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wo months without a new issue? I know, I can explain. For the past several weeks, I’ve been working on planning our first ever pop-up event with a fellow publisher, Giselle Melendres with her publication, Mad Sounds Magazine. Everything was so exciting but there was a lot of time that we both dedicated to this event, The Age of Influence Party featuring poetry readings by Reyna Biddy and Meghan Hughes and live performances by DJ Dom Vincent, John Vincent III and Tigers in the Sky. It was an incredible experience and truly amazing to be in a space full of creatives. Thanks to Issuu for sponsoring this event and believing in what we do as a publication. Also, this was the first time where I had the chance to fully focus on what’s to come for Local Wolves in 2018 so expect the unexpected. Happy holidays to our wonderful team, supportive readers and our talents and contributors that we collaborated with this year. I’m truly so excited to spend the new year with more adventures and surprises! P.S. Major thanks to our illustrator, Megan Kate Potter for the custom lettering for our girl power features.
founder & editor-in-chief twitter / instagram: @cathrinekhom
ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS
the orange peel
features 34 40
dear music industry mimi
chloe white ally maki
you possess the power
ISSUE 52 / AMY LEE local wolves is an online and print publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of arts, entertainment and culture. the publication is driven by the passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. as always, features focus on the diverse talent among the many creative industries of everyday people. SAY HELLO / LETâ€™S CHAT general email@example.com press firstname.lastname@example.org advertising email@example.com get involved firstname.lastname@example.org
founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta logo fiona yeung cover photo ashley seryn
aileen xu @lavendaire los angeles, ca
design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, laura filas, lisa lok, leah lu, megan kate potter, bethany roesler contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, olivia clark, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, tâ€™keya marquez, mackenzie rafferty, jasmine rodriguez, celeste scott, lauren speight contributing photographers pamela ayala, megan cencula, emily dubin, danielle ernst, amanda harle, taylor krause, chris lampkins, penelope martinez, naohmi monroe, bran santos, myrah sarwar, starr smith, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu
ally maki @allymaki los angeles, ca amy lee @amyvagondd los angeles, ca arielle estoria @arielleestoria los angeles, ca charlotte cardin @charlottecardin montreal, qc
danielle nagel @danidazey los angeles, ca faye orlove @fayeorlove los angeles, ca nina nesbitt @ninanesbitt london, england melody hansen @melodyhansen toronto, on mimi @hiimmimib sweden CONNECT
chloe white @chloececilia los angeles, ca
website / localwolves.com twitter + instagram / @localwolves fb / facebook.com/localwolves
cyn @cynthialovely los angeles / chicago
read online issuu.com/localwolves print shop magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag
DESIGN BY LISA LOK
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playlist + WINTER 2017 +
PLAYLIST BY SENA CHEUNG ILLUSTRATION BY (RIGHT) LEAH LU QUOTE BY SYLVIA PLATH
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pinpoint + LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY + COVERAGE BY MADELINE MULLENBACH
Louisville is often known as the “Derby City” or “Home of the Kentucky Hot Brown,” but for me Louisville is more than that. For me, Louisville is home. Yes, we wear shoes. Yes, we have teeth. And no, we don’t know what the words “Speed Limit” mean. I may be a little biased in saying this, but Louisville is so underrated. The art culture here is incredible and continuously growing along with the coffee and food scene. (Fun fact: Louisville was named the world’s #1 food city by National Geographic.) Supporting local is something that the city runs and lives by. This only works with a city this size. I call it a small town, big city kind of place. Whenever I go into town it’s an expectation that I’ll see someone I know…or meet someone new. And no matter how many times they’ll redo the highway system or build a new bridge to help with traffic, it’s always home. It has a long way to go but looking back, the city has come a long way, too. I hope everyone has the chance to experience Louisville for themselves someday. It’ll rock their world.
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+ BY H A N N A L A S A LV I A +
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+ BY MADISEN KUHN + BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LAURA SUPNIK
Roosevelt famously asserted that “comparison is the thief of joy.” I’m not sure what context this was said in, but many of us tend to apply it to the adverse effects of jealousy—how it can destroy our sense of self while also creating unwarranted and unfair tension between the people we want to be like and us. My first memory of comparing myself to another girl was in the third grade. Her name was Samantha, and she had perfectly straight hair and beautiful handwriting. Our teacher was walking around the classroom and complimented Samantha on her small handwriting. I overheard this and began to write my notes in a teeny-tiny script. When the teacher got to me, she yelled (yes, actually yelled), “you only wrote like that because you heard me speaking to Samantha. You just want attention!” I cried. In front of everyone. It was terrible.
in huge part due to the positivity that is spread in the online community amongst girls—I learned to celebrate women rather than envy and loathe them. I see women who are better writers than me, more artistic than me, healthier than me, and I must learn to stop myself from thinking in those terms— “better” and “more.” I try to halt the unhealthy thought process of finding myself insufficient due to someone else’s success. I teach myself to praise their success and find inspiration in it. It took me a long time to get here, and I’m still not perfect, but holy shit, it feels so much better than the alternative. It feels good to commemorate other girls. I see women CEOs, and femaledominated companies and publications, and women coming together to march for equality, and I feel so proud and full of hope. Their success feels like my success.
As I grew up, I continued to compare myself to my peers, especially girls. I understand we all face comparing ourselves to others—girls, boys, and non-binary babes alike—but there seems to be an emphasis on the girl vs. girl rivalry. There’s a reason the phrase, “girl-hate” exists. Even my best girlfriends I saw as opponents and felt a sense of anger and disappointment when they excelled in an area I felt inadequate in. I didn’t consider the success of my guy-friends because they felt like they were in an entirely different league. (Writing this all out, I understand the toxicity of both gender division and the rival-mentality amongst young girls. Yikes. I hate that this is how I grew up thinking. Somewhere along the way—I think,
I see my 11-year-old sister writing excessive and dramatic compliments on her friends’ Instagram photos, and at first, I roll my eyes, but then I think, “Wow. Wait. This is a good thing.” It may be exaggerated, but I know she means it. I see the way she builds her friends up, and by how she interacts with them, I know that it’s genuine. And I’m so proud. I’m so proud that our gender is making strides in demolishing girl-on-girl hate and replacing it with girl-on-girl love. I talked to her on the phone the other day and asked why she comments compliments on her friend’s pictures so often, and she said, “because they’re pretty and I want them to know it.” I remember girls I thought were my friends commenting mean things on my Facebook photos.
I’d pretend to shrug it off online like I wasn’t fazed by their cruelty while crying in front of my keyboard. I remember staring at photos of girls I thought were the prettiest in my grade and growing resentful and aching with envy. Why couldn’t that be me? Why aren’t I as pretty or as athletic or as smart? I should’ve been thinking, “what matters is how I view myself. I may not be as athletic, but I am artistic. I may not get as good of grades, but I am trying. I am smart. I am good enough. I am beautiful, I am special, and so is she.”
who like men. Ace women. Women who are more than one of these things. All. Women. We must celebrate diversity and love and learn from one another while making strides to earn respect and equality we deserve. I’ve come to discover and embrace the phrase, “another women’s beauty is not the absence of your own.” We are all full of flaws and force. We are beautiful and broken. Not one woman is perfect and not one woman is insufficient. Each of us has a unique set of skills and traits that we can use for good. We can learn from each other’s strengths. We are complex beings, and as a gender (social construct or not, it’s a thing, at least today), we owe it to each other to be there for one another. We must be allies to all women. Women of color. Transgender women. Women of all different religions and cultures and countries. Mothers. Women who rather be the cool aunt. Women with careers. Women who get married. Women who don’t. Women who prefer blazers and bolo ties to glittery dresses. Women who wear both. Women with long hair. Women with shaved heads. Women who like women. Women
If “comparison is the thief of joy,” then unity is the destruction of enmity, and girl power is the manifestation of honoring diversity and believing in each other’s strength. Do not let jealous comparison take away from the beauty of solidarity. The ethereal Zendaya once said, “I think women are very powerful, and I think we’re more powerful together than separated.” We are more powerful together. Take care,
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+ BY CELESTE SCOTT +
BANNER + ILLUSTRATIONS BY LEAH LU When I meet women who look like me something magical happens. And when I say look like me, I don’t just mean outwardly. Though there is much to be said about women whose hair kinks and skin doesn’t sunburn, there is a connection that goes even beyond that. I mean women who have hurt like me, who listen like me, who feel like me. Women who have the audacity to ask for things, and post lots of selfies on Instagram. Women who are intimidating, loud, intense. Women who keep secrets pent up in their heavy chests for fear of being “too much.” When I meet women like that—women who make me feel like I’m glimpsing at myself in some sort of enchanted mirror—I start to think that maybe I’ve already found my happily-ever-after.
And yet, viewing myself as an addendum to someone else’s life is a practice I’ve been unconsciously adhering to since I was a wide-eyed middle school girl. Every summer, I’d pack my modest one-piece bathing suit and Bermuda shorts for a weekend at church camp. Without fail, my youth group leaders would sit us girls in a circle and tell us to make a list. A list of what we wanted in our future husbands. They told us to write these lists in great detail: What would his favorite color be? What kind of personality would he have? What would his future career be? We’d sit eagerly with our heads propped up in our hands, as our leaders shared the miraculous stories of women who found men who met every single criterion on their lists. These women had patiently waited, and found their happilyever-after.
I start to think that maybe the day I’ve been told will be the best day of my life—the day when I’ll waltz down some church aisle, clinging by my father’s side in a dress that hugs me in all the right places—won’t actually be the best day of my life. Because when I’m lying in the grass with my shoes kicked off or spilling my guts everywhere at a coffee shop with another woman who’s braved the winds and the rain of our existence in this world, I just think it can’t get better than this. But that’s not what they tell you when your hands are barely big enough to hold Barbie dolls. Barbie’s perfect match is Ken. They’re a pair. They go together like a set. And so when you begin to grow into the life-size version of Barbie, you start looking for your Ken. It becomes a life mission. A necessity. Even if you manage to escape the toxic narrative of patriarchy our culture so adamantly pushes upon us, it can be easy to unconsciously view yourself as an addendum to someone else’s life—as the wife of a not-yet-known man or as the mother of not-yet-born children. And though there is much beauty in these marks of femininity, building ourselves around such marks can be a dangerous practice.
However, my youth group leaders never advised making the same kind of list for friendships. Never once was there a miraculous story of a girl who was in desperate need of a friend and found just that. The importance of female friendship was not nearly stressed as much as the importance of finding a romantic partner. And because of this there was a long period of my adolescence in which I viewed myself first and foremost as someone’s future wife, rather than a person, a creative, an individual, a friend.
I wish we’d stop telling girls to make lists. And that instead we’d tell them to have more sleepovers. To paint each other’s nails. To braid each other’s hair. To take each other to prom. To write letters to each other when they move to college. To hold each other’s hands. To fight for each other. I wish so badly that someone would’ve told me in middle school just how romantic friendship love could be. How lovely it is to complain to a girlfriend after a long day at work, or eat Talenti ice cream together while watching shitty rom-coms. I wish someone would have told me that everything I’d listed for what I want in a boyfriend I could find in the women around me. That the love of a friend is just as valuable as that of a romantic partner. Though it took me multiple heartbreaks and disappointments to come to this realization I am so glad that I finally did. And what a refreshing realization it is—to realize that what you’ve been looking for, you already have. And that you have it in abundance. That although it doesn’t always feel like the search for love and affection is over, it very well is. Because the women I’ve surrounded myself with support me in ways that boys I’ve had crushes on never have. They cook me dinner, remind me to bring a jacket before I leave the house, let me cry on their shoulders, reach over and squeeze my hand in the car. They nurture me with their actions and their words in a way that is so familial, maternal even.
The women I surround myself with are phenomenal because they dare to give the love in friendships that we’ve been taught is meant for romantic partnerships. When they love they love deeply, they hold nothing back. They love like they might never get married or have kids. Like they’ve found their happily ever after. Because they have. And so, if I am blessed to have daughters of my own someday, I know what kinds of stories I’ll tell them when I tuck them in before bed. I’ll tell them about my best friend from 5th grade, and the group of girls I went to prom with. I’ll tell them about the friend who edited all of my articles, and the friends who read each and every single of them. I’ll tell them about the girls who came with me to the barbershop the first time I shaved my head, and the girls who let me squeeze their hands when I got my first tattoo. I’ll tell them about the long distance friends and the girls who tolerated me enough to be my roommates. I’ll tell them about how the women who had been hurt like me were able to help me heal. How the women who really listened to me made me feel heard. I’ll tell them about each and every single one of my happily-ever-after’s. And I hope they’re ready, because the list is long.
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The Craft follows four teen witches through the beautiful upswings and crashing, confusing plummets of being an adolescent girl. To me, this is movie is a picture of girlhood. It’s about the experimentation of becoming a woman that no doubtedly follows most female identifying individuals throughout their youth. For the girl power issue, I wanted to feature looks inspired by girls who knew their own power (coupled with confusion about it at times, because who wouldn’t be tempted to cast a love spell? Or go too far in protecting your friend from an aggressive man?). The 1996 fashion against a Catholic prep school backdrop is enough inspiration to last me a lifetime and even still tempts me to cut my hair a la Fairuza Balk’s cowlicked bangs. Sweaters and plaid mini skirts, collared button down dresses, clunky black shoes and hairclips are all you need for your 90s teen witch essentials. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST BANNER BY LAURA FILAS
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girl power + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +
Girl power is the strong, unbreakable resilience that comes from being woman. Society has often deemed girls to be weaker or more subdued and told girls to be seen and not heard but no longer. CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL / ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS / PHOTO BY MORGAN DEZURN / BALTIMORE, MD (LEFT PHOTO) i want to be whole by myself. i want to wear my yellow tee with the words “girl power” etched into the cotton. i want to see the looks on their faces when i acknowledge that women are more powerful than they will ever know. i do not want someone to have to come and fill up all of the little holes and crevices in me ( just cause i think there’s too many). i want someone to watch me pour some soil into the empty parts of myself. and then i can plant a garden full of roses and water them. so i’ll finally be able to say i made it, and i’m proud of myself. and to have no regret saying that has the roses blooming in me uncontrollably. and that’s okay. i like it like that. i like uncertainty. i crave living every day as it comes. and oh God do i crave roses. – JADEN YANOVITZ / BALTIMORE, MD A lot of things happened my senior year of high school, but by far one of the most important was my decision on where to go to college. The decision had been plaguing me for months, it was a constant stressor. After a panic attack that had been brewing for much too long, I sought advice from one of my favorite teachers. He asked me what I wanted to do and I told him I was looking at Interior Design because it was practical, but I really wanted to be a writer. He immediately made it clear that being a writer was not an impractical dream and that if I wanted to do it I needed to chase it. Now, months later, I find myself sitting in my dorm room, 1,855 miles from home, studying writing. Girls, don’t be afraid to follow your passions. Don’t consider your dreams impractical. Don’t let anyone discourage you because you’re a writer, or an artist, or a musician. And most importantly
don’t let them discourage you because you’re female. I spent a lot of my growing up years thinking I couldn’t do what I wanted because I was a girl and my dream wasn’t realistic. The world needs artists. It needs poets. It needs pianists. It needs females who are willing and able to take their talents and show them off. No dream is impractical. You want to be a businesswoman? Go for it. An engineer? Crush it. A doctor? You can do it. There is nothing more admirable than a person who follows their passions, and I for one look up to any woman who takes their dreams and makes them realities. Don’t let the ways of the world dictate your future. Your life is your own, now go make it happen. – ABBEY LAIRD / IOWA CITY, IA How do I express my inner girl power? I motivate myself and remember about all of those women out there who are suffering and feel less about themselves because they want to become the perfect girl image. But there is no perfect girl image. Just who you are is good enough. Don’t change because of what society thinks is beautiful. I always remind myself when someone says something against women. And they say for example, “Women need to be working at home and not going to have real jobs. A woman’s job is at home with kids.” I walk up to them and tell them that what they are saying is untrue. Women are more than just maids. We have a role in this world. We aren’t just things we are human beings who have emotions and we have our own opinions. Without women in this world there would be no one. I don’t let society win. And neither should you. I believe that everyone is beautiful just the way they are and if you want to change then okay go ahead but do it for yourself and not for anyone else. Women are very strong and I hope we keep on being strong and soon enough we will not be looked down at. We shall rise and show everyone that we do matter. “She needed a hero so that’s what she became.” Be your own hero. Stay strong everyone. – ANDREA A. PEREZ / CHICAGO, IL
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as one large force of powerful, determined women who speak up for what they believe in and demand to be heard. the universe is ours when we combine our individual strengths to create a greater whole a collective whole of resilient females who don’t let anyone take away their power who fight every day to create change in our world and who most importantly bring each other up and rise together bring each other up and rise together in a world where that’s exactly what they don’t want. this unbreakable force, dear reader, is called girl power. – EMMA IRWIN / MINNEAPOLIS, MN
– ROCÍO FUHR / BUENOS AIRES, AR for so long they have told us to be quiet, polite, and sweet so that we don’t scare the men away and that it is not our place to stand up and be heard. for so long we have been told what to do and how to do it what to think and how to think it as if we do not have opinions of our own. for so long we have been told to look pretty and play with the flowers and that only girls cry and only girls are weak. but the world is changing we are changing and we are uniting the power within ourselves
Like a rose, a woman has a power to be beautiful and fierce. She has a power to bloom to her full potential. She has her thorns as a sign of her flaws. Flaws that has a power to create her independence and have her self protected. She has her petals, showing not her soft side, but her passion to bloom and grow. Everyday we can achieve girl power in simple ways. Walking to our everyday errand, to work or school and pursuing our dreams shows the world that we can. I achieve girl power by having the confidence and passion to pursue my life aspirations. – PAULINE BIROSEL / MANILA, PH (PHOTO ABOVE)
– MORGAN DEZURN / BALTIMORE, MD
Giggles on late night ice cream runs. A hand to hold, a shoulder to lean on while weathering another panic attack. Swapping lipgloss, borrowed clothes. The glance of understanding in the classroom, on the sidewalk. Girl power will never signify weakness to me. Girls continuously teach me to be soft and kind. They teach me to be loud and powerful. I trust girls to be patient, caring, and wise in a way I have never trusted a man. We hold an inherent beauty and strength within us, we are resilient. We make the world spin. – SHELBY BAUMGARTNER / WASHINGTON D.C. As I flipped through the pages of my history textbook, I acquainted myself with the image of a woman in the 19th century. Girls were merely objects meant to be admired and sometimes ridiculed, and so they were told to be submissive, to wear corsets to attain the figure which would make them beautiful. In the society I am a part of today, not much has changed. Ever so often I am told that my friend’s dress is too short, and somehow her bare knees are too provocative to be
seen after 9pm. I shouldn’t go out for lunch with two girls and one boy, because what would people think about the three teenage girls who shamelessly went out with the same guy. She shouldn’t wear the skirt because her thighs touch, and clothes like that don’t suit figures like hers. Sadly, these days it’s not only boys who pass these judgements, but girls too. We slutshame and fat-shame each other, and are constantly tearing others down to bring ourselves up, which is why girl power is so important today. We are all girls - strong, independent, revolutionary, graceful. We are all thriving together on this planet, and to be able to grow and blossom like the flowers we are, we need girl power. I figured this out when I was ten and heard women shaming a twenty year old rape victim for being out with a boy at night. Since that day, girl power has flown through my blood, from my heart to every other cell and back. I have fought, screamed, put my thoughts to paper, because a patriarchal society and regressive people aren’t enough to silence my mind. We possess the power to move mountains, why let stones stop us? – SUMONA SARIN / DEHI, INDIA
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– ERIN YASMEEN DORAN / WASHINGTON, D.C.
I am a wild woman, a nasty woman, a “don’t fuck with me” type of woman I am robbed of my voice everyday I choose to breathe the same air as everybody else I am robbed of my morals whenever I step into the bustling streets of New York being a woman, a soft woman, a vulnerable woman, will never do me any good Kindness I have learned gets you nowhere, gets you cat called, gets you with your keys between your fists disguise your kindness, as armor do not bend your mouth upward into a smile to appease every man walking behind you, or next to you, or on top of you do not stay silent when these men try to call for your attention, or stare to hard through your clothes, attempting to find out what’s beneath them, How easy he can become a Ferrell dog, how easy he can reek of sin and eagerness, How he can shape shift himself into a wolf, the kind that wants to scrape your soul from your vessel just because he can, know that this is the first way he comes to terms with that fact that he is privileged So yell back a “fuck you asshole” and continue on your way I am a nasty, dominant, electic, and intelligent woman understand that my voice is my weapon, and not just sexy understand that this body is my fucking armor, and not just something to be fucked
understand that these hands are bullets, and were not made to be pinned to my sides, or for your hands to hold possessively If you do not fear a woman like me, I do not take it personally, you do not learn to fear something until it attacks you, until it uproots your soul from your body without asking first, until it holds your wrists in its hands and squeezes, understand that I am made up of all of these things, realize that God has prepared men for war they did not know they were fighting until they got to her battlefield understand that God has made wars rage in my body, has made me bleed for the last ten years because I chose not to have someone throw away my body God has removed all my organs and replaced them with carnage, my back garnered in shrapnel, so I can take just about anything you fucking throw at me God has prepared me for men like you, I am all nasty and all woman, Be afraid, be very afraid – NAIMAH SMITH / NEW YORK, NY
“If you could choose any one superpower, which would it be?” This was a writing prompt that was assigned very frequently throughout my K-12th grade school years. I always chose invisibility. I would fantasize of evaporating into the cheap walls of those classroom portables. Having the ability to be present in a conversation without anyone being aware was my dream. I would become a walking encyclopedia, a sponge for information, but a sponge to be left under the sink. At the time I didn’t realize my subconcious was trying to make sense of this invisibility that was already happening in my life, and to the lives of other girls around me. I was accepting societal expectations without a challenge, never giving myself a chance for a seat at the table. A boy who spoke above the room was considered assertive, intelligent, a natural leader. An “outspoken” girl was always deemed annoying, bossy, too loud, in need of an “attitude adjustment”. I want to go back in time, and tell the naive, terrified version of myself that the best superpower is the opposite of invisibility. It’s becoming the sun. Controlling light. The UV spectrum queen. I would tell her to take up all the space in the room. The world is yours. Boys don’t own the silent holes in the classroom. Anyone is free to fill that emptiness, and it should be filled with knowledge, empowering words, fresh ideas. There’s a whole universe of light inside of you waiting to escape, and being a girl is never a reason to trap it inside. – NICOLETTE NOELLE ARVIZU / WHITTIER, CA
– AVERY LUCAS / HOUSTON, TX (PHOTO ABOVE) Girl power changes the world, one girl at a time. I spent the past year recovering from depression and en eating disorder. I am getting better and I’m really happy to be able to say this. Girl power is what made me bloom. Back then, I felt really alienated and hopeless. It was tough, I’m not gonna lie. I’m not saying everything’s perfect, but what has changed is that now I’m a part of an amazing community that glows with girl power. I have gotten to know a lot of amazing girls, girls that support other girls instead of tearing them down. I cannot express how thankful I am for having them. So, to anyone who is struggling right now: reach out to other girls. Be vulnerable, show them your true self. They will shower you with support. And you will bloom. And then you’ll help other girls bloom too. Because this is what girl power is: an amazing never-ending connection between girls, a connection which helps all of them grow and feel worthy and loved. It literally changes the world. It starts with you - by giving you your voice back and making you feel empowered. The cycle continues when you, feeling empowered, begin to support other girls. – WERONIKA ZIMNA / POZNAŃ, POLAND – KAYLA MENDEZ / WEST PALM BEACH, FL
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– EMILY LYONS-WOOD / CHARLOTTE, NC
– AMELIA CHARLEEN / PRESTON, IA
– KIANA ABAD / LOS ANGELES, CA
– AIRA E. DE LEON / MANILA, PH
– JENICA LLANES / CAVITE, PH
I fucking love being a woman. I’m a part of it all. Girl power? Hell yeah. Riot grrl? Well, if only I lived during the 90s. Don’t get me wrong, it’s still a revolution, and it’s going to be until we get what we want. But I’m not just a woman. I’m a person who has different chromosomal makeup and genitalia than half the population, just like every other woman like me. Huge difference, right? That was sarcasm, the answers actually no, it doesn’t really make that much of a difference. Not when it comes to what I want, my dreams, my ambitions, my rights. Except, people don’t know that yet. That’s why we girls have the term girl power. We need it. We can all use our girl power to be assertive and strong and brave and definitely dangerous, the kind that’ll make people look- because that’s what it takes to make a difference. We can use our girl power to make it acceptable for anybody to be feminine and/or masculine regardless of gender, because we can. With girl power, we’re not just fighting for women’s rights, but gender equality, and that’s why everyone needs it. Sure, unlike men, we have to fight for our rights, but it’s not anything we can’t do. Why? Because we all have girl power and trust me, that’s all we need. All of us, we’ll keep using our girl power to break boundaries and create a world where all women and men can be as powerful as they can and want to be. – ANUSHKA DAKSHIT / TAMPA, FL
Expressing girl power has always come natural to me. I was born with the privilege of a loud voice so, I have gained the techniques to help girls who aren’t aware of theirs. Girls my age often are told that they are supposed to sit, be quiet and accept the man’s voice. I quickly told myself that I was not going to be silent. I use photography and written word to try and show that we are more than the image in your mind, but the voice in your head. I hope that as I grow with my art and my words get longer I can teach myself and other girls my age what society is not telling them. Us girls need to engrave in our powerful minds that the best way to show our strength, is that we must support each other and not tear each other down. We are too powerful to tear ourselves down, hurting is not a way to move forward. Hurting is a step backwards which is what society wants, they want us to be pinned against each other. Using photography can show us women helping each other up and loving one another, over being envious. I hope my words can inspire more young women to enter the process of picking each other up, jealousy is human nature but hatred is not. Hatred is taught. Nobody can take your power away from you, no matter how hard they try to silence your voice. – HALEY FECHER / CINCINATTI, IA
– MIA GILLING / ARIZONA, USA
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anxiety through my lens WRITTEN WORDS & PHOTOGRAPHY BY ADELE SAKEY
When I was young I had the impression I was being followed. Wherever I went, whatever progress I made, a sensation of worry would grab ahold of me. In the days of picking dandelions and coloring outside of the lines, it was easy enough to ignore all this; pushing it back under the bed like a creature from a children’s book. In recent years, with feelings of stress and panic growing prominent and manifesting into physical symptoms, it became necessary to acknowledge the obvious: anxiety was greatly impacting my life. It’s true that acceptance (of anything, really) is the first step towards improving your health. As soon as I recognized the role anxiety was playing in my life, I began to have discussions on the topic of mental health with family and friends. This demolished a wall of isolation I unknowingly built, allowing me to validate my emotions and feel less alone. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 18.1 % of the United States’ adult population has lived with anxiety in the past year, with 22.8 % of these cases being classified as severe; making it the most common mental illness in the country. With so many individuals experiencing various forms of anxiety, no two people will have identical experiences. On that note, I begin the story of my own journey with anxiety; elements of which I’m certain are universal, while some are more personal. As I approached the age of fifteen, anxiety propelled me out of my comfort zone; meaning that everywhere I previously felt secure mutated into the exact opposite. My belief is that everyone feels out of sorts at fifteen— how could you not? Everyone around you is dressed in the Aeropostale sales section and there’s that one kid in all your classes wearing far too much Axe body spray while spewing Nickelback propaganda. Logically I knew it was okay to feel like I didn’t fit in at this point in my life; but anxiety has a way of overwriting logic. I began to feel as though my world was collapsing and I was falling with it. What had no possibility of happening suddenly became what will happen, and what would start as a decent day would quickly descend into one spent drowning in a sea of nausea.
In the midst of one particularly terrible day, I decided to go on a walk to clear my head. Years ago my father had purchased a standard Nikon camera to document family trips and outings; however, with it being the dead of winter and no such trips to speak of, the camera sat in our home unused. Out of sheer curiosity and without realizing that one object could form a turning point to my story, I grabbed the camera as I walked out the door. From then on I turned to photography as a means to both disconnect with the stressors surrounding me and reconnect with my environment through a less subjective lens. Instead of allowing the negativity I was feeling to translate into how I viewed my surroundings, photography provided me a way to allocate my energy into observing the beauty that did exist.
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Gradually, I made an effort to integrate photography into my life in more substantial ways and as time progressed I began to cultivate a curiosity towards concert photography. Having been raised with a steady stream of Grateful Dead and Talking Heads resonating through my home, music was undeniably an important part of my life. It seemed like a worthwhile endeavor to combine my affinity for both music and photography; and so that’s precisely what I did. Since venturing into the realm of concert photography I maintain my appreciation for what initially drew me in: getting to witness a sound come to life while capturing it in a visual form. I am grateful towards individuals and opportunities that all me to pursue something which, it its essence brings me joy. However, once you peel back the initial sense of pride garnered from capturing the perfect photo, I often feel what remains is a highly pressurized environment. In the beginning, it can be hard to effectively cope with this pressure. Unconsciously I began to compare my progress to that of other photographers, and from there receded into a sensation of utter incompetence. Eventually the aspect of excessive worry— worry that I wasn’t good enough, worry that I had no business doing what I was doing— took over and I started to feel out of place. This is a feeling I had experienced all my life, but for the first time I felt it in relation to photography. There are moments when my mind only functions to fabricate negative outcomes; “catastrophizing” as my therapist calls it. Isn’t it peculiar that all you’re experiencing can be bottled up and labeled with one word? Catastrophizing. Often times there are so many improbable consequences that each one is individually indecipherable, yet all I can focus on is doing exactly that. My mind races at an immeasurable pace, and my body has no choice but to mimic it. There was one day I existed solely in this state. As I traversed from class to work and then to a photography job, I felt myself beginning to spiral. Even though I had ample time to get to each destination, as my mind raced faster the world appeared to spin along with it.
I’m fairly certain I even knocked over a newsstand as I rushed to catch a train that wasn’t arriving for another five minutes. In these moments I’m assuming I appear frantic and disheveled, so thereby I am frantic and disheveled. What I feel inside becomes who I am on the outside, and there is no convincing myself otherwise. Beyond that, when so much of making a name for yourself as a music photographer, or in the music industry for that matter, relies on meeting people and solidifying valuable connections, the disconnect from reality that occurs in ones of these anxiety stricken states creates a barrier.
“eventually the aspect of excessive worry— worry that i wasn’t good enough, worry that i had no business doing what i was doing— took over and i started to feel out of place. this is a feeling i had experienced all my life, but for the first time i felt it in relation to photography.”
FOSTER THE PEOPLE
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CAGE THE ELEPHANT
That evening I remember sitting in a restaurant after the show and realizing not only was this the first time I had eaten that day, but it was also the first time I had stopped to breathe. I attribute this mostly to my focus on the destination as opposed to the journey. It is almost as if my vision narrows when I’m anxious. Just getting through the day in the quickest and most painless way becomes my priority. In reflection it seems simple to say “next time remember to ground yourself” or “stop to smell the roses”; however, when you’re caught between the crossfire of negative thoughts this concept quickly grows more challenging. I forget to eat. I forget to breathe. It’s a cycle. But it’s a cycle that becomes easier with time. I’ve become accustomed to noticing the small ways my mind a body initially begin to grow anxious. From there I divert my attention to something familiar - the sound of my neighbor’s arduous bagpipe practice, the chirping of birds, the bustle of foot traffic across the streets of Boston— something that pulls me back into earth’s gravity. Although I’ve learned a great deal about managing my anxiety, there are still occasions when I drift too far out to pull myself back in: anxiety attacks. In these instances, whether prolonged or momentary, I feel exiled from reality and overcome with the suffocation of worry. In my experience, more often than not, this worry is not even moderately relevant to my current situation. It could pertain to something that happened a decade ago, or perhaps nothing at all. For instance, there was a time I allowed my mind to innocently wander as I waited for a band to grace the stage. Somehow I decided to recall the instance when, in sixth grade, I accidentally pro-
nounced the word “read” as “weed”. To an outsider this might seem mildly amusing yet insignificant; but to me this minuscule occurrence was able to spiral into a life or death scenario. Suddenly the sound of my camera’s shutter went off before I remembered releasing it and a security guard armed with the intimidating appearance of Pixies frontman Black Francis was scolding me for accidentally migrating into one square foot of restricted area. Although I was still in the same photo pit, at the same venue, I woke up with the feeling I was in an entirely different environment. Already in a state of unease, I began to hyperventilate at the thought of my whole career dissolving because for one second I was somewhere I wasn’t meant to be— mentally and physically. As I write this I am forced to recall all the times in which I’ve experienced something of this nature. Some events are more vivid in my memory than others, but most share a common characteristic: I always find an excuse to cover my anxiety. No matter how irrelevant or unbelievable the excuse is, for some reason it seems less embarrassing than the real reason I want to go home. Why is it that I’m programmed to believe anxiety is embarrassing? What do I think will happen if I am honest? Will I lose the job if someone finds out? I don’t know. But what I do know is that I wouldn’t want to work for or alongside someone who would think less of me for being transparent; and I don’t want to continue contributing to the stigma surrounding mental health by omitting or ignoring the truth. So I end this with a promise, to myself and to you, that I am done hiding beneath the covers of a stigma; and I believe my photography will be all the better because of this.
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WRITTEN BY OLIVIA CLARK PHOTOGRAPHY BY REBECKA KANN
In the summer of 2015, MIMI traveled from Sweden to embark on a life changing road trip through California with her family. “It made me realize that there’s so much more to the world than just Sweden. That trip made me want to be more than just me. I guess you could say I fell in love. How cheesy,” she laughs. After returning from her trip, she was inspired by the English language and explored it through YouTube. Innately creative, Mimi realized she could make the kinds of videos she loved watching. YouTube turned into an outlet for her. She began posting videos in 2015. Some peers at school mocked her for speaking English, so she changed her approach. Originally posting music related content, she had a short stint as a “pink, happy, glittery beauty guru”, but it didn’t last. “I felt like that person wasn’t me and it showed. So I stopped making videos that I hated and started making videos I wanted to make.” She returned to singing and two years later released her debut EP I Will Be Okay this past September. “I’ve always been singing and writing music so that became a part of my channel because it has always been a part of me,” she explains. “Sometimes I feel like it’s the only thing I’m good at.” When it comes to her music, Mimi is inspired by everything around her. “But the inspiration for my EP was what I was going through at that time,” she says. “Leaving childhood friends, not really fitting in, wanting to get away and moving on.” It’s like a coming of age story. Going forward, Mimi doesn’t know what part music will play in Mimi’s future, but it will always be a part of her somehow. “I don’t know what the future holds, but I hope to one day return to California.”
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WRITTEN BY NATASA KVESIC PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICAH PEGUES
If one were asked to quickly list some of the most influential Canadian female vocalists, they would most likely start out with the legendary Celine Dion, the revolutionary Alanis Morrissette and round the list out with the powerful Shania Twain. Well, be prepared to add another name to that list: the romantic, smooth crooner, CHARLOTTE CARDIN. Hailing from Montreal, Cardin’s music offers a bilingual trip through failed romances, lust and love. With her work in both French and English, Cardin successfully showcases her versatility and ability to transcend language barriers by evoking a deep, emotional reaction within her listeners. Evoking emotions and self-reflection is something Cardin has made her goal since the humble beginning of her music career. “The first song I wrote was about war and how human beings should love each other rather than kill each other,” Cardin recalled. “I was twelve when I wrote it and it was for a poetry project in my English class. I never performed it, but I recorded it on Garage Band and played it on a CD player in front of the class!” As a young girl, Cardin’s parents were a large influence on her musical intake during those formative years. Even though she didn’t consider music a career for most of her life, taking up things such as modeling when she was 15, her passion for music and it’s storytelling of romance and events of regular people stemmed from listening to artists such as Celine Dion. “I listened to music my whole childhood because my parents are both huge music fans who taught my sister and me to listen carefully and notice lyrics/melodies,” said Cardin. “Celine Dion is the first artist that made me feel incredibly moved by her music and her songs still give me chills.” Cardin’s recent release, Main Girl EP, is chock full of songs that cause the same chills that she attributes to Celine Dion. With simple, bare melodies and passionate lyrics communicating tales of lust and relatable love stories, Cardin makes a powerful formal debut into the music world. When asked about the writing process of this EP, Cardin says that some of the songs had been in the works for the past two to two and a half years. “I can’t write on command… so inspiration usually comes when I’m alone at home. I’ll sit at my Wurlitzer and write music and lyrics at the same time. Language is also never a conscious decision, the song comes out in French or English without me deciding on the language,” Cardin explained. The Main Girl EP does not feature any French songs, but Cardin did release two French singles this year “Les Echardes” and “Faufile” which feature soft instrumentals and her breezy, effortless tone.
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“just to share my music with people from across the world is my main goal, so i intend to keep on pursuing that.”
Since the release of the EP, Cardin has been touring non-stop and most recently has been on tour with Nick Murphy (formerly known as Chet Faker) this fall. She has toured all over Quebec with her band and has now had the chance to venture further into United States, performing her new music to crowds around North America. This tour has been a milestone in many ways for Cardin and her band, which consists of her bassist, drummer, sound man and tour manager. “I’m still adapting to the touring lifestyle. Before this tour, my band and I had never been on the road for over a week,” Cardin said. “It’s been full of adventures, stimulating, amazing and tiring at the same time!” Over the past year, besides preparing for her EP and touring, in September 2016 Cardin had the opportunity to perform at the Global Citizen Concert in Montreal. Global Citizen has a concert each year that is intended to raise money for a foundation, in this case, the Global Citizen concert raised money for Global Health to end AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Cardin was one of the featured musicians that was set to perform at the event, where she was fortunate enough to meet Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and be a part of a noble cause. “It was such an honor to meet our Prime Minister and lend my voice to a beautiful and important organization,” Cardin said. “Global Citizen has made such a huge difference in the world, and being able to be a small part of that global movement was really something.” With her rising stardom and addicting style of music, two essential questions that must be asked of any musician had to be brought forth: “What is currently on your music rotation?” and “If you could collaborate with anybody who is a complete opposite to your current music style, who would it be?” Currently on Cardin’s music rotation is Freudian, Daniel Caesar’s new sultry and smooth album, to which she adds: “EVERYONE SHOULD HEAR IT, IT’S SO GOOD!” As for who she would collaborate with, Cardin says: “The one and only Snoop Dogg.” Let’s hope that collaboration happens in the near future! When it comes to the future of Cardin’s career, anything is possible. So far she has ventured through music, fashion and philanthropy and from the looks of it, it seems as though she has no plans of slowing down. “Just to share my music with people from across the world is my main goal, so I intend to keep on pursuing that,” said Cardin.
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WRITTEN BY MADDI COLE PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY SERYN
One young female artist from Michigan is about to blow up the the pop world in the most genuine and unique way. With a curly bob and an infectious voice, CYN is taking a fresh approach to pop music. Mentored by Katy Perry and recently signed to Unsub Records, in a matter of a couple of years CYN has gone from recording music on her laptop to being in a room with some of the most talented producers in the pop industry. So, how did she do it? How did CYN end up in front of a piano at Katy Perry’s home in California? Well, it wasn’t an easy journey. But it was a journey that surrounded doing what you love, not being afraid to make your voice heard, and never giving up on your dream. Writing and performing music always came naturally to CYN, starting at a very young age she was sure that music would be her life’s work. As a kid, she would constantly be singing out loud to her family, and around the age of 12 she started taking piano lessons that eventually led to the writing of her own music. “When I was probably about 5, my Mom had Jewel’s’ Pieces of You album. I knew all of the songs by heart, I loved the emotion in her voice when she sings.” After hearing and loving Jewel’s music for so much of her childhood, CYN knew that she wanted to make music that would deliver the emotion that she held so close to her heart when listening to music such as Jewel. Actually making music as a career was definitely the dream, but it didn’t come without it’s challenges along the way. “It wasn’t something that I always thought was possible, being from Michigan and not knowing anyone in the industry.” Around the age of 15, CYN learned to record herself on her computer, posting some of her earliest projects out on
Myspace. Thousands of kids every day put their music out on the internet, but it doesn’t always stick. So, what made CYN different? How did she stand out? “Back when Twitter was just becoming a thing, I went to Katy Perry’s California Dreams tour and noticed her opening DJ’s name on the marquee, DJ Skeet Skeet. I thought that maybe he was someone that could connect me to other people.” In a perfect story, she tweets him a demo, he listens and loves it, and boom, CYN is a star. But this is not a totally perfect story. After about 4 years of Cyn sending DJ Skeet Skeet demos, the long awaited email finally came. Katy Perry wanted CYN to come to her home and play some music. “It was so normal and not normal at the same time, it felt like I was playing piano for my grandma, except that it was Katy Perry.” And just like that, Katy Perry fell in love with the voice, the songs, and the personality. She signed CYN with Unsub Records, and it is all just beginning. On Spotify, CYN has three singles out, “Together”, “Something”, and “The Only Lo Lo Lo”. While all three of them will make you fall in love three separate times, “Together” definitely has a different sound, and happens to be the only single CYN has released under Unsub Records. Signing with Unsub Records changed the way that CYN could produce music. “What really contributed to the change was the resources that I have now. I get to be in a room working with really great pop producers. I get to hand pick what tracks I want in my songs instead of looking for tracks that I could work off of. I have some jazzy roots, some funky roots, I have some songs coming out later that are not as pop, but a mix of so many things.”
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CYN takes inspiration from all around her when she writes her music. She definitely takes inspiration from her fellow female artists, including musicians such as Tove Lo and Lorde. “Tove Lo has this thing of like I’m going to do whatever I want. She embraces her sexuality, she’s really firm in her passions, and she’s unapologetic.” Music is not the only place that CYN looks to when writing music. In fact, her love of language drove her desire to write her single, “Together”. “I was really inspired by the one word, ‘together’. I wanted to talk about things that really went together, and I sat and thought hard about the comparisons in the verses. I wanted to do something that made people think as well, about being together in today’s social climate.” CYN strives to make music that is emotional and beautiful, while also relating to her audience that knows every word by heart. Social media has become a place for artists to not only share their journey through music, but also to voice their opinions and make change through their influence. CYN uses Twitter in order to convey some really strong messages, and many of them surround feminism. Being outspoken in a world that can be so cruel is something that CYN really takes to heart, both in her music and in her words. She once tweeted a definition of the word outspoken, nothing else, just the definition left to resonate with the Twitter world. “I have always been outspoken. I think I tweeted this after being at a party, when I was wondering if I say too much? Did I say the wrong thing? Sometimes I have so many ideas coming out of my mouth, and I wonder, should I keep some things to just to myself?” Being outspoken, as a woman, has traditionally been looked down upon, and for CYN, being outspoken is something that comes with grace. “It takes an emotionally smart person to know when to share and when not to share.” Feminism is something that CYN has spent a lot of time thinking about. She once tweeted a page from the book Bad Feminist by Roxanne Gay. Being a “bad feminist” might seem off putting to some people, but as both Roxanne Gay and CYN expressed, no human is perfect, and therefore no feminist can be perfect.
“Feminism is a movement that comes from people, and to expect people to be perfect is ridiculous… You have to know when it’s time to be a strong and outspoken feminist and when it isn’t, there’s a big gray area.” CYN believes it is important to be outspoken and declare yourself a feminist, but also having the emotional and intellectual ability to know when the timing is right to express those beliefs. Young women every day face the hardships that come with trying to make it in the music industry. While everyone’s journey is different, CYN hopes that young women will keep striving to do huge things, no matter what obstacles they have to face to get there. As a young artist who truly made her way through the internet, CYN encourages young artists to take their internet presence seriously. “Right now it is really important to make sure that you have a good internet presence, you want to look like an investment. That doesn’t mean you can’t be yourself, it just means you have to put yourself out there for people to see and hear.” Of course, having an internet presence is not the only advice CYN gives to young artists. She keeps a journal that she tries to practice and work in every day. When she writes, she says that she tries not to give herself any guidelines, she just lets her creativity speak to her and works out the technicalities later on. “Practicing every day is so important; have 5 bad ideas, and maybe the 6th will be a good one.” There is a whole lot in store for CYN in the near future. With Katy Perry as a mentor and all of the talent that is available under Unsub Records, there is no place to go but up for this Michigan born artist. “My mind is on music, I’m looking forward to releasing another single before the EP, maybe some music videos. I have also started rehearsing for live shows, I’m just moving forward with my dream.” While no official tour dates have been released, CYN always encourages her fans to stay up to date with her Twitter page. CYN is on the brink of capturing the entire music industry’s heart with her bubbly voice and outspoken lyrics, and her career is just getting started.
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WRITTEN BY KENDALL BOLAM PHOTOGRAPHY BY NAOHMI MONROE
CHLOE WHITE is an artist, graphic designer, and photographer based in sunny Los Angeles, California. Her skillful eye for design and ability to find beauty in the seemingly small has made her work stand out from others in her profession. In a conversation with Local Wolves, she discusses her hometown, her passion for empowering women, and her best advice for young creatives! When describing her hometown of Williston, Vermont — White recalls a place brimming with color and beauty. “Maybe I’m biased, but I think Vermont is the most beautiful place in the country,” she says. “It’s everything you would imagine and more. I feel very privileged to have grown up in a place that changes so magnificently with each passing month. We were able to spend a lot of time outside in nature doing things like hiking, swimming and snowboarding. Williston is a town of just over 8,000 people; the kids are still able to walk to school and you can’t go to the grocery store without bumping into someone you know. I can’t help but smile as I’m talking about home, because it is something very special.” White recounts fall days full of autumn festivities, giving us a taste of everyday life in her northern state. “My favorite spot is Adams Farm Market. It’s a little farm just down the street from my parent’s house, and there’s an apple orchard where they have an apple picking festival a couple weekends in late September. They have a donut truck during those weekends, and it’s the only time you can get these donuts, but it is one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. As I got older, I spent a lot of time in downtown Burlington, which is the closest thing you’ll
get to a city in Vermont. There are tons of great coffee shops, and in the summer we like to go down and walk along the lake waterfront to watch the sunset. You also can’t miss the Ben & Jerry’s factory if you’re visiting, that’s a must see!” White credits where and how she grew up, as well as her family’s support, for nurturing her love for art and design. She describes her childhood as “this untouchable magic” that provided her with a strong foundation of curiosity and creativity. “My mom used to fill up bowls with acrylic paint in the garage and lay out huge pieces of paper for me to create all the art I wanted, even though I always made a mess! Art is very prominent in Vermont, and because of my parent’s constant support I was never made to feel like it wasn’t something I could pursue. I think growing up in a place like I did, I was able to just be and take everything around me in as opposed to being inundated with constant technology like so many children are today. There’s a simple lifestyle in Vermont, and so I think that kept me humble and grounded now that I’m living in LA.” Having grown up in such a tight-knit community, moving across the country to California was a huge step for White. When discussing her new home, White says, “I love that this city is filled with so many creatives and like-minded people! There’s this feeling in the air of determination and grit that’s almost palpable, like you just know that everyone around you is trying to make it happen. Sometimes I’m driving down Sunset Boulevard on my way home from work, which is pretty normal to me now, but occasionally it will hit me that I did this and this is my life.”
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“ yo ur cr a ft is so meth i ng th a t yo u never s to p thinking a bo ut —you never stop creating. it’s more fun than it is work and i think that’s when you know.”
Highly skilled in art and graphic design, White’s most recent work can be seen at Create & Cultivate—a conference held across the nation that includes a widespread community of women looking to build the career they’ve always dreamed of. White says some of her favorite projects have come from designing for Create & Cultivate. “It’s hard to choose a favorite project because I work on so many different things at a time, but right now I would have to say I’m most proud of my work for our Seattle conference this past September. Having a job as a designer for events is a little surreal, because a lot of what I do ends up coming off the computer screen and out into the world. I made a custom type that was turned into a 12 foot sign for a floral installation that read “Woman With A Plan.” Hundreds and hundreds of women posted pictures of it all over Instagram, including the panelists and keynote speakers. That’s what I get the most satisfaction from—knowing that I can make something and it’s going to add value to someone’s life.” As a career-driven female in today’s society, White’s influence expands far beyond her art and design. When asked if she desires to advocate for female empowerment in the workplace, her answer was a resounding yes! “I am extremely lucky to work for an all-female company like Create & Cultivate where we all support one another at work and in our personal endeavors. There’s so much I learn every single day. It’s beautiful to live in a day and age where so many women are starting businesses and finding success, it’s really encouraging.” Having already landed her dream job at 23, she reminds those searching for success to never stop working for their passion. “I’m still young, but I would tell any woman to pursue whatever sets her heart on fire. I think if you want something badly enough and keep working at it day in and day out, you can have it. Don’t get caught up on the small stuff, maybe you aren’t where you want to be, but every day you’re one step closer to that goal. Remember to appreciate what you’ve already accomplished up until this point.” It took hard work and a whole lot of courage for White to get where she is today! She relays her best advice
to those looking to step out and take a leap of faith in their endeavors. “My advice will always be to go for it—if this is something you think that you want to do then start somewhere! There’s so many resources out there today for people wanting to be in the creative industry. Network—reach out to other people who are in the space that you want to be in. There are so many creatives and ways to be connected, and I think people are so willing to give advice or collaborate. If you are passionate about it, you will know. Your craft is something that you never stop thinking about—you never stop creating. It’s more fun than it is work and I think that’s when you know.” As White moves forward in her career, her influence and voice will continue to reach and impact others. With many exciting ideas and concepts underway, it’s hard for us to keep up! She gave us a rundown of all her upcoming projects. “I just launched my new blog and website chloebystorm.com. I’ve been doing a lot of shoots, creating content and just trying to bring positivity to my readers. I want to share fashion that someone who is 23, just out of college, and has a million student loans can actually afford. I’m really excited about it, and I’ll be posting designs and freebies. I think there are a lot of women who can relate to it! In the past six months I’ve been working on a lot of hand lettering and modern calligraphy work. I’ve done some custom prints for clients, and I’m looking at breaking into the wedding space one day—custom invitation suites, day of items, etc. It’s something I’m working on and looking forward to pursuing further! As for Create & Cultivate… there are lots of big things happening, but you’ll have to stay tuned to find out!” “It’s not about being great, it’s about being good to others.” This is what she reminds herself of on her toughest days—that it’s not about being the best, but bringing joy to those around you. We have no doubt that this is exactly what White will do. Whether it’s through a photograph, a portrait, or a fantastic logo, Chloe White will continue to bring happiness with her amazing gifts and talents.
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WRITTEN BY MORGAN ECKEL / PHOTOGRAPHY BY RICK BHATIA / MAKEUP BY ERIK TORPPE / HAIR BY SAMUEL RODRIGUEZ / STYLING BY TRICIA YANG
From New Girl, to 2 Broke Girls, and even The Big Bang Theory, ALLY MAKI’s most recent project is playing Jess on the new TBS comedy, Wrecked a comedy centered around a group of plane crash survivors adapting to life on a remote island, without the usual comforts we so heavily rely on today. As a fourth generation Japanese American, Maki currently resides in Los Angeles but having grown up in Seattle, Washington. With a love of performing since she could ever remember, Maki was was scouted by a talent manager at 14 and ended up moving to LA to live in an actor house with a bunch of other kids for most of her teen years. When she’s not busy acting you could easily catch her in her own space. “You can probably find me, on any given occasion, binge watching a show comfortably from my couch. Oh man, how do I not make this sound like a dating profile!” When I asked Ally all about her newest and latest project, Wrecked, her answers were filled with nothing but passion. TO SOMEONE WHO’S NEVER SEEN OR HEARD OF WRECKED HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE IT? AM: Wrecked revolves around a group of strangers that crash land on a deserted island and must figure out how to survive together without the creature comforts from home (AKA coffee, social media and family members). The Shipley brothers, who created the show, had this vision to highlight the underdogs, the less capable people that would most likely die on the first day and analyze their stories. It truly is a show about dummies coming together. It is so wacky and weird in the most fantastic way. WAS THE FILMING PROCESS FOR SEASON 2 DIFFERENT THAN SEASON 1? HAVE YOU FELT LIKE YOU’VE PROGRESSED SINCE THE START? AM: With any character, they grow with you and evolve over time. When we shot Season 1, I was still trying to figure Jess out. That was the fun part. You get what is on the page, but a lot of what happens from there is based upon your individual choices, the vision of the creators and chemistry with your fellow actors. There is still that newness for everyone. Season 2, we really begin to know each other intimately. Jess’ little quirks and how she’d react in various situations all come more naturally, paving the way for those organically funny bits between the whole cast. That is the beauty of comedy, when you find those magic moments where you’re so present that something totally unexpected happens.
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DO YOU AND YOUR CHARACTER JESS SHARE ANY SIMILARITIES OR DOES IT FEEL LIKE YOU’RE PORTRAYING A CHARACTER COMPLETELY UNIQUE FROM YOURSELF? AM: I find so much of myself in Jess. She is a total hot mess and never quite gets it right, but I love that about her! She is going through the things every woman faces. Dating, finding her voice and her sexual identity. I really connect with all of that. Flashbacks of all my horrible first dates and relationships with guys that lasted too long all popped up during filming. The scene in the pilot where Todd and Jess are arguing about when to move in together, is a conversation that I have had almost word for word with an ex. She is constantly evolving and learning from her mistakes, as am I. However, Maki’s role on Wrecked has stood out from everything else that she’s achieved and pursued. “Booking Wrecked was life changing for me. It was the first time where I had been given this amazing opportunity to play that All-American girl role I had always dreamed of. The girl that was just going through life and everything that goes along with it. After years of playing secondary characters, this was proof to me that the industry is changing and shattered my own preexisting beliefs on what I could attain as an actress.” The ultimate dream for Ally Maki? “Creating my own content. If I can tell the stories I want to tell, in the way I want to tell them, I will feel like I have really done something.”
“IF I CAN TELL THE STORIES I WANT TO TELL, IN THE WAY I WANT TO TELL THEM, I WILL FEEL LIKE I HAVE REALLY DONE SOMETHING.”
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WRITTEN BY TAYLLOR LEMPHERS PHOTOGRAPHY BY NAOHMI MONROE
Here’s to the life of living paycheck to paycheck. Here’s to the life of taking side-hustle after side-hustle to make it by. And here’s to the life of creating beautiful, wonderful, terrible things, things that make people feel, make people think, and most of all, make people live. Such is the life of the artist. Glamorized as it may seem – images of people sipping black coffee in a trendy espresso bar with their sketch book may come to mind – any of us who live the creative life can tell you that it’s one part incredible, and one part downright frightening. One moment, the instability of it all is exhilarating. The next, we’re craving the neatly carved paths of our friends who chose to be doctors and accountants. If you have the opportunity to meet creative and poet ARIELLE ESTORIA (and I hope you do), you experience the full spectrum of the artist’s life in her presence. Her candidness and openness about the struggle that is the creative journey is so refreshing, and all the while, she infuses a little sparkle and beauty into the mess of it. She can trace the beginnings of her journey as an artist back to her childhood, sharing that she’s always been creatively driven. “I was that kid who dressed up in plastic heels and pranced around making up songs under her alias name ‘Erica Wallace,’” says Estoria, “and then I became that little girl who loved monologues and acting.” She then became a teenager who “fell in love with the art of storytelling in different forms, first with acting and writing.” For Estoria, her thoughts made more sense when they flowed onto paper. She’d often find them spilling out of her mind as tiny quotes and phrases in the margins of her notes.
A few weeks away from college graduation, Estoria reflected on her initial plan for post-grad life. “I was going to continue working at a university investing in young college women. I loved student development and the residence life part of my experience in college, and I wanted to continue that.” But she couldn’t shake the feeling that this plan felt like the ‘wrong’ one. Something else seemed to call her. “I felt this tug that I was supposed to do something a little crazy: be a creative.” Thus began this now three-year journey for Estoria. She’s lost track of how many odd jobs she took on her first year out of college (5... 6?) Much of her pursuit of the creative life was “just diving into everything, saying yes to everything and hoping something good would come of it all,” explains Estoria. “It was unpredictable, hard and I felt like a whirlwind 99.9% of the time (still do) but so much of it involved letting go of my need for control and for a “plan” and it ended up being pretty beautiful in return. I was going to live this unpredictable, crazy life no matter what it took.” And it’s taken quite a lot. Estoria, like any other creative, can testify to just how difficult being an artist can be, far from our romanticized views we held as children and wide-eyed college kids. “It is so freaking hard!” Estoria affirms, “no one really tells you that being your own boss, living that free, creative life is expensive sometimes, and stressful.” She has many crazy stories ranging from scams, to not being paid, to attorneys, to moving in with a family to afford living anywhere near LA. “I have all the stories. They make this building process what it is: crazy and beautiful.”
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Addressing all of her fellow dreamers and doers, Estoria shares the following advice.
1. Just do it, try it all of it. It may not seem like it’s part of what you’re “supposed” to be doing but you never know how the threads will connect and the stones will build. 2. Be okay with failing… like a lot. These are not make it or break it moments they are beautiful moments meant for humble beginnings, be willing to learn and not shut down from them. 3. Always get back up, some days you will feel as though you are being hit with hell and highwater, get back up and keep swinging. 4. Let people help you, don’t let pride get in the way of people showing up for you. 5. Don’t be afraid to ask questions, look silly or say you don’t know. Be honest and then figure it out when you can. 6. Have fun, this could be the most beautiful season of your life, savor it.
To all the aspiring freelancers out there who are hesitant to take the leap, Estoria says, “Well, it’s going to keep driving you crazy if you don’t at least try. You’re always going to wonder ‘What if’ and ‘what could have been.’” When we’re young, Estoria urges, is the opportune time for us to dive into unpredictable and crazy, because we don’t have quite the same obligations and responsibilities that can follow later in life. “This time, however,” Estoria says, “is the perfect time to be just a little bit wild and whimsy.” Creatives often walk the line between incredibly inspired and energized by artistic breakthroughs and enduring crippling fear and self-doubt. Estoria is the first to admit to having many fears. As she lists them off, they’ll likely sound familiar to most of us. “I’m not good enough, not qualified enough, not compelling enough, not skinny enough – overall just not enough of anything in order to be successful or “make it,” whatever that even means,” she says. On top of these universal fears, she daily questions her decision to be an artist, wondering if she should get a “real job,” often mounting to the ultimate question, ‘What am I doing?!’ Some days, I feel capable and killing it, other days I question everything,” shares Estoria, “I combat it with reminding myself, ‘I am exactly where I’m supposed to be’, by listening to and reading all the kind words of encouragement people have said to me after events or interactions with them. I have to constantly remind myself of my truth and not the lies.” As Estoria demonstrates, sometimes in the midst of the crazy and the beautiful that is the creative life, we need a bit of concrete to keep us grounded. First and foremost for Estoria, her beliefs are an anchoring force. “I’m a faith based person, so my faith – who and what I believe in – is literally the reason that I do what I do in terms of purpose and calling. It’s also what keeps me doing it in the first place.” Relationships have also played a huge part in both lifting Estoria up and keeping her feet firmly on the ground.
“I have a really rad community who supports me so so well,” gushes Estoria, “they are my lighthouses when I’ve stared at my screen too long and only see darkness, they are the little rockets underneath me to keep soaring, they are grocery and gas money – they are my everything. They keep me sane and grounded, they remind me daily of why I’m doing what I’m doing and that I am exactly where I should be.” Just as the creative life is messy, so is Estoria’s process for crafting her poetry. She even has a special term for this seemingly random event: “spilling.” “It’s usually just a poem that comes out on a walk, while driving, or during a conversation with someone,” shares Estoria. “I usually have music on in both of those scenarios,” she adds. “Inspiration comes from me imagining that I am sitting and having a conversation with others, and that’s when something usually sparks! But why does she create in the first place? “I lived for so long feeling unworthy and small,” shares Estoria, “I lived for so long biting my tongue and living out of smallness – when I first started doing poetry I spoke to mostly women. There was something so special and intimate about being able to pour into young women and remind them of the worth we’ve been told for so long didn’t exist.” Poetry was a gateway for Estoria to craft “words not for the ears but for the soul,” words that could connect with people and give them the permission to feel, to feel deeply and not apologize for it. “I realized that I had a gift and a calling over my life. I wanted to walk in that confidently and hopefully show others how to do the same.” As she faces an unknown future (one that involves the makings of a second album), Arielle Estoria’s anthem of beauty and joy in the midst of uncertainty brings the kind of hope all artists need, telling us to just keep taking the next step, and stay on the lookout for the magic in the mess.
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WRITTEN BY SADIE BELL PHOTOGRAPHY BY HANIFAH MOHAMMAD
The lotus flower is known for its sheer grace, rising up from the mud of its surrounding, only to bloom and radiate beauty on its own. It is a symbol for overcoming adversity, a token to represent the gratification in facing life’s trials and tribulations, and an analogy wrapped up dearly in the Scottish singer/songwriter NINA NESBITT who is on the verge of blossoming in her own right as an artist.
With support behind her and her personal creative drive, Nesbitt had found the lyrics that she needed to sing, the song that she felt compelled to write, or her recent lead single “The Moments I’m Missing.” Nesbitt said as she was writing for other artists,
“i wanted to be the one singing the
Though Nesbitt was thrust into the pop music industry at just 17 following a chance discovery from Ed Sheeran that helped the recording artist’s infectious bedroom-penned songs see the light of the U.K. charts, her forthcoming record is an effort to lay her soul bare– a project deduced from personal growth and self-discovery that is eager to be shared with the world.
songs at the end of the day, but i
Nesbitt explained that while she has released a number of EPs and worked with other artists in the studio since her 2014 full-length debut Peroxide, for much of last year she suffered from depression before she heard the music inside herself that became her upcoming album and inspired her to release new solo work. “I pretty much sat in my bedroom with the curtains shut for about four months,” she said. “I’ve never experienced anything like it. Luckily, I had really supportive people around me that encouraged me to get back to music, and then I actually became the happiest and most creative I’ve been for a while because I was so determined to get out of the horrible place I was in.”
Eventually, though, this became the haunting, deeply autobiography ballad she created– a divergence in her career to embrace a minimalistic pop sound wholly immersed in the complex, multifaceted artist she has proven to be. She said, “I think I was just trying to figure out who I was and where my strengths were [with my debut], and I think the record reflects that. So, in some ways, it’s very true to who I was at the time. But this new record is a lot more cohesive and literally makes me want to cry every time I hear it because it’s the closest thing to having some sort of child. I personally just [wanted] to make the record version of me,” she said.
knew if i were to do that, the song had to come from me and my life.”
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“Maybe sounds quite self indulgent, but I’ve grown up loving those types of artists, so it would always bother me if I never did it myself. I want people to have the same experience listening to mine as I did with others– talking about things people maybe think but never say.” With songs like “The Moments I’m Missing,” Nesbitt’s latest release “The Best You Had,” and surely her entire record, this individually entrenched honesty was a writing style she sought to pursue. Rather than writing a song any melodic voice could sing, these songs were meant to be hers. They were songs that became gifts to herself and with time, to the world. “I have two different types of writing. Writing the best song with the best melodies, the catchiest hooks, a relatable lyric– something that could be sung by anyone,” she said, pointing to tracks like her hit “Chewing Gum.” “Then I have writing what I want to say and exactly how I feel… [writing a catchy song doesn’t] give the listener an incentive to invest in the artist. It’s just a great sing along song. The records that I like are not of a certain genre, they’re just honest and I feel connected to the artist. I want to know everything about them. I love the stories.” Because Nesbitt took time to invest in herself and her work, the recording artist glistens on her new music– her voice like a lustrous daydream, lovingly inviting the listener into her narrative of the now.
Nesbitt is writing for the strong girl she has grown to love, one who is constantly discovering exactly who she is, pursuing a career fearlessly and independently in a male-dominated field, and falling in and out of love as she learns to love herself and the moments she comes by. Though Nesbitt faced a whirlwind of success upon the tail end of her teenhood, she said she has grown immensely as an individual and artist as the years pass by, even if at first she “felt like she knew it all” before her career even really began. Holding onto the starry-eyed emerging artist from Edinburgh she once was and looking at tomorrow, she said, “It’s hard to be the same person as you were when you were 16. It’s good to keep looking forward and finding a new person within you as you grow. It’s the same for anyone, change is a natural thing. I guess reflecting and looking back has made me realize that I’m actually really proud of what I’ve achieved so far, but I still have a lot more things that I want to cross off my list,” she said. With this and the winding path life has paved for Nesbitt in mind, one can see that though she may have already made her way to the surface of the pool, coming up through the mud, she is about to blossom. A lotus flower flourishing, petal by petal, as Nesbitt shares further talent and vulnerability, song by song. A phoenix rising from the ashes, or even simply a lotus mystically making its way through the muck.
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WRITTEN BY JASMINE RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY ASHLEY SERYN CREATIVE DIRECTION BY SOPHIA KHOM
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AMY LEE emerges as a refreshingly honest voice in the YouTube community. She highlights intersectional feminism on her channel Vagabond Youth and her cozy “AM with Amy” vlogs offer the kind advice you search for in an older sister. Through intaking her videos, Lee provides her audience with a space for mental restoration from any turmoil they are experiencing. The evidence of Lee’s connected presence with her audience is found within her video’s comments. Within the comment section, her viewers share their own experiences with friendship troubles, identify with her own difficulties, and express their own guiding words. Lee shares her drive for making her visual content more authentic. “As someone who likes to live with intention, it was hard to see what my goal was at the end day when I was posting random hauls or lookbooks. And even though I still love creating and sharing that content, I think I felt like something – something more authentic – was missing. It is 100% paramount for me to connect with my viewers on a different level than just to post and push products at them.” She continues on the creation for the “AM with Amy” series that divulges on everything from dealing with trust issues to the vulnerability that comes from social anxiety. “So when I started the AM with Amy, I felt not only fulfilled but overjoyed that people also loved this diversity of content. I love sitting down every Monday, and I love having a space in which I can be vulnerable and where my community is open and loving. I am so blessed in that way. I couldn’t have asked for a better community.” The Reformation-esque personal style that Lee has is reminiscent of minimalist Parisian women walking the streets with an iced coffee in hand. Lee shares her year-round fashion staples. “A staple all-year round for me is a classic leather jacket.
Hm, also a good red lip. And a really, really comfortable, thick turtleneck sweater (I have at least 5!) And all gold, gold, gold (statement accessories).” Lee’s videos open up conversation about issues that the normative YouTube spaces rarely tackle. Lee is a 23-year-old Korean content creator who got her Communications degree from UCLA, so she focuses on voicing for the empowerment of girls, no matter what background they come from. Lee states that it is crucial to amplify the voices of minorities who don’t get the same platform as others do. “Regardless of gender or race or sexuality or any arbitrary category we as humans put ourselves in, I feel that it is so important for people, and I mean all people, to feel like they can achieve anything they want in this lifetime.” She intertwines the law of attraction with the importance of empowering those who are around you. “I am such a firm believer in the law of attraction– for every action put out into the universe, there is a reaction. What you put out into the world comes back to you ultimately. And I think the fact that most people of color are disadvantaged in institutions and laws in the U.S. is exactly why people genuinely really need to empower themselves to keep moving forward. Manifest your craziest dreams. If Oprah, a woman of color growing up in the 1960s South after the aftermath of Jim Crow segregation, can do it, so can you. So can I. I really truly believe that.” The process of trying to place yourself in society as a person of color can often cement yourself in a state of confusion when you grow up watching media that is predominantly white. Lee stated in her September favorites video that she has an unsurmounted amount of respect for director, Issa Rae, who gives enriched narratives to the people of color that star in her HBO show, Insecure.
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“I think representation in traditional media is incredibly necessary and is an area that is also incredibly lacking. I love what Issa is doing and what Aziz is doing with Master of None. It is so important for the world to see the stories and the intersectionality of people that isn’t typically told on TV or film. Girls by Lena Dunham was cool for example, but it was very white-centric and very cisgender-focused.” She details the importance of including more representation of people of color that aren’t limited to stereotypical roles. “It would be awesome to see more of the stories of people of color, people with different sexual backgrounds, people who are able-bodied and who are not, on TV and film. Because those are real stories. Of you, me, everyone.” The Los Angeles community is full of young women that affirm their voices to empower others. Lee says that her friend and fellow YouTuber–Jenn Im– was one of the creative forces that influenced her to lend her own voice to the YouTube community. “I feel very incredibly blessed to know and have powerful women as friends or peers in this industry. I am definitely inspired by them and their drive and what they have achieved. Jenn to me is one of the pioneers of fashion YouTubing– she’s kind of a legend. So it’s amazing to be around her energy and her work ethic!” Lee shares that YouTube was a safe space for her to temporarily escape the lack of diversity found in mass media. “I think one of the main reasons I fled to YouTube for an escape was because I didn’t see anyone on traditional media that looked like me. Being an Asian American woman, I didn’t even know what makeup looked good on me because every Maybelline or L’Oréal ad was of someone who looked so different from me.” She continues on feeling disoriented as a woman of color within her own country. “I think YouTubers get a lot of flak for being friends with so many people of the same race but I think that’s because we are overcompensating for what we didn’t all grow up with. We weren’t surrounded by billboards and ad campaigns (and still aren’t) with Asian faces. All I can say is– it feels weird to be an alien in your own home country, so when I went on YouTube, I turned to Jenn’s content because she looked familiar and liked the same interests! I am glad to have such strong representation online from these women.” Lee’s uplifting aura took years of fully grounding herself and getting in-tune with how she wanted to present herself on YouTube. Her form of self-expression came through filming and editing her own videos, and her self-knowledge came with reading books that dealt with spirituality. Lee states that the internal pressures that stem from the demanding career as a YouTuber took a while to overcome. “I think for a long time, I had this wall up. I wanted to create this persona of me being a super cool, laidback fashionable girl. Because I felt
like, in fashion, it wasn’t cool or appropriate to be goofy or dorky. I really wanted my viewers to see me a certain way, but something about that was so incredibly inauthentic. Because if you know me in real life, I am the biggest dork! For me, the creative concepts flowed more seamlessly when I started to break that wall down.” She claims that by breaking this veil that was obstructing her from truly being herself was she able to produce content that was representative of who she was. “I try to smile more or leave my bloopers in my lookbooks too now. That was always my biggest internal pressure, personally. But otherwise, being creative on YouTube is so freeing because you could literally post a 10-minute video of you sleeping and no one would say that that’s “wrong” content. I love how open and bizarre the content on YouTube can be.” She lends her words of advice to young girls who want to create their own YouTube channels, but are demotivated due to rising insecurities. “Just do it! Nothing is stopping you but yourself. Here’s the thing: You can fail at something you hate doing, so you might as well try to do something you love. I truly believe if you are in it for the right reasons (and not fame, money, free products, etc.), you shouldn’t let your insecurities or doubt get in the way. Go out there and create!” Lee communicates that what truly changed her perspective on life was being enlightened by books. “I really love “The Book of Awakening” by Mark Nepo, the “Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu, and “The Four Agreements” by Don Miguel Ruiz. Overall, I have a genuine love and curiosity for spirituality and those books definitely helped catapult me into an amazing journey of spirituality.” When she looks forward to the future, Lee closes her eyes and imagines traveling the world. She unfurls to Local Wolves her aspirations for the upcoming year. “I am a huge fan of traveling and I love producing content overseas, because not only is it an amazing experience but I also feel more connected to my audience from different parts of the world. I also just genuinely love to create content for brands I love and use, so when I put these two together, it’s just a force to be reckoned with! Therefore, in the next year, I would love to travel and create awesome content for brands and just be able to connect with my viewers from all over the world. But overall, projects or not, I am just excited and motivated to be progressing more and more each day, as cheesy as that sounds.” Amy Lee transcends the boundaries of YouTube by developing videos that capture your undivided attention and change the drawing board of your own life. Through her vlogs, she details her own experiences that advise you to steer clear from frail friendships, strengthens the confidence of her viewers, and celebrates the voices of women of color. Her sincerity clings to her words as she fulfills her viewers with raw words of empowerment and encouragement.
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Dear Amy, You’ve told your mom how you “want to cut off your boobs!” because it seems as though you’ve gotten your period much earlier than everybody else and no one in the second grade has BOOBS yet! Your mom will also never let you forget you’ve said such a statement. Your mom will be the most important person in your life, but some of the things she advises will make an indelible mark on your soul, for better or worse. I hope you learn to take what you need, but also to find the strength to kindly disagree when you do. You will spend most of your days creating– Xangas, Myspace layouts, Geocities, a thousand AOL usernames. Funbagsx3 is not a cute username, it’s a weird sexual innuendo, so get rid of it. xxxBabyCartwheelerxxx is the best, most sensible choice for your age. Plus you do love to cartwheel! I want to tell you that your fascination with the internet, all things digital, will manifest into something larger than life, something you cannot even comprehend. You will not only find a community and a space, filled with other beautiful digital creations and works of art, but also you will learn how to make a career of it. So keep doing it. Keep doing what you love. And hug your mom lots when she buys you your first DSLR and MacBook to edit videos with, at 17. She’ll always be your number one fan. When it comes to school and boys, you will prioritize books over butterflies. You’ll always be that way, but don’t forget to have fun. You like to stress over eveeerything. You’ll struggle a lot with body image, and find something wrong with essentially every body part on you. It doesn’t get easier– you just get smarter and stronger. You will question why God, or whichever greater force in the Universe, didn’t make you look like everyone else. I can’t say you will learn to love your monolids, but you will learn to hate them less. Most importantly, you will learn to be a voice, not a victim.
Overall, you’re doing just fine. Keep on keeping on. Amy Lee
WRITTEN BY LEAH LU PHOTOGRAPHY BY PAULINE NGUYEN
Choosing to risk all ease in exchange for telling your truth is central to what it means to be an artist. That process does not come without cyclic bouts of doubt and desolation, and the ones who are brave enough to take it on are the ones that can reach their hands to those who have yet to see the other side – a side that feels like lightness, love and liberation.
MELODY HANSEN traverses through life with a sponge-like buoyancy. She is a meticulous observer of both her outside circumstances and internal biases and beliefs. And when it comes to relaying those discoveries, Hansen doesn’t hold back – as an illustrator, graphic designer, art director, musician and writer, she finds comfort and power in brazenly sharing her questions, confusion and anger through everything she creates. “I’ve come to realize that the only way truth can really set me free is if I face it,” she said. “I believe that for every aspect of my life, no matter how painful the truth may be – and honestly, the more painful the experience I have to face, the more exciting and liberating that truth will be.” There is a sense of extravagance that comes with speaking about growth in retrospect. Its viciousness and intensity is often either romanticized or played down. Most of the time, the conversation is avoided altogether – it is easier, safer, to stake the familiar and accept it as the only viable truth. But according to Hansen, everything we think we understand and have figured out is laughably limited by our singular worldviews. “I was raised in a Christian home, went to Sunday School and developed my own relationship with God,” said Hansen. “I believed very easily. I was told God made me, loves me, and I’m nothing without Him. It was simple and it made sense to me. The more I talked to God, the more this became tangible. And in my conversations with God, I’d ask a lot of questions, but few times would I ask him about what I was taught in church. Being older now, I’m at a place where I’m revisiting everything that I’ve learned, trying to navigate through this mess we’ve made mixing beliefs that come from our personal fears and uncertainties and truth.” It is understandable, then, that this entirely conscientious act of turning inward and becoming more aware could cause anyone to become cynical. In the thick of it all, Hansen’s voice remains refreshingly emboldening. Her sentiments are not blindly optimistic; instead, they are resilient in the wake of trial.
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“When the world is yelling nonsense at you from all directions, it takes courage to be still and say, ‘I hope,’” she said. “I know how crucial it is for me to be courageous when creating, and I want to do everything I can so that this courage and boldness can be shared with others so they, in return, can create and say, ‘I hope, too.’” Hansen is perhaps best known for her colorful, pen-scratched and paint-swatched illustrations. Her designs can be found on album covers, apparel, and various products including books. Her own publications, Because, Honestly and Because, Honestly: A Recollection, are a series she began with the intention of inviting other voices into the conversation. “I spent a lot of my teenage years keeping a lot to myself because I was afraid to speak up, and this series broke some of those walls. It gave me an outlet to say what I feared,” she said. “Very early on into the series, I already imagined other people being involved. As much as these illustrations were about me and my experiences, they were telling stories that others were going through.” And while she is one of the rapidly-growing names in the illustration and design scene, Hansen’s first exposure to creating art came through music. She currently writes songs with her sister in their band, Sonagur. “My parents gave me a microphone when I was two, and since then, I’d like to believe singing and performing have been a part of me,” she said.
“i’ve come to realize that the only way truth can really set me free is if I face it.”
“Music and art are separate projects in the sense that they require me to get in different moods for each one.” Though the execution of each medium is vastly different, both share the need for an expertise in technicality, artistry and emotional intelligence. “In both music and art, it’s my past experiences, observations, and how I feel that inspire the work. What I write – how I word my thoughts – is very crucial to what I create, whatever form it may be. It’s like each form of expression is an extension of that initial thought; everything connects in the end,” she stated. Hansen is not shying away from breaking into even more forms of expression. Pursuing a long-time passion for acting is on her radar while she continues working towards widening her reach with everything that she is already involved in. “More music. New songs. New products. I’m hoping to have a lot more products created in the near future and more pop-ups; I love meeting people face-to-face. I want people to interact with my work, too, so to have my work exhibited is a dream of mine,” she said. “The future is very unknown but very exciting.” The practice of recalibration, of taking a hard look at our conditions and contexts and eagerly foraging for more, is what Hansen does best. There is a duality of comfort and conviction in her art that reminds us that we are never quite done being remade. And the one surefire way to optimize it all? As one of Hansen’s illustrations states, “Be human to the fullest.”
WORK BY MELODY HANSEN
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WRITTEN BY JASMINE RODRIGUEZ PHOTOGRAPHY BY DUSTIN STAFFORD
FAYE ORLOVE’s continuous resilience to give a platform for marginalized voices interweaves with her ambition to draw pop culture figures. Surrounded by pastel pinks and succulents, the non-profit Junior High, welcomes any individual as a communal space for comfort and as a display for their artistic endeavors. Los Angeles has reigned itself as a destination for the arts, yet Orlove’s Junior High, located in Hollywood, has become a self-transformative experience where the art you witness or display widens your mentality and creativity. A compassion for animation was never spurred upon by an instance of scribbling a crayon on her parent’s walls, art had always instinctively captured her. Orlove states, “My favorite movie as a kid was called Little Nemo, and I was obsessed with the animation and specifically the way these pastries in the movie were drawn. I have a lot of weird memories like that, where most people can probably recall lines from movies, I can recall very specific animation choices like the way the Powerpuff Girls would hold things in their “hands” with no fingers.” While flashbacks of nostalgia recollect in her mind she says, “I was just a weird artistic kid, there wasn’t a moment or a specific movie that inspired me wholly. I have always seen the world in a very visual way, and me consuming art turned into creating my own artwork in a really natural way. That’s probably a boring answer. But there really was no pre and post art for me. Art has always been part of who I am.” Throughout Junior High and Orlove’s own Instagram, one views an aesthetic composed of elements of minimalism and delicate color choices. Previously, her signature designs were featured on Teen Vogue, The Fader, and Brie Larson’s The Unicorn Store opening and closing credit sequences. The drawings in The Unicorn Store credits paint picturesque visions of a 90s childhood bedroom, with teddy bears and chunky necklaces placed along the frames. Orlove says, “Every object in the credits is from the movie! The set design and Brie’s direction were so whimsical and perfectly evocative of that 90s childhood bedroom set in contrast to sterile office universe.” Orlove has contributed various animations for music videos, including Mitski’s “Townie,” she recalls that her earliest form of artistic expression was found in music, “Music was my first foray into self-expression. Whether I was buying Paramore posters online, or choreographing Shania Twain dance routines in my friend’s basement, I always connected to certain songs and musicians. I’m a really visual person, so it made sense to pair visuals and personal aesthetics with sound.
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“Being exposed to different narratives has made me a far more empathetic person.” Music videos are definitely my favorite form of artistic expression and my favorite vice in creating work that [hopefully] resonates.” While concentrating on how to align her artistic visions with the musician she is collaborating with, Orlove says, “Generally, my work centers around a certain artist or song, so I’ll listen to it on repeat while I draw. If the project isn’t music specific, I usually listen to the same albums I listened to as a kid, to be honest. Dixie Chicks, Spice Girls, New Found Glory. Writing this now, I’m realizing that I probably do that unconsciously as a way to reconnect to some sense of child-like imagination.” Orlove opened the Junior High gallery space with the belief that it would become an area where displaying your art can be openly accessible. Orlove’s enlightened awareness to project the talents of individuals who constantly battle oppression led to the vitality of Junior High. Orlove currently funds Junior High through a Kickstarter, where people pledge money to help keep the narratives within the Junior High community continuously progressing. As for how the Junior High artists have personally impacted her, Orlove proudly states, “Being exposed to different narratives has made me a far more empathetic person. I find I relate to people more, I can talk to people more easily. I find that learning about different stories and different cultures and different views than my own has made me more loving and warm and open. Traits that I don’t normally attribute to myself. I think if more people were exposed to a wider array of human representation, we’d be a far more empathetic species. Art is the answer to war. I truly believe that.” Los Angeles is teeming with creative individuals wanting to immerse themselves in the artistic community. Although Orlove would love to see more communities open up spaces like Junior High, she believes that Junior High will likely remain just a Los Angeles project. “I think more communities truly need a safe space like Junior High. Junior High has always been a Los Angeles adventure, but my transparency with the project is meant to act as a inspiration for other folks to open similar spaces. I try to be really open and accessible in terms of what my day to day is like, how much Junior High costs to facilitate, some of the mistakes I’ve made, etc. I’m hoping this helps other people create their own community spaces, so they can see that if I can do it they can too. That I have no special qualifications, that I’m not exceptional at
anything, that really all it takes is a lot of dedication, vision, and support,” she states. Orlove finds herself inspired by the accomplished women amongst Los Angeles that impact her artistic imagination. She comments on the glimmers of talent within the LA community, “Oh my god, I mean. I’m just constantly motivated and pushed to try to mediums and new collaborations. I’ve always been drawn to ambitious people, and Los Angeles has no shortage of women getting shit done. It’s so inspiring and so exciting. Sometimes, it feels like I’m the worst at everything I do. Compared to a million other animators and illustrators and business owners, like why even try? But those are the times when I just sink into myself and cry for a minute and watch SVU and try to kind of, actively unlearn that in order for me to succeed everyone else has to fail. That’s bullshit. Capitalism is bullshit.” The creativity productivity that pushes Orlove to design art pieces is also where she derives her nirvana. Orlove expresses, “Sitting with my cat at my computer, with an iced coffee and a playlist my boyfriend made me, working on whatever is in my inbox that day, is the most therapeutic vice I have. I’m lucky that I love work. That being productive comforts me. I couldn’t live with myself otherwise.” Orlove speaks on her recent collaboration with the striking musician Vagabon, stating “ I’m working on a music video right now for Vagabon that is very in line with my aesthetics and interests. I’m really lucky that I get to work with artists that are more interested in collaboration than full direction so a lot of my own vision is in the work I make! It’s about a girl alone in her bedroom. Feeling lonely but also feeling safe, feeling happy but also feeling cold. I relate a lot to the song, to our joint vision, I think given the time and money to animate my own film, it would be a lot like what Laetitia and I are working on, but probably with a bunch of different girls and their own bedroom narratives instead of just the one.” Orlove has engraved a meaningful impact among the Los Angeles community, by spotlighting marginalized voices through a majestic art space. Meanwhile running Junior High, she creates engaging drawings that captivate our childlike naivete and remind us of Lisa Frank coloring books. Orlove aspires to keep her Junior High community thriving and aims to enlighten her audience with many more vivacious Bob Ross and Kim Kardashian drawings.
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WRITTEN BY MACKENZIE RAFFERTY PHOTOGRAPHY BY NAOHMI MONROE
California girl, DANIELLE NAGEL, is a fashion mogul and female entrepreneur inspiring and empowering women on a day-today basis. Nagel, as an artist, business owner and creative mastermind, has cultivated a community and network to help her in her mission to empower young women. Nagel’s portfolio of projects and businesses are: an art apparel line, Dazey La; Dazey Zine, a blog space to promote female entrepreneurs; Dazey Lady Shop, a section on the website to shop their products; and Biz Babez, her second company which is a female co-working space in LA made for collaboration and women-fueled creativity. Fashion has always been a large part of her life. She started designing when she was extremely young – and I mean very young, baby doll clothing young. Later, fashion morphed into a form a self-expression during her shy and awkward middleschool years. This admiration for fashion followed Nagel into her professional life with the creation of Dazey LA. Dazey LA is Nagel’s art apparel line that focuses on the mission of women empowerment. Dazey LA had humble and simple beginnings. Nagel started the line by adorning shirts with positive, feminist slogans to remind the wearer, “Hey, you’re awesome and you got this.” Dazey LA launched right around the same time as the Instagram Story feature came out. On the first day, she showcased her entire design process from start to finish on the Instagram Story feature and it immediately sparked conversation among fellow female entrepreneurs.
Dazey LA, as a clothing line, is really inspired by the life and environment of California. Being a Cali-based girl, she is extremely inspired by her home-town landscape. Nagel loves gathering inspiration by walking around the “beautiful, dirty, diverse, and creative city” of LA. On top of the awesome California-laid back vibe of the clothing line, there’s also a large environmental inspiration and component behind the line. When someone purchases from Dazey, she noted, they’re supporting “small businesses, female entrepreneurship, ethically made goods, locally made goods, and furthering the slow fashion movement.” Dazey is a stark opposite of the fastfashion of today. Dazey Tee’s are hand printed and sewn right in LA by somebody being paid fair and ethical wages working in a safe, clean, and creative environment. Every year fast fashion leads to mass amounts of materials and clothing being left in landfills. Nagel aims to change that environmental nightmare– “It’s not a very common practice, and we want to lead the way.” In response to the conversation sparked by her apparel line, Nagel launched the Dazey Zine. The Zine is an online blog space online “where we shoot, promote, and interview fellow female entrepreneurs.” The Zine created a space to celebrate female empowerment, success, and drive through a creative and exciting platform. Through her business pursuits, Nagel aimed to break down the stereotype of competitive women working against each other. Instead, she aimed to cultivate a culture of collaboration, mutual support, and female teamwork.
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As Nagel’s portfolio of successes and triumphs grew, so too did her network of female entrepreneurs. As her network expanded, she noticed the shared struggles of female business owners and creatives. Many of these women, she noted, “shared the same struggles with isolation when working from home.” This realization prompted Danielle to create her second company, Biz Babez. Biz Babez is an “all-female co-working space downtown [LA] made for inspirations, collaboration, and community.” The space, which will launch this month, was a collaborative project between Nagel and one of her freelance design clients, Taryn. The open floor-plan, mid-century modern furniture, Moroccan rugs, and greenery make for a warm and nurturing space for creative. She noted, it has more of the feel of a coffee house than an office. Biz Babez is an extremely personal and important project for Nagel. She has a very deep personal connection to the concept of connecting and inspiring fellow female entrepreneurs. With first-hand experience in starting her own business, she knows how difficult it can be to establish yourself. The hardest part of starting your own business, she noted, is gathering enough courage to take the first step – after that, “the rest isn’t so bad.” But, for Nagel, garnering that level of courage took years. She noted, “I think the hardest part for most entrepreneurs is struggling with the doubts and fears.” To combat this, Danielle learned to approach situations methodically–one step at a time. She also stressed the importance of being easy on yourself and not expecting too much too soon. Her struggles however, have helped her learn more about herself and learn how to ask and accept help from others. Now, she has taken her years of experience and morphed it into a project that aims to help young female entrepreneurs with the same struggles. Through all of her business endeavors, Nagel stands “for women choosing to be brave and share their ideas and
talents with the world – we like to call these women Dazey Ladies. The community she has cultivated through Biz Babez has connected her to “modern-day kick-ass” ladies who help motivate and inspire her. There’s an obvious feminist underdone that links all of Nagel’s business endeavors together. She has always considered herself— “the cut-and-dry definition,” according to Nagel, “is equality of the genders.” Growing up as a girl with a lot of drive and opinions, she constantly felt like others were trying to squash that power within her. This left her feeling like “there was something wrong... making me feel like I shouldn’t speak up or pursue my dreams.” To Nagel, this is what she’s fighting for. Nagel commented, “It’s not as obvious as laws or policy, but it is just as important. We need to raise women to be leaders and voices for our generation. We are here, we are strong, and we want to be taken seriously.” She channels this energy through her businesses in hopes of giving young girls more positive female role models. Danielle Nagel isn’t just a female entrepreneur–she is a role model and beacon of hope for young girls who find themselves underprivileged or lost in the shuffle of a patriarchal system. Nagel, through her personal successes, has given so much back to the universe. Her emphasis on sustainable fashion, reaches far beyond the scope of female empowerment but touches on a crucial societal movement. The world needs female empowerment, and role models like Nagel to inspire the next generation of kick-ass young girls who can lead the world. If you’re interested in working alongside Nagel at the BizBabez loft, look no further! BizBabez is a collective looking for young female creatives and entrepreneurs who use Instagram as their main marketing tool. If that sounds a lot like you, you can check out more information about the community and partnership rates at bizbabez.la!
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"we need to raise women to be leaders and voices for our generation. we are here, we are strong, and we want to be taken seriously.â€?
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WRITTEN BY MICHELLE LEDESMA PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAREN HERNANDEZ
Everyone has a purpose. You may not exactly know what fuels the fire within you, but it’s in deep beneath the surface. Whether it’s to follow your dream in becoming the next New York Times best-selling author or to finally overcome a personal bout you’ve been trying to fight, a fragment of your life is missing and you’re willing to go beyond depths to explore what it is. AILEEN XU is a content creator, author, singer, and actress who has seen it all, but it wasn’t easy to establish her ground in the beginning. She’s interned at various companies and tried to find ways to strengthen her ability in order to showcase her talents, yet none of them were able to visibly make a change in her life and craft. After finishing college, she decided to pursue whatever opportunities she felt passionate about rather than pursuing those that she felt wouldn’t benefit her. And so she did. Since then, she’s released an album and performed all over NYC and LA, acted on the big screen, became a spokesperson, and traveled all around the world. Xu approaches life with an interestingly fresh perspective. Having already found her purpose, she uses her past experiences as a way to teach others what to do when the feelings of uncertainty start to pave through. She came upon the phrase “artist of life” when the struggles of ending college without a clue in the world of what to do next came crashing down. An artist of life is a person who uses their power to create a life they’ve always wanted.
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“ my per so na l pur p o s e i s to b e ki nd , h a ve fun, and crea t e bea ut i ful a nd mea ni ngful th i ngs .”
“Honestly I think people tend to overcomplicate “finding their purpose” — I don’t blame them because I totally did when I first started out. Now, I see purpose like this: “Use what you have. Do what you can.” In other words, how can I use my talents and strengths to add value to the world? The first step is to understand who you are, what you’re good at and what you enjoy doing. The second step is to ask: what kind of impact do you want to have on others? It can be so simple and broad—it doesn’t have to be detailed at all. “I’m here to use my creativity to spread joy to others. The simpler it is, the better, because it will be able to apply to different experiences throughout your life. My personal purpose is to be kind, have fun, and create beautiful and meaningful things.” Xu has since created a platform called Lavendaire to help inform the world of the internet. Lavendaire is a personal growth and lifestyle design website that includes everything from helpful tips and resources to YouTube GRWM videos and podcasts with artists, writers, CEOs, and much more. When asked about sharing Lavendaire with the world, she replied “I struggled a lot in my early twenties over not knowing what to do with my life. I had always been ambitious and wanted to do “big things” with my life — I followed all the steps that society teaches us in order to be “successful”: do well in school, get involved in extracurricular activities and community service, get into a good college, get a high paying job. All the steps were pretty
much laid out for me and I was just trekking along this path. But after doing a handful of internships that introduced me to the corporate world, I knew deep down that this was not the life I wanted. My world came crashing down when I didn’t know what my “next step” would be after college—I felt like I had all the options in the world yet I had no idea which was the right one. This is when I decided to not take any traditional job after graduation and set off to explore all the creative paths that interested me. I set off to explore who I was, what I loved and what life I wanted to live. Through this experience, I realized that life is so malleable. We can really shape our lives in any way that we want, and that was so exciting. I created a life for myself full of creativity, travel and discovery—because I didn’t have a 9-5 job, I had the flexibility to say yes to all of these odd jobs and opportunities that made my life so much more interesting than it would have been otherwise. In those years, I learned how to be an artist of life. I started Lavendaire to share this discovery and all the insights and lessons that came from my experience so far. I had gained so much knowledge in personal growth from reading books and studying people I admired online. I was totally a sponge during those years. Lavendaire was my outlet to share all that I was learning. At the time, it was hard to find people my age talking about self help on YouTube—I was like, “Why isn’t anyone talking about this?” I knew that there must have been others my age going through the same struggles, so I decided to start sharing.”
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Of course it’s not easy figuring out who we are and understanding the very parts of us that make us different at first glance. We often use our mistakes as a threshold to remind ourselves what we’ve done and what we’re capable of doing in the future. Failure is an intimidating word because it has the power to do many things. It can break you, heal you, hurt you, and inform you. Life is about making mistakes. In order to better your craft, you have to fail in order to improve. Xu has a mantra for failure and includes many ways to combat the stigma that surrounds failure on Lavendaire. She says, “I tell myself “Everything is going to be okay, because everything is always going to be okay.” Regardless of what happens, as long as I’m living and breathing, I’m okay. I’ve learned that humans are so resilient; we can bounce back from anything. I also make sure to ask myself “What did I learn from this?” and “What good can come from this?” It’s important to see failure as part of the process. Failure isn’t something we should be afraid of. Failure is a stepping stone to success—when you fail, you learn from it, so you can do better next time. A key part of this is to avoid attaching failure with your self-worth. Just because you fail doesn’t mean you’re any less of a person. It doesn’t mean you’re not smart or talented.”
“failure happens to everyone who tries. the only way to avoid failure is to not try. and when you’re not trying,
On Xu’s website, Lavendaire, you can find tips on understanding yourself and improving your life. It’s almost like a huge online guide book to read when you need a little push and shove in the right direction. When I asked Xu about a tip she could give to creatives that they may not already know, she replied, “It’s not about how good your work is, it’s about how consistently you show up and work on your craft. Creatives often get down when their art doesn’t meet their high expectations, but what they should be doing is focusing not on how good their work is (or whether people will like it) but on how consistently they show up to work. Consistency and perseverance always win in the long term, because after constantly showing up, your art inevitably improves. It’s not about who’s the most talented, but who can stay in the game the longest and outlast all the others—think of all the creatives who get disappointed in their work or lack of progress and give up too soon.” You can fail a million times, but the one time you succeed will change your outlook on life. Many people don’t know how to fail because they’re so caught up on doing it right the first time. In the process of failing you might find a version of your failure to be a work of art. Giving up is never the answer because you’ll never know until you try. Don’t let procrastination get the best of you nor let it affect the work you create. Be confident, be strong, and fulfill your dreams to make them a reality. As Henry David Thoreau once said, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams! Live the life you’ve imagined.” Maybe then you’ll find out exactly who you’re meant to be.
you’re already failing.”
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PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING BY DUSTIN STAFFORD WRITTEN WORDS BY MISAKO ENVELA
What fills your heart with the most joy? What do you feel, with every inch of your soul, that you were put on this earth to do? What is the life that you want to create for yourself? Take a moment to think about it. Now, answer this for me: Are you pursuing that passion or taking the necessary steps to create the life you fully deserve to live? I’d love to assume that all of you reading this answered that with a stern “YES”, but If you’re anything like I was, and at times still am, you may not have. And why is that? I believe society pushes us to value social acceptance over self acceptance, causing us to constantly doubt and question ourselves. As kids we’re so confident and fully embrace the beauty of our dreams and imaginations, but over time we’re programmed to rely on the judgements of other people before moving forward in our lives. We open our ears wide for outside opinions while simultaneously silencing the voice that means the most; the voice within. I can say with 100% certainty that I believe we ALL possess the power to create the lives we’ve always wanted. Regardless of our gender, race, age, socioeconomic background, etc. If you believe in yourself and your dreams then that is all you need to begin pursuing them. Stop waiting for that meaningless external approval or for someone to tell you that you’re “ready”. The only approval you need resides within your own heart, and the moment you believe in something is the moment you are ready. That’s not to say that it will happen over night or that you will have all of the answers right then and there, but you do not have to wait for anyone’s approval to take the first step. Not to mention, with the advent of our perpetually expanding digital world, the ability to learn, master and cultivate whatever our hearts’ desire is right at our fingertips. That’s exactly how this entire photoshoot came to fruition; Dustin and I got tired of waiting for someone to give us permission to create and instead we just did. We should all attack our dreams with a sort of DIY attitude, accept the fact no one is going to create our dreams for us, and realize that we all have the ability to achieve anything and everything. It’s human nature to want the people we love and respect to believe in our dreams as much as we do, but when it comes down to it the only person who has to believe in those dreams is the dreamer; you.
MODEL: AVA WARDROBE BY LOS ANGELES APPAREL & BUNNY HOLIDAY PHOTOGRAPHY & STYLING BY MARTIN CANTOS
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PHOTOGRAPHY BY BEA OYSTER MUSIC SISTER STYLING BY TAYLOR KONDO MUSIC SISTER WARDROBE BY BAMBOO SKY
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BEHIND THE WORK COMMUNITY COORDINATOR COFFEEFORERIN.COM / @COFFEEFORERIN ILLUSTRATIONS BY MEGAN KATE POTTER
ON REPEAT “Second Hand Rose” by Barbra Streisand.
CELEB CRUSH Penn Badgley!
DREAM DESTINATION Before I die, I want to spend one year living in Paris.
ON YOUR FOLLOW RADAR Man Repeller because their fearless fashion posts inspire me to rock things I never thought I could.
YOUR HOROSCOPE SIGN Libra! I’m a very indecisive, justice-driven, and a total hopeless romantic.
LOCAL GEM Ho’Brah in Brooklyn, New York. Delicious California-style tacos and the best guacamole I’ve ever had!
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i love having a space in which i can be vulnerable
and where my community is open and loving