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y childhood memories consisted of playing dress-up, singing karaoke to traditional Cambodian music and my love for being in the kitchen and cooking new recipes. Growing up into adulthood in my early 20s is still a ‘work in progress’ where I finished the milestones of graduating from high school and recently from university (Go Beach!). I still have major plans to travel to Australia, Europe and road trip across the United States. Adulthood is filled with finding your own path to happiness, learning from the good, the bad and the ugly. Trust me, I can go on about my experience in middle school especially being the only student in majority of classes that didn’t ‘opt-out’ from wearing uniforms so I had to tuck in my collared shirts and sadly, there was no way to make it look hip. Or in high school, where I had to volunteer at a homecoming fair and I wore my homemade shirt decorated with glitter (talk about a disaster). Yes, I did have a fair share of embarrasing moments but I’ve learn to just laugh it off and accept the fact that yes, I appreciate my creative mindset and who cares what others may think. The 50th issue’s theme is ‘coming of age’ and I want to thank every single contributor, staff member, photographer and even you, the reader for supporting us. Cheers to more creative and inspiring content!

Cathrine Khom

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

Lettering by Leah Lu Illustration by Laura Filas


classics 08









take care


the orange peel


safety pinned


wolfie submissions



features 34

art to heal




abi koh


miguel limon

54 60

artist statement vivian v


rachel crow


tara chandra


evan tan


raya encheva

ISSUE 50 / VIVIAN V local wolves is an online and print based publication delving into the most creative minds from the world of arts, entertainment and culture. the publication is driven by a passion for the best coverage and photography to create an adaptive aesthetic. SAY HELLO / LET’S CHAT general info@localwolves.com press press@localwolves.com get involved community@localwolves.com

wolfie team founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom copy editor sophia khom community coordinator erin mcdowell marketing coordinator elizabeth eidanizadeh music curator sena cheung hair / makeup jessie yarborough stylist katie qian social media nicole tillotson web design jesus acosta front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo helena kopet design / illustration kelsey cordutsky, christine ennis, laura filas, izzy lamb, lisa lok, leah lu, bethany roesler contributing writers sadie bell, kendall bolam, ashley bulayo, olivia clark, meghan duncan, morgan eckel, maria elena, madisen kuhn, natasa kvesic, hanna la salvia, michelle ledesma, tayllor lemphers, leah lu, chloe luthringshausen, t’keya marquez, 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, emellia nguyen, bran santos, myrah sarwar, sarah ratner, lhoycel marie teope, ashley yu

many thanks abi koh @adventuresofabi san francisco, ca

raya encheva @rayawashere new york, ny

alexa frankovitch @alexafrankovitch pittsburgh, pa

tara chandra @tarachandra_ sydney, au

evan tan @funkvantan los angeles, ca

tora @toramusic bryon bay, au

juila fletcher @juliaef_ baltimore, md

vivian v @viviannnv seattle, wa

miguel limon @mgllmn chicago, il


project consent @projectconsent worldwide rachel crow @iamrachelcrow los angeles, ca

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


playlist + J U LY 2 0 1 7 +



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munchies + FARM GIRL +

coverage by liberty mendez

Nestled just off the bustling pastel haven that is Portobello in Notting Hill lies Farm Girl, a healthy holistic café with a penchant for instagramable interiors. I was lucky enough to sit down with the Farm Girl herself that is Rose Mann to discover more about the hidden gem of Notting Hill that is the café. In a city full of McDonald’s and KFC this “cozy, charming, quirky and fun” café is one that Londoners cherish due to their healthy foods, friendly atmosphere and local produce. Rose grew up in Australia, “I grew up on a farm with a big veggie garden in an open air with fresh produce. It was always really important and the produce that wasn’t fresh we’d get from local markets.” So even from the very beginning Rose learnt that healthy local produce is key, even their local butcher knows where every piece of meat is from.


Farm Girl’s menu is what gets people talking. Benoit, their chef and the mastermind behind the dishes, used to be the private chef for a well-known British footballer’s family (I’m sure you can guess who) and after swiftly took on the challenge of designing the cafes incredible menu. In particular, he is the genius behind the vegan BLT. Rose mentions “In the kitchen before Farm Girl was built he had coconut flesh with beautiful spices and the kitchen smelt amazing and came out these crispy coconut chips that tasted like bacon and so the famous vegan BLT was born. It’s a great project for him so he helped us build it and other sites, he’s part of the team.”

Rose’s favorite dish is the pink salad (watermelon and kale) and the standard favorite of the public is avocado toast (obviously) but a firm favorite of mine is the delicious vegan and gluten free doughnuts, does that mean they’re healthy then? I guarantee you that you will have seen the Farm Girl statement pink table on your Instagram feed at least twice a day (it’s just as iconic as the blue door in the film Notting Hill)! Their chic interior with an Australian vibe wouldn’t be complete without these two little round shabby chic pink tables that literally have queues of people waiting to sit at them. Rose tells hilarious tales of times where girls have fallen off chairs taking pictures of them and taken so long to photograph the beautiful food and drink that it’s gone cold before they can eat it. “Just eat your food and stop taking photos, most of the time we get quite sad because people don’t even eat the food. But Instagram has been amazing I never thought it would have been so good. It’s everyone else though, I thought that our Instagram is totally from our fans like people just take the most amazing pictures. ”The tables actually came around by accident. “They were grey and I always thought they were so boring, that’s the pink from the toilets. One night they had a staff meeting I was in the background just painting them and then all of a sudden they’ve become this iconic image.” If you’re in West London and need amazing coffee and equally as delicious healthy local food, Farm Girl is the place to be, you can even bring your dog along too (little doggy treats given)! I guarantee your Instagram will be sorted for the rest of the month! Location 59a Portobello Rd London, UK W11 3DB

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Known to many simply as the “Steel City,” PITTSBURGH, PENNSYLVANIA was once a booming industrial metropolis focused on providing the country with resources like steel, glass, and aluminum. However, when America’s deindustrialization ripped away the city’s blue-collar roots, residents were left pining for something to grasp on to. As a result, Pittsburgh was left with two things: a gorgeously historical city and a population of strong, loyal residents. Located just on the edge of Appalachia, Pittsburgh is thought by many to be part of industrial coal-town America. In reality, it is actually an idea-hub, pushing innovation and creativity through housing tech-companies like Google, Uber, and DuoLingo, and promoting a thriving culture centered on theater, film, music, and public art. No matter what your interests include, there is always something to do in Pittsburgh, whether that be visiting an art museum or the botanical gardens, or simply wandering through the markets in the Strip District to discover the best Italian espresso or some homemade salsa. The city has managed to find an incredible balance between old and new, driving forward entrepreneurial efforts while keeping true to its commonwealth identity.

Peppered with tall stone towers and high-ceilinged cathedrals, Pittsburgh is an architect’s dream. In an attempt to ground the city after its uprooting in the 1980’s, hundred of structures were deemed historical landmarks and the city began repurposing rather than rebuilding. Post offices became museums, churches became concert venues, industrial factories became apartment lofts. They repaired cobblestone streets, covered blank brick walls with bright murals, and filled in the gaps with huge parks and community gardens, making this sprawling city seem more like a cozy neighborhood. And while all of these things ring true in making this an incredibly unique city, my favorite thing about the ‘Burg is the incredible unity it’s residents have. Pittsburghers are not just loyal to sports teams and family lineage — we are loyal to Pittsburgh as a whole. We find connection with anyone who is tied to this place, whether they’ve lived here for their entire lives or relocated just a few weeks prior. We take pride in our history, our culture, our french-fry-topped sandwiches. We find new solutions and support big ideas. We defend our past and work for our future. We educate, we create, we lead, we grow. But most of all, we welcome you to our beautiful home.

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

As a 23 year old, I've officially entered my mid-early twenties and boy, do I feel it. I can confidently say that I’ve learned more about myself in the past three years than I have my whole life and that says a lot about the 20s. Being in this age group is like constantly being reminded of how young and old you are. Sometimes the word “adult" itself sounds a bit ludicrous when I use it to describe myself. Although, just the sight of pre-teens does make me feel a bit grandma-like. This idea of being in-between has been on my mind a lot the past few months and I’ve come to terms with the fact that the 20s may be the ultimate limbo. Its like what my friend used to tell me: we, as young adults, have to carry around all of these different experiences, places and moments without actually having a physical space for them, all while our idea of “home” slowly changes. Despite the constant teeter tottering that is my life, I do feel confident that as the days go by, I find myself making decisions and acting in ways that my younger self would never have imagined I would be capable of. When I moved away from home at the age of 19, I honestly didn’t know what to expect from “adult-hood.” Even today I still feel a bit unsure. I think the most important thing to do is become aware of the small victories that growing up entails, whether its shopping for your own groceries or paying rent without fuss. Growing up definitely takes time. No matter how unprepared you may feel, things will fall into place and the so-called “real world” will not be as intimidating as you think.


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I was raised by superheroes, but they didn’t wear capes, or tights, or colorful masks—they wore loud high heels, lip liner, and strong perfume; khakis, hair gel, and shiny wristwatches. My parents were invincible. They were Good. They were pretty much God. I trusted them with everything I had, and I believed and followed what they told me without question. Carrots make your eyesight better. Christianity is the only way. Tattoos are tacky. If you have sex before marriage, you will regret it for the rest of your life. Liberals are idiots. Always write thank you cards. Keep your fingernails short. Santa is real. The older I got, the more I began to question these principles, until all the sudden, I woke up and realized that my parents were not perfect. They are not superheroes; they are not God—they are horrifically, beautifully, and simply human. I grew up Catholic, discovered what it meant to be “born again” in middle school, and firmly embraced the Christian faith as a teenager. I was always very interested in religion and spirituality. I’d go to religious education and weekday Bible studies without being asked or dragged out the door. I’d go on mission trips, Christian summer camps, and read the Bible every day without posting an Instagram photo of my coffee/ scripture set-up—although, my Christianity defined much of my online presence as a sixteen and seventeen-year-old. I had fully put my identity in being a follower of Jesus. It was genuine, personal, and all-consuming. In my first year of “adulthood,” I began exploring my beliefs and discovering a different path for myself. I started to question things I had blindly accepted before and realized this wasn’t something that I could put genuine faith in anymore—my heart and my mind did not agree with the lifestyle I had been living for so many years. For a while, I was in denial. I felt like I was unable to escape this life that had been established for me—


that if I wanted to explore other ways of living, I would be met with judgment and condemnation by my parents... and I wasn’t totally wrong. My mom was accepting and supportive of my individuality, but once I opened up to my father about my changed beliefs and decided to move in with my boyfriend for the summer, he cut me off because of my “sinful” lifestyle. I was suddenly left to put myself through college and became almost entirely financially independent at twenty (he continued to pay for my insurance). After a sheltered upbringing of incredible privilege, this was a major shock. I’d never been taught how to manage money or do taxes—I was left to fend for myself and figure it out as I went along, trying to keep it all together both externally and internally. When your childhood superhero becomes someone who hurts you, your whole world flips upside down. My dad and I had always been close, especially in my later teen years, so losing his approval over something that made me a happier and more empowered person was earth-shattering. I was confident in my life choices—I knew that I had to live my truth rather than going through the motions for the approval and financial support of my dad—but that didn’t make it hurt any less. It felt awful to have his view of me shift from once perfect daughter to a sinful disappointment. I wanted him to understand, but he proved that his Christian faith (and possibly reputation) was more important than making me feel secure, accepted, and loved. And I know he sees it differently than I do, never in a million years would he deny loving me any less—but that’s what his actions told me, and I listened, brokenhearted.

But this is not a sob story. This is a story of becoming. Being severed from the security of a once relatively comfortable and closed-off life was the best thing to ever happen to me. It allowed me to fully embrace the love of a man who I once thought a relationship with would be impossible because of our differing spiritual beliefs. It allowed me to see the strength and resilience I had within myself when the rug was swept out from under me. It allowed me to finally, openly accept my bisexuality. It has opened a whole new world of possibility where I don’t feel afraid to explore different ideas and beliefs. I am free to run wild, naked, with tattooed limbs and long fingernails, scrape my knees, get back up, and try again, without fear of disapproval—because I have become an individual, and my life is entirely up to me. And adulthood doesn’t mean instant understanding or stability. You will always be growing, changing, and discovering new truths for the rest of your life. Embrace the flux. The best way to live is authentically. Nothing feels better than living a life you believe in and are proud of; a life that you chose. There is no sense of guilt, obligation, or constraint—you can choose a lifestyle that is solely motivated by pure intentions. You are free to explore and embrace life on your terms, without fear. A life of “going through the motions” should not be an option, because, holy shit, life is short. We cannot waste it being anyone but our truest selves. You really grow up when you must depend on yourself for mostly everything; when your parents’ opinions are just that—opinions, not demands, that you can take into consideration and decide for yourself. Look inward. Shut out all the chatter for a moment and listen to what your soul desires.

My dad and I have since reconnected. He still states that he disapproves of my choices, but because I am now an autonomous being, he respects my ability to make my own decisions. He shows me that he loves me by still paying my phone bill, sending me kind texts throughout the week, and telling me to let my boyfriend know he says, “hi.” Now, I live in California, across the country from all family and familiarity, and I’m happy as hell. I’m living my truth. Growing up made me appreciate my family more and recognize my parents as imperfect humans rather than superheroes. I’m able to show more compassion and expect less, while still loving them deeply. Hard shit makes you grow up fast. And I know my story is entirely mine, that this ability to break free from your support system is not possible for everyone—at least not in the same exact way. But we all can find a way to sacrifice comfort and stability for freedom and truth. Living my truth—not my parents’, not my peers’—is what set me free. Now, I am my own superhero. Take care, Madisen

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I think of you often. So many of the things happening to you right now will continue to be of importance in the future. I know, I know. That doesn’t sound like the best thing. Sometimes it’s not. But these experiences you’re having, and the lessons you’re learning will shape who you are in the best of ways. You don’t know this now, but you’re black. You’re blind to this because that’s how society has taught you to treat your differences for so long. You’ve learned when to blend in to keep people comfortable and when to stand out to make people like you. However, you’ve never fully been proud of that thing called your skin because it makes you feel like a sore thumb. One day, though, all of this will change. This part of your identity will be very important to you. So important that you’ll write about it a lot. It’ll become a passion of yours that you just can’t seem to shut up about. You’ll wonder how you were ever oblivious to this beautiful thing about yourself. This thing that holds such much weight and history and glory. You’re also a feminist. You always have been, but you don’t have the words for it yet. This is why you’re always insisting on opening doors for yourself before men can open them for you. (Just so you know, you can be a strong woman and still accept acts of chivalry. You’ll get there.) Sometimes boys will make fun of you for your independent spirit, and you’ll be confused by this. You’ll wonder, Why am I being mocked for who I am? Later you’ll learn that these boys were simply uncomfortable with the idea of a woman having the audacity to believe that she can do anything he can. Speaking of boys, they don’t really get better. They just get hairier and more complicated. You’ll still spend most of your college years decoding text messages and constantly wondering if he like-likes you or if he’s just really nice. You know how people always tell you that boys are probably just “intimidated” by you? They still say that. And it’s still annoying. Just know, it’s okay that you haven’t had a real boyfriend yet. Whether or not you’ve dated someone isn’t some sort of rite of passage. You’ll still learn and grow on your own. You’ll start getting to know yourself. And trust me, you’re pretty great. 22

You’ll change what you want to do with your life more times than you can count. Right now you want to be a screenwriter. Next year you’ll want to be a teacher in the inner city. After that you’ll want to be a podcast host. Eventually someone will ask you to write for their magazine and you’ll start to think you want to be a freelance writer. (Future us is probably laughing right now.) Everyone is going to have an opinion about what they think you should do. They’ll try to give you advice and some of it is good advice. But eventually you’ll learn to filter what you can from the outside voices and really listen to your own. Because that’s the important one. Get ready because there are a lot of phenomenal people waiting to meet you at the intersections of your lives. There are countless friends, mentors, and family-figures who listen to and understand you. You’ll find the older sister you’ve always wanted and the soulmate kind of friends you always needed. Sometimes you’ll have these moments where you just can’t contain your gratitude for these people. You’ll often find yourself crying while writing a birthday card, or in the car as you leave the apartment of a friend who’s moving away. (This might be hard to believe but future you cries a lot more often than you do now.) These people are so important to you and you’ll often wonder if they truly know this. I sure hope they do. I wish I could end this letter by saying something cheesy like, “Trust me, it gets better.” However, I’m not quite sure that it does. It sort of just keeps going. You keep living life. You keep learning about yourself and the world. Of course, you’ll always want more. It’ll be tempting to only look to the future, never truly soaking in the beauty of the present moment. But your life will be more fulfilling when you learn to express gratitude for every day as it comes. So, keep your head up. Breathe easy. Exhale loudly. Take up space. Spread those hands. Give of yourself. Let others give to you. Soak up every blessing that falls into your lap. Your feet are moving and they’re taking you to a good place. Sincerely, Celeste


The girls of indie rock band Hinds do it best when it comes to that just rolled out of bed look on a hot summer morning, throwing on the first crumpled giant t-shirt laying on the floor they find—and still looking like the coolest kid in the room. What they wear on stage feels like what they would wear to hang out with some friends on a Thursday night, making the whole vibe of their music feel like a house show starter kit ( just add cheap beer). The key to drawing from the archetypal Hinds girl look is wearing what’s easy and comfortable and adding detailed layers over top. Perhaps it also means taking pieces considered typically “masculine” and injecting whatever sort of girlish charm you feel like that day. Take an oversized, super soft sports tee with high waisted men’s trousers and add lacy socks, a few scrunchies on your wrist and a pair of clunky sneakers. A thin, loose dress is another relaxed look of choice—it’s the perfect base to throw a bright colored tank top or t-shirt underneath. Whatever you wear this summer, may your t-shirts be big and your sneakers dirty, and nights long and full of the sweetness of being young. COVERAGE BY MEGHAN DUNCAN PHOTOGRAPHY BY DANIELLE ERNST BANNER BY LAURA FILAS


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coming of age + WOLFIE SUBMISSIONS +

“Coming of Age” refers to the transition from childhood to adulthood. The moments that define your entrance into the adult world can have a significant impact on who you are and how you share your talents with the world. CURATED BY ERIN MCDOWELL / ILLUSTRATION BY LAURA FILAS I was the kid who talked to herself. My childhood was spent crying out bloody conquests, reciting magical potions, and detailing wrenching romances. My teenage years brought with them an obsessive craving of beauty coupled with an overwhelming desire to become somebody magnificent. This, in addition to an inevitable broken heart, led to an over pour of things to say. Thus my coming of age was more or less just learning how to ‘talk out loud’ in ink. Tucking words into the crevices of my sentences instead of the tip of my tongue. I get less strange looks that way. – DOMINIQUE DEFOE / CASTLE ROCK, CO I am coming of age. Coming in the present participle, meaning that I am still growing and cultivating myself. My peers would eagerly and bravely proclaim “when I grow up…” and count down the days until they would attend middle school, then high school, and now college. I shared the excitement, but with a wariness, a cautiousness, a bit of fear. I didn’t know who I am, I was unsure of the future, and everything seemed to be a big looming question mark. As I began to journal though, throughout my junior year, I slowly discovered my voice. If you asked me who I am, I still cannot give you a confident answer. However, I can assure you that my future is no longer a confusing question mark, but rather a big, bold exclamation point, encouraging me to grow, and grow some more. – HAERI KIM / IRVINE, CA Growing up is something that we all want to do, until we get there. What we don’t realize is that the journey to adulthood is merely a blink. The beauty of youth stems from innocence. While the years pass, it doesn’t cross our mind that these days are fleeting and that we must cherish them! To cherish the laughs, and the tears, is to embrace being young. And being young holds treasures that can’t be matched by adulthood. The journey to 18 really is all that, but we don’t realize it until it’s too late. – JASMYNE BELL / SAN DIEGO, CA

As much as you ‘come of age’ when you turn seventeen, turning seventeen has been a turning point for me. I used to think I’d always live my life in Hong Kong, where it’s safe and recognizable. With everything out there in the world, I’ve realized I want to be able to climb out of my safety zone to experience and learn. I want to build a life that’s more ‘fuck yes!’ instead of ‘oh god no!’. – HAZEL LEUNG / HONG KONG, CN I grew up loving art, but never imagined it could be a profession. Eight months ago, I was working a crazy, fun, and exhausting TV marketing job. Every night, though, I illustrated. Long story short, I eventually decided to quit my job to try illustration fulltime. Now or never, right? Within four months of taking the plunge, one of my illustrations went viral with reposts by Hillary Clinton, Alicia Keys, and others. A freelance job at Refinery29 turned into a full-time position and now I’m illustrating every day, my style is growing and evolving, and I know I’m working towards my happiest, most creative life. – LOUISA CANNELL / BROOKLYN, NY Coming of age as an artist is a lifelong experience. As we grow as humans, we redefine our art, and as we grow as artists, our art redefines us. When I first came of age, I was a 3-year-old with blushing cheeks arranging all of my parents’ pots and pans on our linoleum kitchen floor, drumming away to the rhythm of a fresh youth. My most recent coming of age is when I was sitting in a humble Hollywood coffee shop (sounds like an oxymoron, I know) transmuting my life changing love and heartbreak into countless poems, when I realized I had the spark of a cohesive full-length book in my hands. I was only ever after catharsis, but I ended up stumbling into the next chapter of myself. It’s become increasingly difficult to define who I am as solely a writer, or a musician, or a photographer, and I think using umbrella terms like storyteller or creative are more accurate for me. It’s approaching songwriting from an authorial standpoint, or writing poetry that feels like a melody or a color palette, that I’m able to be my most creatively expressive self and where it feels the most honest to who I am. For so long I tried to create in the same ways that those who inspired me created, when only recently the past couple years I’ve learned to create in the way that’s intrinsically the most “me”. – PURIYA MIRZAMOHAMMADI / LOS ANGLES, CA

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In time, there is a moment where I could physically feel myself shifting into the person I was meant to be creatively and mentally. Upon reaching that moment, there were doubts and inner demons I wrestled with trying to convince me otherwise. I officially became the old soul that I am today. After realizing that I was no longer the little girl I had once known and loved, I started embracing the older version of myself I transitioned into. The version who loves B&W films, listening to Frank Sinatra, writing poetry, reading scripts and being unapologetically herself. – MIYA ZOEE COCHRAN / ATLANTA, GA I’ve been photographing my friends in their own bedrooms for a while now, and I’d like to submit some of them for your “coming of age” story. I love looking at peoples' bedrooms because they give away so much of their owner's character. A person's bedroom is their most comfortable space— a place where they will create their best ideas, retreat to when upset, or spend late nights reading or texting someone they love. To me a teenager’s bedroom is the best way to really see how they will grow into themselves and develop their own personality. – MICHELLE SHARP / SANTA BARBARA, CA (PHOTOS BELOW)

It is only when we reach our lowest point that we truly find out who we are. We have to learn to set aside our egos, our insecurities, and any doubts that we may have. When I first got into photography, I struggled because of how socially anxious I was. I thought that I would never make any impressions with my work. I said, “screw it” and dove head first into this world and emerged a new person. I now get to meet new people every day and travel to wherever my heart desires. – ALBERTO ENRIQUE VILLA / SACRAMENTO, CA (PHOTO ABOVE) I have written a lot of empowering pieces about the importance of being self-sufficient in the past, but having turned 18 this year and being considered a somewhat more official ‘adult’ in modern society, the most bizarre, paradoxical thing has happened. I have come to the conclusion that real courage is seen in the way you allow others to see you. I say ‘allow’ because most of the time, we do not give permission for ourselves to be authentic. We create an ideal image that we project into the world, or sometimes we distance ourselves. The problem with that is, we will never find real happiness because profound connections to other humans are derived from honesty, from vulnerability. You will never do justice to yourself if you don’t share your ideas, your love, and your truth with those around you. – SELINA YE / VANCOUVER, BC






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art to heal + LO C A L W O LV E S X P R O J E C T C O N S E N T +

A collaborative effort of Local Wolves and Project Consent to celebrate how survivors are using art to find peace and healing within themselves and their artistic expression. They were able to show us the ways to use art to heal—anything from taking care of yourself, supporting other survivors, or celebrating your own survivor status.

Growing up, I was always the type of girl who had a Plan (capital letter, serious business kind of plan). I was the 11-yearold with big dreams, who meticulously wrote down every single aspiration in a map-like fashion, drawing lines from point A to point B in her Target notebook. Since as long as I could remember, I wanted to be a magazine editor, like Ann Shoket of Seventeen. I wanted to create content that inspired and provoked. I wanted my voice to resonate with teenagers and adults alike. I wanted to famously change the way that the world saw fashion magazines and to prove that style and smarts go hand in hand. These were big dreams to have growing up, but they felt right. Even long before I stepped foot in the publishing industry, I knew that I wanted to work with art. Creativity and imagination and storytelling was essential to my identity — how could I ever pursue anything else?

my growing up — that I started Project Consent. What initially began as a whisper of an organization turned into a rallying call and as the years pass by, it’s a call that grows louder everyday with every voice that joins in.

But the world doesn’t always abide by the plans of a little girl. I learned that years later, when horror hit and it felt like the whole universe was ripped out under me. I experienced firsthand what it was like to undergo trauma at someone else’s hand, to be violated and dehumanized and used as if your agency never existed. All of my big dreams of living in the big city a la Carrie Bradshaw seemed so meager after that. It was a couple years later before the word ‘create’ even crossed my mind again. It was on a whim — on the reminiscences of

This July marks the 3-year anniversary of Project Consent. As I think back to my childhood and my dreams then, I can’t help but think of how this organization has changed me: as an artist, as a storyteller, as a person. Project Consent, in ways more than one, is my coming of age tale. I am more than ready to embark on a future with all of you as we continue to fight for change, for hope, and for justice.

After Project Consent, art took on a new meaning for me. It became less about performance and presentation and more about meaning and purpose instead. I saw the way art banded survivors together. Art healed. Art conquered. Art became the shining beacon for anyone who’s ever lost a part of themselves to sexual assault and art brought them to us. In my time as director of Project Consent, I’ve witnessed the strength and honesty and beauty of survivors. I am honored that together — staffers, survivors, and supporters alike — we have created a space where art is celebrated to celebrate survivors.

On your side always, Sara Li

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HEADLINES / My first kiss was with a criminal. It's not like I knew that at the time, nor did I know that things would go south. We had a relationship that spanned 440 miles of the east coast. Nicholas lived in a small town where everybody knew their neighbors almost too well. A small town where a single whisper escaped from one's mouth was passed to everybody. Nicholas lived in Latrobe. I, on the other hand lived in Charlotte, a city that indulged individualism. I would have to climb to the top of a building and scream my lungs out if I wanted a single soul to hear my voice. We came from opposite worlds. He was my prince. To him, I was his Ariel. I was nothing but a fantasy to him. We strangely accommodated for each other's emotional needs. This was why we were perfect for each other, at the time. He came down south to visit me. It was the end of my freshman year of high school. This was not our first trip together, but it was our longest. He was staying for the week. 167 hours of just him and I. Alas, my hand could be held once again by my sweetheart. My one and only, my forever and always. I stood at the baggage claim with a welcome sign and a sixpack of Coke as masses swarmed past me in a rush from all directions. I must have stood there in the center of the terminal for what seemed like hours. Was his plane delayed? But then he fluttered in my direction. In that moment, I was a beaming fluorescent light, and he was an attracted moth. He picked me up and spun me around in the air; gently placed me down to lean me back and smack a big one on me. I had the love bug. That was definitely the case when I took him to the most romantic place in town, Amelie's. It was the closest thing we had to the city of love, without actually having to flying to France. So that exactly where I took him. I led him to the rickety, old fence that stood outside of that cafĂŠ. That was where we sealed our commitment. To this day, a royal blue lock still needs to be bolt cut from that damned fence. When we got home that night, he knelt down on one knee and presented a pearl promise ring to me. I started getting visions of growing old together, but I also got visions of us growing fat together too... I was sixteen. Was there really any need for this type of commitment right now? We had only been going out for five months. He knew I wanted to take things slow. I had laid out all of my boundaries day one of our relationship. I heard


nothing but begs and pleads to wear it and accept it. Where I was hesitant, silence had followed his imploring. This brewed a fit within him. I had no desires to have a blowout fight start off our week together. Therefore I stumbled into accepting his offer. It was the only yes given to him that entire week. And this was just the beginning of the shakes of the quake. In the eyes of everyone around us, the week was uneventful. All we really did that week was watch Netflix in the TV room with the door wide open. A fundamental rule set by all parents with daughters: always leave door wide open. But in reality, that week was too eventful. And an open door sure as hell wasn't going to save me. His ACT test was the day after he went back home to Latrobe. It took everything in me not to dump him as I was taking him to the airport. The relationship that I had with him was completely different by the end of the week. I knew that our breakup would be detrimental to Nick's testing score. I in no way wanted to spoil his score. After all, I knew that this test would determine his future college and career. But by the time he got into his mother's car to return home from the testing session, I had called him. "Nicholas, there's one of three things that happen whenever I tell you no. You get mad, sad or you pull the silent treatment on me. Those are your tactics of manipulation. I'm done. I can't do this anymore." I could tell that he was at a loss of words, especially with his own mother right by his side, listening to me on speakerphone. He mumbled and fumbled around with his words, but he couldn't muster up a complete phrase to defend himself. Click. I had hung up on him. No words out of his mouth could ever justify what he had done to me. It's done with at last, I thought, but this was just the start of something new. Months later, headlines crossed TV screens and papers. Various words and phrases meandered the campus of Greater Latrobe High School: molester, rapist, and potential school shooter. He had victimized a fourteen-year-old girl in the auditorium of his school, then threatened to take the life of the girl along with others in the school. Word ran to me that Nicholas Scott Carroll, my ex-boyfriend was arrested. This was just the start of the waves. The start of the tsunami. – ANONYMOUS / CHARLOTTE, NC

i used to feel like my body was not mine my relationship with it was damaged and i tried my hardest to reclaim it but i never felt in control someone took it long ago and they never gave it back i spent too much time confused too young to understand but i knew what was happening wasn't right i couldn't say a thing because maybe i would be at fault so i let them take never protested never asked hoping one day my body would come back to me and it did but it took time years of repeating to myself that i was enough that it wasn't my fault that sometimes people hurt others when they have been hurt what's important, is to know you are magnificent your body is yours you are all your own and above all you will not continue the circle of hurt. – DB/ANONYMOUS / ORLANDO, FL he is gone and I am still A car runs a red light and he is touching me. When I ask him to stop, he tunes me out and an old song plays on the radio with hushed voices, and his hum urges the reason I know how to shrink. I learned how to be a fabrication of flesh, but I wish I knew how to gut him because I cannot stomach his breath on my neck— “sit still, I’m doing this”— without shrinking more. But since that night, the words have slipped under my fingernails and I think of his fingers, the two of them once in me, and for the first time, skin appears to be raw and still, I am still, and I am learning how to not shrink. We are older now and I have not seen him since. I am clairvoyant with people and their bodies and voices with their lingering hymns and he is gone, he is an afterthought. Though there is no forgiveness, I hear the radio and the voices start to hurt a little bit less.

Blood on the blanket Between the dirt road and the train track a blanket spread under the willow. No one had mowed. The grass high, the branches low A droll mouth. The greenery swallowed me whole. The arms of the tree hung humbly. A mobile over a cradle. Lulling, beckoning sleep, closing all eyes. The greys and blacks are dull, boring. Only light makes them interesting. It cuts through, distorts, pierces my vision. The leaves brushing heavy bones, sweeping forgotten appendages, memories. Scratching the skin with the callousness of a lover, with the care of a mother. Loud lullabies. Hush that voice. Forgive yourself. Forgive the others. The wind sways. The sun tries to peak in, an intruder. Not yet. A few more minutes, exploring the colour spectrum of my existence. Reaching for the branches, I want to hold on but they have their own agenda. The forgiving tree. I dare to ask if it will remember me. A low flying plane, an engine, awakening. Sit up. Blood on the blanket. Pick up, it’s time to let go. – DALILA J. / VANCOUVER, BC

– KELLY P / CHERRY HILL, NJ local wolves — 37

“You” “You” came in the form of taunts And hands touching and grabbing at me when I didn’t ask. “You” came in the form of catcalls And stares that I just accepted as normal. “You” came in the form of “come on” “Why not?”, “You’re so prude” “You” came in the form of a forced kiss That only progressed when I tried to pull away. “You” came in the form of telling everyone And saying I was the worst you’d ever had. “You” came in the form of me lying there, unmoving Hoping you would understand how one sided it had become. “You” came in the form of me going against everything I wanted To try to do anything to make you stop tearing me down with your words. “You” came in the form of my friends silently crying Trying to pretend they were okay after what you’d done. “You” came in the form of “you wanted it” “You better not say rape. That could ruin my life” “You” came in the form of “it’s your fault” “You shouldn’t have been drinking.” “You’re just a slut with regret.” “You” came in the form of “get over it”. “If you don’t want to prosecute, it must not have been a big deal.” “You” came in the form of someone I couldn’t trust, Someone who looks at me and sees someone broken or easy. “You” took away my choice. And I don’t think you’ll ever understand that. It was never an option, But an inevitability. And if you think the subject of this poem is horrible, If you think this shouldn’t exist, Do me a favor and think about yourself. Because “you” is so much more than just one person. “You” came in the form of all of us. – ROSE / POST FALLS, ID



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tora Interview by Maria Elena Photography by Cath Connell JP: Jai Piccone (lead guitarist)


It seems like you all blend together so well. How did you all meet? JP – We met in school, most of the guys were in the same year and I met the guys through my older brother. I was a few years below; we’ve known each other for many years. The creative process between four different individuals can be both invigorating and stressful. Does it usually help to have extra minds in the room? JP – It depends on the individuals I think, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. It definitely helps to know the other writers well, as this assists in creating a dynamic where everyone is comfortable with making suggestions or writing. With that said, writing with new faces is also really inspiring. It also depends at what stage the song is at, sometimes it’s not quite ready to have a bunch of ideas thrown at it but when it is it can be incredibly exciting. How do you find compromise when you disagree on certain creative concepts? JP – Sometimes just giving it a bit of time to mull over can help, a group vote, or perhaps someone just lets go of the issue. It can be a difficult one to tackle. While electronic music is all over the place these days, it’s also awfully competitive. Do you ever feel the need to conform to reach a wider audience or break out in another country? JP – We just make what we like, and draw from what is inspiring us. I personally don’t think to much about what will work in certain territories and what won’t because it’s pretty difficult to tell. What makes your sound different from others? JP – There are three vocalists on some of the tracks and we all have different tastes so it becomes a bit of a melting pot of styles. We like to try to record weird stuff and make them into instruments. For example, on the track “Too Far” and

throughout the album, we recorded flies, farts, cactus spikes and all kinds of other things, then made them into synths and ambient layers to give the track a different feel. Congrats on your new album! What was your main inspiration behind Take A Rest? JP – I think each member would have a different idea of that, I’d say the space we wrote a bunch of it in was pretty inspiring for us all and that gave the album a bit of mood. We were up on a mountain for a month or two, away from people and distractions. The album also touches on things like love and loneliness, depression, drugs, homelessness, travel and family, among other things like some fictional stories and some personal experiences. Describe Take A Rest in three words. JP – Eclectic, moody, fun. You just found out your favorite book is becoming a film and they want you to create the score. What book is this and why? JP – For me, the book would probably be City of Thieves by David Benioff. However, our music probably wouldn’t complement the mood of the book/film but it would be an incredible film to score. I would want someone with more experience to do it honestly. What’s something we’d be shocked to find on your music playlist? JP – Jo’s a big fan of T-Swift. Do you have a word of advice for aspiring musicians that are looking to break out in the music world? JP – Spend time on your music, listen to lots of stuff that inspires you. Spend time out in nature. Play your instruments a lot. Get a Zoom recorder to get some interesting ambience/ samples. Create some quality art to represent the music. Ask for others opinions and don’t be afraid to get weird with it.

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abi koh Written by Natasa Kvesic Photography by Aidan Doyle


In the recent months, the need for diversity and representation in the news, pop culture and in government, has increased exponentially. The livelihood of those whose gender, skin color, religion and country of origin are qualifications for systematic oppression, has become worse and has even been threatened by current leadership. Like the many trailblazers before this new era of heightened bigotry, we the people feel the need to put our bodies on the line and use our voices to lift up our brothers and sisters in order to show that diversity makes us strong. One voice that has been showcasing and amplifying diverse female voices, is that of ABI KOH. With her online publication Re(de)fining Magazine, which was founded soon after she graduated college in 2014, Koh has presented a small—yet powerful—platform for women to share their stories. If one were to peruse the website of the publication, they would find the mission statement which outlines their desire to help young women along in their journey of redefining and refining themselves throughout life. Koh elaborated on the mission statement: “The magazine includes articles about self-acceptance, the damage of gossip, body image, and mental health. I was propelled to start this magazine because I dis-

liked how magazines portrayed women in a very two-dimensional light, focusing on their looks and attractiveness as if that was the most important aspect of being a woman.” What is so unique about Re(de)fining Magazine is that it encourages young women to submit their own pieces to be featured online, therefore instilling the confidence and desire to put their fears, interests, passions and concerns out into the world. As Koh says, “One of the most fulfilling aspects of running this magazine is seeing the boost of confidence a woman gets when we publish her work. I love reminding, affirming, and encouraging women that what they’re doing is awesome!” By doing that, it not only puts diverse voices to the forefront in media, but it also shows that even the most polarizing women’s issues are in fact universal. In addition to coming up with the idea for Re(de)fining Magazine, Koh was also the one who coded and designed the entire website. Coding was one of her passions in high school and soon it grew into a skill she could use for two jobs she currently holds, one of them being a User Experience (UX) designer. “UX designers make people’s interactions with technology better.

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If you think about the most common apps you use, such as Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, a UX designer helped shape your experiences using that app. My design team at Lanetix is working to constantly identify and improve the pain points a user has when using our web app,” Koh explained. Even though Koh didn’t major in web design at her alma mater Northwestern University—where she majored in Communications and received a certificate in industrial design—she made sure to pursue her web design interests even further by attending a 3 month User Experience bootcamp after graduating college. When Koh’s not planning out the next articles for Re(de)fining Magazine or creating a more comprehensive user experience for web apps, she indulges in hobbies like fashion and photography. Her Instagram account is chock full of aesthetically pleasing photos of outfits that seem so effortlessly put together—while being completely original—showing off her creativity and knack for design. When asked who she was inspired by, Koh referenced fashion bloggers such as Jenn Im, Karen Yeung and Tiffany Wang. Coming close to her love for fashion and


photography, Koh has activities that fulfill her creative and fun heart: “I also enjoy reading poetry, watering my plant babies, and taking snaps of fluffy Corgi butts.” Abi Koh and her team on Re(de)fining Magazine have taken on the enormous, and gratifying, task of amplifying the voices of women who speak from the heart in order to inform the public. In classic female-geared publications, like Teen Vogue, we have seen an increase in political awareness, discussion of sexuality, body positivity and less of a focus on mainstream fashion trends. Koh’s publication follows in the footsteps of these magazines, but already has the upperhand in its seemingly humble beginnings because it’s focusing on the diverse women of today. As for the future of Re(de)fining Magazine, Koh is hopeful: “My team and I are creating our first digital issue containing articles centered around the theme of ‘Belonging.’ It’s slated to be released later in July. I absolutely would love to go into print, but it’s very daunting! We’ll see how our first digital issue goes, and take things from there!”

miguel limon Written by Jasmine Rodriguez Photography by Penelope Martinez


The amalgamation of MIGUEL LIMON’s portfolio introduces tangible and vibrant portraits of Chicago youth. A diversification of photos is incorporated within Limon’s portfolio and on his lively Instagram feed, as he displays conceptual photography via 35mm film or directly from his iPhone. On Miguel’s Instagram, you can find the words “intersections of art, activism, and perceptions of truth,” gracing his biography. Through Limon’s lens, he is able to enamor viewers eyes with the color and composition found in the inherent beauty of Chicago. When absorbing the talent that stems from Limon’s photography, one can directly feel the sentiments that the photos are highlighting. Regarding his photography being an accurate reflection of the beauty found in Chicago youth, Limon responded with, “I find myself surrounded by amazing people and all I ever want to do is shoot them. Almost everyone I’ve taken photos of are people I know.” He continued, “I purposefully choose to shoot people of color because Chicago is home to so many young people of color that I believe need to be noticed, even in the photography community, very few people of color are seen and when they are, they’re usually tokenized or sexualized.”

Limon has a deeply ingrained integrity to address one’s realistic identity within his photos rather than masking them in the fallacious stereotypes that people associate them with. Chicago is home to an emerging hub of young artists wanting to share their talents to the world. Limon said that one of the fellow Chicago artists he’d love to shoot photos of would be, “Chance the Rapper, hands down. I would love to shoot with him on the Southside of Chicago with him in all black or in all pastels. I feel like the dynamic for this shoot would be totally different for him, which would in turn create something really awesome.” The exceptional archive of photos that Limon has shot over the years have been shaped by the visuals and artistry exuding from his hometown. Limon told us, “Chicago’s current art/ fashion/music scene influences almost all of my work, with so many young, mind-blowing musical artists like Kopano, Noname, Burns Twins, Ravyn Lenae, Jamila Woods and Chance, I can’t help but to be inspired.” He states that, “The work they do is the epitome of what being Chicagoan is about, taking away the stigma of the “war zone” and rather a huge community with a variety of cultures and lifestyles. That has translated into the

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colorful and nostalgic aesthetic that my photos have taken on, mirroring what many artists and I call home.” For those who have garnered misconceptions about Chicago and have only consumed portrayals of the city via mass media, they truly have not witnessed the artistic beacon that Chicago has become for young creatives. As Limon beautifully stated, “Chicago is a never changing city filled with never ending intersections of culture and soul ready to burst with passion and lots of great food.” Honesty is what primarily fuels Limon’s photos. From the portrayals of the city he calls home to the people he meets, everything he captures is intertwined with honest perceptions. Connections bloom between creative people who collaborate and support each other, and Limon said that, “Being around young people has helped me expand more than my creativity. All young creatives have different experiences with many things, and all of us learn from those and our own. By surrounding myself with creatives I’ve become an activist for the people, both in my art and life, further expanding my self awareness and social awareness.” As for those moments he wished he would have captured when his camera was simply out of reach, Limon responded with, “Once, there was this woman who was crossing the street, opposite from me, and a beam of light hit her face perfectly while she gave me the sternest look — to the point where I thought she was going to tackle me— and I missed it, it would have been amazing. I also remember seeing Lady Gaga in a grocery store but I also do not think it was her.” Engaging in the world of photography with the rise of the digital age is incredibly competitive as it harnesses insecurities within those capturing photos on the basis of likes. Regarding his own insecurities about the photos he shoots and the advice he gives to the beginners dipping their toes into photography, Limon said “I still experience that [insecurities] today, we live in a digitally social society where the number of likes are our only critique. The one thing I would say is to experiment and ask lots of questions. If you like something someone has made and you want to try it, do it and see. When experimenting ask yourself or your peers what you should do next or how you


can tweak what you’re already doing. And even if you don’t know someone but want to know how they got a certain shot, just ask them and the worst thing they can do is block you. Also YouTube tutorials are super useful.” Speaking on the digital influence of photography, it takes an introspective eye to capture images on an iPhone that demonstrate a colorful vulnerability. Limon spoke on the intricacies of iPhone photography, “iPhone photography has totally revolutionized the way the average person interacts with photography, now people have easy access to a tool that can make high quality images without being a fine art photographer with a $2000 camera. The discourse between artist and tool is much more fluid, making photography a viable option for some who cannot obtain expensive photography equipment or even for someone who doesn’t know if they want to pursue photography.” A spectrum of beauty and emotions exudes from Limon’s photographs, his engaging content is submersed in the vividness of Chicago and activism. The navigation of his artistry will most likely land him a presentation at an art gallery in the future. Limon stated on the hopes of a future display of his work at a gallery, “I would display my “Men of Color” and “Alive” series. Both of these series are uber important to me and my activism. In “Men of Color” my peers and I deconstructed male beauty standards into different ideals, then we turned those upside down and used them to create the warm series of images that pose them in a very powerful and intimate relationship with their appearance. Similarly, “Alive” challenges expectations for young people, except this series involves racial structures in the media. This project sprouted after the loss of Philando Castile, some friends and I wanted to produce some photos that showed young black youth in a strong, endearing way, which confronts the often violent and problematic manner mainstream media portrays many young people of color.” Limon’s photography shows the cathartic power of visuals, a realization in how identity is presented, and the colors that illuminate the world. As Limon continues to refine his craft and exert his creativity, his hope for the upcoming years is to, “Continue being a freelance photographer or perhaps I’ll be Beyoncé’s new photographer.”

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insightful When flipping through my past work, I noticed that I became so engrossed in feminine beauty that I had forgotten to address the beauty standards that young men face. In reaction, I rounded up as many young men of color as I could, asked them about their experience with beauty and photographed them with their personal attributions in mind, resulting in a wide variety of colorful and insightful photos that document the young man of color experience.

peggy notebart nature museum This was the last shot on the roll of film and we waited 15 minutes in the butterfly haven so that a butterfly could land on someone, and it never happened.


bouquet of foxglove flowers Within most of society, a woman in a relationship is expected to be submissive yet endearing to her male counterpart. To challenge this, I depict a young woman possessing a strong gaze while holding a bouquet of foxglove flowers, which have medicinal yet lethal effects in excess.

sweet surprise I find that film test shots usually look better when you mess up, especially when you mess up 7 times.

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a r t ist st a t ement delves into the fa sh io n se nse of art s tu dents and how t h e y ch o o se t o expres s thems elves .

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bailey race

describe your style in three words or less. Hipster Portland Punk.

where does your style inspiration come from? anyone in particular? Most of my style inspiration comes from the members of bands I listen to. I usually like what I see when they’re on stage and when I dress like that, I feel like I’m in a band. Which is cool.

what is your greatest thrift find? I once found an original pair of mint condition Nike Pegasus runners from the late 80s.

where do you shop?

I usually like to shop online, predominantly Urban Outfitters and Jackthreads. I do really like to wear smaller brands though, some local and others just undiscovered.

what does your style say about you?

My style says that I’m loud and that I like to listen to music everyone else hates. That’s a quote from various friends of mine... unfortunately.


eli rose

describe your style in three words or less. I can do it in one word, Trans.

where does your style inspiration come from? anyone in particular? Growing up in NYC you’d see outlandish fashion everywhere you went and I suppose I just took that and ran with it. I saw a woman walking down the street in 6 inch platform high heels and a bush made out of wire and nothing else. It was a defining moment in my life honestly. Most of the clothes I buy do foster a sense of androgyny to an extent though, and that’s something that’s been a constant throughout my style for as long as I can remember.

what is your greatest thrift find? I don’t thrift too often, but one time I did go thrifting in Hampden I found this silk pinstripe blazer with shoulderpads. It was calling to me what could I do?

what does your style say about you?

My style is an expression of myself. I know that sounds cliché or whatever but a sense of style, clothing, makeup, all of that is extremely important to me, and it is so out of necessity. As a trans person, looking good, curating a style, all of that helps me feel more in my own skin, and a lot of times is essential to passing, which is problematic in its own right. My style says that I’m unapologetic about my identity.

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nicole petrilina

describe your style in three words or less. Warm, eclectic, comfortable.

where does your style inspiration come from? anyone in particular?

I don’t have a particular person that I take inspiration from. I really like androgynous street wear, I take a lot of inspiration from indie/bohemian fashion. Honestly, my fashion is just a compilation of the things I like, I find inspiration everywhere.

what is your greatest thrift find? I’m pretty good at stumbling upon awesome thrifted tshirts. I’m really into baggy, soft, men’s t-shirts with funny sayings and logos on them. I also thrifted these high waisted black and white striped pants that have been a favorite of mine recently.

where do you shop?

One of my favorite stores is Hunting Ground in Hampden. They have a great combination of vintage and new clothing, and super cool jewelry and accessories.

what does your style say about you?

I think my style definitely says that I’m an artist, but I also think that it says that I am approachable and friendly.


zion douglass

describe your style in three words or less. Carefree, colorful, blunt.

where does your style inspiration come from? anyone in particular?

A lot of my style currently is coming from recent cover shoots in Dazed and Complex. Ashton Sanders is a big inspiration for me right now.

where do you shop?

Most of my clothes come from ASOS, but I’m trying to expand to more places that may seem unconventional or different for people my age and turning those garments into my own.

what does your style say about you?

I think I’m unique by switching between maybe looking really nice one day and looking more drab (still cute tho) on another day.

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written by Lauren Speight PHOTOGRAPHy by Helena Kopet ILLUSTRATIONS by LISA LOK

In 2013, Seattle-based beauty and lifestyle vlogger VIVIAN V posted a tutorial for wavy hair to YouTube without any inkling of what was to come. Since then, she has amassed nearly two million subscribers as well as partnerships with some of her favourite beauty brands like Maybelline and Pantene. “I honestly didn’t think I was starting anything when I posted my first video,” she admits. “I was getting a lot of requests on other social media platforms like Instagram to make a hair video and I figured if it could help a few people then why not? So I posted my first video as a how-to for those few people but it ended up getting thousands of views within the first few weeks.” YouTube not only gave Vivian an outlet to share her interest in beauty and fashion, but also encouraged her to hone her creative skills and build a platform for herself: “I’ve always had a passion for all things beauty and fashion related. I taught myself how to film and edit so it was exciting to put my creativity to use through that way as well. I decided to make more videos consistently and that was definitely the best decision of my life.”

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Like other content creators, social media is the platform on which Vivian has built a career for herself. However, the Internet hasn’t proved to be the most nurturing, uplifting environment, especially for young adults. Vivian was a high school student when she started her channel, which meant those who viewed her videos observed her during a critical time of self-discovery and growth. Naturally, growing up in front of such a large (and essentially anonymous) audience brought criticism and hateful comments. “The Internet has given me so many amazing opportunities but it can also be a scary place. I’ve had to deal with my fair share of ridicule and hate and I would be lying if I said it never affected me,” she says. “Especially as a high school student still dealing with my own insecurities, having complete strangers point out my flaws didn’t feel the best. But when I took a step back and looked at the big picture, I realized that these haters were a very small percentage compared to the people that supported me. The whole experience has given me more confidence if anything because I let the positive words impact me more than the negative.” Though much of the criticism Vivian is faced with comes from behind computer screens, that’s not to say she hasn’t experienced backlash from her peers for exploring an unconventional career path like YouTube. “The most common thing people would say about that is that it’s not actually a job. And I just say, it’s certainly something I love to do but it doesn’t discredit the fact that it’s a career that takes a lot of time and effort to establish and continue. Since the beginning, I’ve never let the fear of what others think stop me from pursuing what I love to do,” she says. “People can doubt you all they want, but in the end it’s your life and no one else’s. Don’t be scared of what could go wrong. Be excited for all the things that could go right, and if it’s something you love doing, you can never go wrong.”


Like other content creators, social media is the platform on which Vivian has built a career for herself. However, the Internet hasn’t proved to be the most nurturing, uplifting environment, especially for young adults. Vivian was a high school student when she started her channel, which meant those who viewed her videos observed her during a critical time of self-discovery and growth. Naturally, growing up in front of such a large (and essentially anonymous) audience brought criticism and hateful comments. “The Internet has given me so many amazing opportunities but it can also be a scary place. I’ve had to deal with my fair share of ridicule and hate and I would be lying if I said it never affected me,” she says. “Especially as a high school student still dealing with my own insecurities, having complete strangers point out my flaws didn’t feel the best. But when I took a step back and looked at the big picture, I realized that these haters were a very small percentage compared to the people that supported me. The whole experience has given me more confidence if anything because I let the positive words impact me more than the negative.” Though much of the criticism Vivian is faced with comes from behind computer screens, that’s not to say she hasn’t experienced backlash from her peers for exploring an unconventional career path like YouTube. “The most common thing people would say about that is that it’s not actually a job. And I just say, it’s certainly something I love to do but it doesn’t discredit the fact that it’s a career that takes a lot of time and effort to establish and continue. Since the beginning, I’ve never let the fear of what others think stop me from pursuing what I love to do,” she says. “People can doubt you all they want, but in the end it’s your life and no one else’s. Don’t be scared of what could go wrong. Be excited for all the things that could go right, and if it’s something you love doing, you can never go wrong.”

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rachel crow WRITTEN BY Ashley Bulayo PHOTOGRAPHY BY Taylor Krause

If we mention the name RACHEL CROW and the first thought that came to your mind was The X Factor, I’m going to stop you right there. She’s so much more than that. Plus, can we just mention that she appeared on the hit singing competition show about six years ago and she’s a completely grown woman now? She’s taken the past years to mature and pick up a few acting gigs along the way. Meanwhile, her voice never left her. This year is her year. Why? She’s releasing new music that will remind you and everyone else why we fell in love with her in the first place. “When I was younger, I didn’t have a clear path. My first EP still holds a special place in my heart, but it wasn’t me. Now it’s different. Everything I make is directly from my experiences, or what I’m feeling and that makes me really happy. I’m a very honest person and love sharing with people so I wanted that to come through in this new chapter,” says Crow. “I’m 19 years old so things have definitely changed content wise. I feel like I can really just put it all out there, so that’s exactly what I’m doing.” Just as Crow mentions in our interview, it was time for her to come back out with a bang. But, it’s not like Rachel wasn’t always shining when she wasn’t putting out new music. She lent her voice to Netflix’s Home: Adventures with Tip & Oh and stars in Deidra & Laney Rob a Train alongside actress Ashleigh Murray. However, there was a moment she took a step back from the limelight, “I took a break from mid 2013 - late 2014. This wasn’t because I wanted out, but because I knew to be here that I needed to heal myself mentally and physically. I had some health issues and I really needed to find myself and figure out who I was, and who I wanted to be.”


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“ m u sic is lo ve, pa in, h a p p i nes s , s a d nes s , l a ugh te r, c on fusio n a nd so r r o w. i t’s a l l o f th e feel i ngs th at m ake us a ll the sa m e, yet uni q ue i n th e b es t w a y. these feeling s th a t ma ke us h uma n.”

That’s exactly what she did! You have to admit, being in the public eye can be exhausting for anyone. That’s why she has this piece of advice that works for anyone and everyone who wants to take a step in her direction: “As cliché as it sounds, stay true to yourself. Someone is always going to be there to tell you ‘You’re doing it wrong’ or ‘No, that’s not the way,’ but I’ve learned that at the end of the day, I’m the one inside my head and I’m the person I’m going to bed with every night. If I don’t like me, then what am I doing?” We all know there isn’t a life manual telling you how to navigate through every obstacle in life so just as Crow mentioned, you decide what will happen in your life. There will even be times where you’ll want to tell your younger self a bit of advice to prepare you for when you become an adult. For Crow, she has nothing but absolute positive vibes to send to her young X-Factor self: “Rachel, I know things are hard and I know that it seems like nothing is going to get better sometimes, but everything works out. Good and bad days are okay! You are beautiful, remember that for later when people say negative things

and don’t let anyone make you feel less dope than you are. Most importantly, be kind and show love to others always and love yourself.” Crow’s positivity just jumps out at you which she attributes to her family, close friends, and fans. Life is short and she chooses to make the most out of it by spreading love to anyone and everyone. She also wants to spread love via her music, “I hope for my music and my soul to touch the souls of everyone in the world because everyone needs love. Music is love, pain, happiness, sadness, laughter, confusion and sorrow. It’s all of the feelings that make us all the same, yet unique in the best way. These feelings that make us human.” She also added what she hopes people will take away from her new music, “I hope they feel my honesty. I’m putting myself and my whole life out there, so to get anything back would be awesome. I also want them to know that every feeling they have is valid, and my hope is for anyone and everyone to identify in some way with my music. If they feel something, I’ve done my job.”

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good and bad days are okay! you are beautiful, remember that for later when people say negative things and don’t let anyone make you feel less dope than you are.

tara chandra WRITTEN BY Lauren Speight PHOTOGRAPHY BY Katie Slater

Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, TARA CHANDRA is a fashion connoisseur; a vibrant personality who utilizes accessories, textures, and wild prints as a means of showcasing her electric style and creative flair. “Confidence is loving and feeling fierce in what you’re wearing, doing, feeling, and saying,” says Chandra. “Feeling confident with your style is so important. You need to love what you’re wearing and make sure it’s something you’re comfortable in, and maybe slightly uncomfortable if you’re experimenting with new looks.” Chandra makes it clear through her content that she is an advocate for finding comfort in what makes you an individual and where your roots stem from. In Chandra’s case, this meant finding a new appreciation for her culture in a world that belittled her for it. “I’ve struggled between the white ideal and accepting my racial background. I had a lot of internalised racism within me and it wasn’t until a few years ago that I began to accept and love my racial and cultural background— to be proud to be a part of such a beautiful culture,” she says. Her love of fashion has helped her incorporate pieces of her culture into her daily life, which has significantly changed her attitude towards where she comes from: “Over the recent years I’ve begun to embrace my Chinese and Indonesian background by integrating traditional prints and pieces into my outfits. I rejected my culture my entire childhood and in my early teens, and wearing traditional clothing with pride was pivotal for me. One piece that I wear is a Chinese jacket intended for men that was previously my grandfathers, but I wear it and love it. It’s a connection to my culture and a physical memory of my grandfather.” Chandra’s experiences with internalised racism and rejecting her culture growing up have sparked an open forum on YouTube where she feels she can share her experiences. She’s found that many people of color also growing up in a Western country share similar experiences, which makes the creation of these relevant videos all the more rewarding:

“knowing that my experience was faced by so many more has moved me to write and speak out more about racial issues on social media platforms that others may relate to, and spread the message to love your background and remove the white ideal.”


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Chandra also has a series on her channel titled Identity, where she interviews friends and family of all ages and from all walks of life. When asked what inspired the creation of this series, she says, “It sounds cheesy, but the people around me. They all have voices and they all have something to say, but they had no medium, platform or reason to share their thoughts. I wanted to show my viewers each of my friends in a light beyond physical appearances. I wanted them to hear their voices and opinions.” Aside from curating blog posts and filming videos for her channel, Chandra channels her creative energy using other outlets she enjoys, like journaling. She finds catharsis in writing, drawing, and collaging her thoughts and feelings and says, “It’s cool to flick through my journal of 4 years and see how my writing, thoughts and journaling style has changed.” She is also working on the third issue of her online magazine titled Easy Mag, which focuses on upcoming and established creatives in all industries. “I also have a slight obsession with painting my clothes,” Chandra admits. “I wore a matching denim dragon/flame jacket and jeans set I painted to Fashion Week which was pretty iconic. I’ve also painted a ‘Feminism is Equality’ jacket and Willow Smith’s Ardipithecus album jacket.” Chandra doesn’t aim for a particular response when it comes to the way she expresses herself and her ideas. “I hope that my viewers all have different thoughts about my content,” she says. “I like the idea of diversity in thoughts and opinions. Although, I do hope that my content creates inspiration, confusion, comfortability in oneself, and the desire for self-expression. Regardless of clichés, I’m a huge advocate for being true to yourself.

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evan tan Written by Jasmine rodriguez Photography by courtney coles

The poetic language of photography is immediately acquired when viewing EVAN TAN’s sun-drenched visuals that document the vibrancy of youth. Vulnerability and honesty unravel within the photos, meanwhile a nostalgic comfort embraces each captured moment. His artistic universe is contrived of the tangible beauty in nature, the powerful hold of music, and the admiration of friendships. His compiled portfolio is a unity with a 35mm film camera and the essence of joyful and empowered youth. The warm saturation that is intertwined in each textured portrait is a window to the golden sun of Los Angeles shining down on the lively expressions of teenagers. Tan holds human interaction with his subjects at the highest caliber, and forming a genuine bond with subject and photographer is readily important to capture people in their authentic, honest versions of themselves. Most of the subjects Tan has photographed are friends that he has made within the thriving artistic community found in Los Angeles. A hazy, summer love aspect is submersed within Tan’s photos, “Photography is showing people things I can’t explain or feel. It’s a timeline of where I have been in the world. I like remembering how that moment felt or certain things in that moment,” he states. There is symbolism found within Tan’s portraits that makes him completely diverse from other photographers, an immense amount of attention is drawn to not only the subject but to the background that emphasizes a connection between the beauty of people and nature. A contextualized beauty is ingrained in the photographic depictions that make viewers imagine the moment the photo was captured, thus introducing nostalgic feelings of teenage emotions and how the world becomes more vibrant and colorful when we adjusts our perspectives.


Regarding how he views the world, Tan states, “I see the world, from the inside of my own bubble. I see the world as something temporary, and my photos have always been true to me and honest moments of the current state of the world that we live in. Photography is my perspective of studying life in general. I find that in our world, there is a lot of beauty, everything is different and has its complexities. I feel that people should look at life closer and people closer.”

Tan defines beauty as, “Beauty to me is embracing one’s individuality. Beauty to me is someone who loves themselves and how they look and loves how they’re different. Beauty to me is differences. There is no refined standard in beauty. There could never be another you and that’s a beautiful thought. There’s no one who’s going to look exactly like you and be as you are. And that is beauty to me.” The location of a photo can change the entirety of its meaning, it also gives the subject a backdrop to project their energy onto. Tan explains why he dedicates the same amount of respect and time to the background as he does to his subject, “Because I shoot photos all the time, backgrounds include places I’m frequently at. Or places that represent me or my subject. I feel like the background is a character as well as the subject. When people look at the photo they look at the whole photo, which is made up of the subject and the background. I find my own backgrounds in life and real colors. Backgrounds have personalities. I try to showcase different ones because life is full of temporary moments and those moments have certain colors. I wanted to make my photos have a story beyond the subject. He continued with, “Photos to me are very sensual. I get the feelings that I had when I

took the photo. I try to capture those feelings in the color and the placement of people and the setting. Every color means different feelings for me. It’s a way of expressing myself in a very secretive way. Each different background I take is a piece of the puzzle as to what I took and how I capture that photo. Artists who paint canvas, a background is something they created as a conscious effort. The canvas is an element to contrast or compliment. And I look at photos the same way.” A cohesiveness of bright themes with teens clutching their guitars to lively grins and freckles on the incline of their noses, a redefined energy is wound within tangible photographs. The images that he captures highlight a moment in time where intimate conversations were held and laughter was shared. The intricate photos in Tan’s archive include those of musician Steve Lacy, photo shoots for MSFTS Rep Campaign, and the Illegal Civilization lookbook. One of Tan’s recent photos of Colombian-American songstress, Kali Uchis, tell of a narrative where both photographer and subject were basking in spontaneity,“ I have been listening to Kali Uchis since she first started being an artist. Her music is very flowy, and makes me feel empowered. I liked how it would make people feel and how her music instantly calms people down.

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I played a lot of Kali Uchis’ songs whenever I would shoot people. She liked a lot of my photos and my style, and she looked through all my stuff and I got an email one day from her manager, regarding if I would be interested in shooting Kali. For this specific shoot, I really wanted to channel an old fashioned photographer. I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to put out something into the world with a message and a story. She left it all up to me as to where the location of the shoot would be. I met up with her and she is one of the most genuine people I have ever encountered. I shot some photos of her at her apartment, around a field of flowers, running by the beach, and on a sports car. And Kali did this all in heels. In the end, I took 200 photos of her, yet there’s only three photos I shot of her out for the public to see.” A preparation of exhibitions and a future book is only natural, following installment in Tan’s career, as he says that, “I may be doing a gallery and putting out a book this year. I think that I’m going to showcase one photo of everyone I shot. I want to do galleries in places that are unconventional, for example I like outdoor spaces. I want to make the viewing of art more of an interactive experience. I want to do very experimental exhibitions, not just in the average studios.” As for what he hopes to capture in the future, Evan responded with, “I want to include more


projects with people from the LGBTQ community. I want to include my opinions of sexuality within my photos.” Regarding the subjects he wants to capture on film, “I want to shoot Cole Sprouse, Frank Ocean, Tyler the Creator, Amanda Bynes. But I also want to take good photos of people without big names.” For those wondering about the origin of, “funkvantan” Tan’s username on both Instagram and Twitter, he shares that, “My dad was a disco/dancing champion from England. That was the first type of music I listened to. Music has inspired met throughout my life. I love the colors associated with disco. My parents would throw disco parties every Christmas, and I was basically raised in the dying disco era. They inspired me with a lot of colors, the funkiness, and weirdness. Yet there is this duality to the word “funk.” He further explains, “It can mean a state of happiness or sadness. The word funk reminds me of my photography. One side of my photography is drenched in colors and happiness and the other subtle part of my photography is rather melancholy.” The color in the photos essentially holds a paradoxical significance, much like his Twitter and Instagram handles, of balancing any inner darkness trying to break the seams. Tan’s eyes visualize color in a different way, his mind often instinctively associates a certain color

with a certain subject. Tan states, “When I’m shooting people, I like to capture the colors, I like to talk about their lives, and get a feel for their energy. I like shooting people in backgrounds where they connect with. Since I don’t have money to afford big things, such as mass studio lighting. I’m never not thinking about photos and putting people in areas where the colors represent them in a certain way. If someone has a shade of yellow I will find a similar color to that or an opposite color of that that matches with it.” The photographs Tan has accumulated over the years remain visions of inclusivity and the progression of the young communities centered around Los Angeles. He has pioneered his photography to become a space to fracture stigmas associated with gender and states, “The world trains guys to be masculine or to be the fittest. I believe people should raise girls and boys the same way. I don’t support gender stereotypes, and I have been trying to use my photography to change that.” As for what he hopes to incorporate into his future photography, Tan states, “I’m half Chinese and half English. Mixed kids are so underrepresented. I want to do more projects that incorporate mixed children. I’m really proud of being mixed and my Asian roots. Asian people are

especially underrepresented in media. All people have a voice and power to make a change in the world and allow more people to shine.” Tan’s art signifies embracing one’s identity and showcasing the colors found within the world. Through his lens, he dedicates narratives to all the underrepresented voices in mainstream culture. As Tan himself put it, “I wish people would see me as a painter rather than as a photographer. If there’s a really good song or painting that is made there will be recognition for it. But for photos people don’t truly understand, they tend to devalue photos. There’s no robot who took those photos. There’s a human being who went out and shot that moment.” There is a cosmic connection within a captured moment in time, therefore photographers deserve their recognition for breathing life into a camera, and preserving their creativity into a tangible piece of art. Tan is a voice for his generation as he captures visually charging photographs without diminishing the honest portrayals of subjects by relying heavily on editing. Intimate artifacts are shown within his lens, demanding a light to be shown on picturesque nature and human flaws. Evan Tan refines the ability to document and develop an openminded view on not only beauty but the world.

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photography by


this photo series is related to water in some ways, i believe that the youth are very fluid and free right now. we’re water moving in a thousand different directions, individual in our own differences, but when we unite, we are a powerful force. an unstoppable wave of love and change.

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I still remember my first day in America. It was October 30th, I was in the fourth grade and my family had just moved from Bulgaria to Boston. I went to school the day after we landed even though I only knew about 10 words of English. I was terrified, excited and mostly fascinated. Life in the U.S. was so different from what I’d known up until then. There were so many new things to learn and discover and I loved exploring this new world I’d found myself in. I’ve moved over 10 times since then and the thrill of exploring new places and cultures has only grown exponentially. I want to spend my life opening people’s eyes to the beauty of the world we live in. I want to show my viewers that we all have something in common, and at the same time our differences are what add color and vibrancy to the human race. Some of my favorite moments from the last 2 years of traveling full time include singing along to Beyoncé with a group of girls from a rural village in Sierra Leone, taking salsa lessons every day for a week from a couple in Cuba and staying up all night laughing and dreaming with locals in Bali. Out of the 43 countries that I’ve been to, I’ve found something in common with every person I’ve met. I’ve also been humbled as I’ve learned what I hope I can teach everyone that watches my videos – the way you do things is not the only way to do them and it is also not necessarily the “right way”.

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I’ll never forget the conversation I had with a Masaai warrior about marriage and how shocked he was by the fact that in the U.S. people only marry one person. He had two wives and couldn’t grasp the idea of that not being a possibility for everyone. It was such a great wakeup call that what I accept as “normal” is not the same for everyone. As of recently, it’s come to light that so much of the world is still closed off to different perspectives and cultures. The only way for all of us to move forward is to learn to respect and appreciate our differences. I hope to continue to inspire people to travel and explore this world for themselves through my videos and photos and encourage all of you to open your eyes and your hearts to all the beautiful people we are lucky to share this planet with. “As human beings, we are all the same, there is no need to build some kind of artificial barrier between us.” — The Dalai Lama


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“the only way for all of us to move forward is to learn to respect and appreciate our differences.”

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