salvation. I started creating YouTube videos, tapping into more creative side projects and reached a point when I considered quitting the doctor dream in pursuit of a new passion. The internet is ridden with articles about chasing your dreams, going after what you really love, and just doing it. As good as carpe diem sounds, it’s just not my style and a decision so big as this needed a little more than glamorized articles about seizing the day. I decided to stick around and wait, see how dental school will make me feel if I stayed longer, and I’m glad I did. I’ve learned to appreciate that the career path I chose is actually very artistic in its own right and that having multiple skill sets in this day and age is kind of badass, not gonna lie. I’m not closing any doors on creative side projects here and there, because now I feel like I can incorporate that passion in my practice. My drive to help people smile beautifully (quite literally) combined with my passion for the arts make for a unique formula that I can call my own. – ALEXIS VALENZONA / MANILA, PHILIPPINES (PHOTO ABOVE) One of the things I am most proud of is the way I lost the one I loved and learned to love myself. Heartbreak hit me hard last year, and I found myself a little shattered and lost. However, my heart was a warrior and I learned to pick myself back up and, more importantly, to put self love before anything else. I decided to be incredibly open and vulnerable and turn my heartbreak into art. In doing that, I've been able to write poetry that's honest and real, and has helped me grow not only as an artist, but as a woman. All of this has been something I am so proud

For the longest time, I didn’t want to set myself apart from the crowd. I was really scared of seeming different or weird, but that mentality was holding me back and it was making me unhappy. When I finally graduated, which was a huge accomplishment for me, I decided it was time to start over. I couldn’t live my life just keeping all my ideas in my head anymore and following the crowd anymore; it was too boring and not me. I went on a trip to Europe, I started taking pictures of the landscape, of myself, of my family, of anything or anyone that would be in my shot. I stopped caring what people would think of me and focusing on what I was most proud of in my work. I started realizing that I was happiest and felt the most accomplished when I produced a picture that expressed my creativity and made me feel like I was embracing my individuality. I am still growing as a photographer and as a person, but I am so proud of my decision to embrace everything that makes me different from everyone else. I encourage everyone to try it even if you think people will look at you weird, it’s so liberating and will make you feel so accomplished and happy. – CAMILLE RUIZ / ORLANDO, FL


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Creativity is something nobody can put a price on, because when you have it there is nothing that can stop you from creating. For the past two years I've delved into the world of photography, and definitely have more to learn but, the questioning looks I get from strangers watching me shoot on the side of the road, or cashiers at my local supermarket judging my cart full of eight bags of flour for a shoot all because I have a particular vision in mind is empowering. It makes me realize that my creativity is without bounds, and I truly see the world differently from those around me. I choose to submit these photos because my idea behind these photos was all about our ever changing personalities. Kaleidoscopes use mirrors to reflect changing patterns through an eyehole, and everyone's personalities change over time and those changes can only be seen by the people closest to them. – JANESSA TORRES / WHEATON, IL (PHOTO BELOW)

My parents gifted me my first camera when I was a freshman in high school, but after using it sporadically for a few months I left it to gather dust in my closet. Over this winter break I challenged myself to pick up that same camera and become a little more comfortable with the idea of myself as a photographer. My best friend and I headed to one of our favorite coffee shops, our cameras around our necks, ready to photograph the world around us, ready to discover the inherent creativity within ourselves. These photos are what I proudly have to show from that night. – SHELBY BAUMGARTNER / LA MIRADA, CA (PHOTO ABOVE) I remember frequently being asked the question “What are you?” as a child. I was confused by the question, but would answer anyways. I took pride in “looking different”. I took pride in the reactions people gave me, the silent nod and the comments that went along the lines of “Oh, that’s so interesting.” Occasionally, a person would look me straight in the eye and say, “That’s weird." But I never challenged them or explored deeper into what that question meant. Then one day I was asked the question “How does being biracial affect you?” This question stopped me and has elicited a lot of selfreflection of my identity since then. Who I am is a creation of my family’s history and how their stories have intertwined to create me. I still take pride when someone asks “What are you?” However, my response now has meaning. The question is an opportunity to share my history, who I am, and what it means to be biracial. – ANALISA MIYASHIRO / SAN JOSE, CA – DAQUAN NELSON / NEW YORK CITY, NY



– TAYLOR JARVIS / CHARLESTON, SC What makes me stand out from other photographers is that I don't fully focus on the "trends" and what will "get likes". What drives my passion is my visions and imagination. When a crazy idea pops into my head, I create a photo shoot around it. I never stick with one style of photography, I get bored too easily. These are some reasons why I've come so far. I've been able to shoot some of my favorite artist such as gnash and MOD SUN, I've been able to display my art in art shows and best yet; I've been published in Local Wolves! My passion is my drive and that alone is what I'm most proud of. – ASHLEY FENISON / PORTLAND, OR (PHOTO BELOW)

What are you proud of? I’m proud of my aesthetic at this point of my career, I feel the most confident since I have been focused on creating the things that I'm interested in and not what I thought I'm expected to illustrate. What do you love about yourself? I’m a fighter, no matter if I'm pushed outside of my comfort zone or if I’m feeling drowned of self doubt. I will find a way to push through and make it work. – MARIERY YOUNG / PANAMA CITY, PANAMA (ARTWORK ABOVE)

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HAPPY 5TH ANNIVERSARY, LOCAL WOLVES! What made me fall in love with Local Wolves was how real it is. I love getting to read about people from all over who share their stories, their dreams, and their talents. It focuses on the expression of art, importance of accepting others and loving yourself. This magazine really showcases what makes humans so beautiful and reminds me of what is truly important in life.

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riley gable Story BY Ile-Ife Okantah PhotographY BY Candace Sanders

At 20 years old, RILEY GABLE has found her needle and thread in life: her writing. As a double major in English and creative writing at a small college in Ohio, Gable has used her passion for words as a way to express all of the nuances of being a person in today’s world. Although her work began as a coping mechanism, Gable’s poems have turned into her guiding light. “I began writing in junior high. It originally started with journaling. I wanted to flesh out my feelings during that extremely vulnerable time,” Gable said. “I knew that there was so much going on in my head at all times— I didn’t know how to make sense of it all. I didn’t know how to process fights with friends or my farfetched aspirations or my reoccurring heartbreaks or the death of family members. So I wrote. A lot.” After reading Gable’s work it’s impossible not to have a sense of her spirit. Her poems explore vulnerability in a way that is both brave and genuine; she is able to open up private parts of herself publically. “I try to make my poetry very much confessional,” Gable explains. “If my poetry says anything, I hope it’s that it’s okay to open up your insides and say ‘This is me. The good, the unholy. These are the bats that fly out of my ribs, and even those are beautiful.’” In many ways, Gable has an extraordinary way of making her unique “bats” universal to everyone. Her poems are heartbreakingly personal yet relatable in a way that makes her work resonate in the hearts of strangers.

“i write to make something as intangible as human emotion, into something tangible. i love that about art— it threa ds all of our broken pieces together.”

“Whether or not I have an audience, I have to write. But receiving messages from women who say that they too have felt what I felt in my poems, rocks my world,” Gable said. “It’s a unifying feeling. I love that about art. We make art to make sense of ourselves and then people pop up and say ‘Hey, me too! Hey, me too!’ And we all get to laugh and cry and be confused together. It makes the vulnerable poems every bit worth it.” It’s her ability to unintentionally represent the voice of so many women that makes Gable’s work stand out. She reminds us all that everyone has a story to tell and everyone has a unique background and history that we all can learn from. “Each specific voice and perspective is important. It’s so important to stay true to your own core self, even if it goes against the grain.” Gable said. “The world needs contrast and diversity, so speak your truths and your passions and give us all a fresh perspective. I think there’s this misconception that only the confident and steady voices should be heard. While those voices are so important, we need the quiet and the shaky voices as well.”

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Just a few short years ago budding pop sensation, CARRIE LANE was sitting in class at New York University feeling absolutely miserable. It was as if there was a void in her heart that needed to be filled; a void that came into being because she felt there was nothing creative in her life to fill it. “When I am not being creative, I feel empty,” said Lane. “When I’m working and not creating, I feel this itch, this need to get back to what I love.” The thing she loved just so happened to be music, and the voice inside of her couldn’t keep quiet any longer. It was time for Carrie Lane to be heard. “Music is everything to me… It’s honestly the only way I know how to function,” said Lane. “I feel the most comfortable and the most ‘me’ when I’m working on anything for my music project.” So, Lane took the faith she had in herself and traded the classroom for Los Angeles in order to pursue her effervescent dreams of writing in the studio and performing on stage. And now, as the emerging pop singer is on the cusp of releasing her debut album, California Freaks, that starvation to create couldn’t feel further in the past. “My [career] trajectory certainly hasn’t been a straight line. It’s more like one of those spider webs that they teach you to make in middle school English class. You never know what opportunities will open doors to new things, small or big,” Lane said. “Every experience shapes who you are and, therefore, who you are as an artist.” Before pursuing a solo pop music


career, Lane actually had aspirations in musical theater, making it a challenge when she realized it was her voice that she needed to share, not that of another character. Lane said, “It takes a while to find your voice, at least it did for me. Characters are extremely well crafted and thought out by writers and you get to embrace all of the different aspects of someone that you’re playing because you are able to remove yourself from that person. When you are ‘playing’ yourself, it isn’t that simple. Sometimes there are parts of yourself you’re not able to express or you don’t want people to see, [but] those aspects are often the most relatable and what makes people want to connect with you the most.” After working on a number of projects and performing under a moniker, Lane has finally brought herself to the intimate place she had hoped to be at as a musician, a place where she is comfortable expressing her true, personable self. “Someone once told me that creative people often have a goal or an aesthetic in mind that they want to achieve and at the same time are often creating starting from zero. If you continue to put out what you’re working on and it gets better and better, you are slowly getting closer to that dream sound that you have in your mind. If you can get the timing of when you are hitting your stride to link up with the sound you are striving to achieve, then you will be able to gain momentum and a fan base in an area that truly suits who you are as an artist. That’s where I believe I am now.”

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“i t doe s n’ t ma t t e r w ha t i t i s or how you get there, if y ou ’ r e p a s s i on a t e a bout somethi ng a nd you w ork h a r d e n ou g h tow a rds i t you’ l l get there.”

For Lane, her authentic sound is one led by her soulful, rich vocals and an innovative pop sound, resonant of the opportunistic feeling of a Southern California night and the resurgence of self-empowerment that comes after heartbreak – a sound she utilizes to tell her stories of love and loss and the strong woman left to experience it all. Though Lane is new to the music scene, through her music she is determined to let it be known that she will not be just another pretty face or name on the charts – she is here to be heard. “[My music] is me, it’s Carrie Lane,” she said. “[A lot of people] know that there is this person that everyone would like to pin me as, this outgoing, confident, sexy, blonde bombshell that is always happy and ready to have a good time with a smile on her face, but as you get to know me and my music you can see that there is so much more to me than that.” Since Lane found the drive to create, nothing has held her back, and as long as she continues to make music, that once empty feeling will never be shy of full. She said, “I hope to touch my fans by inspiring them to do what they love. It doesn’t matter what it is or how you get there, if you’re passionate about something and you work hard enough towards it you’ll get there. I want my fans to hear that and be able to trust in me and that message.” She said, “I’m very excited about the story I have to tell and I think it’s a story people are going to identify with and want to hear more about. This is just the beginning for Carrie Lane.”


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eric jess Written by Michelle Ledesma Photography by Will Coile

“t r y thing s. wh a t ma kes yo u feel l i ke yo u? wha t ever i t i s , r o l l w i th i t.” For Los Angeles based blogger ERIC JESS, those words aren’t near as perilous and frightening as most would gather. Though Eric considers himself to be a “professional nobody,” his long-awaited success speaks entirely on its own. As a flourishing fashion mogul and social media entrepreneur, Eric uses his platform to document his life and to instill his photojournalistic skills to the world by giving a preview into his mind while also in hot pursuit; diving straight into the depths of social media. Luckily for Eric, his journey has been a vastly escalating one. Eric’s upbringing all started in the year 2014 with accomplishments like creating a YouTube channel to collaborating with the most prestigious of brands. Eric has found that not only has style changed him indefinitely, but it has opened up a window of constant inspiration. When asked about transferring the inspiration he feels daily into action, he replied “I mood board everything. I find it the best recipe to making your thoughts a tangible reality.” Eric’s aesthetic style fixates on the glisten in our eye and brightens it to become a full-blown star. His style, both modern yet vintage, is seemingly effortless. Eric’s photojournalistic abilities truly come to the surface when showcasing his clothing in photos.

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The clothing almost seems to melt, being as delicate and as swift as the sun setting with the immovable gaze we just can’t seem to take our eyes off of. With each of Eric’s posts, we find out something fresh, something new that we didn’t know about. It’s as if the clothing had individual stems, with each stem growing out longer than the other—and we’re only discovering a fraction of the flower itself. He finds solace in putting together pieces of clothing that make him feel the most at ease and decided to make a name for himself shortly thereafter. “I’d like to describe my style as rather easy and clean,” but easy and clean is only the foundation base of the look. He most definitely prefers to add “an obnoxious pair of shoes or jacket thrown in the mix here and there.” His extensive areas of interest have led him to connect and open doors with people outside of the fashion world. Since broadening his spectrum, he has collaborated with brands like Airbnb, The Ritz-Carlton, The Time, and Marriott—which he explained to be quite an eye-opening experience, saying “I’ve had the opportunity to meet with so many talented and dynamic individuals with many interests. Recently I worked with Marriott on a food project to cover a restaurant experience. Needless to say, my stomach was happy.” Authenticity is one thing many social influencers lack. As unfortunate as it is, most only want fame. Eric’s authenticity stands strong, even in a world where we’re still managing to learn how to understand oneself. When asked about the fashion industry in a whole, he said “You know I think fashion is over complicated and have too many rules and at the end of the day as much as I look at fashion as an art form that I appreciate my true interest is personal style. I love the idea of how a person puts together a look based on their idea of what looks good, not society. I’m all about breaking the fashion rules, wear the blue sweater with the black jeans, silver and gold look great together and no, you don’t need to own a suit if you don’t want to own a suit!”


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With effortless waves and wispy bangs, fashion blogger TONYA SMITH’s fringy hairstyle is not only her signature look, but also the name of her popular fashion blog The MopTop. In 2011, Smith was so inspired by the Free People blog that she decided to start her own, posting creative content featuring her cool vintage-boho style. Since her first blog post, Smith admits that her personal style has grown with her throughout the years, featuring looks that reflect her current interests. “When I first started blogging, I was a lot younger. I had different interests and it was reflected in my style,” says Smith. “I am twenty-five now and inspired by some similar things but some different things too! Now I feel like I know myself a lot better.” Smith’s love for the Beatles and the oldies has not only inspired her “moptop” haircut, but also her cool vintage style. “I like to switch it up so it’s hard to define my style,” says Smith. “Lately I just love wearing classic pieces with a cute, interesting shoe. I’ve also been really inspired by streetwear brands. It all just depends on my mood and what I’ve been inspired by at that moment!” Smith also finds inspiration from the people and places around her, including her current home: Portland, Oregon. With a city dedicated to fitness and health, Smith admits she finds style inspiration by the laid-back, athletic lifestyle. “Some days I will be drawn to wear some classic Levi’s and some cute shoes while other days I might want to throw on a pair of Adidas and a graphic tee” says Smith. Smith’s love for Portland not only shines through her style, but also her travel posts on Instagram, where she features different coffee shops, vinyl record stores, and boutiques. Some of Smith’s favorite local spots in Portland include Pistils, Tea Bar, and Coava Coffee.

With over fifty thousand followers on Instagram, Smith’s blog has inspired dedicated readers all over the world. Transforming a love for fashion onto a digital platform definitely has its perks, but it also takes a lot of hard work and dedication. When asked what the best advice she has received on standing out from the crowd of other fashion bloggers, Smith admits, “I know they say this all the time, but be yourself! People will recognize if you’re being real and that’s inspiring and magnetic! Just do what you want to do and create, not what you think will be popular.” It is no wonder Smith has captured the attention of so many loyal readers and followers. Her content is not only creative; it is also authentic, for it showcases her fun, natural personality and passions. However, Smith admits that it was not always easy putting herself out there on the Internet for the whole world to see. “I am pretty shy at first, and blogging can sometimes force you to have to constantly meet people and attend events,” admits Smith. “But it’s good to face your fears!” Smith’s confidence to step outside her comfort zone has definitely paid off. With positive feedback from her dedicated readers, Smith has transformed from fashion blogger into style icon.

“ i l ov e b ei n g i n sp i r ed t o p ush m y sel f an d shar e i t w i t h oth e r s! i t ’s gr eat t o r ecei v e f eedba c k f r om r ead er s say i n g t hat th e y w er e i n sp i r ed b y m y p ost s."

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Smith’s dedication to consistently post creative content online and engage with her readers has helped her capture the attention of many of her favorite companies and brands, including Free People, Who What Wear, and Seventeen Magazine. Smith admits that seeing herself in nationwide publications is “what keeps her going and she feels so lucky to get to work with her favorite brands.” Being featured on the pages of Seventeen Magazine and other publications is not an easy accomplishment; it takes hard work, dedication, and most importantly, consistency. “You have to really know that blogging is what you want to do and be able to put in the work,” admits Smith. “It doesn’t happen overnight, but just being consistent with photos and posts is important and it will slowly start to grow.” Smith also knows firsthand what it takes to create a personal style that is completely her own. Combining current trends with vintage classics, Smith admits that comfort should be the first priority when getting dressed. “First in foremost, wear what you feel comfortable and confident in! There’s nothing worse


than wearing a trend that you hate on yourself,” says Smith. “Just try to step away from the idea that it’s a ‘trend’ and ask yourself if you really like it or not. I think trends are still fun to try and just do your own personal spin on them!” Between blogging her latest outfit diary, discovering new hotspots in Portland, and shopping in some of her favorite stores which include Reformation, Lisa Says Gah, and The Frankie Shop, Smith is always on the look-out for style inspiration. When asked what her favorite fashion trend is at the moment, Smith answers: statement earrings. “My ears actually aren’t pierced anymore so I have some clip-on’s I like to wear!” laughs Smith. So what is next for the fashion icon? “Graduate! I will be done in June. Then my long term goal is to conquer my fear of flying!” says Smith. If her blog The Moptop is any indication, Smith has the dedication and drive to conquer all of her fears. In no time she will be soaring all over the world, inspiring girls with her authentic style and creative eye for fashion.

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violett beane WRITTEN BY Ashley Bulayo PhotographY by Anna Maria Lopez

Now more than ever, superheroes just seem top literally pop up out of nowhere. From the big screen, with the anticipation of the release of Wonder Woman and the recent announcement of Spider-Man: Homecoming, to the small screen, from Netflix to cable television, you really can’t turn your back away from it all. While we wait for the big screen to deliver us those box office hits, thankfully we can shift our direction to the small screen, most especially The CW, who provides us with our superhero fix year round. It’s completely hard to choose which story to follow but when you have a network like The CW, it’s kind of like you have to watch it all! In any case, whether you’ve been an avid follower for years or just hopping on for the first time, The Flash would be a perfect introductory show to get you into the swing of things. Grant Gustin may be the star of the show but let’s not forget the other memorable characters who fight alongside him such as Jesse Quick portrayed by actress VIOLETT BEANE. Violett was introduced in Season 2 but that hasn’t stopped her from being an audience favorite. Someone needs to be out there representing the ladies and fighting the good fight! As with many successful shows or movies, Violett auditioned without any knowledge of who she’d be playing, “If a show is already a huge success, they don’t want spoilers being released so often times your audition will be with a fake script or a fake character, Jesse was no exception! I was living in Austin at the time, so I sent in a taped audition with a character named Chloe who was a forensic analysis in-training. I had absolutely no idea the role was for Jesse Quick and no idea how her character would eventually develop, and I don’t think the creators really knew either!” Granted, no one never knows how a character will be perceived when first introduced to an audience especially one with a huge following. However, fans have been supportive of Violett’s interpretation of Jesse! But what would make it even better? A crossover episode into at least one of CW’s shows, “I’m surprised Jesse hasn’t been a part of a crossover yet, there are so many of them! If she did, Echo Kellum is a good buddy of mine, so it would be really fun to get to work with him. To my knowledge there isn’t much in the comics between Jesse Quick and Mister Terrific but I’m sure the writers could think of something.”

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Growing up in a creative family and stimulating environment, Violett knew she’d have a creative career path. Funny thing is, Violett never knew she’d be an actress or ever have a career in acting! You really never know where life will take you. It may have to do with her watching Friends every day after school and connecting with Rachel, Monica and Phoebe— “No joke, those characters raised me.” From there, she voluntarily put herself in theatre classes in middle school and auditioned for plays which she continued to do in high school. “Just before my senior year, the school hired a new theatre coach, and we did not get along. In fact, I wasn’t cast in a single play after his arrival. I was craving that creative release so I took matters into my own hands and found a local TV/Film agent and found my real passion!” If you learn anything from this article, it’s to take matters into your own hands and don’t let others stop you from pursuing your dreams. If Violett never pursued her dreams, we would never know her as Jesse Quick nor would we see her powerful performance in Tower, a re-enactment documentary about the 1966 shooting at the University of Texas, which was the first mass shooting in America, according to Violett. “I portrayed Claire Wilson, the first person shot, who was eight months pregnant and lost both her boyfriend and unborn baby. Claire survived the shooting with the help of some incredibly brave people, and she is one of the most passionate and positive people I have ever met.” Speaking of passionate and positive, Violett is no stranger to voicing her opinions on causes she believes in. “If there is a group of people suffering, we must absolutely do everything in our power to reverse that. I don’t know if there was a single moment of realization because change is slow, but if we stop speaking up about wrong-doings than the world will fall to evil. I believe it’s our universal job to leave the world better than we found it, and peacefully protesting against harmful laws and people is an important vehicle for doing so!” We hope to see Violett continuing her career way into the future even after The Flash wraps up (Fingers crossed that’s nowhere near soon!). For Violett, she hopes she’s making important, thoughtprovoking work. “I hope I’m able to push the envelope and bring new ways of thinking to the world through film and television. And I hope to be happy and healthy.”



wesley stromberg INTERVIEW BY KARINA DIEZ / WRITTEN BY Lauren Speight / PHOTOGRAPHY BY Myrah Sarwar

If you asked WESLEY STROMBERG about his success over the last few years, you’d be surprised to know that the Huntington Beach local is just 23 years old. After making his debut on the X Factor stage, Wesley and his band, Emblem3 have travelled the globe, headlining their own theatre tours and collaborating with artists like Max Martin and Selena Gomez along the way. Pursuing a career in the industry was always in the cards for Stromberg after cultivating his skill in a very musical household and drawing influence from his musician father. “I was surrounded by music,” he recalls. “When I was six years old, my Aunt asked me ‘Wes, Who do you want to be when you grow up?’ I answered, ‘A rock star!’ Young and optimistic, I believed I could be whatever I wanted to be and I've never stopped believing.” The soaring success of Emblem3 made every night feel like Friday for Stromberg. It was as if he had won the lottery at 18 years old. However, stardom brings its own set of challenges, and Stromberg feels as though the biggest challenge Emblem3 faced was the clash of the egos. “Fame is like opening your eyes underwater; everything looks shiny and glows but you can’t fully see what’s going on. It was hard for us to stay with our original sound when we had about 10 new cooks in the kitchen,” says Stromberg. “When signing to our label Columbia Records, and Simon Cowell's label Syco, they of course felt it would be best if we wrote with their people and their producers. That was difficult for us because we had a very solid system of creating our music at home in Huntington Beach.”

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The trio has since parted ways and though the future of Emblem3 remains uncertain, the singer is confident in exploring and establishing his career as an individual artist. The prospect of a solo career, however, has created new challenges for Stromberg and has required some soul-searching in order for him to establish his own unique sound. “As a solo artist now the main challenge is creating a whole new sound away from the music I was doing with E3. It has taken about a year of re-discovering myself. Not only as a musician but as a human being. I had so many things to do and so many questions to answer, like why keep doing music? What do I have to give? What is the reason to write and perform?“ Inspiration for music writing does not materialize on its own, and for Stromberg, writing requires reflection on all aspects of the human experience. “I get inspired by women, family and friends, tragedy, heartbreak, and mother nature. One thing I can say is that every song is about a certain time and place where something significant has happened to me. I get very detailed when pinpointing the concept of each song.” Writing music can be a tricky pursuit, and Wesley finds it especially important that the process be as organic as possible. “Inspiration comes and goes depending on where you are in your life. Have you been partying a lot? Do you have a love interest? Or a relationship?


Are you happy or sad? These questions will determine what you will write about naturally,” he explains. “I always try to go with the flow and not fight it. It should be an enjoyable process.” Stromberg dreams of taking on gigs like Coachella and one day climbing on stage to perform for a sea of people and feeling as though he’s looking out at the ocean. He’s as passionate as they come, as he comments: “I'm not going to let anything get in the way of my dreams. There's so much to do still! I want to win a Grammy. I want to tour for the next 10 or 20 years and experience the world, sharing the entire experience through my songs.” Stromberg recently toured the U.S., performed his new music and received overwhelmingly positive feedback from fans across the country. His free music app, ‘Wesley Stromberg’ is available in the App Store and Google Play, where fans can access his underground tracks and upcoming projects. In the near future, Stromberg hopes to release his top secret project and potentially dabble in the acting industry, but in the meantime, the artist will continue to add to his mixtape accessible through his app. Stromberg’s journey is just beginning, and he is dedicated to making music that evolves at the same rate he does. He comments, “An artist is never satisfied and it's near impossible to say one song is your best song when all of them are you and each one means something different so I'll be writing for the rest of my life.”

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grace kaufman

WritTEN BY Kendall Bolam PhotographY BY Anna Maria Lopez


Dubbed the “New Dakota Fanning,” GRACE KAUFMAN is captivating audiences with her performances both on the stage and on the silver screen. Residing in sunny Los Angeles, Kaufman has quickly created a name for herself in Hollywood by playing distinct and complex roles which set her apart from the average child star. Kaufman is set to reprise her role as Kate Burns in the CBS sitcom, Man with a Plan alongside Matt LeBlanc and Liza Snyder. Aside from her work on television, Kaufman will appear in the independent film, Brave New Jersey which premieres this October at the Austin Film Festival. Kaufman grew up in a theatrical household. With both parents in the profession, it was natural for Kaufman to be drawn to the craft. “I’ve always had a passion for acting since I was little. I would watch old movies with my grandma who loves all the classics. I would watch Singing in the Rain or Meet Me in St. Louis and I knew I wanted to do that. Once I started going on auditions and working, I couldn’t imagine myself not pursuing it as a career.” But acting isn’t all Kaufman can do. In her spare time she studies dancing and singing, moulding her into a triple threat. “I have always studied dance and singing as well as acting. They just always seemed to go hand in hand to me. I love musicals. I loved La La Land last year, and would love to do a

movie musical. Studying voice also helped me quite a bit when I was playing ‘Deema’ on the Nickelodeon series, Bubble Guppies. I had to record a lot of songs for the series, so my voice lessons really prepared me for that. I still continue to take voice lessons and as many dance lessons as I can fit into my schedule.” Kaufman’s dedication to the arts has helped prepare her for the complex characters she plays. In her recent film, Sister, Kaufman portrays a young girl who struggles with ADHD. “When I got cast in Sister, I knew it would be the most challenging role I had played yet,” says Kaufman. “I wanted to play her honestly and realistically, especially because the story is based on the director David Lascher’s real-life sister Carly and her struggles with ADHD. I like to work on roles that challenge me as an actor and help me grow in my work. Complex characters that have a depth to them are my favorite roles to play. I have done a lot of plays in Los Angeles, such as Appropriate at the Mark Taper Forum, and you get several weeks to explore your character. On a film, you don’t get as much time, but you still have to explore what your character thinks and feels to make her a whole person.” Kaufman gets the opportunity to exercise her comedic skills in Man

with a Plan, playing a spunky teenager whose father decides

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to become a stay-at-home dad. When asked what it’s like to star in such a popular sitcom with the legendary Matt LeBlanc, Kaufman replied. “It’s been such a great experience to work with Matt and I have learned so much from him. He will give me advice about a particular scene or line, and he’s always right. He likes comedy that comes from being truthful, and I like that as well. I’ve also learned a lot from Liza Snyder, Kevin Nealon and the other actors, as well as our directors, James Burrows and Pamela Fryman. They have been directing comedies for years, so it’s like being in a really great comedy class every week.” For Grace Kaufman, every role she’s played came with its own set of challenges. However, one of her biggest challenges is one that many young actors face in their personal lives: balancing their career with their personal life. “So far having to balance school and work has been challenging,” Kaufman says, “but school is really important to me so I work hard at that and I think that balancing the two has been my greatest accomplishment so far.” With so many different projects, films, and events; it’s a miracle Kaufman finds a way to do it all! But she does, and she does it with an attitude of professionalism and maturity. When asked about her experiences in live theater, Kaufman had many positive experiences to draw from. She elaborated on the vast difference between a performing on a stage and acting on a film set. “The most obvious difference is being able to stop and start over if anything goes wrong when you are


working on a film or TV show. Even technical problems can cause the director to cut during a scene and we reset the scene. In theatre, you are out there in front of the audience and there is no stopping. Even if someone forgets a line, you have to find a way to make it work and continue on. You improv. You use what you know about the character and what you are doing to find your way back. It sounds scary, but it’s really exciting. I love performing in front of a live audience. On Man With A Plan we have a live audience, so I kind of get the best of both worlds. We get the audience energy, but there are still times when we stop because someone messes up a line or whatever and the audience loves watching that.” Being a seasoned veteran of stage and screen, Kaufman gives us her greatest piece of advice: Observe and learn. With A bright future ahead of her, Grace Kaufman gives us a glimpse of what she hopes to accomplish in the near future. “I want to explore as many characters and stories as I can in my career. And continue challenging myself. So I’m hoping you’ll see me continue to work in every different aspect of the arts. Film, television, stage, even music. I’ve started to write a little music myself, so it would be fun to start doing some recording. I also hope I can use whatever voice I have to continue helping people who need help and raise awareness for issues that are important to them.” Grace Kaufman, at only 14, is making a huge name for herself in Hollywood. Whether she’s dancing on the stage, singing in a television show, or acting in a major film, Kaufman will continue to astonish us all.

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written by sadie bell

PHOTOGRAPHy by Danielle ernst

Hoodie: Joyrich Shoes: Unif

styling by Katie Qian LETTERING by LISA lOK 68

In striking thigh high boots worn over fishnets likely paired with a 90s street-marketfind jacket sporting flashy patches and prints, content creator KAREN YEUNG looks like a vision in streetwear— the kind of innate style that street photographers fawn over and fashion blogs are eager to cover before anyone else. By the looks of her trending taste and cunning confidence, it would appear that Yeung, now-renowned content creator, blogger, and stylist at the beauty subscription service Ipsy, would have pursued her interest in the fashion and beauty industry all her life, but in reality, her creative-interest-turned-career came into her life when she needed it most. Yeung said, “To be honest, it was through failure that I came to YouTube. I wasn’t doing so well in school and had to take a year off. I didn’t want my past failures to define me, so I dusted myself off and began working on my channel as a creative outlet.” Because Yeung realized that she had the capacity to pursue something creative, through a great deal of determination and an effervescent amount of artistic energy, Yeung was able to define a future for herself— one that felt out of arm’s reach growing up in a family that persistently strived to provide her something better. “I’m very grateful for all my parents did for me growing up and I think the constant moving [we did] prepped me even more for this lifestyle,” said Yeung. “I didn’t expect this as my future, but I’m happy with the way things have been going.” Though Yeung was once busy focusing on academics full-time, followed by a career at Yelp entrenched in malaise and the desire for a more interesting something, her interest in style always found a way to light her creative fire; to Yeung, even when she felt lost, clothes could be the vehicle for her self-expression and a connection to her heritage. While Yeung’s present is not the future that she had imagined for herself, it only makes sense that this is the life she fell into. Yeung said, “I’ve always loved fashion, [even] as a child. My parents once ran their own clothing line, so the influences happened really early. Style is self-expression for me in the sense that it’s always changing. I have a lot I want to say, and my style is an evolution of my voice— but with clothes.”

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“The internet is a filter and can only show you so much— you need to be there.”


Jacket: Brashy Top, Skirt, Accessories: Karen’s Own

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Through videos resonant of a 90s MTV music video mentality on her YouTube channel, IAMKARENO and photos on her social media that look like fresh prints from the latest and greatest up-and-coming fashion zine, Yeung illustrates her magnetic style that somehow looks equally hand-picked from the runways of Fashion Week as it does pulled from underground thrift markets. With fierce vintage garments that only she has, stand-out pieces like patterned skirts or printed platform boots, and angelic beauty looks, Yeung’s style is not simply on-trend, it is an extension of herself, conveying the chic creative she is. “My style is heavily influenced by Hong Kong’s streetwear culture and night market mentality. I like Supreme as much as the next person, but I’d also wear something from a family-owned night market stand if it aligned with what I want to say,” said Yeung. “I’m proud to be from Hong Kong.” Taking elements from her culture and seeking ideas from elusive scene styles, Yeung finds a great deal of inspiration for her unique looks in the underground. She said, “The ‘underground’ can mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, but to me, the underground is unedited raw creative energy. It’s one of the few places that feels real since it’s not influenced by the market, by money or by anything aside from itself.” This natural vigor is clear in Yeung’s various ensembles and even more so in her mentality to produce content and follow her passion. Because Yeung primarily shares her work online where facades and filters can be the reality, she intends to be honest, depicting her true self through what she wears and the additional vulnerable content she shares about her background and personal struggles. Yeung said, “The internet is a filter and can only show you so much— you need to be there. There’s a huge difference in seeing a photo from that one crazy night and actually being at the underground club feeling the crowd sweat until 4:00 a.m. I hope my style reveals that difference.” She said, “Take away all the followers, all the makeup and all the clothes and I’m just a girl from Hong Kong. I still feel sad and frustrated from time to time— having a million people follow you doesn’t change that. I’m not an object of admiration, but a person— just like my viewers.” And through her persistence, constant drive to turn her vision into something tangible, and undeniable fashion-forward eye, Karen Yeung has become the incredible person that she is; though her life once felt stagnant, she knew that a spark shone inside of her could give her momentum. Yeung said, “Ultimately, I hope my viewers get that they can do it, too! I want them to connect with me by connecting with themselves. If they can see that I accomplished my dream, I hope they can see theirs is achievable also.”


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Top: Bunny Holiday Jacket: Brashy Skirt, accessories: Karen’s Own

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Dress: Karen’s Own


“I have a lot I want to say, and my style is an evolution of my voice — but with clothes.”

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PHOTOGRAPHy by Chase vs Everything

written by Tayllor Lemphers

jamie curry

Amidst a culture driven by narcissistic tendencies (“selfie” is now defined by Merriam-Webster and Oxford dictionaries. God help us.) the quest for authenticity can seem rather grim. This is particularly true when it comes to social media; there is no shortage of articles warning us of the selective nature of presenting oneself via the internet, as we have the ability to convey our very own “highlight reel” through perfectly cropped, edited and filtered images. And while we find the edited lives of both our celebrity crushes and friends appealing — for we do long for a certain amount of perfection in our own lives — it does beg the question, can we really connect with anyone authentically anymore, especially through digital means? Or is everyone just playing the part of ‘perfect’ and ‘cool?’ “I was about 13 years old at a badminton competition and I had a tracksuit on with my shorts underneath. So when it was time for me to play I obviously had to take my tracksuit off, so as I pulled my pants down, my shorts came with them. The thing was, I didn’t even notice. So for a good half a second I was just standing there in my underwear.” Okay, I guess there’s at least one person who’s still keeping it real. JAMIE CURRY, New Zealand based content creator is both candid and hilarious, and doesn’t try to be. More than that, she is relatable, as evidenced by her “most embarrassing moment,” which causes us to laugh, as well as cringe, as it no doubt brings up some humiliating moments of our own. Even the humble start of her now cult-like following is, dare I say it, normal. Curry never started out looking for fame. “It was totally an accident!” she shared, regarding her entrance

into YouTube. She had been making Facebook videos for awhile, which had developed a small following. What made her take the leap to YouTube? The demand from her fans. People started asking her to make YouTube videos, so she did; nothing dramatic, nothing complicated. Yet, obliging to this simple request has burst forth a buzzing social media presence that now touches the world. It is evident that Curry’s humility has been maintained throughout this process. Even when her channel hit 1 million subscribers, she shared that her first thought was, “OMG, what is this.” To have a successful YouTube channel, you’d think that one of the first qualifications is to be an outgoing, extraverted type. Once again, Curry defies another expectation in the digital world. She describes herself as being “totally introverted,” and cites this as being encouraging to her audience. “I think a lot of the people who watch my videos can relate to that in some way, so it’s cool to meet people when they say, ‘Hey seeing you put yourself out there made me more confident!’” So, is the Jamie we see in front of the camera still the real her, introverted-ness and all? The answer to that is a firm ‘yes.’ I’m not faking anything but it’s definitely an exaggerated version of myself,” explains Curry. “I’m really quite shy in real life so if that came across on camera it would be a little boring.” It’s obvious that Curry has a firm grip on who she is, while being able to communicate in her own offbeat way that never fails to get her viewers to laugh. Which brings us to another fascinating, yet attractive fact about Curry: she never claims to be a comedian. She denied being labeled as such, explaining simply that she is “more just

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herself.” And it’s this kind of honesty and a defiance of labels that makes Curry so incredibly refreshing; it is not taking on the title of “comedian” that makes her funny, but simply being herself that results in the side-splitting laughter her videos induce. This seems to be her way of operating, as she says she “doesn’t take anything too seriously.” Just because she has a laid-back view of life doesn’t mean this lady is all jokes; when it comes to issues that matter, she addresses them with intent. Recently, Curry took a trip to Antarctica, which she shared with her followers on Instagram. She explained that the reason behind her trip was to get a first-hand look at the science that revolves around the environment and climate change, and to see how that relates to her in New Zealand. And she wants to help spread the word, “I’m making four videos to then educate my audience about climate change and everything else that I’ve learnt since venturing over there.” She is not only a growing advocate for world issues, but also for encouraging character and confidence in her audience. “Be kind. Be kind. Be kind,” is her personal mantra, and what she hopes that


through her videos, her views will, “...know that it’s okay to be [themselves].” What is Curry’s take on the perceived sense of disconnection via social media? Not surprisingly, she has a more optimistic approach. “I think social media and the internet is what you make of it,” she shares. And, for being a social media star, she is actually quite anti-social. “It may be hard to believe, but I hardly ever have my phone on me. I hate using it. I also hate when I’m hanging out with people and they’re always on their phone. It’s like, why am I here?” It just goes to show that just because you use social media in an influential way doesn’t mean it has to consume your life or alter your intentionality in relationship. For content creator Jamie Curry, it wasn’t a calculated strategy or an attempt to be anything other than herself that got her propelled into the social world. Her viewers connect with her honest dialogue, her transparency and quirky personality in a way that no contrived persona could accomplish. This antisocial star shows us that, yes, there is still hope to connect with real people in authentic means, even in a self-obsessed digital age.

“I think social media and the internet is what you make of it.” local wolves — 81


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nikia phoenix written by naohmi monroe PHOTOGRAPHy by naohmi monroe

To model, creator, and influencer NIKIA PHOENIX, “the word dream means imagination, it means hope, it means a neverending story”. This gal is the ultimate dreamer when it comes to unity, self-love, and womanhood— as we all should be. She dreams of bright futures for us all, and the amazing thing is, she is devoted to making them happen too. With a heart full of positive intentions, Nikia strives to inspire and encourage. “I want people to know it’s all attainable. You don’t have to be of a certain social status or background. You can be you and thrive.” Since her long time blog, Model Liberation, Nikia has remained passionate in educating her followers of truths about the fashion, health, and beauty industry, the importance of selfcare, and her love for all things beautiful. In October 2016, she officially kicked off Black Girl Beautiful, an online platform which celebrates womanhood and melanin through curated events that offer the best in beauty and self-care. “I want Black women to know that we are valuable, we are love, and we deserve our own love too. I hope to educate this amazing demographic with brands that genuinely create products specifically for them. It’s about flexing our buying power and investing in ourselves.” Since the launch, Black Girl Beautiful has become a resource for the black girl community for inspiration, affirmation, and open conversations in anything from beauty to politics.


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Nikia’s latest work of love launched in February 2017 as The Nikia Phoenix Podcast, a podcast dedicated “to each one teach one.” It opens up conversations of creativity, passion, and inner strength, and provides ultimate realness across all spectrums. Nikia implies, “I think it’s important to hear from people who have been in similar positions as you and have come out on top. We need encouraging stories. We need to connect with others beyond the facade of social media.” The Nikia Phoenix Podcast fuels listeners with stories positive experiences and enlightens on how to deal with the negative ones. It allows listeners to connect with their favorite influencers and creators in a deeper context, one that grounds truth in what it means to be a creative in the industry. While she spreads love to others so extensively, self love and inner strength have not always been an easy thing for Nikia. In early years through now, bouts of anxiety and insecurity have stressed her abilities to achieve a consistent sense of self-love. We’ve all been there time and again, while scrolling through Instagram, flipping through magazines, or during social gatherings. We burden ourselves with comparisons and negative thoughts which hinder our capacity for self love and self confidence. While it can be a tough mentality to steer Nikia reminds us, “The journey of self love is never-ending, but when you love yourself you can recognize the beauty in humanity.” Whether it be through affirmations or intentional journaling, we should all remember to practice regular self-love as it enables the dreamers in us and puts everything into reach. As additional words of empowerment Nikia affirms to all women, “You have the power to give life, literally. No man-made force can stop you. Girl! You better do the damn thing.”

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“the journey of self love is neverending, but when you love yourself you can recognize the beauty in h u m a n i t y.�



ross butler Written by Tayllor Lemphers Photography by Naohmi Monroe

ROSS BUTLER cannot be placed in a box. On one hand, the traditional Hollywood stereotypes of Asian Americans fail to fit his height of 6’3” and athletic build; in taking on roles such as Riverdale’s football captain, Reggie Mantle and a man’s man basketball player Zach Dempsey in Thirteen Reasons Why, actor Ross Butler isn’t just sacking a defensive line or charging the court, he’s debunking how the world perceives ethnic groups in the media. And, when hearing him speak off-screen, one cannot help but be struck by how decidedly non-jock his mentality about the world is; or rather, how multi-faceted his personality is, in comparison to the typical two-dimensional character of the hard-headed high school athlete. Butler’s story is one of discovering areas in Hollywood and otherwise that don’t fit, and charging ahead to pave his own way, with the hope of inspiring others to do the same.

As it turns out, the spark that lit the slow-burning desire to act for Butler came many years before he ever thought about moving to Los Angeles. “I went with my friend and his mom to see Forrest Gump, as a kid, when it first came out [in 1994],” he shared. After the movie, my friend asked, ‘So, is Forrest Gump a real guy?’ And I was like, ‘Yeah, of course,’ But his mom said, ‘No, he’s not real, that’s an actor,’ and that blew my mind as a kid; I remember specifically thinking, ‘huh, that’s kind of amazing.’ Though I didn’t understand all the emotions conveyed at that age, seeing him become another person blew my mind.” It was this aha-moment in his early childhood that Butler believes “planted the seeds initially” for his desire to act. “Then from there, I started to see Tom Hanks in more things, and I was like, ‘hey, that’s Forrest Gump, but he’s not Forrest Gump!’”

Butler, like many others who flock to Los Angeles, is not a native to the city; he grew up in Washington, D.C. And while he jokes that the reason behind his move from D.C. to LA was the weather (he cites his favorite season to be summer), his original intention for his west coast shift was modeling, not acting. He had visited areas of California before— cities such as San Diego, LA and Santa Barbara were among these— and when he was 20, in the midst of his self-proclaimed “formative years,” he decided that “[California] was the place I wanted to discover myself.” Though it’s natural for models to shift towards acting and vice versa, was acting for Butler simply a transition that came with the job and the nature of LA living?

That first Tom Hanks film was the start of Butler’s fascination with acting, and it is still dear to him now. “To this day, it is one of my favorite movies; I have the poster of it hanging up in my room.” With a growing love for acting within, yet not being cultivated, Butler was given the opportunity many years later, and many states away from home, to exercise his passion. “I turned 21, and my friend, who I never told I wanted to be an actor, but just knew, he bought me my first acting class for $25, and he told me, ‘Just go, try it out, and see how you feel.’” And the results of Butler’s experimentation were more than he expected. “As soon as I went into it, it clicked,” Butler said.

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Butler had gone to college for a year, dabbling in various academic pursuits, but nothing quite fit. “But then,” Butler reflected, “once I went to this one acting class, it just all made sense and I knew, this is what I should be doing.” After that class, Butler decided it was time to pursue what he loved; he put modeling aside and jumped into the acting world. And, for the record, once he made it into Hollywood, he did pay his friend back for that first acting class. As Butler was thrust into casting calls and auditions, he discovered a huge hurdle that he never realized was present. “There was a lack of Asian American leading men when I was growing up,” shared Butler, “and that wasn’t something I was conscious of until I started getting into acting, and going to auditions. I noticed all the roles I was going for were these stereotypical Asian roles, like the martial artist or the tech-nerd. I wasn’t going for these leading man roles.” It wasn’t long before Butler told his team that he couldn’t go out for these roles anymore, as physically, he did not fit the description. Once he became aware of this personal obstacle, he set out to overcome it, auditioning for roles traditionally kept for Caucasian and African American men, and landing them. Butler’s height and athletic build allowed him to pursue roles that were traditionally withheld from Asian Americans, as he has the look of the “jock” type, rather than the “nerd” or “techie”. “What I’ve found is that in order to act in Hollywood,” said Butler, “what you want to do is fed into what your first impression you make on people, because those are the roles you should be pursuing to get your foot in the door and into the industry. When you walk into a casting room, and these casting directors are going to look at you and pin you immediately as an archetype.” And the first impressions Butler made opened doors for him to take on more leading-man type roles. In order to create the persona that goes along with the jock-type roles he landed, Butler looked back on his own high school experience.


He remembered people he knew who fit that archetype, the cocky, arrogant jocks, and proceeded to make a character out of that, specific to each role he played. “And when I say these jocks are cocky and arrogant,” explained Butler, “what I mean is that they do not care about what other people think. Or rather,” he amended, “they pretend to not care about what other people think. That is the front they put up to hide their real feelings, so they’re really bombastic, really outspoken when they’re around their friends, and that’s their coverup for how they really feel.” Has playing the cocky, arrogant jock become just another mold for Butler to fit into? With his involvement in Netflix’s new series, Thirteen Reasons Why, came the opportunity to play a more well-rounded character. Butler was able to note the difference by comparing his roles as Reggie and Zach. “Reggie is the jock in Riverdale, while Zach is part of a group of jocks,” Butler shared. “The way I describe Zach is that he is not necessarily the smartest of the jocks, and he isn’t great with the girls, but he has this very different, emotional side to him that people don’t expect. He’s a rich kid, he comes from a wellto-do family, but he has a very dark side to him that people never see. With Zach, I was able to show a lot more colors, as I was more involved with 13RW than I was in Riverdale. And to show that contrast between Zach and Reggie, I’m happy to be able to show that I can have more dimensions than just that arrogant jock type.” Butler isn’t only breaking molds for Asian Americans, and even for the archetypal jock; through his involvement with 13RW, he has been able to be part of a collective voice shedding light on the issue of teen suicide, a topic that is often shrouded in stigmas. “It is such an important message, and it’s something we don’t really tell honestly in entertainment, just because there’s a fear of being too dark, or a fear of raising questions

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that a lot of people don’t want to talk about.” Working with Netflix has allowed the series to push the boundaries of what is normally seen on TV for teens. “So, we took this message that needs to be talked about, and we presented it in a very real, very gritty medium that holds nothing back,” said Butler. Though it was difficult for Butler and fellow actors to handle the content of the series, he shares that it was something he felt to be necessary to share. As he breaks down various stereotypes found in television, Butler hopes that his actions will communicate volumes and inspire action in his audience. One of the primary messages he hopes to communicate is directed towards Asian parents, that the pursuit of the arts is a legitimate career. Butler notes that our generation is one where creative fields are beginning to be embraced, as some traditional careers are being replaced by computers and robots. He believes that we need more creative people and innovators. “I would want Asian parents to let their children take more interest in the arts, and to nurture that, rather than suppress it, or force them to become more academic,” Butler shared. Another related message that Butler has worked on with teens is helping them find and understand their passion. Butler strongly believes that, though this may not make you the most money, it will certainly bring you the best sense of accomplishment later in life. “For me, I always wanted to pursue acting; it was my passion, but I didn’t understand that until I was 21. If I had found that out sooner, I feel like I would be in a much different place now,” Butler mused. Though he felt he had a late start on pursuing his own passion, he believes that the younger generation has a shot to go after it early, with proper guidance. Butler said that what he tells teens is, “the thing that they do, whatever hobbies they have that maybe they are afraid to tell other people about, or that aren’t socially influential, but just things that attract them that they do in their own time, that they focus on without any sort of pressure, these are the tell-tale signs that is something that you’re going to feel passionate about in the future, and they should try to incorporate that into their work.”

Even for those who cannot pursue their passion as their fulltime career, Butler encourages them to continue to pour themselves into it regardless. “Even if you’re being pressured into studying something more academic by your parents in college, there’s always some way that you can include your artistic hobby with what you’re being forced to do. I want kids to be happy in their future and to prepare for it by cultivating what they love, instead of doing something they hate for their career. That comes from me discovering acting.” Butler knows this from experience: during his year in college, he studied chemical engineering, and he said that it was a “complete waste of time and money for me!” He recounts hours and hours spent on SAT prep, forcing himself to study a discipline that he hated and eventually dropped out of, time and money that he could have spent on studying acting.

“determining what your passion is early on could save a lot of time and save a lot of pressure.” And we just had to know: with the next live-action Disney project in the works being Mulan, did Butler have any thoughts on being involved as the male lead, Li Shang? “The role of Li Shang does have elements of the Asian stereotype in it, just because he is a martial artist, but he’s also a leading man,” Butler explained. “And he isn’t a leading man because he’s a martial artist; he just happens to be Chinese. To be the representative of a true Chinese leading man, that would be amazing.” And while he can’t speak of his involvement or lack thereof with the project, he did say that, “I know all the lyrics to ‘I’ll Make A Man Out Of You,’” and that it would be a dream role. He is certainly not your on-screen nerd, and even when playing jocks, Ross Butler brings refreshing diversity and complexity. With each role he takes, he is speaking to his audience what he has gleaned from his own story: do not be confined by how things have always been, and pursue what makes you come alive, no matter how ludicrous it may seem.

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ally brooke

written by Olivia Clark PHOTOGRAPHy by Kristine Morgan

2017 was a huge year for Fifth Harmony. The girl group released their second album 7/27, which reached number four on the Billboard 200, and their infectious single, “Work from Home” was played on repeat on pop radio stations worldwide. They went on a massive international tour; won two VMAs and were named the “Hottest Young Stars” by Billboard Magazine. After all this, Fifth Harmony is now the topselling girl group since Destiny’s Child. Despite their huge success, band member and powerhouse ALLY BROOKE stays humble and grateful for everything she has received— and all that is still to come. Brooke was born with a passion for singing. Literally. “It was unheard of for a premature baby like me to come out screaming, since my lungs should not have been developed,” laughs Brooke. “My parents like to sweetly say I came out singing.” She grew up loving music and began performing around her hometown of San Antonio at the age of nine. When she was eighteen, The X Factor came to Austin, TX and her mother encouraged her to audition. And the rest is Fifth Harmony history. Inspired by the late Latina pop star Selena Quintanilla, Brooke’s ancestry has deeply influenced her life and music. “I am very proud of my Hispanic heritage and I am so thankful that we have been able to explore that side in some of our music,” Brooke says. Fifth Harmony released a Spanish EP and have a dedicated Latin fan base. Brooke hopes the band can continue to incorporate their culture into their music. She also hinted that she may be working on a Spanish-related project of her own. One of her favorite parts of being Hispanic and growing up in San Antonio is the amazing TexMex food. “Nowhere else in the world can compare to our Mexican food,” she brags. Her favorite spots in the city include Blanco Cafe and Mexican Manhattan.

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Female empowerment is also a major component of the voice of Fifth Harmony and Brooke. “There are so many hardworking women in the world and it is imperative to encourage and lift one another up,” explains Brooke. “We are so strong and I am overjoyed that there are so many of us supporting each other. It makes me so happy. There is a power that we as women hold that is so special. Let’s continue to use it for good! We can and are changing the world.” Aside from Fifth Harmony’s girl power anthems like “BO$$”, Brooke often tweets out #SelfiesForAlly on Twitter to encourage fans to feel confident in their own skin. Aside from her feminism, Brooke is involved in various philanthropic endeavors. She recently became an ambassador for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). “I’m one of the biggest animal lovers that you’ll find. Whenever I can, I love to spend time working with the ASPCA,” she exclaims. “It is a massive privilege to be their ambassador, and it has such a deep personal meaning to me as I just lost my [cat] Bobbi. It makes me emotional knowing I am able to help these precious animals in her honor. I tear up sometimes thinking about it,” she reveals. Brooke is also a part of the March of Dimes, an organization that works with premature babies like herself. She calls both groups near and dear to her heart and wants “to encourage everyone out there to give back, no matter how big or small.” When she’s not working or volunteering, Brooke loves watching films and has developed a passion for acting. Fans may know she creates characters like Yolandah, but hopes to dive into acting “very soon.” Brooke hopes this, as well as her other exciting opportunities coming this year, will allow fans to see a different side of her. In regards to what’s next for the band following Camila Cabello’s departure last December, Brooke says that fans will “just have to wait and see!”


“there are so many hardworking women in the world and it is imperative to encourage and lift o n e a n o t h e r u p .�

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flor WRITTEN BY sadie bell PHOTOGRAPHY BY sarah ratner

An illustrious pattern of synthesizers following a tranquilizing, ethereal voice induces your headspace into another world— a world painted in shimmering pastels that feels warm like the reflection of sunshine at daybreak— a world of wonderment. Here, you are safe to feel, to explore, safe to simply be. Through their enchanting, alternative synth-pop sound, the Los Angeles based band flor is able to take you to this space with fascination and ease. “It’s far too common to overlook the beauty and wonder of the world, especially in this current climate, but if we lose sight of our potential, if we lose sight of how beautiful the world is and the people that make it so, we’re hopeless. We want our music to realign our view,” the band said. “We aim to create a world of magic and wonder.” After pursuing music together since their youth in a variety of projects, band members Zach Grace, Kyle Hill, McKinley Kitts, and Dylan William transplanted from Oregon to Los Angeles with hopes of discovering the right atmosphere to develop a serious project, and through a bit of experimentation, flor came into fruition, and with it came a world of wonderment that they are eager to let others into. As the band approaches the release of their debut album, come out. you’re hiding later this spring, this heavenly realm inhabited by rich synthesizers, dream-like arrangements, and idyllic lyricism will become all the more clear. On transplanting from Oregon to Los Angeles in order to pursue music, band member Dylan William said, “In the five to six months we weren’t focused on being a band, we found new inspirations for creating— new people, new sounds. Zach eventually came to me with some song ideas to try out, one of those songs was called “heart”. We had never experimented with such colorful synths and melodies before, and we knew it was unlike anything we’d worked on prior. We fell in love with it, though. We sent our ideas to McKinley and Kyle and they did, too. We had a new project, something that felt very right.”


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“ i f we l ose si g ht o f o ur po t ent ial, if w e lo s e s i gh t of h ow b eaut iful t he w o rld is and t he peopl e th a t make it s o, w e're ho peles s .”

“When we opened our minds to using synths heavily in our music, we suddenly had so much more room to explore sonically,” the band said. Their “luscious pads and airy synths” taking the listener on a celestial trip into their imagination. “We hope that the soundscapes will immerse listeners in our world and every time they listen they can find something new within the production to fall in love with.” flor’s universe is not just one of otherworldly, romantic sounds, though, it transforms the listener to be in a special space of feeling where one is encouraged to engage with emotion and find comfort in this tumultuous range of experience. “We want [the listener] to experience the unshakeable passion of true love when they listen to “warm blood”. We want them to find comfort in distress when they turn on “restless soul”. When “spoiled” comes on, we want them to come to terms with selfishness in an unfair world,” the band said. “Through all of these experiences we hope to provide a road map. We hope that if they're experiencing similar situations they can turn to our lyrics for company. We don't want to provide answers or tell someone how to feel, because no two people are the same. Advice we need to take can be totally different from what they need to hear, but if listeners can find ways to use our songs to navigate these situations, then we're doing our job.” In order to create this realm with sincerity, lyricist and leadsinger Zach Grace intends to open the doors to his private, internal thoughts and feelings, despite how challenging this can be. Grace said, “I keep to myself in most of my relationships, so it's incredibly ironic that my love of creating music makes me share my innermost thoughts and my personal interactions with the world. Naturally, this introversion would lead you to

believe that it makes me nervous to allow the world to peer in and dissect what I'm saying, but it actually makes me the most excited I've ever been. I'm curious to see how people react. I'm curious to see if they feel the same way and we can bond over things like finding peace in uncertainty or questioning our selfish behavior. It's taken a bit of mental rewiring, but I’m ready for people to get to know my lyrics and get to know me through them.” Though flor is just on the verge of opening an invitation to their intimate place in the universe, it seems their genuine passion in working with each other and for the music they produce will only imbue increasingly greater creativity in our own world. The band said, “Working together for so long has helped us all grow as artists and as people in so many ways. It's only natural that a relationship as long and strenuous as this has rough patches, but through the hardship we've formed a bond of respect and love. That’s the most amazing part, the respect that you get for another human when you work in an environment as open and vulnerable as a band. You can never really understand a person. We are too complex, but creating art with someone and witnessing their art come to life gives you a window to look in. It's a rare look into something intimate and special.” “[flor] is exactly what we have envisioned. Our first dream was to put out an album, which then turned into wanting to tour, which led to wanting to get signed. The list continues and will grow as long as we continue to create. I guess that's just the nature of it— as we achieve more, we dream for more and reach for more.”

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“ t h a t ’s the most a mazing part , t he res pect t ha t you get for a n oth er hum an w hen yo u w o rk in an e nvi ron men t a s ope n and vulnerable as a band.�


“through all of these experiences we hope to provide a road map. we hope that if they're experiencing similar situations they can turn to our lyrics for company. we don't want to provide answers or tell someone how to feel, because no two people are the same.”

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SAMONE’s photography captures the frenetic energy of passing through youth, celebrating still moments from fleeting feelings. The Los Angeles based teen documents the lived experiences of herself and her friends— what she believes to be the most worthwhile pursuit of photography. Samone explains it has always been her highest goal,

“ i w an t m y wor k to give a vo ice t o t h os e w h o a r e unde r r e pr e sen t ed i n t h e m e dia . i love photogr ap h in g b l ac k an d br own m e n a nd wo men . p e o p l e o fte n de hum a niz e p eo p le of c ol o r in the m e dia s o i try t o g i ve a m or e a ccur a te a nd h o n est d e p i c t i on of the m in m y phot o s.” Her work celebrating people of color has been featured in the teen-centric LA art collective and gallery, Junior High. This narrative of friendship, humanity and love seen in Samone’s work is more natural than most.

She says of her process, “A lot of my shoots happen just by walking around LA with my friends and a camera. Inspiration will find you everywhere. Whenever I’m going through a creative block, I watch old films and music videos or look through old family photos for inspiration.” When asked of her biggest influence, she named her friends: “My friends are my biggest inspirations. They are the most beautiful and talented people and a lot of my work is centered around and inspired by them. Also, my grandmother who gave me my first Polaroid when I was younger. I probably wouldn’t have picked up photography if it weren’t for her.” The realness of her photos comes from deliberately shooting people as they are. Samone explains, “Photography for me is a way to document my youth. It’s a way for me to keep a tangible log of all of my memories and moments that I don’t want to forget. When I first started, I’d only exclusively take candids of friends and family. I photographed them at shows and parties and at friends’ houses. I photographed their relationships and important moments. Them laughing and crying. There’s so much honesty in photography where people are unaware that they’re being captured on film. It’s one of my favorite things.” Documenting the beautiful along with the bitter is what makes good art so attractive, and this holds true for Samone’s precocious work.

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Speaking of her proudest moment thus far, she says, “Two years ago I made a zine called ‘From Me To You’ and sold it online and at art shows every now and then. At one of the shows, someone came up to me and told me that it inspired them to pick up a camera and make a zine of their own. To me that’s one of my biggest accomplishments. Knowing that my work had a positive influence and actually meant something to someone. It’s one of the best feelings.” This expresses the sentiment that while a project might feel small or insignificant or too personal, it will inevitably affect at least one person in an unforeseeable way. And because of this, it’s important to


always be progressing in your work and trying new (possibly scary) things. Samone agrees, “It’s important to take pride in your work but also know there is always room for improvement. I am my biggest critic and am always beating myself up during photoshoots but once I get the prints back I’m so satisfied with the way everything turned out. I’m always competing with my old self and trying to improve and make things I can be proud of.” As she moves her art in an ever forward movement, she says of the future: “As for right now, I’m taking everything day by day and trying to have as much fun as possible. I want to create endlessly and take every opportunity that I can.”

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Adam Ward MODELS

Tripp Elliot Teagan Wentz STYLING

Christian Lopez BEAUTY

Morgan Scott




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