#selflove Yay for August! Besides the fact that it’s my birthday month, it’s also the time where most of us head back to school for the fall semester. Don’t get me wrong, school is fun and dandy but something about summer from late night adventures to just catching up on your favorite shows. That effortless vibe is what I’ll miss the most about the summer. This issue is by far one of my favorites, the team and I got to collaborate with our dear friend, Lauren who is by far the DIY queen on YouTube. We got to discuss a fairly important and highly requested topic: #SelfLove. We received hundreds of entries and so thankful for my incredible staff members, Hudson and Orion for working to curate this project. It was definitely a fun and inspiring feature since we read all sorts of written responses and viewed some amazing artwork as well. To me, self love is more than just about loving yourself but having the inner confidence to trust your instincts, know your strengths and weaknesses and allowing yourself to accept the daily challenges that you may face from time to time. I know that we all through different battles and priorities, but at the end of the day— never forget to respect who you are, your actions and opinions, you do you.
Cathrine Khom founder + chief editor
aidan alexander @aidanjalexander los angeles, ca
lauren riihimaki @laurdiy toronto, canada
ryli @iamryli virginia / nyc
abi ann @abiannmusic nashville, tn
michael mcarthur @mcarthurmusic lakeland, fl
soft lions @soft_lions san diego, ca
blake steven @blakesteven los angeles, ca
quigley @quigleyofficial los angeles, ca
the messy heads @themessyheads san diego, ca
emily mitchell @thatfashiongirl texas, tx
reuben hollebon @reubenhollebon norfolk, england
tyler mitchell @tyler_mitchell_ new york city, ny
kelly martucci @kellymartucci east florida, fl
rozzi crane @rozzicrane los angeles, ca
two cheers @twocheersmusic detroit, mi
knuckle puck @knucklepuckil chicago, il
ryli @iamryli virginia / nyc
weslynn @weslynnmusic phoenix, az
do it yourself
f e at u r e s 30
knuckle puck two cheers
the messy heads
ellis in the afternoon
another brick in the wall
founder / chief editor cathrine khom
is s ue t w e n t y e i gh t / / au gu s t t w e n t y fi fteen
la uren riih ima ki
copy editor sophia khom web designer ariane therrien illustrators eduardo martinez + jaimus tailor diy coordinator madison bass-taylor web content coordinator kristy cheung social media coordinator nicole tillotson videographers jessica eu + gloria wong playlist maker sena cheung front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo shannon bray contributing writers kamrin baker, ashley bulayo, orion carloto, sydney clarke, rachel coker, michael grasseschi, anna hall, chloe luthringshausen, hudson luthringshausen, megan magers, kaela malozewski, lydia snapper, averly tan contributing photographers lexie alley, mila austin, pamela ayala, viviana contreras, ron dadon, rachel epstein, laura harvey, stephanie huang, ruby james, katy johnson, rachel kober, chris lampkins, rosie matheson, kohl murdock, danny owens, jade park, dylan razo, andy sawyer, meredith sherlock, meagan sullivan, madison bass-taylor, lhoycel marie teope, melissa tilley graphic designers cassidy boatright, christine ennis, isabel manimbo, isabel ramos, nicole tillotson style department katie qian + jessie yarborough connect localwolvesmag.com twitter / instagram / snapchat: @localwolves facebook.com/localwolves #localwolves community general inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org press inquiries email@example.com
description local wolves magazine, an online + print publication based in southern california with a talented team from all over the world. we focus on embracing the local scene in art, music, entertainment and film. our goal is to capture and share the stories about people doing what they love to do.
coverage: sena cheung
local wolves magazine // 7
YOUNG HI C KORY
COVERAGE: KATY JOHNSON
“LET’S HANG OUT!” in big mint green hand lettered paint brilliantly greet the avid coffee aficionado as she or he approaches the open windowed coffee house that is Young Hickory. Stationed just outside the heart of North Park San Diego, this cafe/beer spot is known for it’s delicious mix of coffee, tea and thirty craft beers– not to mention a breakfast, lunch, and dinner menu. “Open Early - Till Late” is another welcoming saying on either side of the entrance to the cafe and they aren’t lying! Hours from 7AM to midnight daily ensure you a coffee, or beer if you’re of age, fix at any time of the day. House regular and local photographer, Kenneth Mitchell says he loves Young Hickory because it’s one of the few places in North Park he doesn’t mind spending hours on work at. Stationing oneself at the long community tables for a few hours can lead you to meeting lots of different types of people, and that’s another thing locals love about it.
People chat, study, and make art over all types of beverages. So what makes this cafe so special? “The fact that they cater to customers at all times of day/night,” comments Kenneth, “I can walk in at 8AM and get a coffee and walk back in at 10PM for a beer. The vibe from the moment you enter Young Hickory is nothing but chill from the “No Haters Allowed” sign to the sticker covered wall you can’t miss. Rain or shine, if you’re ever in San Diego, drop by for a quick drink or stay a while. LOCATION // CONTACT : 4096 30th StREET San Diego, CALIFORNIA 92104 (619) 795-6574
local wolves magazine // 9
do it yourself + EASY SUMMER A C AI B O W L +
INGRE D IENTS + 2 sambazon acai berry super fruit pack + 2 bananas + 1/4 cup coconut water or juice (we used apple juice) + granola + coconut + honey
STE P S
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8
blend acai packs, 1 1/2 bananas, and coconut water or juice to a thick consistency.
in bottom of serving bowl, put a little granola, top with honey (optional).
pour acai mixture over granola.
top with more granola.
add remainder of banana sliced on top.
sprinkle coconut on top.
drizzle with honey.
COVERAGE: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR
local wolves magazine // 11
n o i r O to: Carlo
elcome back friends!
This month we’re celebrating #SelfLove so I thought instead of doing all of the talking, I’d let you babes do it for me. It’s such an important thing to love yourself and we’ve all either gone through the journey or we’re still going through it. It’s not easy. Insecurities are a big weight on our shoulders and we’re always trying to not only please ourselves, but also the people around us. I started my journey when I was about 15 years old and 3 years down the line I’ve discovered so much about who I am and what I love about myself the most. Before I get too into it, I reached out to you babes on Tumblr and asked you all to tell me your journey to loving yourself and what your favorite thing about yourself is and I got so many beautiful faces in my inbox! I’m excited to share these beautiful faces with you this month, so let’s get to it!
/ / Brynn, 16, New Jersey / / “I learned to love myself after ridding all of the negative influences around me (bad habits, toxic people, destructive behaviors) and replacing all of that with positivity (people that bring me up and not down, happy thoughts, healthy outlets).”
/ / Fari, 18, Atlanta / /
“I think the easiest wa y to love yourself is to accept you for who you are; That is what I did. I love my smile, my eyes, and my personal ity. I have great friend s that love me for who I am, so wh y shouldn’t I?”
ois / / Hanna, 15, IllinFake
nfident. being super co it! ke ma u those yo of til l “Fake it un believe it. Al even if you don’t lf, and se ur ch yo ea t h en Complim self? Go throug nd like about your mi n’t in do ep u Ke yo it. s thing positive about ing th me at so y wh sa ique and are every one and at make you un wh e ar is th ws fla ing ur that all of yo e it sounds. Do less of how clich a rd ga ite re qu s u, yo ke ta u make yo d healthier. It e times happier an th n ve llio lie mi be a to me rt made ise, you will sta om pr I t bu e. t or nc eff de confi bit of time and ll gain so much urself and you wi .” ing ht fig things you tell yo ep ke ays yourself and alw Don’t give up on
// / / Calli, 16, Californoniae day write about loving myself.
er expected to it’s been a long “Wow, I never, ev posite. I guess op e th be to things used pt that there are In fact, it always o I am, and acce wh pt any. ce iph ac ep to ’t an overnight journey of trying It of course wasn w, e. ne lik t dy no bo y me ma I myself into so about myself oI trying to recreate wh s e ur as ho er d lf, en se sp I used to rd to repress my like. I tried so ha all of this effort somebody I could too tiring. Putting s wa it ed cid de from it. I y, no good coming was and eventuall why? There was d an rted to lf, sta I se s. my ed who I wa into disliking g myself that I lov tter.” I llin be te d do n rte ca sta t I Recently, just “pretty… bu t no ty, .” et pr s an wa I age me to ch ge let myself believe a goal to encour as ls gir r he ot at stopped looking
local wolves magazine // 13
/ / Savannah, 17, Stockholm / /
ng suddenly picked me up. “When I was at my lowest, somethi ld and I noticed that I didn’t People like you got into my wor ted to change into my true want to live that way anymore. I star ster inside of me go and mon self at the age of fifteen. I let the rt said. That made me hea my t wha started to pay attention to s I didn’t even know about. realize that I had so many interest I went out for walks just to I started to meditate and read, reciated everything. Even app breathe in the fresh air and just in the sand and think toes my on n myself. I would look dow entire universe.” that I am the luckiest person in the
/ / Ivy, 18, Atlanta / /
“My favorite thing I love about myse lf is that I have ability to live ever the yday of my life ha ppily and help ot realize that they hers can too.”
/ / Jamie, 15, Princeton / / “I’m still learning how to love myself everyday but a big part of it was when I stopped comparing myself to my friends and peers and began to treat myself with respect and kindness. My favorite thing about myself is my resilience.”
ndo / /
rla / / Andrea, 17, O
. Living ith acceptance ly hard time w al re a akes it d m ha I ty au “Growing up dard of be Eurocentric stan began a I t ith Bu w . y ul et tif ci in a so black is beau at th pt ul. ce ac au to ition of be tif especially hard te my own defin ea e cr nc d ul tie co pa I d passion an to realize that kindness, com ul ns tif ea au m be ul y tif m au of So I did. Be self. I’m proud f. as well as your gs about mysel in th e rit towards others vo fa y m of e f; on el e ys m m co st remind skin tone. It’s be self love, I ju tle lit a ed ne Whenever I me.” beautiful means
rsey / / e J w e N , t and 7 1 / / Amanda, yself by treating my body bdemtteysr, eelfatwinithg ,rimgyh small
un d to love m who I surro ld have an “I learned ng more on stem I cou si sy cu rt fo e o d p I’v p ; an t on them e best su exercising, ways coun nds are th al ie fr h n g ca u se i o o th w cl o eth even group of yself I kn crooked te rly about m d o o an p s l e le fe ck I when ast.” ose and fre em in the p ve my big n us about th io come to lo sc n co lfe crazy se I used to b
/ / Anna, 16, New Jerse y // “I learn
ed to love myse lf when I realize d that I couldn’t be anyone else. It’s better to acce pt yourself in your skin than trying own to be someone yo u can’t be.”
/ / Rachel, 19, Unite dK
ingdom / /
“It has taken me two and a half ye ars to get to wh today. To proudly ere I am stand on my ow n two feet and in my own skin, be happy I make a promise to myself every pay myself a co day to mpliment even if I don’t believe it saying it more an at first, by d more, I do be gin to believe it myself more and and I love more every day. Re maining positive journey and care with my er path has gave me so much happ my life and my fri iness in ends say that this is the real Rachel and know. My fa they love vorite thing that I love about myse with or without ma lf is the fact ke up, I still look beautiful.”
/ / Rebecca, 14, Michigan / /
“I thought I would never be good enough. People like, Orion Carloto, have made me feel I’m worth something in this huge world. It’s been recently since I started loving myself, not completely. I have things I want to work on, like my body. I have been going to the gym to myself feel better! I’m starting to stop caring what people think of me, going out in public without make up feels so good. I feel so good being me!”
local wolves magazine // 15
/ / Natalia, 16, Dominican Repub lic
“I learned to love my self in the simplest of terms, my health and happiness came first and I would not let any one dictate if I was worthy of something such as self-love. An d the thing I love the most about myself, I’d have to say, it would eit her be my eyebrows or my legs!”
// / / Leslie, 18, Texasout myself and about my
ecure ab “I used to be really ins I was “fat” but ding to some people body especially. Accor rned to love lea I urally curvy girl. in reality I’m just a nat nt is okay ere diff g kin fact that loo myself by accepting the I learned to g myself to other girls. and I stopped comparin out myself ab all! My favorite thing love myself, flaws and s.” are my big brown eye
/ / Mariana, 16, Mexico / /
Orion. Well, months to therapy I found you, “By the time I have gone for 2 I was. w even though you didn’t kno who I like to think that you found me about out d foun I are. angel, because you I like to think that you are my ng in ethi som had we like felt story and everything you did, I searched your try, poe your column on ps. positivity, I read common. I started to read your up ed look I on ame my role model, the pers your tweets, everything, you bec like felt I you at ed look I day one, every time to. You made me feel safe since dent and n could do it, I can too.” Being confi Orio “if ght thou I I had a chance, endings the g, innin beg the in said I as but loving yourself is a big journey, hard how and e realize how far you’ve com are the best parts, because you fied satis am I say can I y as planned. Toda you worked and it all worked out last s, way Any it. e mak I’ll w kno I e to go but with myself, I have so much mor onality. pers my and e smil my is me ut t abo but not least, what I love the mos smile I feel ial meaning for me, whenever I My smile because it has a spec so much joy.”
/ / Dikra, 16, Canada / /
“I learned to love myself by looking in the mirror every day and telling myself I’m pretty and smart. One thing I love about myself is my ability to see the beauty and good in everybody.”
/ / Nicole, 16, New Jersey / /
”Three years ago, the idea of loving myself seemed pra ctically impossible. I couldn’t eve n imagine ever being oka y with who I was. This changed completely in the summe r of 2013. I began watching videos of YouTubers who, to me, seemed like these confident and joyous people. When I me t some of them, I learned that the y were just normal people who posted videos and were acc epted by others– flaws incl uded. I began posting videos of my own (which I’d done in the past, but had taken the videos down due to self-consciou sness), and even though no one really watched them, ma king the videos slowly began to make me feel better abo ut my appearance and personalit y.”
/ / Estebaliz, 15, Illinois / /
is my independence. “One thing I love about myself on myself physically but Being able to not only depend I, myself can only choose also mentally and making sure not having to depend on how and what i’m feeling and sort of emotion. The any or ss others for my happine dent was to step back journey I took to become indepen can make me happy. After and really thinking hard on who I came to the realization processing all this in my head, feeling.” I’m how that ONLY I can choose
/ / Montana, 15, Los Angeles / / / / Shree, 14, Detroit / /
“I learned to love myself by realizing that accepting my flaws is what makes me the most beautiful. My favorite thing about myself would have to be my eyes, I love the shape and I think it’s rare that they are so big. I love them!”
“I’ve had a lot of issues in the past where I was not comfortable in the body I’m in. I would feel uncomfortable wearing anything because I didn’t feel beautiful. But this year I’ve started to realize that this is my body and no one else’s and I should be proud of it. I weigh over 150 and I’m beautiful and I don’t care what other people say. I love my body and that’s all that matters. I’m happy. My body is happy. And my mind is happy. Now that to me is more important than what society thinks of me and my body. It’s been a long journey but I’ve finally learned to love myself and I couldn’t be happier.”
local wolves magazine // 17
pinpoint + LON D ON / / UK + WORDS: LIBERTY MENDEZ // PHOTOS: MILA AUSTIN
liberty mendez + FASHIONA B LEF 0 0 D . B LOGS P OT . C O . UK +
Whilst children grow up many become attached to dolls and Lego but all I can remember was running around the house holding a spatula covered in cake batter and a face full of flour; so you could say my passion for cooking came at a young age. I started my blog called FASHIONABLE F00D in November 2013, really as a creative outlet where I could share my baking ideas and also as a way of storing my recipes to refer back to. Yes, I’ve had my fair share of culinary disasters, like the great blackened cake incident of 2008, but we all have to make mistakes to learn how to improve.
If you love what you do then you shouldn’t have to work a day in your life, many people choose to pursue a career because it is the safe option, because they know for certain that they will do ‘okay,’ but what if okay isn’t enough, what if you want to be incredible? From a young age we all have audacious dreams of becoming an astronaut, ballerina or even magician which now seem so unobtainable that in retrospect the whole idea is rather comical. When did we stop believing? I’d love people to take a risk and do what they love, so they can never wonder ‘what if?’
From Starbucks cupcakes, bacon and maple cakes and fondant cake designs, my blog has inventive recipes, which once baked, my family and friends usually devour that day, leaving no trace or crumb of evidence that I had even cooked it. That’s why I love taking photographs of what I bake, it lasts a lot longer than the finished product! Through those pictures I hope to inspire people to create culinary creations and impress their friends and family; as they say, the way to a person’s heart is through their stomach.
“taking the chance to move forward you have to be willing to fall flat on your face to achieve everything you dream of, so I took a risk and perused my passion for food.”
Cooking is also a great bonding time, who says two chefs spoil the brew? From flour fights to devouring a chocolate cake it can really be a great bonding activity. Currently, I am completing a Professional Chef Diploma and it took a lot of courage to leap into a profession at a young age; but I’ve always thought, whilst taking the chance to move forward you have to be willing to fall flat on your face to achieve everything you dream of, so I took a risk and perused my passion for food.
The food in London is magnificent, from luxurious dining in hotels such as The Ritz and Michelin star restaurants like Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester you are never far from having a sublime meal. London also holds many quirky eateries such as a cat café, a coffee shop built in a Victorian underground toilet and a café purely based around cereal. Whatever floats your boat, London sure holds the key to adventurous foods. So come on an adventure, here are a few of the superlative food outlets that London has to offer.
local wolves magazine // 19
the cereal killer café + C AM D EN TO W N & B RI C K LANE +
Cereal always seems to taste better when you spontaneously grab a bowl of it in the middle of the night or any hour of the day apart from the conventional time to consume it. Irish brothers Gary and Alan Keery have come up with the miraculous idea of having a speciality cereal café called The Cereal Killer Café which solely sells every type of cereal imaginable. With over 120 types of cereal from all over the world, 30 types of milks and 20 varieties of topping there’s no shortage of choice, you just may need a little longer to choose which combinations to pick! Open from 9:30AM – 7PM the café will provide you with the delight of cereal for breakfast, lunch or dinner and those regular snack periods in-between, which we all know happen more frequently than we like to admit! Since opening in December 2014, their café now has two branches both on Brick Lane and The Camden Stables which are ideal surroundings for the quirky establishment. Gary and Alan mentioned that their aim was to make the customer reminiscent of their childhood and to remember the fun it was to devour a bowl of cereal, so the cereal branded memorabilia placed in the stores are extremely evocative. I caught up with Gary and Alan and got the chance to ask them a few questions about their phenomenal Cereal Killer Café:
What made you start the business? We were out for a hungover lunch one day and really craved the sugary milkiness of a bowl of cereal but were surprised to find that there was no such thing as a cereal cafe not in London, the UK or Europe! This seemed crazy to us that a food that most people eat every day was not available to eat anywhere else but your own home, so that was the birth of Cereal Killer Cafe! Where did you get the idea/inspiration to open the Cereal Killer Cafe? We have always loved cereal and we so obsessed and excited with this hungover idea we just knew we had to open it. What are your recommendations and most popular cereal combinations at cafe? We have a whole menu of tried and tested cereal combinations, the most popular is the ‘Chocopttomus’Krave, Coco Pops, Kinder Hippo and Chocolate Milk. But my favourite combo is ‘The Feckin’ Nut Case’ - Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Honey Nut Chex, Crunchy Nut Clusters, hazelnuts and almond milk, its amazing! LOCATIONS Brick Lane – 139 Brick Lane, London, E1 6SB Camden Stables – Mezz 2, Stables Market, Camden, London, NW1 8AH
borough market + LON D ON B RI D GE +
Located in the picturesque centre of London surrounded by buildings such as the shard, Borough Market holds stalls which sell food such as cheese, vegetables, patisserie, meat, locally sourced fish and even luxurious
items such as truffle oil. The atmosphere of the market is what draws the public in; from Monday to Saturday the market is buzzing with enthusiastic store holders selling produce both locally sourced and internationally. You can really sense the passion and knowledge they have about their products– it’s wonderful. Free samples are offered on most stalls and the workers are approachable if you would like to ask questions regarding their items. I wish you could smell the market; scents of freshly baked goods fill the courtyard air and then you turn the corner and you are hit with the scent of a warming curry! Delicious! As London has a diverse community, there are food stalls selling hot dishes from all around the world, such as Ethiopian, India, Thai and British. It’s a remarkable place which any visitor to London has to experience. LOCATION 8 Southwark Street, London, SE1 1TL
wild food café + NEAL’ S YAR D , C OVENT GAR D EN +
As you weave in and out of the maze like streets of Covent Garden and enter through an archway you will find a colorful building covered in shrubbery, this is the Wild Food Café which specialised in vegan and vegetarian cuisine. It is a quirky and compact restaurant which serves beautifully presented food which includes pizzas, burgers and salads. Their aim is to promote plant-passionate, nutrient-packed food which leaves your body feeling great. I managed to interview the co-founder Joel, who has been teaching about raw food for 15 years, regarding his company: How long have you been open for? The store has been open for 3 ½ years and we have progressively improved both the interior and foods to the level we are really happy with now. What is your target market and demographic? Although are café is vegan friendly, we do not like to limit our customers to solely having that dietary requirement as we find that everyone can enjoy vegan food whether you strictly rely on eating it or dine vegan every once in a while.
What are the most popular dishes? We are known for our incredible veggie burger called the ‘Wild Burger’– vegetarian burgers are well known for being bland, but our Wild Burger is packed with flavour and is one that it regularly ordered on the menu. LOCATION 1st Floor, 14 Neal’s Yard, Covent Garden, London WC2H 9DP
local wolves magazine // 21
peggy porchen cakes + SLOANE S Q UARE +
In the heart of stylish Sloane Square, Belgravia, lies a beautiful cake shop called Peggy Porchen which creates bespoke culinary creations which include, cupcakes, wedding cakes, birthday cakes, meringues and biscuits, to name a few. Since opening in 2010, the sublimely decorated Peggy Porchen Parlour Boutique Bakery has provided their customers with a delectable range of delights and create ‘edible works of art’ for occasions such as weddings, christenings, baby showers, birthday parties and corporate events. I got the chance to talk to both Stephanie Maughan (Head of PR) and Peggy Porchen (owner) to discover what the establishment meant to them: Have you always wanted to design bespoke cakes and what training do you have? PP: As a child I grew up in Germany which is a nation that loves cake! When I was 14 years old, I decided to make my own and it just started from there. I moved from my home in Germany to London in 1998 to study at Le Cordon Bleu. I then worked as a pastry chef at the Lanesborough Hotel, Rhubarb Food Design, followed by a position as cake decorator for German master-baker, Gerhard Jenne. I set up my business in 2003 from my home, which I eventually had to move out of as the business grew. What are the most popular and favorite cupcakes and cakes sold at the parlor? SM: Definitely the banoffee cupcake is a firm favorite amongst customers and staff, it has an oozing caramel centre with banana sponge and frosting. The special centres of cupcakes is certainly one of Peggy’s trademarks.
Why is the parlour based in Belgravia in particular, what makes the location so special? PP: It was always a dream to have my own shop and offer my cakes to people on an everyday basis. I fell in love with the street that my Parlour sits on, as there was a number of bridal suppliers already located in the street which suited my wedding cake business. Have you served or create cakes for many celebrity visitors? SM: Yes absolutely, we have had many. Peggy Porchen’s popularity began when she was asked to create 400 Faberge Eggs for Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball since then she has made wedding cakes for Kate Moss and Jamie Hince and also Stella McCartney. Peggy has also designed Sir Anthony Hopkins’ 70th birthday cake. The company also get many customers purchase cakes in the parlour such as Royal Family members and supermodels. Does Peggy Porchen get many cake requests from international customers? SM: We do, such as birthday cakes and wedding cakes. Due to transport issues, the clients ask us to fly to their country to construct the cake or send over private jets to collect it safely. LOCATION 116 Ebury Street, Belgravia, SW1W9QQ
maitre choux + SOUTH KENSINGTON +
There are not enough superlative words to describe the sheer patisserie haven which is Maître Choux located in South Kensington, West London. The air surrounds you with the blissful delight of buttery pastry counterbalanced with a rich coffee scent, so enthralling that you’d wish you could bottle it and spray the scent around your house to relive the atmosphere of the store. Maître Choux specializes in solely selling choux pastry, with an attractive array of éclairs and chouquettes; so meticulously and elegantly presented that you’d think it would be a shame to ruin the display by purchasing one! There are nine different flavours of éclairs (such as violet and wild berries) also selling 7 varieties of the choux á la crème (choux pastry balls filled with vanilla mousseline and fruit compotes). I was lucky enough to sample a Persian pistachio éclair, a raspberry choux á la crème; each were filled with enchanting flavours which fully captivated my attention as I couldn’t even express to the chef how exquisite they were. It was lovely to talk to the enthusiastic French chef and owner of Maitre Choux, Joakim Prat, about his incredible store: Why London? What do you love so much about South Kensington? It’s particularly a French area, so we thought that it would be a strategic idea to put Maître Choux in this location. The store is opposite from the ‘institut français’ which teaches cultural exchange students, so it is a perfect location to be near it.
What product do you recommend? Although I adore everything– The classics are my favorite, especially the chocolate, coffee, vanilla and salted caramel. How has your Michelin star experience influenced your work habits and the environment of the Maître Choux kitchens? Organization is definitely a concept I have brought into the kitchen, it’s very important for the chefs to be prepared. I have found that it is paramount that the products are fresh, so the chef’s work from 3AM to bake for that day, and although we normally sell out most days; whatever is left over we give to the homeless. How many pastry chefs do you have? We have 6 in total, they are all French so we can provide authentic French patisserie. Why choux pastry? I’ve always had a passion for choux pastry for a long time, both Jeremie and I adore it and decided to take the risk and start an establishment solely based on the remarkable product. LOCATION 15 Harrington Road, South Kensington, SW7 3ES
local wolves magazine // 23
#selflove + W OLFIE SU B MISSIONS +
When the opportunity arose to curate the #SELFLOVE issues submissions, I was more than ready to dig into the hundreds of entries. And yes, there were hundreds. What a truly unique thing we have going with this magazine— from the staff to the features all the way back to the readers, we have created a special community that allows for something as awesome as this. I sorted through tens and tens of pages of poems, prose, art, and photography in response to our question: What does self love mean to you? It was incredibly difficult to narrow them down to the few pages that follow, and I wish that everyone could read the many thoughtful submissions I had the pleasure of viewing. I want to say thank you on behalf of Local Wolves for opening yourselves up to us and continually fueling our passion for producing this magazine. So, why me? Well, it’s probably because I practically begged Cathrine to let me do this, but that’s besides the point. The reason I wanted to be a part of the process is because self love has always held a strong place in my life. I used to tell my sister, it’s never too late to fall in love with yourself. While it rings cheesy, and it was meant to be (annoying brother 101), the phrase always stuck with me. And what stuck with me the most is that no one ever took me seriously when I’d say this. Why was the concept of loving yourself so instantly passed off as a joke? I often wonder, what if I hadn’t said it to get a rise out of the people I was with. What if I had truly meant it— how would they react? One of the things I loved about your submissions was the way each and every one of them tackled this very idea with vigor. So maybe it’s my bias speaking, but I wanted to create a list that focused not only on the power of self love,
but the strife. Because self love does not come easy— we all know that. I want to talk about it, shine the light on it. That’s why I chose the following selections, because they approached self love head on and will, hopefully, help us to confront the issue. We live in a world that is very confusing, that urges us to be ourselves then ridicules us for doing just that. A world where our every move is monitored, our every mistake is highlighted, and every angle of our lives is put on display, filtered, and force-fed to us. The great conundrum of the social media movement is the desire to explain ourselves— the need to be understood. And I think self love has a lot to do with ending that. Letting go of the restraints that our misplaced responsibility to explain ourselves binds us to, and simply seeking understanding within ourselves. No longer worrying about what might I say if I leave the house wearing this outfit? How will I justify my decision to make this choice? It is about embracing our unique traits and being so confident in them that we don’t need other’s understanding— we only need our own. One of our readers, Chloe Amaro, wrote in response to self love that “Love is like a currency. If you don’t have it how can you give it?” And I love that. What a powerful message— our world is full of riches beyond those we conventionally know, and I believe it is our duty to enrich ourselves as well as those around us. One of my greatest influences in life is my grandfather, and often when he acts goofy and people laugh or scoff at him (mostly scoff), he’ll lean back in his chair and say, “I love being me.” I think it’s time we all start to say that a little more often. INTRODUCTION: HUDSON LUTHRINGSHAUSEN ILLUSTRATION: JAIMUS TAILOR
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In society today, self love is a foreign concept. If a woman loves herself: she is a narcissist. If a woman hates herself: she is attention seeking. I dream of a society where every woman is a princess: conventional beauty standards will be irrelevant and everyone will be viewed as beautiful. Women of today are stuck in cages of standards and expectations and we need to let them fly out like birds, they should be freed of the standard that self love is vain and narcissistic. As Rita Mae Brown said: “I think the reward for conformity is that everyone likes you except yourself.” Conforming to standards of a raucous society doesn’t help you, even whilst being a prime example of society today women are still scrutinized due to their body, their overflowing minds are not even taken into consideration! We say don’t judge a book by its cover, yet when do we ever stop judging? Ladies of today: LOVE YOURSELF! You’re an unstoppable goddess, let yourself shine! – LOUISE SHIELDS, BELFAST, N. IRL In the world that we live in today, we are constantly seeking the approval and attention of others. We lose ourselves to the conformist-based society, and we forget about self love. We are willing to go to earth’s end to die for someone, to live for someone else’s ambitions, yet let our own dreams perish, un-pursued. Everyone seems so riveted on their relationships with others and struggle to find their own personal purpose. There is no correlation between how much someone values you and how much you should be perceiving your worth as. These two entities are independent of one another, yet so many will waste their time trying to please people, because they think that’s the only way they will feel valued. Simply put, self
love is about feeling whole. It’s not about the desire to find someone to complete you, because love sourced from others is capricious and fleeting. Love from others does not sustain happiness permanently, it’s not always going to be there when you are eating leftover takeout after a long day from work, and it’s not always going to be there at 3AM in the morning as you cry by yourself on the floor of someone’s bathroom, but self love is the one thing that you’ll always have through the triumphs and tribulations. I feel that self love is at times taboo, due to its negative connotation with being selfish. Well if being selfish means embracing your identity for its strengths and weaknesses, then we should all be a little bit more selfish. Here’s to nourishing our minds, taking care of our bodies, and finding value in ourselves. – SELINA YE, VANCOUVER, BC I couldn’t sit here and tell you that self love is an overnight success or a walk in the park, for most of us we don’t just decide to love ourselves and wake up the next morning completely enthralled by the person staring back at us in the mirror. It takes independence, change of thought, and passion. So much of our time is consumed in the people around us, to the point where our level of content rests in their hands. Realize that other people cannot make you happy beyond certain moments shared with them. It is extraordinarily important to spend just as much time with yourself as you do with friends and find passions that involve only yourself, whether its something you’ve always done and never realized how much of that activity represents you, or if its trying new things and falling in love with different hobbies. Find your passion and run with it, appreciate your talents, skills, and dedication to it. Loving whatever it is I’m doing has paved a road to my personal self love, but it definitely does not end there. I don’t know about you but I haven’t always been completely satisfied with what I look like. Our appearance is something we were born with and can’t really change, and that’s okay. Your incredibly beautiful just the way you are, but there’s no reason we can’t alter the aspects of ourselves we’re unhappy with. It doesn’t make us different people, it just makes us more comfortable in our own skin, that might be a new idea or something frowned upon but honestly just make the changes that you know will make you happy. Even if your scared you’ll break some unwritten rule of society that we assume everyone is thinking but nobody ever says. Know that it’s ok to be whoever you are. It’s ok to be different. Be whoever you want to be, if you’ve always wanted to change the way you dress, or your hair color, anything. Be the weird hipster. Be the super preppy girl. Be the emo
girl if that’s what’s going to make you happy. Essentially everything is temporary, even life– especially life, so stop worrying about what everyone else wants and go full force in the direction you desire– wherever or whatever that may be. Don’t feel like you have to define yourself as one type of person, I could be a certain kind of person one day and a different kind the next, just because I can. There’s nothing wrong with that, I never really understood and I still don’t understand the concept of “finding yourself,” I don’t see what’s so important about trying to concrete yourself when were always changing, its in our nature. Just start to pinpoint whatever it is that makes you happy and focus on them– those are the things that make you part of who you are. Stop living in a shell of yourself and start putting your happiness first, throw personal and societal boundary out of the window and just exist the way you want to. If you can do that for yourself then that alone is a sign of self love, that you love yourself enough to recognize you deserve to live however you desire. This is your life, and nobody can take that away from you. – JENNY TARBELL, GRANITE BAY, CA Ah, self love. A seemingly elusive concept that is plagued by the idea that it’s synonymous with conceit or gloat. It has taken me sixteen years unlearn the idea that self love is something only attained by those who lack humility and modesty towards their beauty, talents, etc. Because that, is far from the truth. Self love, as the dictionary states “is the regard for one’s own well-being and happiness. “Selflove is simply the ability to denounce what others say and realize your own self-worth. For example; as a teenage girl, we are constantly told what’s right and wrong about are day to day actions. We can’t do anything as simple as like a drink, or a band or even a book without our own individual thoughts being ridiculed and diminished as petulant and typical when there is in fact nothing typical about us. When a world is constantly chastising you not only for the mistakes you make, but also for the things you enjoy, self love seems like a laughable concept. However, as the tide turns and millennials are growing older our society is evolving. Suddenly, self love is being screamed from the mountain tops, and however faint the voices, they can still be heard. Here’s the thing, you are allowed to be who and whatever you want. And you are allowed to like it. You are allowed to be in love with the stretch marks that dance across your thighs, the wild thickness of your brows, and the sound of your laugh as it rings across the room. Because who you are isn’t just something to mock or be the butt of some terrible joke, but a beautiful and wonderful way of being. So many people are plagued with ideas of self-doubt and
reproach and it doesn’t have to be that way. Our society tells us not only to hate everything about ourselves, but to bristle in the sight of someone who doesn’t dare to conform to the ideas of self-hate. It tells us to find those who are comfortable with who they are, strange and conceited. However, It’s okay to be in love with yourself. And I’m not saying it’s an easy process. There are days when I still unfurl myself from my sheets and look in the mirror, finding everything wrong with who I am. But it’s about taking the steps to find the good. Sitting at the kitchen counter and being okay with the chub that lines your full waist. Because who is anyone to dictate what is or isn’t good about you beside yourself? You have to wake up one morning and decide that you are beautiful, and smart, and funny. Hold firm the fact that nobody can take away how wonderful you are unless you let them. The fact of the matter is everyone will not love you. They won’t understand who you are and what makes up the intricate details of your soul. But the beauty in that, is they don’t have to. The only person you need to love you is you. The value of self love far outshines the love of others. With an ability to fall in love with all of the pieces of yourself that make you, you, then you begin to find your own happiness. With that, it will radiate across the room drawing in others who will celebrate who you are with open arms. Yes, love from others feels important but at the end of the day you’re the one left to look in the mirror and find beauty in all your flaws. Treat yourself as you would a best friend and notice how your back straightens as you realize your own self-worth. You are the greatest love of your life. It’s time to start acting like it. – JOURNEY SMITH, ST. LOUIS, MO
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The biggest defect of our society today is our lack of selfpositivity, encouragement and endearment. For many people, myself included, the notion of self love is one that is rarely treated with the importance that it should be. We occupy so much of our time seeking the approval of others that we forget about the judgment we hold of ourselves.
SELF LOVE IS BORN FROM THE RESPECT THAT WE GIVE TO OUR MINDS, BODIES AND SOULS. UNTIL WE RESPECT OURSELVES, WE WILL NEVER BE GIVEN THE RESPECT WE ARE WORTHY OF FROM OTHERS. Self love comes from being sympathetic towards the individuals that encompass us. We are so engaged in pointing out the weaknesses of others to build ourselves up that we tend to forget that we are just as flawed. Self love comes from the acceptance of our resilience as well as our imperfections. Self love comes from being genuine with ourselves. I can acknowledge that I contain the potential to be selfish, opinionated, envious and cruel. I am not always considerate of others. I am not always valiant. I say things that I regret and I wound the people that I love. I am not wholly a virtuous being and attempting to be, denying that simple truth, would hurt me more in the end than accepting it ever has. Self love comes from us remembering that even with all of our weaknesses, we have strengths too. I may possess negative qualities, but I also preoccupy a number of favorable ones. I am intelligent, loving, independent and strong-willed. I speak up for those who feel like they can’t for themselves. I stand by my morals and beliefs no matter what but I don’t disregard anyone else’s. I am not undamaged, I will never be and self love is all about accepting that. We can’t obtain the happiness or the peace that we seek for within ourselves through the love of another person. Trying to will only turn that love into any other addiction, one that we need with us always to get past our long-lasting hardships. We are not always going to have someone standing by to remind us of our worth and our potential. At the end of the day, the only person we can depend on to save us is ourselves. We have to be our own anchors. We have to be our own safety nets. Love from others can help us learn to accept ourselves. It can help us remember the beauty that we hold within ourselves that’s been stomped out by negativity. It can be a reminder of why we deserve to be loved, but it will never be enough love to
survive. Self love is the most important part of surviving as a human being. Not living, but surviving. We are always going to make mistakes and let people down. We are always going to find a flaw in our appearance because the fact is, we all have them. Self love isn’t about forgetting that, it’s about embracing it. In order to live, we must survive. In order to survive, we must love even the defeatist parts of ourselves. We must embrace all of who we are. There is always going to be someone more intelligent, thinner or stronger. There is always going to come a time where we feel insecure, less important or burdening. We can’t elude this version of ourselves because then our radiance begins to fade. We become full of hatred and pity for not only ourselves, but everyone that surrounding us as well. We don’t live for others, and we don’t survive for them either because then we wouldn’t really be living at all. Until we learn to love our core and our shell for exactly the way they are, we will never truly be living. Self love creates a content happiness within us, because without it we’ll never really have that. Without self love, we are only surviving and if we have to deal with all of the pain and suffering, don’t we deserve to experience the merriment as well? Self love is the most important love there is because love from others will never really make a difference until you understand why that love exists in the first place. – KRISTEN HOWES, PITTSBURGH, PA When I consider self-love, I am torn. Late at night in the privacy of my home, loving myself is easy. There is nothing to compare myself to and there is no one to judge. There are no pants that don’t button and there is no blemish to hide. Here, it is easy to accept myself fully. But when I stand on that podium, surrounded by the world, that love begins to wane. It is so easy to get lost in the comparisons between you and the girl you passingly noticed on the train. Between you and the model you glanced on the front page. Between you and the rest of the world standing by your elbows. When I think of self love, I know it is important to acknowledge that it is not easy to accomplish. Sure, the plus sized model with the airbrushed thighs on this weeks magazine looks great. But when I’m standing on the beach, I still don’t look like that. Of course the personalities on screen are absolutely radiant, charming, and filled with energy. But even on my best day, my momentum will lull at some point. Self love is one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome but it is so fulfilling that I believe it is the most vital quality we can ever achieve. It is a puzzle that takes days, even weeks, to complete but once it’s done you frame it. The feeling of being absolutely comfortable in your skin
no matter the situation is one that can only rival nirvana. Once you have achieved this, there is nothing you cannot do. Without doubt in ourselves, think of all the chances we might have taken. Without the fear of failure destroying us, think of everything you would have done differently. If you are filled with love for yourself you have love to give to others, and a person who exudes nothing but positivity and love into their surroundings is nothing short of loved by everyone around them. So when asked the question of what comes to mind when considering self love over the love of others, I say both. – PRISCILLA OUIJANA, MIAMI, Fl Think of yourself as the single most important person in the world. Fall in love with the way you may talk too fast, or how your hips are too big, or that your stretch marks sprawl across the span of your belly. If there is one thing I regret, it is not falling in love with myself sooner. Before I learned to self accept, I was constantly in a state of melancholy. What it took me too long to realize is that it is way more important to cater to your own wants and needs rather then to the expectations of others. When I think of self love, I recite Tina Fey’s wise words: “Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” I have this simple, meaningful line plastered in my brain, as well as messily on my bedroom wall in bright blue paint! I believe #SelfLove means this: feel comfortable in your own skin, and accept who you are as a beautiful individual. I truly believe loving yourself will bring you ultimate happiness. In my experience, when I realized it was time for me to love the body and personality and life I was given, the happiness I had always craved slowly came to me. Willingly, I let this emotion in. I found myself laughing louder, dancing faster and enjoying life with a body I loved, not caring about any judgments others may have. Beauty and personality standards are so, so high. Let me give you the raw truth: not everyone is going to have a flat stomach or small thighs or defined muscles, and that is more than okay! I assure you that there is truly no need for you to own up to everyone else’s standards. I can not stress enough that it is okay to be you. I only hope that every person, of every gender, can find the beauty laying within them. Remember that it is vital to take care of yourself before you start taking care of others. YOU are your first priority! If you take anything from reading my thoughts, let it be this: even a sliver of toleration towards yourself may be the answer to the happiness I know everyone needs. A simple recipe for a life filled with #SelfLove: A dash of hope. A sprinkle of acceptance. A cup filled with tenderness, warmth, and ultimate fondness towards yourself. – GEORGIA KENNEDY ONTARIO, CANada
YANG SEO YANG
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emily mitchell STORY: RACHEL COKER PHOTOS: JADE PARK
“The biggest thing to pique my interest (in fashion) was scoliosis.” They’re not words that fall easily out of the mouths of every fashion vlogger on YouTube. But Emily Mitchell isn’t your average fashion vlogger. The teenage YouTuber, better known as “Thatfashiongirl03” to her 184k followers, is known for her effortless sartorial looks and beauty videos. But she actually gained interest in fashion as a middle schooler with a back brace, craving the normalcy and creativity that came with creating different outfits. “I was diagnosed when I was in 4th grade and wore a back brace for 23 hours a day every day for 5 years,” she shares. “It sucked. My only outlet was taking my brace off for my allowed one hour a day and trying on a million outfits I couldn’t wear with my brace. That’s when I started making videos because I could actually document my outfits and feel normal.”What started as an afternoon escape quickly turned into a full-time hobby as viewers from all over the world began tuning into her vlogs and tutorials.
The fresh-faced high school student was suddenly spending her weekends and summer breaks making videos that would connect with fans on many different levels. Avid fashionistas just adore her, leaving comments like “Your style is to die for” and “YOU SLAY” all over her stream of outfit videos. But Emily is quick to point out that there is real substance beneath the lipstick and ponytails. “I try to be as open and honest as possible. I don’t like to sugar coat anything because I am definitely not a perfect person, and I don’t think it’s fair to have young girls who look up to me thinking I am.” She shares one interaction in particular that showed just how influential fashion vloggers can be to teenage girls. “I get a lot of messages on Tumblr asking and thanking me for advice, and one of the best one I received was from a girl who said watching my videos quite literally saved her life. I started crying because I would have never thought I would be the reason someone chose to stay alive.
Emily admits that even her own life would be different had she never started her YouTube channel. It’s been almost five years since that first video and she’s still finding amazing opportunities around every corner. “I started videos because I genuinely loved the art of it.” Her words are humble, but passionate. “Without YouTube, I am sure I would be a totally different person. I’d still be insecure, I would have never been able to express my love for fashion, and most importantly I would not have been able to connect with so many different kinds of people that are so important in my life today.” Not that she’s checked every goal off the list yet. She gave out what felt like a billion hugs at BeautyCon LA this year and has half a dozen other YouTube events she plans to attend in the future. And then there’s college— maybe in NYC? Not to mention her drool-worthy bucket list of accomplishments, which includes working with Teen Vogue or styling for Urban Outfitters. She’s got dreams higher than skyscrapers and all the self-confidence required to see them come true. Until then you’ll find her on YouTube, breaking in some Jeffrey Campbell boots (“Definitely a splurge, but so worth it. A girl can never never have too many black ankle boots.”), pairing crop tops—
with mom jeans, and documenting her senior year of high school. She realizes there’s no rush to grow up, but is finally coming to a place where she’s truly happy with where she is. She pauses for a moment to reflect on just why she feels so content with her life. “Self love isn’t easy, but it’s possible. The thing so many people have trouble with is accepting that insecurities are okay. Loving yourself is so, so important, especially in today’s society. Young girls are constantly comparing themselves to other girls who are seemingly perfect, prettier, etc. and that is what prevents us from loving ourselves.” “You have to realize that you are not them, you are your own life and comparing yours with there’s does nothing but tear you apart. Self-love is being able to wear an outfit that you feel confident in and not think twice about what someone else thinks. Or wearing no makeup, or 20 pounds of makeup and still feeling freaking awesome about who you are. #SelfLove is accepting your insecurities, looking in the mirror, and saying ‘go me.’” So let the positive comments keep coming. Emily’s ready with a virtual hug right back.
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michael mcarthur STORY: Chloe Luthringhausen photos: chris lampkins
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed with the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do,” Mark Twain once said. These are the words that soul-pop singer/songwriter Michael McArthur describes as the best advice for chasing after your dreams. With this mantra ingrained in his heart, McArthur pursued his dreams of becoming a musician and inspiring others with his songs. His determination has catapulted him into ultimate singersongwriter status with a deep, emotional debut album Magnolia. So what sparked his mindset for music? Growing up in a musical family, McArthur knew ever since he was a little kid that music was in his blood. Although he would come home from school and daydream about being onstage with a guitar in hand, McArthur did not immediately chase that dream. “Music is so precious to me that in my early years, I convinced myself to not pursue a musical career. I figured that if I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail, and if I didn’t fail, I’d never be heartbroken,” says McArthur. “It took me awhile to figure out that logic was all backwards.” Born in Lakeland, Florida, McArthur credits his humble persona and raw musical style to his hometown. “I feel most comfortable and grounded here. The people of Lakeland have accepted me for who I am and the music for what it is,” admits McArthur. Watching his father and Uncle John strum the guitar every day since he was little inspired McArthur to finally pick up his own guitar. McArthur describes his musical sound as a mashup of what he really enjoys listening to— music from artists such as John Mayer, Citizen Cope, and Alicia Keys. “I listen just as much as I play, and it helps, because if I ever get stuck, I can answer the question— ‘What would Bill Withers do?’ or ‘What would James Taylor do?’” says McArthur.
McArthur admits his songwriting skills did not just come overnight. He follows the mantra: Study, Practice, Implement. “Sometimes you have to write five bad songs before you get a good one, and sometimes the good ones come easy. Either way, you have to write and keep writing,” says McArthur about his process of creating songs. “Every time I get a good one, I record a demo of it at my home studio in Florida. I've got a lot of hours in behind the board.” With his hard work and dedication to his music, McArthur caught the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer David Bianco while performing at The Hotel Café in Los Angeles for the Guitar Center’s Singer-Songwriter Contest Finals. Soon after his meeting with Bianco, McArthur flew from his hometown in Florida to Los Angeles in order to record his debut full-length album, Magnolia. When asked what it was like to work with such a renowned producer, McArthur admits it was a dream come true and describes Bianco as “a real dude with so much soul, there's a warmth in the room when he's in it and that comes through in the music,” says McArthur. During his time with Bianco in the studio, McArthur learned “to dig deeper for the good stuff, and that everything doesn’t have to be perfect.” This natural approach is what makes the soul singer’s songs so raw and passionate. “Sometimes the song is good just the way it is, and there's no need to over scrutinize it,” claims McArthur. “It's the nuance in the human element that gives music its soul.”With this organic approach to music, McArthur’s debut album, Magnolia contains songs that are not over-processed, but completely real and genuine to his life experiences and emotions.
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“My songs are the sight glass to the most personal parts of me,” admits McArthur. “Sometimes it’s happy, and sometimes sad. Either way it’s love.” And that love is what you will feel while listening to his album. Songs such as “Desire,” “Run Around,” and “Truly, Madly, Freely” deliver gut-wrenching emotions of freedom, love, and desire that cut straight to the heart.
“I figured that if I didn’t try, I couldn’t fail, and if I didn’t fail, I’d never be heartbroken.” For example, McArthur’s favorite track on the album, “Lightning Nights,” focuses on rainy Florida nights, staying in and making love. With just one listen, McArthur’s songs transport you to a specific place in time, full of authentic emotions and relatable experiences. Along with creating music, McArthur also loves playing live shows for his fans. “Nothing tops playing a song and looking out in the audience to see that people are connecting with it,” says McArthur. “You know when people are feeling it in the crowd, and there’s nothing better than that. That’s why I’m doing this. For the chance to make life for those who listen to my music a little bit better.” With his love for performing live shows and connecting with his fans, McArthur admits the most memorable moment in his career so far was playing songs off of Magnolia at the Polk Theatre. McArthur wants to continue to tour and play his music for his fans, admitting that there are a lot of places he hasn’t played yet, but would like to. Aside from music, McArthur loves movies, Netflix, coffee, road trips, and card games. McArthur knows that with the music business comes success and ultimate reward, but also failure and heartbreak. McArthur handles the unpredictability by following his own advice: “Never stop. No matter what. If you want to make a career out of making music, the road is long and unpaved, and full of detours. But still, never stop.” With a successful debut album already under his belt and tour dates to come, McArthur has no plans of stopping anytime soon. “My goal for every year is growth and forward motion. People are connecting with the music now more than ever, and I'm grateful to do what I love.”
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RYLI STORY: RACHEL COKER // Photos: RACHEL KOBER
It’s been less than six months since she graduated college, and Virginia native RYLI can already cross model, actress, published poet, and now singer/songwriter off her career bucket list. Never one to do things halfway, this twenty-four year old is constantly reinventing herself, and empowering fans to do the same. Her debut EP, ENTER, was released this past spring, and music lovers are already scrambling to make up new terms to describe this new mix of genres. The most commonly stumbled upon phrase is “progressive R&B,” an idiom that makes RYLI laugh. “Yeah, because it’s not R&B soul and it’s not necessarily pop R&B. There’s a little bit of pop, but there’s still a story. It’s the story of an actor. It’s my story.” RYLI grew up in small towns across Virginia, and she claims her ambitions to be a performer were born in her mom’s kitchen when she was nothing but a thirteen-year-old dancer. She announced to her mom one day, “You know, I really want to go to New York and I want to act,” and then promptly filled out an application for the Professional Children’s School in Manhattan and asked for a ride to the post office.
She was accepted to the school almost immediately and soon had a signed contract with Abrams Artists Agency. While in New York, RYLI modeled and appeared in hit shows like Brooklyn’s Finest and Orange is the New Black, but confesses that she spent a lot of her behind the scenes time songwriting. “I never thought I was going to put myself out there as an artist,” she admits. “It’s a vulnerable process. As an actor, you’re working to tell someone else’s story. So it’s been ten years, and this is a really big step for me. It took me a decade to find my sound and to have the confidence to do this.” The sound RYLI is talking about is unlike anything most have heard. Mellow, cool, gently pulsing– ENTER is chalk full of sensual beats, and RYLI couldn’t be happier with the positive feedback she’s been receiving. “People have told me that my songs put them in a sensual state where they can just sit back with a glass of wine and just vibe out to that record,” she laughs. She uses the word “vibe” a lot, and it’s not unintentional. Her music really does have an aura of moodiness about it that connects with listeners
essentially chills them out. But there’s more even more intentionality below the surface of RYLI’s movement. Even her stage name, RYLI, is a thoughtful statement on her values as an artist. “Riley is my government name, but I spell my stage name RYLI. It stands for Realize Your Life Is and I called the EP ENTER because essentially you are entering into my movement, which I call the IAMRYLI Movement. Through this project, I was constantly evolving and realizing that my life is changing. I want people to be able to enter unbiasedly into a movement and into my sound. I’m not trying to sound like anyone else. I am me. I just really want to believe in myself and that’s what I’ve tried to put into all those songs.”
“As an actor, you’re working to tell someone else’s story. So it’s been ten years, and this is a really big step for me. It took me a decade to find my sound and to have the confidence to do this.” Her first full-length album FEAR, is set for release soon and RYLI is excited for more opportunities to connect with and inspire fans. She cites R&B queens Sade and Erykah Badu as being especially influential in the development of her personal sound, with their bold lyrics and multi-faceted metaphors. But she insists that the mark of a great musician is someone who can inspire others to find themselves in the music. To RYLI, it’s not about copying the greats or feeling somewhat like them. Making music is about entering into yourself and putting it all out there. It takes more than just your average twenty-four year old to give up weekend movie nights and parties to focus on creating a visionary music project in the hopes of telling their own stories and inspiring the stories of musicians to come. But RYLI’s efforts have been anything but average. In every show, in every video, in every newly released track, this girl is here to speak a message. So close your eyes, put it on, and vibe out just a little.
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soft lions Story: Kamrin Baker // Photos: Katy Johnson
Hardcore. That is the first word that came to mind when I previewed Soft Lions’ EP, Spellbreaker. It was one of those moments where I prepared to take over the world and reached for my nonexistent leather jacket and combat boots but also my flower crown. There is a certain depth and fantasy— like quality of Soft Lions music that echoes deeply behind the ever-present devotion. There are layers that don’t label it as one emotion, but a mix of all of them. Two (Megan Liscomb and Lex Pratt) of the three (Jon Bosner) gifted members brought some of their
own feelings to the table to discuss their new work, developing creativity, and cats. After playing South by Southwest (SXSW) this past year, Soft Lions will release Spellbreaker this summer— on vinyl. Besides inspiration from St. Vincent, Neutral Milk Hotel, David Bowie, Leonard Cohen, Maya Angelou, and the likes, Soft Lions derives their sound from a place of personal and familial bravery. As Liscomb puts it, “we’ve always been kinda garagey and kinda grungey, and lately we’ve added some surfy licks into the mix.”
Their summer sound is a feature of a much broader genre that Pratt describes. “We are definitely inspired by the Riot Grrrl movement with grunge and garage rock mixed in,” she says. “As we’ve progressed as a band, our sound has become darker and more psychedelic. [I am] also [inspired by] my mother and my grandmother, who are both artists. My grandmother gave me my first drum set when I was 10 years old.” Before the dark, psychedelic flow hit the scene, the band first had to work into a groove together. Liscomb knew Pratt prior to Operation: Soft Lions, but she found drummer Jon Bosner by creeping on his Facebook page. “[I] decided he had to be my drummer because his profile picture was a big fluffy cat,” Liscomb states.
Liscomb’s scene is a perpetual state of twilight, as she is a happy camper in The Casbah showroom. It’s her “favorite place to catch a show” because “they always put great gigs together, and there are two bars to hang out at, and whenever I go, I run into so many great people.” Pratt, on the other hand, takes breaks from band jam sessions at the Sunset Cliffs. “The cliffs are in Ocean Beach and hug the Pacific: the big dark waves pound against the rocks relentlessly and most often you can see daring surfers,” she says, reminiscent. “Sunrise and sunset really ignite the view. You can walk along the top of the cliffs and down on to some rocky ledges. There’s plenty of places to find private solace with the waves as they meet the sky.”
“I had been writing a lot of songs and I was ready to give them an outlet, so I tracked down a couple of talented musicians to play with and we went from there.” As Liscomb describes, it is challenging to start a new band, gather resources, and spark a fan base, but Soft Lions reflects a relentless kind of determination, happiness, and freedom. Pratt relays that her favorite lyric on the EP is “Are we born bad and brave or are we pure?” which is an extension of that free-flowing dynamism. When they aren’t writing killer lyrics or daydreaming about traveling to Paris and New York, these ladies could be found at some of their top rated local hideaways in San Diego.
No matter the location, these musicians (and visual artist, Pratt) don’t lose their vibe. As their songs begin to trampoline off the eardrums of the world, and the Soft Lions take off touring, their constant will always be the heart. “When a song makes you feel something, that’s beautiful,” Pratt recalls. “That’s what we strive to evoke in our ourselves and our listeners.” Passion belongs to the bond between musicians and listeners, and from the mastermind behind the whole shebang, Liscomb leaves her parting words. “We are indoor kids who love cats, just playing our hearts out.”
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rozzi crane Story: Chloe LuthringShausen Photo: Viviana Contreras
“I don’t have a record label, but I’ll start one if you can be on it,” said superstar Adam Levine, moments after hearing the soulful, powerful voice of Rozzi Crane singing “Barracuda” by Heart in a YouTube video sent to him by his manager. Those words are what any aspiring musician dreams to hear, but for Rozzi Crane, that dream came true. So where did this dream begin? Born in San Francisco, Crane fell in love with music at an early age. Crane remembers the moment she wanted to pursue a career in music. At six years old, she sang Jewel’s “Sensitive” in a first grade talent show. Growing up in San Francisco has allowed Crane to pursue her creative interests and a career in music. “A lot of parents from where I grew up were like casual hippies who cared about art and built an environment for their kids that emphasized the importance of supporting creativity,” recalls Crane. She also credits the Bay Area for influencing the soul in her singing voice. Crane thanks one person in particular from home for bringing out that soul in her music— her high school voice teacher, Amber Morris. Crane says, “Amber was the one who introduced me to soul music in a way I hadn’t known before and that sticks with me today and continues to affect the way I sing.” Along with her voice teacher, Crane also looked up to Amy Winehouse, the female icon of soul, ever since she was 14 years old. “When I heard Amy, it was like an explosion because she combined my two favorite genres— soul and pop— in a way that really worked,” says Crane. Even though Adam Levine first heard Crane sing in a YouTube video, she did not plan to be discovered on the Internet. Crane honed her skills by attending the University of Southern California as part of their Popular Music Program. While attending class, Crane caught the attention of Phantom Planet’s Jacques Brautbar, who was auditing the class. Brautbar asked Crane to write a song with him and his manager, who also happens to be Adam Levine’s manager, immediately became interested in Crane’s unique voice. He looked her up on YouTube and found the Heart cover video that would later be sent to Levine. Like the saying goes and the rest is history.
Adam Levine quickly contacted Crane, asking her to be the first artist to sign to his new record label: 222 Records. “I feel very fortunate that I get to work with him,” says Crane. “He’s a very smart guy with very good instincts and he keeps excellent company. I love the community I have gotten to know through him.” With Adam Levine as her mentor and a degree in song writing and music, Crane is on her way to becoming the next big thing. She recently released her debut EP, Space which features four songs including her hit single “Psycho” and a duet with Adam Levine titled “Painkiller.” Crane admits that every song she writes is inspired by her life. “I find it hard to write a song if I am not feeling something personally,” claims Crane. “There are some things I would never have been able to get over if I couldn’t write songs about them.” When asked what the inspiration was behind the songs on the EP, Crane says she “wanted these first songs on the EP to be about strength, confidence, and power,” and the four songs she picked “really conveyed that vibe.” Even though the EP is just a snippet of a full-length album to come, she still had the incredible opportunity to work with talented people while recording, such as Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean, Lindsay Ray, and two of her good friends Brian Green and Sam Wilkes. One of her most memorable experiences so far as a musician was when she had the opportunity to sing with Maroon 5 on “Come Away to the Water” for the Hunger Games soundtrack. “I remember talking with Adam on the phone about the song we were doing for this huge movie between classes at USC,” recalls Crane. “That was definitely a moment where my life felt like it was completely different than it was before.” However, Crane’s list of achievements does not end with a song in a huge box office movie. Quickly after being signed to 222 Records, Crane began her whirlwind of extraordinary accomplishments. She sang her upbeat hit “Psycho” on NBC’s The Voice in front of all of the judges, a live audience, and millions of viewers at home. With a camera broadcasting her performance to millions of viewers across the country—
and to uber-talented judges Adam Levine, Blake Shelton, Christina Aguilera, and Pharrell Williams in the audience, Crane admits she “hadn’t been that nervous since eleven years old!” However, her nerves settled down once she hit the stage and now she claims, “I want to sing on every TV show there is!” Along with The Voice performance, Crane has toured with many talented artists in the industry, such as Gavin DeGraw, Parachute, and even Adam Levine during the Maroon 5 tour. Crane admits being a newbie on the touring scene does not equal a beautiful bus, incredible food, or private yoga sessions, like Maroon 5 has earned by being on the road for 10 plus years. “As an opening act, I toured in a van and shared Motel 6 hotel rooms with my band mates. We have now moved up to a Bandwagon, which is almost a bus, but still very exciting for us!” jokes Crane. However, regardless of the mode of transportation, Crane loves being on tour, admitting it is her favorite part about this industry. “I love that I get to play a show every night with my best friends, and I love seeing all the fans I have met throughout the years in person again,” says Crane. “The lifestyle is ridiculous.” Releasing a brand—
new EP, being the first artist to sign to Adam Levine’s record label, and touring with so many talented artists has cast a new spotlight on Crane’s life. She has been featured in Teen Vogue, Seventeen, and countless other media outlets. Crane admits that this new attention is exciting. With new music released this year, Crane acknowledges “the fact that anyone who cares to talk and write about me really just makes me feel good about the music and pretty ecstatic that people like it, so I guess the attention has, in some ways, been a relief!” The soulful singer has no plans of slowing down anytime soon, especially with her full-length album coming out this year. The album was recorded in two different ways: half the songs created with famous producers— such as Ryan Tedder and the other half produced in more of a homemade style with close friends Sam Wilkes and Brian Green. These homemade songs have been saved for the full-length album, so fans can expect more personal songs to come. With all the success Crane has already accumulated in her musical career, the powerhouse vocalist is quickly on her way to achieving Adam Levine level status herself.
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knuckle puck Story: Lydia Snapper Photos: Chris Lampkins
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The lights began to dim and the room dissolved to screams, the audience quickly forgetting the hours of waiting in the frigid Chicago air as band, Knuckle Puck took the stage for the ‘Real Friends’ Holiday gig. Kevin Maida, lead guitarist of the band, recalls the moment, saying “We played the holiday show last December at this venue at home called The Metro and that was a pretty big deal to us, mainly because it was a sold out show and we all grew up going to shows there, so that was very cool for us as a band.”
“We don’t intend on giving up this dream of ours in the near future.” Growing up in Chicago, the guys had always had an interest in music and soon found each other because of that. Maida says, “We all knew each other from either going to school with each other or just from seeing each other at local shows and what not. We started jamming together when we weren’t busy with school or full-time jobs and we all really clicked with each other. Eventually, we had the opportunity to pursue the band full time with touring and it just made sense to all of us.” Since then, Knuckle Puck has been on the fast track to success. For one, they had the incredible opportunity to tour with The Maine– an experience that was both exciting and educational. “We learned so much from that band,” Maida explains. “The way The Maine operates cohesively as a band is truly incredible to us and we can only hope to be like that one day.
They’re a band that truly cares about their fans to the fullest extent and give their own performances everything they have every single night. It’s incredible to recognize the bands longevity as well. It makes me content to know that people still care about that band and still continue to support them over all these years.” As full-time musicians it’s obvious that individually the boys are fans of music themselves. Maida credits bands such as Jimmy Eat World, Blink 182, ‘early’ Fall Out Boy, and The Starting Line as personal inspirations and thinks that you can hear that in the band’s personal sound. “With our own music, we usually start with the music first and progress off of that with little details and lyrics. As far as messages go, we don’t go into a writing process with a specific mindset like ‘Okay, this is what the lyrics should be about this time.’ Although, our first full length, Copacetic is now available, it has a bit more of a positive note than some of our releases in the past.” With some of those new songs the band have plans in the next year to tour not just nationally on Warped Tour, but all over the UK and Europe as well. Eagerly, Maida says, “I cannot wait to see Germany, Ireland and France. We've never played there before, let alone individually been to those places before, so that will be very exciting! It's simply amazing to me that you can meet so many new people all because of music and touring.” While the rest of 2015 already seems jam-packed with exciting opportunities, Maida admits that they are thinking much farther ahead. “In five years, we hope to still be playing shows and writing music,” he says.
two cheers Story: Kaela Malozewski Photos: Rachel Epstein
Known for their light, summery sound with hits of popping percussion, Two Cheers has returned to delight fans a second time with their sophomore album, Splendor. Having been influenced by bands like Number Girl from Japan, and artists like Mukai Shotoku, the band wrote and recorded Splendor in the comfort of lead singer, Bryan Akcasu’s apartment studio. The luxury of this, he said, was not only the ease in using their own recording equipment during their own time, but also the diminished stress of having to be on the clock with strangers listening to them work things out. “At my home studio, we can make recordings as often as we want without all those other considerations and no one is there trying to tell us what to do! I know all my gear really well, I’ve picked the equipment to suit the kinds of things I record, and that’s all I really need right now.” And with this more lowkey vibe, the band was able to keep the technical and logistical sides of things simple while channeling their energy into creating together, and capturing great live performances— an activity that gives Akcasu, something close to a “body high.” “It’s unlike any other feeling I’ve had. It’s part physical, part mental, part spiritual. Beyond that, seeing people get into the songs and really listen to them is really rewarding. Our music isn’t really chill out background music, so seeing people who haven’t heard us pause their conversations for a while to tune in is really satisfying.”
“It makes me feel like there is a give-and-take happening and that I’m not just shouting at people after all. The best is when people start dancing to “Anchor” and “Super Owls”!” Apart from those two killer tunes, the band has called “The Explode Boys,” a very special song. According to Akcasu, “it was kind of an underdog of a song for most of the making of the album, and it turned out way better than [they] thought it would.” This surprise became even more pleasant as they stuck with the bold move of using the floor tom to create an unusual beat, rather than going with a typical sound produced by a kick drum or snare. With these elements in place, “The Explode Boys” was well on its way to becoming a special song to the band, but being one of the first collaborations between the members of Two Cheers is what made it stand out from the rest— both in the writing of the music, and the performance of it. “We’re all proud of our individual parts and the way they fit together. Mitchell has some really special guitar licks, John did an awesome job on the bonkers drums, there are some surprising chord changes in there that I did, and it’s one of my favorite vocals too. Plus, when we play it live, Al really goes to town on it and gives it this monstrous bass line. For me personally, the lyrics capture a kind of nostalgic, romantic mood that I get into but that I have trouble explaining, so I’m happy to be able to express it this way.”
And express he does. In the comfort of his own home studio, Akcasu has also sat down to write the lyrics to some of the bands biggest hits. The writing process, he says, begins from an emotional place rather than an intellectual one. To him, it’s not usually about getting the creative juices flowing so much as being ready when they are. Typically, his songs are created when working with strong feelings about something, or when tackling confusing emotions. “I am constantly writing notes of words or phrases that resonate with something I’ve been contemplating and that I think I could use in a song later. Other times, the music of the song I am writing for brings out some nuanced, subtle feeling that is evoked by that song in particular, and in those cases it feels like the lyrics write themselves. Of course, there are those songs out there that are my benchmarks; the ones I strive to match: “Birthday” by The Sugarcubes is one, “Astral Weeks” by Van Morrison is another,” it may just be this emotionally cathartic writing style that keeps Akcasu away from experiencing writer’s block, but to him, he believes it has to do with not being afraid to write a stupid song. “I will just write something, even if I have to write about not knowing what to write, and it might be stupid, but the point is it gets the pencil moving across the paper. Actually, many times I’ve resorted to that and it isn’t really even that stupid after all. I came up with “Heart Trip,” “Life Is Full Underground” and “Strawberry” that way, very streamof-consciousness, and they were very meaningful to me the next day.” Although he admits that it does not always work out this way, it seems as though the talented singer/songwriter finds clarity in the chaos that can be the spectrum of human emotions. To him, it is sometimes a safer bet to deal with these emotions in a less serious manner then to get caught up in the storm. “I may end up with a song that is funny that I can sing to my friends and family. Like this: “I never thought it would fit/I never thought about it/But it suits you/And it suits me/And it feels like love/Feels like a hand in glove!” Those final lyrics seem to mirror the natural fit Two Cheers has found with the coming together of its band members. When working together, Akcasu says that things generally flow smoothly. “As far as the music, when things aren’t flowing we don’t really get hung up about it. We just keep moving! If something isn’t fun, we don’t do it, or we find a way to make it more fun.”
On a personal level, he said, the band gets along really well. “I am probably the one with the personality that takes some getting used to.” Though, he continued by saying that the most important element to keeping the creative flow is knowing to communicate with one another about any thoughts or feelings anyone may be having or experiencing. “If one of us is cranky we just fess up to it right off the bat so no one takes our bad mood personally,” shared Akcasu. “We don’t typically hold anything back and we are always asking each other’s opinions about this tone, or that vocal line, or this bridge section, or this bass fill.” And with hard work comes time dedicated to play. According to Akcasu, one of the most memorable things the band ever did was shoot “The Explode Boys” video in his boxed-up studio on the last day he lived in LA. “We went haywire in there! It was like some kind of recess and we became children again. Throwing things, jumping around, writing on everything, making a huge mess, plus it was about 105 degrees in there so we were all a little delirious,” said Akcasu. For a band made up of hard working guys with a goofy side, the band was lucky to have caught the events of that day on high definition video! Not only was his studio the place where chaos took over that one day in LA, it was also the room where Two Cheers was born and where many great songs and great performances were captured. “I’m glad we all got together one last time in that room to give it a farewell celebration and immortalize it in the form of a music video. I’m really going to miss it,” said Akcasu, “but I hope the guys are able to come spend some time getting crazy in my new studio as well!” This new studio will be located in Detroit, Michigan, where the band relocated and although fresh to the city, he has already felt the impact of some of the giant, abandoned, disintegrating, and graffitied buildings. “These buildings represented the livelihood and life’s work of a lot of people, and just a short time later they’ve been transformed into ruins,” shared Akcasu. “But I don’t see them as simply blemishes. They are kind of landmarks of the transition between a troubling time and, hopefully, a rebirth.” And by seeing these every day, Bryan has already experienced stirs of emotions— what he describes as the catalyst and driving force to creating some of the best songs Two Cheers has produced.
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reuben hollebon STORY: ASHLEY BULAYO PHOTO: RACHEL KOBER
Waiting for new music from one of your favorite up-andcoming artists seems like a torture or just feels like a lifetime, right? There’s only so much one can take listening to the same track over and over again, belting out the lyrics and checking their SoundCloud page for any new updates. That’s exactly how we feel with alternative-folk musician, Reuben Hollebon. Luckily for you, we can confirm that new music is on its way soon. Easily compared to the genius that is Bon Iver, Reuben Hollebon is well on his way to make a name for himself again in the blogosphere. Two years ago, our earbuds were gifted with his song “Faces” and let’s not forget his highly well-received EP that was released in 2012. Needless to say, it’s about time. Coming soon is Hollebon’s album, Terminal Nostalgia. “[Terminal Nostalgia is] a quote from Breakfast Of Champions by Vonnegut. I’ve repurposed it here. Like many phrases, it goes from prophetic to glib, however, it rang with me as a warning to let time go on as it does, it moves at a good speed.” His vocals are what won us over. Haunting, raspy, almost as if a whisper in some of his tracks, it’s rare to find this kind of dimension in an artist’s voice. As mentioned, many online blogs have compared him to Bon Iver but don’t get the two twisted. “Common influence is probable” but nothing is intentional. As he continues to win over his listeners, he continues to learn more about himself, “[Being an up-and-coming artist is] just like growing up, there are many things to learn, and a lot of them you aren’t aware of until the moment’s gone, you don’t ever really get good at anything, but hopefully you get better, and maybe more comfortable.”
Funny thing is, Hollebon never saw himself as a musician but rather with a family, roof over his head and a job with a steady income. Oh, how the tables have turned. “Music started for me when I convinced a Norwich [England] studio owner to let me work with him. I was engineering bands, often recording and mixing three a day, a bit of a grind but good experience of music at its roots, full of desperation and enjoyment. A few studios and a lot of practice later I was getting by recording orchestral soundtracks for film and games, and being part of many albums, largely engineering, with some production, and mixing.” Oh, right. Did we mention he’s worked with with Basement Jaxx, Courtney Barnett and The London Symphony Orchestra before he dabbled his toes into the other side and in front of the mic? When time comes to hear his new LP, just know just like many artists, Hollebon uses his craft to put out his life stories to share with his audience. “The songs feature stories I’ve lived, stories I know, and ideas that I struggle with, there’s also a brief moment of love in there. Some tracks are recorded in an hour, others it feel like they took weeks, and at least one I had to start three times over.” With his time dedicated to producing or recording a flawless album for everyone to enjoy, he still appreciates the little things in life which is a great reminder for everyone to do so as well. “I think being alone can often take away from being alive, there’s so much time before and afterwards to be alone. There are quite a few things to do in the world, and I don’t see myself getting bored.”
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blake steven STORY: ANNA HALL PHOTOS: VIVIANA CONTRERAS
You would never guess it now but it took Blake Steven five years to release his first YouTube video. A self-proclaimed introvert, Blake started his channel back in 2007 with the simple hope of sharing his story about diabetes and encouraging others. He’s come a long way since then, now treating his thousands of followers daily with posts and updates on his life and adopting “an unfiltered approach to social media.” Across his social media platforms, Steven not only shares stunning photography but also raw, honest insights, including thoughts on consent, online bullying, and of course his struggle with diabetes. “I feel like veiling my feelings towards certain topics or not being completely honest and open can be an extremely slippery slope,” says Steven. “I don’t want to start hiding who I am or what I think. Social media gives you a voice and I want to be able to use it.” Along with creating YouTube videos, Blake is passionate about photography. He travelled alone from New York to LA and really got interested in DSLR photography on the way, wanting to capture his experiences and new places. “I fell in love with the idea that a single photograph can be more powerful than words,” Steven explains. He also loves to travel and go on random adventures, like last week when he and his girlfriend and some friends travelled to Laguna and ended up staying on the beach all day. “At night we all crashed at a hotel and got up the next day to do it all again. There was no plan. We just let the day take us.” Blake’s garnered such a following that he now gets recognized in LA all the time and sometimes even borderline stalked.
“I was walking on Melrose one day and noticed a group of girls following me and whispering,” Steven recalled. “I thought nothing of it until I turned the corner and there they were again. It happened for two hours straight and my girlfriend and I even went into random shops to see if they would leave. They didn’t.” Growing up in England it had always been a dream for him to move to California. He now loves living in LA, with its permanently stunning weather and creative atmosphere. “It’s an amazingly creative place where everyone has an appreciation for artistic endeavors. And being interested in the arts, I felt like I fit in,” he admits. “LA has a different culture to Britain. Everyone here is open with their opinions, sexuality etc. I think that is amazing as everyone feels free to be exactly who they are.”
Aroma Coffee & Tea in Studio City and Zinque on Melrose are Steven’s favorite food spots and you can always find him at Alfred’s on Melrose Place drinking coffee and editing videos/ photos. In London, he cites The Breakfast Club and Shoreditch Grind as favorite local spots. Would he ever move back across the pond? Though London will always be home to Blake, and he misses its historic beauty and constant rush of people, he won’t be leaving LA anytime soon. “Right now I love photography, filming videos, editing for myself and other YouTubers, and producing music. In 10 years I see myself still living in LA and being heavily involved in one of those creative avenues.” Steven would also love to work with Casey Neistat, gushing that “collaborating on anything with him would be a dream come true.” (Casey, if you’re reading this, hit up Blake!) Blake advises aspiring content creators to not create content for others but content you would watch. “If you don’t love what you’re producing, then it shows.”
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LAURDIY + LAUREN RIIHIMAKI +
A quote that’s always stuck with me is “LOVE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU TRY TO FIND LOVE IN ANOTHER.” There’s nothing more important that spending a portion of your life learning what makes you tick, what drives you and what you need in life to be happy. After these core elements are discovered, you can focus on finding a counterpart that compliments what you already know about yourself. Sometimes people get into relationships for the wrong reasons, maybe they’re insecure and they need the flattery of their significant other to feel good about themselves this is only going to lead to trouble in the future. I’m not saying we’re not allowed to have insecurities - we all do, but we just need to make sure our partner isn’t using us to satisfy or “fix” those insecurities that they haven’t learned to handle solo.
I think the most successful relationships are also those that are between two individuals who have spent a healthy amount of time learning how to love themselves. I don’t necessarily think that “learning how to love yourself” directly translates to being single, but more focuses on ensuring the person has taken the time to understand themselves and understand what they want/need in life to be happy. If both parties are already content with themselves going into a new relationship, the odds of it working out are going to be much higher because we can focus on not only the happiness of ourselves but also the happiness of our significant other and overall satisfaction in the relationship. It’s a lot of work to be working on yourself while trying to bring happiness to someone else at the same time. Another important factor that I’ve learned is that if we’ve found happiness within ourselves and you meet someone that takes that away from you, it’s a crystal clear indication this person is not right for you. I’ve been with someone who’s insecurities controlled the way they were in a relationship and it quickly turned sour because they haven’t taken the time to focus on self love. Take the time to figure out who you are, what makes you happy when you’re alone and in a relationship - you’ll feel confident, empowered and strong about who you are as a person. PHOTOS: SHANNON BRAY // INTRO: LAUREN RIIHIMAKI STORY & QUESTIONS: HUDSON LUTHRINGSHAUSEN
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With LAURDIY, what you see is what you get. And what you get is infectious positivity— oh, and over 200 hundred DIYdeas. (Yes, I just coined the term DIY-dea) From outfits to accessories all the way down to decor, this Toronto based creative has it covered. Her videos are a testament to her hard work and dedication— each lasts nearly ten minutes and features not only creative topics, but equally creative presentation. With hours of editing, pre-written voice-overs all the way to the best lighting, the production value of LaurDIY is topnotch; but don’t be fooled, she’s no figurehead. “I do all the concept creation, DIYing, scripting for voiceovers, editing and promotion of the videos.” And that effort has payed off. Recently, her channel surpassed 2 million subscribers after just short of four years on YouTube. But her craftiness dates back long before her first upload. The 22-year old has been a crafter ever since she can remember. “Everyone in my family has a really terrible DIY gift that I made them when I was, like 8— and being the loving family members they are, it’s still on their wall or attached to their keychain.” I love that, but what it also tells me is that his girl has a knack for giving people what they want. And I had to know how after a few years and quite a few more videos, she is continuously able to produce popular content. It didn’t come as a surprise that the answer was passion:
“I WANT MY AUDIENCE TO CONNECT WITH THE CONTENT THAT I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT MAKING AND FOR MY DIYS AND ADVICE TO BE USEFUL AND RELEVANT TO WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THEIR LIFE.” One of the things that separates Lauren from the other popular YouTubers is her authenticity. Of course, uploading videos begins as fun, but when the number 2 million rolls around things change. Audiences amplify, opportunities arise, and with it a new sense of responsibility weighs in. Lauren has embraced this change in the best way possible: staying true to herself while using her influence to spread positive messages. Her followers have been dubbed “PrettyLittleLaurs” and she herself refers to them as family. “They’re with me during the highs and lows of everything and are the reason I can do what I do. I spend as much time as I can interacting with my viewers because I know how important it is that we’re connected.” Her community, to me, feels like a family. One that radiates a sense of welcoming and care for one another. After all, her DIYs aren’t just to entertain, but to give people inspiration. “Being a teenager is tough and obviously my videos are very DIY focused, but if I can make anxiety related DIYs or [Back To School] stuff that makes someone’s life a little brighter and happier– I’m delighted to do so.”
Despite the overwhelming positivity, Lauren and her followers haven’t been able to completely avoid the negativity. Being in the spotlight calls for a great deal of scrutiny, and I could only imagine the extra thread of attention applied to someone who’s primary content deals with originality. “I look at originality as something that doesn’t really exist. Almost everything that’s ever been created is a remix of something that’s already been done before, we’re just adding our own personal flare and creative elements to it,” Lauren told me about how she approaches fresh content. She calls her spin on what she creates “LaurDIY-ifying” and there’s no doubt it has worked for her thus far.
“The balance to think about is that your viewers want to know as much as possible, they want you to be authentic and show the real you, so you just have to decide how much of the real you is “online appropriate”. For me, it’s pretty simple because I’m not into anything that’s not family friendly.” Oh, but I did manage to discover one fresh fact to share. Aside from her DIY talents, Lauren is a practiced musician. She comes from a musical background, giving her an impressive 17 years on the piano and 10 on the guitar. I for one, would love to see a DIY instrument video— but I didn’t have time to for a request. “I don’t play too often now because of how busy I’ve gotten, but I love knowing it’s something I can still pick up and do.”
Now, there are no simplicities when it comes to creating content. DIY’ing alone a feat for many, but publishing content every week? Lauren is in another world. We spent a lot of time talking about running out of ideas and getting the best of both worlds. If you weren’t already impressed, you ought to be, because she told me no— she never runs out of ideas. And if she ever does, she just reaches out to her followers: “If I’m feeling uninspired or unoriginal, all I have to do is ask for help and I have a squad of 2 million.” How’s that for a little help? We could all use a couple million dedicated followers for inspiration! As if we needed more proof this girl has the right relationship with her viewers. She tells me she’s an open book with them; there’s nothing she hasn’t mentioned somewhere online to maintain her transparency.
Busy is the key word when it comes to Lauren’s balancing act. I’d wager she has it down pat, graduating university with a Bachelors degree in Technology, which called for a full-show of time management, maintaining a dedicated online presence, and keeping an active social life. “It’s all about deciding what’s a priority,” she tells me about time management, “sometimes I would have to pass on a night out with my friends. Now I only have to balance a social and family life with work and it’s been much more manageable.” Her balancing act may have gotten a little easier, but as her channel expands the demand will too. And with over 2 million followers and counting her creativity is everything but dwindling. Lauren is special example of the unique opportunity our technology has allowed us to connect, create, and inspire a mass of individuals.
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Here are more conversation:
You recently hit 2 million subscribers— what does this mean for the channel? Lauren: Around 1.8M subscribers, there was this drop box menu thing on YouTube that always rounded me up to 2M next to my account name, so now I feel like I’m not living a lie. Two million is huge though, if you had told me 2 million individuals would decide that they wanted to see reoccurring content from me I would have probably made a really unattractive snorting noise and walked away. In terms of changes to the channel though, there’s nothing new happening! I just want to keep focusing on creating appealing content and keeping my viewers happy and wanting to see more! What other projects have you worked on / unique opportunities as a result of your success on YouTube Lauren: I’ve gotten some amazing opportunities through YouTube, I’m currently working with Starbucks Canada and I can’t even begin to explain how amazing the collaboration has been. I’ve also worked with Target Canada (RIP Target Canada), Herbal Essences, CoverGirl, Olay Fresh Effects, MTV, Microsoft and World Vision. As for unique opportunities, besides getting to do meetups in different cities I also had the opportunity to travel to NYC for the New Years Eve ball drop in Times Square with Covergirl. It was a night I’ll never forget. What are some ways you stay close and interact with your followers? Lauren: I’ve recently started doing livestreams too which have had amazing feedback. I wanted to replicate the feeling of all of us hanging out at a sleepover and doing a Q&A style hangout online.
With such a huge following, what message might you be trying to relay to your followers? not that you are a preacher, but as someone with the influence you do, there is a huge opportunity to spread positivity— have you been active with any certain cause? would you like to be? Lauren: Promoting positivity every day is something that I really focus on. You’re right, I’m not a preacher but I definitely have the ability to spread awareness or influence. I haven’t found a specific cause yet that I’ve attached officially attached myself to, but on a daily basis I really try to shine light on the idea of choosing happiness everyday. It’s easy to get caught up in negativity and toxic parts of our life that can bring us down, but choosing happiness and staying positive is so important to make sure you’re living your life to the fullest. What do you owe your success to? Lauren: My viewers, my family and friends and the support that each has given me along the way. I’m only human and I of course have my highs and lows. My channel wouldn’t be what it Is today without having the most amazing and supportive viewers who have created the most positive and creative community, and also wouldn’t have been able to push through the lows that might have kept me from being where I am today without the support and love I’ve received. What interests you now that you have achieved success? Lauren: I think the importance of having a positive influence and voice has become more important now that I’ve amassed a larger audience. I feel like I’ve been handed an opportunity to make people’s days a little bit better, whether that be through a super fun, bright and sunny video or a relevant tweet that helped grow the connection between myself and my viewers.
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aidan alexander STORY: LYDIA SNAPPER PHOTOS: SHANNON BRAY
Throughout his childhood, AIDAN ALEXANDER remembers being enamored by award show season. The second the music began to swell and the lights ignited in the Kodak Theatre, little Aidan was planted in front of the TV, engrossed in the glamorous celebration of film and music. “Growing up, I think every kid has that dream that takes priority over their temporary longing to be a firefighter, or a veterinarian. For me, it’s always been acting. Every movie or TV show I watched, I tried to mimic. I think the moment I was absolutely awestruck with a film, and knew I wanted to do that with my life was when I saw “An American Tail”. It’s animated and about mice nonetheless, but there was something about the character development and the complexity of the plot that really resonated with me and made me know I wanted to be a part of the story, not just watching it.” As we all do, Aidan has a collection of seasoned professionals that he has grown up looking up to. “I respect and admire so many people it’s hard to settle on one person,” he explains. “I try my hardest to acknowledge and learn as much as possible from a lot of accomplished actors. I believe you’re never done learning so I always try to keep my eyes and my ears open.” Once his family realized that this passion wasn’t some passing phase and he was serious about pursuing a life in entertainment, they packed up their lives and moved to Los Angeles. “It’s funny because I always hear stories from other actors in LA about how they convinced their parents to make the trek, but I could never really relate,” he says. “All my life my mom has been so supportive, whether I wanted to start karate or sing karaoke she was always so adamant on me doing what I wanted to do. Without her, I’d most likely still be in my hometown googling ‘how to be an actor.’”
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It wasn’t long after taking the leap and migrating to La La Land that Aidan started to make things happen. “Red Wing was my first big project, and walking onto set I was absolutely terrified,” he says, reflecting on the 2013 film he stared in alongside Hollywood icons Luke Perry and Bill Paxton. “Luckily, Luke is one of the most patient people ever and was super understanding when I flubbed a line or I missed a cue. From watching him act he really taught me how to be organic with my emotions and to not force anything that didn’t feel right. So far, Red Wing was one of my most memorable times on set and I’m so grateful for the opportunity.” Two years later, Aidan’s career continues to flourish. Aside from his mainstream media presence, Aidan is also well known online and has cultivated a mass following on twitter and YouTube. In connection to that aspect of his life, he tells me that he frequents online conventions whenever he can. “The YouTube events are always such a blast. You never really know what to expect or how many people will show up, so it’s always such an adventure. It’s an amazing experience to get to meet up with all the people who support you so I always try my hardest to attend.” As is to be expected with what he does, Aidan regularly has surreal, ‘pinch yourself’ type experiences. “Besides getting word I booked my first project, walking the Billboard Music Awards carpet was so surreal to me. I grew up being an avid award show watcher, so actually being on TV on the red carpet was absolutely mind blowing to me.”
“AS CLICHÉ AS IT SOUNDS, I THINK THIS INDUSTRY IS FULL OF AMAZING MOMENTS THAT
DREAMED.” He continues, “I’d have to say my most memorable fan encounter was when I was leaving a concert, and a fan kissed me. 300 people had swarmed the exit and when my friend and me walked out it was just total chaos. Seeing that type of reaction was so fun to me.” With such a big following, Aidan admits that he feels he has both the privilege and responsibility to use his platform to raise awareness for various causes. He explains, “As somebody who grew up in a small town, I have witnessed a lot of bullying and am a huge advocate for treating people nicely and being a decent human being, so it was a no-brainer for me to team up with NOH8 and use my social media following to help share an important message. As far as Boxed Water is Better goes, I actually bought a few boxes when it launched in Target and made a few posts about it just for fun. Once I learned a little more about the “#ReTree” message I became very active in spreading it, and BWIB recognized it was important to me and we stared working together– it was such an honor to be able to work with both charities, they’re incredible.”
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the messy heads WORDS: EMMA MERCURY & INDIA BROOKS PHOTOS: KATY JOHNSON
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“you yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – gautama buddha People go through times in their lives where they don’t know how to love. Confusion invades the mind and all that comes out is rushes of emotional reassurance and reverse psychology. You trick your mind into thinking you love yourself through false confidence. But just speaking positive statements about yourself, or even just thinking them, is not all there is. You can say these things, yet when you reach deep into your heart, you know you are not truly in love with yourself. Love is what conquers and defeats everything, but why is it the hardest thing to find? Outward love is so hard to find because you have to love yourself before you can branch out and share love with another. You can only find love once you have found it in the deepest depths of your true self. Stop searching outward, trying to find love in other people, places, activities, and look within. Once you turn inward you find that love is the golden crest, the sun before it sets, the depths of the ocean, and expands the limits of the horizon. Love is whatever makes your heart skip, it is the rush of emotion when you see a childhood friend, it is the energy pummeling from the sky when thunder cracks, it is the infinite you and the infinite me. Finding love is finding yourself, you need to learn what you fear, want, hate, feel,
hear, like, and see. You can love once you know every intricate detail about yourself, and then you can start digging. Digging deep down to the point where you have overturned every inner stone, and accepted the gems and pests that hid beneath. Once you discover the beauty within yourself, you discover the outer beauty. It is a neverending spectrum of knowledge and love. This spectrum is the same inward as it is outward. You can love all beings as you love yourself, because it is the same concept. Everyone is you and you are everyone. When you share love it is a reflection of yourself, a beautiful painting that you are making your own. When you truly love someone else it shows you have the palette of love inside of you. Before you can create a masterpiece, you need the paint and the paintbrushes. Before you can love the world and others, you need to love the most basic component of that world: yourself. All love is an extension self love and it is the only true love there is.
xo, india brooks
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“tell me what you love. if i look you in your eyes and ask you to tell me what you love, the answers will likely roll off of your tongue. you love pizza and crafting and roller coasters and poetry. you love to read, you love to write, you love music, birds, tattoos, obscure documentaries, and the color of the sun filtered through the smoke of a wildfire. you love your boyfriend. your mom. your brother. your sister. your daughter. your best friend. your dog. your grandmother. your cousin. your son. your aunt. your wife. you love pastries and foreign languages and folk music the way it feels to itch a bug bite. you love early mornings and late nights and study breaks and hugs and sentimental cards on your birthday. how long do you think you could go on and on before you said, “i love myself.” – ashley wylde
We are loving creatures. We are often off looking for love, spreading love, sharing and creating love. We care deeply for our friends, defend them against everyone. When they sigh and look in the mirror and all they see are their flaws, we grab their hand and reassure them how beautiful they are, outside and in. We forgive them for silly mistakes, and don’t think about it again. We look out for the ones we love, and we see the best in them, we think they deserve the best. The real challenge is not external love, its internal. Very few humans actually love themselves. At most, they tolerate themselves. Why do tell our best friend that her slightly crooked nose gives her character, yet in the same breath condemn ourselves for having a similar flaw. Why do we not give their small mistakes a second thought, but can dwell on something we did wrong for days, long after everyone else has moved on from the situation. Why do we often see the worst in ourselves, and compare our flaws to other people’s strengths. It is highly unlikely that all of these people are actually better than you, and yet we treat them as such. You too are a being that deserves inner love and a beautiful life.
Start treating yourself as just another person. Actually, start treating yourself like a best friend. Someone you want to spend the rest of your life with, because you will have to. Fall in love with yourself like you would anyone else. First you like the good things about yourself; the way your eyes sparkle, how you can read an entire book in one sitting, and the way your legs look in certain heels. Then you accept the quirks and weird parts; how you snort when you laugh, the faces you make when you cry, and how you obsess over John Bender in the Breakfast club for no reason at all. Then you ultimately will love every part of yourself; times you have f*cked up, lies you have told, and deep insecurities. Accepting the depths of you allows you to turn jealousy into appreciation, spite into acceptance, and hate into love. Loving yourself doesn’t make you selfish, doesn’t make you stuck up, it makes you unbreakable, it makes you whole.
xo, emma mercury
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quigley Story: Ashley Bulayo Photos: Viviana Contreras
We are all about girl power. Heck, we even dedicate a whole issue to the topic. We fully support women defying the odds and proving everyone out there wrong. Cheers to those who do! One of these individuals doing so is indie electro-pop artist Quigley. “I think a lot of talent goes completely overlooked because women never explore this side of the industry,” she mentions. “Something that really makes me frustrated is that I often tell people I'm a musician [and] their immediate response is ‘Oh cool, so you're a singer?’ That's an assumption that could be made for a number of different reasons, but let's assume the main reason is because they don't know many women who produce electronic music.” Face it. Girls can make electronic music and there’s a plethora out there waiting to be discovered! We’re happy to introduce our wolfies to Quigley, the Minneapolis native turned LA resident who shows us she’s a force to be reckoned with. She literally packed her Chevy Malibu, blasted Ellie Goulding’s first record and never looked back. It was just after listening to Robyn’s Body Talk EP and Goulding’s music where she realized, “I gotta get my ass out to LA.” She’s basically the example of chasing your dreams. From day one, Quigley’s been a determined girl. She always told her parents that she wanted to be a singer, and we quote, “like Janet Jackson and Whitney Houston.” With that mind set, she enrolled in different classes taking on the piano, guitar and percussions. “Given my age, gender and where technology was at the time, producing music just wasn’t even something I had considered pursuing.” It wasn’t until college where her vocal coach suggested she learn how to record the songs she had written. “That was the first time I learned what it meant to be a ‘producer.’ I discovered a whole world of music and technology I didn’t even know existed! The empowering thing about being able to make music on your laptop, in a bedroom, is that you can really do it from anywhere in the world.” Years later, here she is producing her own EP for our listening pleasure. (It’s out now, we highly recommend you check it out ASAP). To say this has been a long time coming is a huge understatement. It’s been two years since she first started her EP, Initium. “When I started making this EP, I had no idea what I was working towards, really. I just knew that I wanted to explore the world of production, that I wanted to play around and see if I could make the kind of music and sounds I had always wanted to make,” says Quigley. “They say you need ten thousand hours to become an expert at something, and I guess I just needed to put in my time. I spent two years really hashing out my production chops, did like a gazillion mixes and arrangements of each song, and finally came up with something I am really proud of.”
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But does this mean we’re going to have to wait another two years for new music? Not necessarily. In Quigley’s eyes, timing is everything when it comes to branding yourself as an artist. She perfectly compares this to a fashion runway show. It has to be cohesive. “Each garment has to compliment the next.” In the meantime, she’s saving up more money to make more art. “Without a label on board, there is more creative freedom which is great, but that also means I have to shell out lots of dough. I'm learning how to be a lady boss, and that's priceless.” Besides, this EP is just an appetizer, according to Quigley. The main course is coming y’all. Did we forget to mention that Quigley has been giving us a taste of her mashup skills? In my honest opinion, she’s the queen of mashups. She takes on classic hits and puts them together with current hits which is pure magic. All boy band lovers will ooze over the Janel Parrish collaboration she did a year ago. However, she does hope to do a mashup with Claire Boucher, aka Grimes, because she “wants to know how her brain works.” She even knows the songs she would use! Imagine Kate Bush’s “Running Up That Hill” put against Sia’s “Elastic Heart.” How can we get in touch with Grimes to make that happen? Girls (or boys), if Quigley inspired you to jump in your car and chase your dreams, what are you waiting for? Maybe you don’t have to jump in a car at this exact moment but go out and do what you want to do! “I want to show young girls that they can make whatever kind of music they want! You can learn anything on Youtube these days, you just have to have the desire and patience to get there! I would love to mentor talent too. If you know anyone who needs a good female tutor, send ‘em my way!” BRB, setting an appointment with Quigley now.
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abi ann STORY: SYDNEY CLARKE // PHOTO: RACHEL EPSTEIN
If you’re looking for a cool girl musician with some serious talent, look no further than Abi Ann. This Texas native is about to take the music world by storm, spending her summer opening up for non other than pop superstar Kelly Clarkson. This isn’t Abi’s first venture into working with big names, however. Last summer, she went on tour with Jesse McCartney, an experience she describes as being an “absolute blast.” Born in Midland, Texas, Abi moved to Los Angeles at age 12 to study acting and singing more closely. It was here that she was able to find her sound, dabbling in pop before realizing her heart lay with country. She began to work with a team in Nashville at the young age of 15, and was able to create her music. As a young performer, Abi says she has learned a lot about herself and being in the industry. “The most significant [lesson] I learned is [to be] authentic to yourself” she says. “In an industry so large with so much talent, oftentimes it’s hard to find your own voice. There’s a huge difference between being inspired by someone else’s work and replicating it.” She has done just that, creating a country sound that is all her own, with a large amount of influence coming from everyday experiences and little things such as quotes on Instagram. “My personal purpose in music is to enable people an escape or relief from whatever they’re going through. I try to make my music as specific yet relatable as possible,” she says. While Abi is very focused on her work, she still finds time to be a normal teenage girl.
While she says it is difficult to juggle both sometimes, she feels lucky to have people around her who are so understanding and accepting of her career. When she isn’t working, she enjoys exploring new restaurants with friends and watching the Food Network. She also loves to travel, embarking on spontaneous adventures and road trips whenever she gets the chance. As someone who has always been in to performing, the support she receives from friends and family comes as no surprise. Abi has been involved with the stage from a young age, starting out with acting and working into music. “I fell in love with musicals and as I grew older, I was determined to pursue a career in music,” she says. “I grew up on a stage, it’s truly where I feel most at home. Music is in essence, a therapy to me, and I have no complaints!” While she is occupying her time with her musical pursuits for now, she hopes to one day be able to merge the two once again. For other people looking to get into the acting and music industries, Abi has some profound insights and advice. “The best advice I could give to anyone is to never give up on your dreams!” she says, “Never let haters or others drag you down. I am here for anyone to reach out to because I have been on the receiving end of hate and those who didn’t believe in me as much as I believed in myself. Now I’m on tour with Kelly Clarkson and play arenas and amphitheaters in support of her tour this summer! I am living proof that dreams come true!”
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weslynn STORY: ASHLEY BULAYO // PHOTOS: RON DADON
Something must be in the Arizona water. We’re not kidding. A few months ago, we featured The Maine, a proud Arizona based band. Now, allow us to introduce you to another band who hail from the same area. Soon enough, they’ll be your next ear candy and tug on your heartstrings. We’re talking about the four-piece band Weslynn. Members Jared Geyer, Greg Olin, Kevin Holmes and, just recently added, Adam Simons make up this indie/rock band. “Our friendship was formed far before the band was and was maintained by a love for music. When we brought our talents together we knew we had something special. Our deeply rooted friendship is what brings a new dimension to our music.” Friendship is also what brought the band to the conclusion that they should add Simons to the group, “We met Adam through the local scene. He is such a skilled musician and songwriter. He definitely has become a huge part of our music family.”
Just late last year they released their debut EP, Dark Days and since then they’ve been writing like crazy. If all goes well, their sophomore EP can pop up by this winter and fingers crossed, we get a full length album by next year. Music just does not stop for these guys. “These songs are extensions of ourselves. The melodies and words that you hear are simply waves that come out of our minds. Although the song doesn’t always want to come out in one piece, it is all very natural once we put ourselves into a writing state of mind. We hope to grow and fine tune our songwriting skills more every day.” There’s still so much to accomplish for these fellas. Gone are the days playing in empty coffee shops to now performing in front of a few hundred people alongside bands such as From Indian Lakes. Every aspiring artist knows this journey and so does Weslynn. They thank their fans for absolutely everything and without them, all of this wouldn’t even be possible but—
that doesn’t mean they’re completely content with where they are. “This dream has just begun and the whole world awaits us.” As we all witnessed throughout the years, the music we hear from all these Arizona natives differ with their individual style. Same goes for Weslynn. With one listen to their songs, you can easily sift through and realize they have their own music genre and style. “It was [the] passion for our own local scene that we wanted to add our mark on the landscape.
“The melodies and words that you hear are simply waves that come out of our minds. Although the song doesn’t always want to come out in one piece, it is all very natural once we put ourselves into a writing state of mind.”
Years later, this still hold true.” So, just like every other band, they just have to go out and gain the audience’s attention. “When you first step on stage, not everyone is going to take you seriously, so it’s our job to change that and make you want more by the end of the show.” When you get up on a stage, especially when performing something that you created yourself, it could go one of two ways. You kill it and win the audience’s attention or you’re nervous out of your mind.
The latter doesn’t apply to this band. “To be able to share our art and who we are with strangers is a beautiful thing. Only music can make that connection. Our one hope is that every new fan feels what we write and sing. These songs are very personal extensions of ourselves and when someone else can enjoy them, it creates a bond.” Don’t be a stranger and check out their music. These guys are just getting started and are aiming to win your support.
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ellis in the afternoon STORY: ASHLEY BULAYO PHOTOS: TYLER MITCHELL
Every now and then, fashion designers like to compliment their upcoming line with teasers to have their audience understand their aesthetics and whatnot. Gorgeous, right? We see high profiled names in so many of them year after year. It’s rare we see videos like these displayed just for the nature of art. That is, unless your Tyler Mitchell AKA a phenomenal director and photographer well beyond his years. In his latest work titled Ellis in the Afternoon, Mitchell and model, Ellis Clare take on New York City to spend the day in an abandoned pool and inside his friend’s apartment to display the beautiful masterpiece. No words. No gimmicks. They’re 100% not trying to sell you anything. It’s just pure eye candy as Mitchell puts it. “Fashion is how people communicate, you hear that silly buzzword ‘aesthetic’ everywhere. Most people simply use that to mean fashion or someone’s style. I just think it’s photography’s job to communicate what was ‘in style’ at the moment a photo was taken. In [forty] years I need people to look back at my work and understand exactly how people my age are living. How we use Snapchat endlessly and watch weird vines and we’re figuring out how the internet works. That’s fashion too it’s not just clothes.” Speaking of the internet, ironically, that’s exactly how Clare and Mitchell met in the first place. It all started with a follow on Instagram then a direct message, “I followed him because one of my friends put up a photo of his, or something like that, and he followed me back and messaged me about shooting sometime.” Tyler quips, “She’s a liar. She was lurking on my Instagram, so I had to follow her to get the follow back. [laughs] But really, New York is so small. Turns out we have mutual friends and such.
“I knew she would be perfect for this series,” he adds. Hey, isn’t it true that the internet brings people together? Soon enough, the two were off to shoot this series. They really should be credited as the dream team. Off camera, their chemistry is pretty evident and comes right off the page. It may be weird meeting someone you met online in real life for the first time but that doesn’t seem to be the case for these two. To make sure their visions were both fulfilled, opinions were shot back and forth but it all works out when you both have similar eyes, according to Clare. “Working with Tyler was so much fun! He was super sweet and I thought we worked really well together. I do shoots occasionally, but I haven’t really done something this intricate and artistic before. I’m glad I was able to do this with him.” The moral to Ellis in the Afternoon? Do what you love and don’t let anything stop you. Who cares if you don’t have money? “I want them to think, ‘Why don’t I do the same in my life?’ (and that’s with anything, not just photography).” Take Mitchell for example, he had a specific goal he wanted to achieve and went for it. Might we add, he did it all with the help of his friends. “I just want people to see that all you gotta do is go make something and enjoy the feeling you get from the series. I know I do.” Two minutes and ten seconds were certainly not long enough for us. We want more. Good news for us, according to Mitchell’s Twitter, he’s got some big plans on the way. He’s apparently making a short film! Hopefully (fingers crossed), in the near future Clare will star in another one of his works and they can create another beautiful piece of work together again.
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another brick in the wall Blogger / Model: Nikki Yelvington Photos: Kelly Martucci
Jacket: Leviâ€™s / Top: Vintage 70s / Skirt: Topshop Shoes: Converse high tops
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On the cover, LAURDIY // Featuring: Aidan Alexander, Emily Mitchell, Knuckle Puck, The Messy Heads and loads more.