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#girlpower Oh, why yes. It’s finally November which means two things: red cups from Starbucks and this girl power issue that my team and I have been planning for months. It’s definitely the most curated issue with all the lovely illustrations for each talent’s name by our wonderful illustrator, Megan. Such an honor to work with remarkable women who shared their stories about what girl power and female empowerment means to them. I feel that originality plays an important role and as individuals, we must stand up for what we value, what we believe in and what we feel can continue to inspire for the future generation. For example, I moved twice, first living in an overpopulated city to living in a city that was full of lands and the mall took almost an hour to get there. My mind felt trapped and I was out of ideas so I began to color with crayons, make collages and read any gossip magazines I could find. I realize all that time was not all pure boredom because as I got older, I felt like this how my story began in this ongoing cycle. When I was younger, I thought this was only possible if you got a paid internship in New York City working with the big leagues (still would be a great and fun experience like c’mon NYC all day, everyday!) but I began to realize, there are so many creative women who started their own company whether it’s a freelance career, popup shop, jewelry line and beyond. This girl power issue is a collectively curated issue, so worth the read.

Cathrine Khom founding editor-in-chief many thanks:

aventures du monde @aventuresdumonde london, uk

justina sharp @bentpieceofwire frankfurt, ge

mariana pimiento @mpimiento birmingham, al

cappa @cappamusic nashville, tn

kiana fernandez @kianafer dallas, tx

mars @sensitiveblackperson south florida, fl

chasing lovely @chasinglovely nashville, tn

lauren giraldo @laurengiraldo los angeles, ca

meghan hughes @msmeghanmakeup los angeles, ca

chelsea lankes @chelsealankes los angeles, ca

lauren rose @laurenroseyt minneapolis, mn

morgan drain @askmorgand hollywood, ca

griffin arnlund @griffinarnlund los angeles, ca

lily lane @lilylanemusic new york, ny

orion carloto @orionnichole atlanta, ga

jessica marie garcia @jessmariegarcia los angeles, ca

maria elena @pinkchanelsuit los angeles, ca

taylor balding @taylorbalding san diego, ca


november 2015

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Classics 07




10 12

do it yourself wolfie submissions

f e at u r e s 18 20 22

mariana pimiento cappa jessica marie garcia


lauren giraldo


morgan drain


chasing lovely


griffin arnlund

42 44

chelsea lankes aventures du monde


kiana fernandez


orion carloto


meghan hughes




lauren rose


taylor balding


maria elena


justina sharp


lily lane


blank space league lookbook

founder / editor-in-chief cathrine khom

iss ue t hir t y o n e / / n o v e m be r t w e n t y fif teen

o ri on ca rlo t o

managing editor samai khom copy editor sophia khom playlist editor sena cheung illustrator megan kate potter maker madison bass-taylor website coordinator kristy cheung videographer jessica eu stylist katie qian hair/makeup artist jessie yarborough front cover logo fiona yeung back cover logo isabel ramos cover photo michael morales contributing writers kamrin baker, ashley bulayo, orion carloto, sydney clarke, rachel coker, michael grasseschi, anna hall, chloe luthringshausen, hudson luthringshausen, kaela malozewski, lydia snapper contributing photographers lexie alley, mila austin, pamela ayala, viviana contreras, rachel epstein, katy johnson, rachel kober, chris lampkins, jade park, meredith sherlock, meagan sullivan, madison bass-taylor, lhoycel marie teope, melissa tilley graphic designers christine ennis, isabel manimbo, isabel ramos, nicole tillotson connect localwolves.com twitter / instagram / snapchat: @localwolves facebook.com/localwolves #localwolves community physical copies magcloud.com/user/localwolvesmag general inquiries info@localwolves.com press inquiries press@localwolves.com get involved / projects community@localwolves.com

description local wolves magazine, an online + print publication based in southern california with a talented team from all over the world. we focus on embracing the local scene in art, music, entertainment and film. our goal is to capture and share the stories about people doing what they love to do.

coverage: sena cheung

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munchies +




The atmosphere is contagious at Peixoto Coffee from your initial step into the rustic shop to the smiling farewell as you leave with satisfied taste buds and a heart full of community. This wonderful family owned coffee bar recently opened at the beginning of this year in January and they are already a coffee forced to be reckoned with. The goal and mission of the Peixoto owners, Jeff and Julia Peters, was to create a coffee shop that builds community in the heart of Chandler, Arizona. Since their recent opening they have done just that! Peixoto has networked with the their surrounding neighborhood by incorporating locally farmed milk, homemade chocolates, and east valley made pastries. The Peters’ even invites local venders to put up shop in house on Sunday’s for the natives to enjoy.


Julia’s inspiration for community comes from her family heritage growing up on a coffee farm in Brazil, which is exactly where Peixoto receives it’s fresh coffee beans to be roasted in house. By cutting out the middleman and bringing a “source to cup” environment, they have flourished in the coffee industry within Arizona. Now, if you are ever strolling on through the deserts of Arizona, stop by Peixoto Coffee in Chandler for some inspiring community and a refreshing glass of nitrogen infused cold brew (my personal favorite).

LOCATION // CONTACT: 11 W Boston St #6 Chandler, AZ 85225 480.275.2843

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do it yourself + W ALL HAN G IN G +

SU P P LIES + variety of yarns + rod + copper wire (optional) + scissors COVERAGE: MADISON BASS-TAYLOR


1 2


to start the wall hanging pick a yarn and measure out how long you want it. double the length and then fold it in half in order to do the larks head knot





string the yarn onto the rod using a larks head knot


use the copper wire to form a triangle to hang the rod from. you can use copper wire or another piece of yarn for this

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#girlpower + W OLFIE SU B MISSIONS +

TOPIC: It’s our girl power issue and we asked our readers to share their views on this topic of girl power and female empowerment whether it’s in written form, illustrations, photographs or anything else that’s creative. // Illustration (left): Megan Kate Potter.

“Let’s stop seeing each other as competition, and come together. Being silent is not what being a woman is about.” In life, so many different influences have tried to teach me what it means to be a woman. I’ve tried to only listen to the messages that have empowered me to be successful, but with so many different voices telling women in the modern day how to act, it’s hard not to feel discouraged. Growing up, I never noticed the subtle way that society tries to muffle the voices of women. Whenever a boy had an opinion, it was perfectly fine for him to voice it in any way that he liked, and it was never seen as too bold, or too rude. However, whenever I had an opinion, I was told to sit down. I learned that “being a lady” meant not rocking the boat or having any opinions of my own. I wanted to ignore all of these sexist double standards, but as I got older and older, their weight piled up on top of me. I couldn’t help but notice the fact that so many beautifully intelligent women were made to feel like each other’s competition, and tied down by a world that doesn’t realize how strong girls can be. It feels so heavy to be conflicted between others limits, and what you want to be. Your call to action, girls. Decide that enough is enough, and take every chance to encourage other girls to feel the same. If anything, being a woman is the definition of strength. Being a woman is about standing up to those who have treated you as less, and realizing that your power as a girl is endless. You are smart. You are important. Show the world what you do best. – SYDNEY S / LOVELAND, CO

Nothing creates more powerful women than other powerful women. I was 14 when I realized this. The years before that were filled with hurtful thoughts and endless comparisons to my female friends. At an age where I should’ve been growing, I was cutting myself down. All of my friends are beautiful, smart and talented young women. But when I felt like I was none of these things, I couldn’t appreciate that. Their beauty was my imperfections. Their competence was my impotence. Their talents were my weaknesses. It was a toxic way to think. It was when someone told me “Her successes are not your failures” that my mind-set began to shift. As the year progressed so did I, I became confident and secure in myself which allowed me to appreciate the wonderful group of women I had around me. Now when a friend shows me the A+ she got on an algebra test or the song she spent all night writing, instead of seething with envy, my heart simply fills with pride. Appreciating and supporting myself, my friends and other women is what girl power means to me. To ignore the cattiness and competiveness society tries to install in us from an early age and instead celebrate women of all races, religions, sexualities and abilities for being who they are. I don’t find anything more exciting than seeing girls, like me, overcoming obstacles and doing cool things. A few days ago, I found myself babysitting my neighbor’s 9-year-old daughter. I was listening to her incoherent mumbles about dinosaurs or fairies or dinosaur fairies. The children’s science show I let her stay up past her bedtime to watch was only barely keeping her attention. The segment that features famous scientists and their inventions wasn’t as thrilling to her as she was hoping. That was until she jumped out of my lap in a giddy excitement when the name of the next scientist popped up the on screen. The big difference? This scientist was a girl. She had no idea who she was or what she made but she didn’t care. She was simply happy to see a girl, just like her, create something incredible. Girls need other girls to show them they can defy expectations, change rules and achieve anything. Nothing creates more powerful women than other powerful women. – INDIA P / BERKSHIRE, UK

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Obtaining the soul of a female is an irrefutable art form. Painting our faces with delicate stokes of ebony ink and scarlet gloss, we remain on a pedestal. Manicured fingertips carefully daubed with a shade of magenta grip our trophy tight, for we have won the world. A diverse population of geniuses and creators, females live within the boundless nooks and crevices of the world. All crannies fill with our deepest sense of love and strongest form of fervor. The power of a female is limitless, and we are the goddesses that walk in stiletto heels on city crosswalks in dresses that glisten and hair that curls like the coils of a flower stem. The ideologies of girl power are greater than the simplicity of a concept. The genuine power that lives beneath the gentle lace of our bralettes is a physical portion of our hearts dedicated to the purity of empowerment. Every woman is born with an innate sense of capability, and it is the manifestation of #girlpower that enables females to express an inner sense of dominance. Women are worldwide warriors that wave their flags of representation with pride and pleasure. We may find shades of pink intriguing like a melody and diamonds to be hypnotic kaleidoscopes, yet we are not limited to the confines of clichés and concrete formulas. Females span amidst a spectrum of all hues; each individual tinted with washes of originality and ingenuity. Our variety leaves us the world as our art gallery, and #girlpower is our daily, gratuitous reality. – JORDAN H / BOSTON, MA As essential as it is to bond with the human race as a whole, its undeniable the string tied between every female can be picked and plucked, but never snapped. With a discreet twitch of the mouth or a full-blown monologue, an interaction between women isn’t spoken in tongues but is indeed known solely between minds. It’s like a weird siren call, us females can communicate is every way possible with such ease. This is one of the most comforting sensations I can fathom! The unspoken link between us girls is such an uplifting entity, and going through life with this tool tucked in our pockets has undoubtedly paved the road for smoother cruising. We can be healers, volts, stilts and bolts for one another, uplift a girl whose fallen and reinforce one if they’ve broken. Because we know. Yes, we all have the power to be a light for another no matter genetic code, but a women’s intuition is sacred between us. And the inspiration we can pull from each other is so life changing. It was while reading Lang Leav that I took reassurance in the fact that nobody can make me feel ashamed on my own emotions, because they are mine. HAIM’s songs make a bee-line right for those same feelings. Meryl Streep performs so beautifully in Mamma Mia I become restless and empowered every time I rewatch it. In just watching and pulling from each other’s strength, we have the ability to take that inspiration and play with it until it molds to our own lives. So when we actually interact with another, there is such a ripple effect. I don’t see girl power as a fix to stereotypes, but as a series of hands holding my own as I walk through life. – MICKY B / CORPUS CHRISTI, TX


From a young age, females watch movies where the only women in the film are there to be a sexual object for men. They are there to be looked at, admired, with only a line or two. Recently, I came across ‘The Bechdel Test,’ a test that requests at least two female (main) characters to feature in a movie, TV show or book. These females must engage in conversation, talking about something other than a man to pass this test. This test should be applied to all works of fiction. I recently watched the movie ‘Jawbreaker,’ which stars Rose McGowan, a wonderful feminist who frequently stands up for gender equality in the film industry. This film has mostly female characters, of all types. Backstabbers, nice girls, bada*ses, and plenty others all feature in the film as main characters. It was refreshing to see such a wide range of female characters, showing the talent, us– females have to offer. The girl power in this film is undeniable. All the girls are independent, strong and have something to offer us educationally. Another film, which has plenty of girl power, is The Craft, a story about four witches. The girls are powerful, brave, and admirable. Women watching movies, such as Jawbreaker and The Craft, will see these strong females, and stand up, speak out, and educate the people needing it most. I believe Hollywood should produce more and more female dominated films, as it’s about time us, girls got some screen time (in, and out, of the cinematic screen). – SOPHIE C / CRICHTON, SCOTLAND I’m so glad that we’re finally going through this very “woke” stage in society. I’m so happy that younger girls are finally going onto social media and seeing uplifting and educational things about girls and people in general. Social media during my middle school years consisted of a lot of shaming, comparing, and belittling women. Now, I’m enjoying the fact that social media is finally a place that girls can go to in order to gain self-respect and realize that loving themselves should be their first priority. We’re all growing up and trying to figure out who we are but we can’t achieve that without our confidence and if our confidence is constantly being shut down by judgments and discouraging actions, the possibility of moving forward is limited. We need to get rid of this judgmental attitude that we have towards people in society and realize that it’s not helping anyone. We have all gone through, or still going through, our “awkward” stages. Thinking that it’s okay to bash on someone while they’re trying to figure themselves out is completely wrong. It’s going completely backwards. I’m so appreciative of this stage in society. Even though feminism seems almost like a trend, I’d rather this be what we practice than dealing with a trend that shames people in any way. Even celebrities are taking huge steps into shining a light on women being discriminated against by chanting the importance of going to school, getting our education, and not depending on anyone (Nicki Minaj), or incorporating their feminist views in their songs (Beyoncé). The list goes on. All of this fight for gaining the confidence of women and our equality is extremely important and I completely stand by it. – NESA G / NEW YORK, NY


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In order for us to be powerful girls, we must start by finding that power within us. I believe that this begins with learning to love ourselves, or more specifically, learning to love our bodies. This is a task that many girls around the world struggle with on a daily basis, but learning to see the flaws on our bodies as natural, beautiful, golden pieces of art is a small, yet significant place to start. – EMBER L / SOUTH FLORIDA, USA


Sisterhood, a glue that held together our broken pieces, as we stepped through life afraid, a power so strong it kicked doubt out, and made room for a love that could tear down walls, and unlock cages in the darkest corners of our hearts. Sisterhood was the lesson in the northern star, a kiss from the sun as our dreams arose, a hug from a distant stranger we would soon call family. Sisterhood is home to the lost little girls, the struggling women trying to find their freedom, the run down and tossed away who can’t seem to find their worth. Sisterhood does not laugh at our hopes, scoff at our failures, or turn a blind eye to our pain. Sisterhood finds us those that will become our fuel, anchor our hearts, and ride with us into a sea of chaos. Sisterhood was never the simple solution, but instead a journey towards many broken souls, hoisting us up as stepped towards our destinies. – CYDNEY I / BELMONT, NC The F word. It seems today’s social culture has made discussing certain topics increasingly difficult, some even looked down upon. One that readily comes to mind is the word “feminist.” A word that’s almost as taboo as the fourletter profanity, feminism is a prominent topic in social media nowadays, saturating timelines with a colorful range of both praise and degradation towards the movement. As a young girl, I was made aware early on of the different experiences women face simply for being who they are— women. Walking down a crowded street, I’ve learned to make myself small for everyone else. Carefully choosing my words, I taste each word on my tongue before I even dare speak. But in my eighteen years I’ve slowly learned that a woman’s strength lies not in the inequities she has had to face, but in her reactions to such circumstances. A huge part of my definition of feminism is having the utmost confidence in expressing yourself, regardless of your gender. Girls around me have enabled me to take part in that experience, and have helped shaped my voice as I gather more courage to participate. Girl power highlights the need for more conversations, but more significantly, the need to support those who decide to speak their minds. This power does not discriminate, rather it focuses on girls to empower them and strengthen their resolve in advocating for equality with the rest of the world. Next time you hover over the send button, hesitating whether to share what you feel, or what you think, I hope you remember of all of us urging you on. As I hover over my own keyboard, I’m taking one more step in fully realizing that confidence. And in reading this I hope you will too. – LIANE C / NEW YORK, NY

The concept of girl power was never foreign to me. As the only girl the family, my parents built a foundation of female empowerment by filling my head with successful and intelligent women, hoping I would follow in their footsteps. They covered the walls of our home with exquisite artwork from Frida Kahlo and encouraged me to belt out Just A Girl by No Doubt on long car rides. As I grew physically, mentally, and literally, I came to realize that many people believed strong women were not something to look up to. The harsh reality was that other women were tearing down their own sex. As a young girl it would have been easy to jump on the bandwagon and criticize other girls but if expected more of myself and I knew my parents did too. Now as a junior in high school, I am so blessed to have such moral support from my parents to be whatever my heart desires. Not only do I have my family looking out for me but I have a full support system from my friends. I am so fascinated to see The Girl Power Movement take ahold of the hearts of the girls at my high school. It’s glorious to finally see young girls boosting each other’s self esteem and supporting each other. I am so glad to be in the generation where we are encouraged to speak and raise our voices. Although I always got full support from my close family and friends, I know some girls don’t have that luxury. I am in love with the idea of girls all across the globe being able to connect and be there for each other. – ALEXANDRA MORENO / CYPRESS, CA

I think girl power should emphasize on how much a girl can do. Often times, girls are not encouraged to be curious about fields such as science, business, and etc. This shows that girls can! – SEOJEONG Y / IRVINE, CA

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Story: Kamrin Baker PhotoGRAPHY: Alyssa Vaphiades

Selfies. Support groups. Fearlessness. While young women everywhere showcase these empowering elements, 17-year-old Mariana Pimento has become one of the leaders of the strong lady pack. In recent times, some people have accused feminism and self empowerment of being more shallow ideals, and use words like “trendy” and “chic” to describe them, but the only trendy and chic thing about Project Essere is its adorable graphic design. Project Essere, aside from its cuteness, is an online platform that promotes self love, positivity, and following your dreams. Birmingham based Pimento initially desired to create a space for young women to go for motivation and strength in a society that doesn’t typically focus on that. After launching the project, which started off as 29 core interviews with fresh faces and perspectives, she knew it was a hit. “Essere is the Italian verb for ‘to be, to exist,’ which I chose as the name for the project because I want to celebrate each person’s existence,” Pimento recalls. “I had attempted to do a project earlier that was named Project Bare that focused on bare beauty, so many of the other names I had in mind had to do with beauty, but they were all quite cliche. I wanted something unique that would stick, and when I saw Essere I knew it was it.” After Essere left its original mark, Pimento then elaborated on the territory by featuring weekly writers, some of whom were simply her great friends with great ideas. To this day, readers can submit their own pitches or uniquely answer the pioneer Project Essere interview questions. As the campaign evolves, readers can become more and more involved. Although that involvement is still in the early stages, Essere is already a home for young women who strive for success, love, and growth.


“I wanted to make a change,” Pimento relays.” I always knew I wanted to make a change and bringing that together with my artistic skills is something I’ve always dreamed of doing. If you want to make an impact, think of that girl you’re being an example for. Being a Hispanic immigrant, I want to be an example to those specific girls who can relate to me in that way. Everyone has something unique that only some people can relate to and by going after your dreams, you’re being an example to someone else.” Pimento moved to America from Colombia when she was 7 years old, and with her unstoppable personality and loving family, she was destined to make an imprint on her new locale. “I love how I’ve embraced being different! I come from a different culture and having been able to embrace that and not let anyone or anything embarrass me of that is something I’m proud of,” Pimento cheers. “The best piece of advice I’ve ever received is something my dad tells me every morning: ‘Be happy and make other people happy.’ So simple but so incredibly powerful. You can apply that to just about every aspect of life no matter how small or how big.” Her happiness is infectious, as is her passion. Pimento sings in choir at school and works on digital image and photography, as well (which explains the beautiful graphic design), and strives to be taking classes at NYU next fall. Not to mention, she works diligently on a lifestyle blog called Turtlenecks and Tea to tell her own personal stories. Pimento’s dreams have yet to be shorted by the world, and I don’t think they’ll ever be.” The biggest impact Essere has had on me has been seeing life in a completely [new] way,” Pimento glows.

Believing is power. Power is believing. Being able to believe in who you are as a woman and taking that to great lengths, that is girl power. There is nothing greater in this world then the power of believing in yourself, your abilities, your strengths and those around you. As a 17-year-old girl, I could never have imagined the great lengths I could go to attempt to make an impact on the world. I always knew I could do something to change this world but never quite found the right way to do it. As I created projectessere.com, I realized that my power to inspire people could inspire others to use their own and unique power. There is something so incredible that happens within you when you gather the strength and courage to believe in who you are and to love who you are. You are unstoppable. You are limitless. Project Essere strives to bring women together from all cultures, races, and backgrounds to inspire them and help them reach their maximum potential by believing in their own potential and strengths. Power is believing. Believing is power. Girl power takes the beauty and strength of a woman and makes her unstoppable. – MARIANA PIMIENTO, FOUNDER OF ESSERE

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I’m so happy that Local Wolves is releasing an issue all about the topic of girl power and I’m elated to be a part of it. Girl power, to me, is about standing together and supporting each other as women. I think sometimes, people view it to be an “anti-male” subject and it’s not; not at all. Girl power, to me, is about being a strong woman, knowing your worth, and going after what you want in life while supporting other women doing the same thing. In popular culture lately, more and more women are standing up and speaking out about the topic and I love it. I’ve never gotten anything in life by being jealous or putting other people down because of jealousy. I think, especially as a girl in the music business, it’s easy to do that. The music industry, as well as many others,

breeds a culture of competition and the view that if someone is getting somewhere, they are getting ahead of you and taking your spot. I know, from personal experience, that the more that I have supported artists in the industry, the better I’ve become as an artist. I think females need to stop putting each other down and instead stand by each other. I don’t think we should refer to the female sex with slanderous words and, in doing so, we demand respect. A lot of celebrities have been outspoken about that lately and it is so refreshing. It is a time of authenticity, speaking out about who you are, and going after what you want, and that is very refreshing. I hope to represent that in my career going forward as much as I possibly can. – cappa, ARTIST

CAPPA is the stage name of uber-cool Nashville based singing powerhouse Carla Cappa. Her electronic soaked pop jams ooze an alluring, infectious eeriness and a maturity far beyond her years. Though young, a fierce love of music has been ingrained in Carla since a young age. “I can’t remember a time not wanting to be a pop star,” Carla says. In fact, music runs in her blood. “My mom was a singer/ songwriter when she was younger and named me after Carly Simon and Karla Bonoff. My dream is just to be able to play music for the rest of my life. I’ve never had much of a backup plan, which can be a little scary at times, but I think making a backup plan would take a lot of the fun out of this crazy dream for me.” Though based in Nashville, Carla has no plans to become a country star. For now, pop music is her only passion. “I’ve always, genuinely and truly, loved pop music. I would get in the car when I was younger and blast the radio and just day dream to it every chance I got. I’ve toyed with playing and performing some other genres, but my love right now in music really lies in the pop world.” From her slick, synth-heavy track “Killin’ It” to her drowsy, melodic slow-burner “In the Morning,” CAPPA echoes the twisted pop hits of Lorde and Lana Del Rey. CAPPA is at once the pop music you want to blast in your car and the pop music you want to day dream to; fun and daring but bubbling with anxiety. Carla hasn’t had much free time since getting into the music game. “I try to be in as many writing sessions as I can each week,” she says. “I just want to keep getting better. Sometimes, I’ll write to a track or just start playing chords on the synth and write from there.” I like co-writes as well, but I always make sure I sit—

down a few times a week by myself to write; it keeps my head in the right place.” With 2015 came a surge in strong, fiercely talented, female popstars and Carla believes this is an exceptionally exciting time to be a woman. She cites her mother as the greatest female role model in her life. “My mother has always been one of my biggest inspirations. She is the kindest and most compassionate woman I know. She just got certified and has been helping battered women in our home town. I look up to her a lot.”

“I think women are becoming more outspoken than ever and that is really refreshing. We’re, as a whole, starting to support each other rather than tear each other down, and there is a whole lot of power in that.” “In the music industry, I look up to a lot of women that are successful and still altruistic to themselves— Shania Twain, Carly Simon, and Joan Jett. It’s not an easy industry, and I know how many people tell you to change or that your ideas are bad— it’s all BS. No one can make the rules on who you are as an artist or person. I look up to women in the industry that are defying that.” Carla stresses the importance of determination, in whatever you do. “Never quit— not on anything,” she says. “Who you are is plenty enough. If you want something in life, go get it.” Right now, Carla is definitely getting it. With her laid-back edge, unique talent, and general bada*s determination, CAPPA will be one to keep your eye on.

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There is a point in a young girl’s life, I’m not sure exactly when, but where I find that most girls stop trying to run the fastest or even beat the boys at a game at recess. Somewhere along the way of growing up, I feel some girls think that boys are supposed to be the fastest, or the strongest so they just shouldn’t try. For some reason girls lose their competitiveness against boys for fear of looking “unfeminine” or “unattractive.” I believe in girl power, because it means supporting each other as females and as humans with incredible gifts to share with the world. Girl power represents a sisterhood of encouraging one another to be the best they can be without fear of judgement or bullying. I hope that one day the saying “you (blank) like a girl” is taken as the compliment that it truly is, because girls are accomplishing many incredible things. Women are breaking ground like they never have before. One of my heroes, Ava DuVernay, who just this past year was the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award. She was also, the first black female director to have their film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Another hero of mine that I’m sure can keep up with the boys is Ronda Rousey. She is the first and current UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She is undefeated in mixed martial arts, having won all of her twelve professional fights. She was also the first U.S. woman to earn an Olympic medal in Judo at the Summer Olympics in 2008. I could list off my female hero list for days. But this last mention takes away any morsel of truth that “women aren’t funny” and that’s queen, Amy Poehler. Not only is she ridiculously hysterical in all her projects but she is a beacon of girl power! She started an organization called Smart Girls, where they celebrate amazing women and all their talents. Focusing on positivity and encouraging creativity and imagination. I hope that girls growing up see how amazing they are and how much they’re worth. Be supportive of each other and never give up on your dreams. You can do anything! – Jessica Marie Garcia, ACTRESS


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“Fill in the blank,” I direct Jessica Marie Garcia, “I am a woman who is beautiful an driven to succeed,” she replies, with no hesitation. The Florida native turned LA actress, known for her role as Maddie’s best friend, Willow on the Disney Channel television show “Liv and Maddie,” doesn’t waste a moment before continuing with her affirmation of girl power. “I think Hollywood needs to explore and celebrate more versions of what is beautiful. They stick to a very small idea of what ‘beauty’ is on-screen and who can represent that. I find that all different kinds of shapes, sizes, colors, and quirks are beautiful and worth showing the world in that light. You can be a size ‘whatever’ and be a leading lady.” According to Garcia, the drive to succeed has been evident since conception. “I [knew] that I wanted to act since I was in the womb!” she laughs, sharing stories of acting out movie scenes as a child for her stuffed animals. Like every other kid, she was obsessed with all things Disney and flipped out at the chance to audition for Liv and Maddie. “When I found out that I got [the part], it was a couple days before my birthday!” she shares. “In celebration, I had a dance party on the phone with my agent and then had the best birthday ever. I couldn’t have asked for a better present.”


While Garcia confesses a secret addiction to reality TV, the role she plays on the show is a fictional high school student named Willow, a bold and musicallyinclined basketball player. The predominately female cast is fiercely close, giving piggy back rides on set and memorizing each other’s Starbucks orders. In this world, friendship is key. Women succeed by supporting other women. “Girl power means a lot to me,” Garcia is quick to share. “Supporting other’s journeys and success as well as our own. Being a good teammate is vital when promoting girl power. Girls could easily be pinned against each other for roles or other opportunities. So it is important to build each other up and not drag each other down to get ahead. It’s good to know that our journey is all our own and should always celebrate each other’s story.” This Florida girl’s life may seem like it turned completely upside down, but Garcia insists that the climb to success is a slow and daily process. She has more upcoming projects in mind and is excited for the future, but is definitely the kind of girl to truthfully say she hasn’t changed. “I haven’t!” she pauses, then adds with a laugh, “I just went from Disneyworld to Disneyland.” And once you’ve made that switch, there’s no going back.

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The words ‘girl’ and ‘power’ in the same phrase? That seems untypical and freakish in modern society and quite frankly, that’s crap. Any wavelength of female empowerment is simple, yet difficult. To me, the definition is as uncomplicated as it gets: the ability, or even desire to believe in oneself. As a female working in a male-dominant industry, I have endured the typical “you can’t because you’re a girl” in almost every business related encounter, and even my personal life. Straight to the facts and real life situations:

allowed to attend the meet and greet to interact with my supporters because of the sole fact that it’s a male only lineup. I was once told by one of the male influencers, “guys sell tickets because of little girl’s raging hormones.” Another issue I personally deal with in this industry is being placed in a box that I don’t belong in. I have introduced myself to many males and explained to them that I am of the same stature as them. Almost always do they assume I’m a beauty guru, a girl who posts makeup tutorials. Not that there is anything wrong with being one, but why is it assumed that I am one?

A female posts an Instagram photo in her new bikini on a stunning beach in Maui:

I don’t walk around talking about the latest makeup trends or gossip about my newest hair care find. In a perfect world, the reaction I expect is “Oh, wow a youtuber! Cool! What are your videos about?” I feel it’s pretty unfair to assume that just because I’m a girl it signifies I make makeup videos. Watching and listening to a handful of male videos and songs, I’ve noticed, males talking about “hooking up with girls” is celebrated. Yet when a female is open online about her sexuality, she is sl*t shamed. Girl power isn’t about being better than boys. Girl power is about us girls and boys, treating all girls with the respect and equality we all deserve.

— “WRONG.” — “SL*T.” — “YOU WILL NEVER BE A ROLE MODEL.” Next, a male publicly shares a photo in his boxers laying on his messy bed full of week-old Cheetos and sweaty laundry: — “OH. MY. GAWD. LET ME HAVE YOUR BABIES.” — “WHAT AN INSPIRATION.” — “DADDDY!” Though, this is only a small percentage of the inequalities I encounter, it’s one of the most evident. And although this calls for a separate issue (body positivity), it speaks to the constant fight and innate strength known as ‘girl power.’ I have attended many events as a talent to meet fans and perform. What I notice about a lot of these events and the people who run them is they primarily only invite male talent. There has even been numerous times where I am not—

With my presence online I make it a point to be vocal to girls and boys both about this issue. I don’t see myself as a role model, nor do I believe in the idea of one, because we’re all equal on this earth and shouldn’t feel the need to “look up” to anyone. We’re all “content creators” and “influencers” who share our creativity, viewpoints, and opinions. My wish is for us to all take the initiative to keep in mind that whether it’s gender, race, sexual preference, or even social popularity, we are all equal and in this together. – LAUREN GIRALDO, CONTENT CREATOR

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There is always that one friend that never fails to make you laugh. Whenever you are down, you can count on that friend to pick you right back up again by telling a funny joke. You always want to be around that friend because they create a positive, high-spirited atmosphere. LAUREN GIRALDO has always been that friend among her high school pals. After joining Vine in 2013 and quickly becoming an internet sensation, Giraldo is still the funny friend but she now has a bigger friend group of 3 million followers and growing.

Being on such a public platform draws positive feedback, but unfortunately also negative feedback. Although Giraldo admits it’s sometimes hard to stay true to yourself when people might not agree with your videos, she says she doesn’t “post content for people to agree with or like 100% of the time.” Having thick skin is important in an industry where you are always in the public eye, but Giraldo knows that at the end of the day it is all about “never letting anyone else’s opinions define how you feel about yourself.”

Giraldo never planned to become an internet sensation. It all just happened naturally when one of Giraldo’s friends showed her Vine and suggested she start posting some of her own Vines. Admitting at first she did not know what to post, Giraldo eventually just started posting random Vines showcasing her natural, charismatic humor. After a week, she quickly gained 30,000 followers and things took off. “There was never a moment where all of this felt normal or real,” admits Giraldo. “I’m still to this day not used to it.”

Her advice to those dealing with harsh criticism on the internet or in life relies on balancing the good and the bad. “Don’t let the negative comments get you down and feel upset, but also don’t let all the positive comments go to your head and form an ego,” says Giraldo. “It’s all about appreciating your viewers and their input without it affecting how you act or see yourself at the end of the day.” With such a strong attitude, Giraldo has become a positive influence for her viewers on the internet, someone they look up to.

What really makes Giraldo stand out from the other internet personalities out there is the genuine charisma and unfiltered humor she brings to her videos. Viewers feel like they are right there in that moment, laughing along with their best friend. She credits her unique voice to the fact that she always stays true to herself and never tries to act like anyone else. “I don’t think I ever purposely developed a voice. It sort of just happened on its own and I’m so grateful it did,” claims Giraldo. “I’ve just been myself and used the Internet as a fun way to share it.”

The internet has become not just a way for her to make people laugh, but also a way to help her viewers get through struggles in their daily lives. “The message I want my viewers to get from my videos is to always be yourself, not let other people’s opinions define your opinion of yourself, not to try to be anyone else in order to be cool, and to never be afraid to show your true colors,” says Giraldo. Being a strong female voice on the internet, Giraldo has become a true inspiration for girl power.

Instead of trying to fit into the mold, Giraldo creates originality by using her inner confidence to stay true to herself, posting genuine, hilarious videos that showcase her real personality. She hopes that her videos will inspire girls across the world to find their inner girl power as well. “I want every female to know that we are capable of everything a man can do. Finding your own girl power is all about self-confidence!” exclaims Giraldo. “Be proud to be you and know your worth. Know that you are capable of amazing things, even things that may seem unrealistic.” With this positive message, Giraldo has become an ambassador for the Clean and Clear Campaign #SeeTheRealMe. Giraldo says that being a voice for female empowerment is an absolute honor. “I felt so happy to be able to spread such a positive message and stand for something so powerful,” says Giraldo. “I know that I, as a female, demand to be treated with the same amount of respect as a male and spreading that message was very heartwarming for me personally.” With all her success, Giraldo has had many memorable experiences attending exciting events such as the MTV Video Music Awards, American Music Awards, and even Miss America. Admitting at first it was nervewracking being among some of Hollywood’s biggest names, Giraldo says “every event was a lot of fun, and I loved and appreciated every opportunity.” Being a social media influencer at these events has allowed her viewers to feel like they are with her on the red carpets. “I’ve learned a lot about the power of social media and how huge it is getting,” says Giraldo. When asked which social media platform is her favorite to use, Giraldo says she likes Snapchat “because it’s the most carefree app, since your story deletes. Also, no one knows how many followers anyone has just by looking at their profile, so it avoids the competition element of the app and makes it more of a fun space to just be yourself and share your day to day life.”

Giraldo’s hilarious content does not stop at Vine; she also posts videos on YouTube. She says that she finds her inspiration for her videos not just by creating, but also by viewing other videos from her favorite channels. Admitting her favorite types of videos to film are conversational videos with her viewers, she also films challenges and even music covers. She has an inspirational voice, a comedic voice, and a talented musical voice as well, which has attracted attention from Grammy award winning producers. Giraldo’s love for music and singing started when she was a child. “It has been a burning passion I’ve had my entire life, but I always saw it as an unrealistic pipe dream,” admits Giraldo.

“I’ve learned recently that putting your mind and heart to something is the way to make your dreams become realities and that is what I’m doing now.” Although Giraldo admits it’s sometimes hard balancing work life with social life, she still finds time to relax. Outside of creating videos, she loves to hang out with her friends and travel to new places. With so much success at a young age, Giraldo is about to conquer the world, the internet world and beyond. So what should viewers expect this year from Giraldo? One word: “Music,” states Giraldo. Working hard this year in the studio, Giraldo cannot wait to share her unique musical sound with her followers. Watch Lauren Giraldo’s videos, become part of her ever-growing friend group, and you will find yourself calling her your own new best friend. Giraldo is the friend that will never fail to make you laugh. She is the friend that you can count on to pick you up when you’re feeling down. She is the friend that will bring out your inner confidence and girl power.

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The Spice Girls. The Cheetah Girls. The Powerpuff Girls. Beyoncé— they all have the right idea. Powerful girls promoting girl power has to be my favorite thing ever. It’s like hot fudge on top of a sundae or extra cheese on your mac and cheese. Greatness on top of greatness. To me, girl power can’t be defined in words. To me, girl power is a movement. My ultimate goal is to write and star in my own comedy television show and since none of the major television networks have tweeted me back, I plan on using the Internet to make steps to-wards my dream. Being a female in comedy is risky business, or at least, it appears to be. I’m still new. I just think it’s important to, especially being a woman of color, have female characters that are intelligent and hilarious without compromising what makes them beautiful. As I stated before, I cannot define girl power, so here is a list of what I picture when girl power comes to mind: 1. That slow motion hallway scene in Mean Girls: I feel like all girls deserve to walk through life with that amount of confidence and hotness. And you know what? It’s ok to sometimes feel like Cady did when she fell in that trash can because her legs still looked amazing. As would yours. 2. Every girl group ever: Singing, dancing, rapping, all while occasionally wearing heels? They are our Earth’s princesses and we must protect them. 3. The line in Beyoncé’s ever popular song, “Run the World (Girls)”: “We’re smart enough to make these millions. Strong enough to bear the children then get back to business.” That line has changed my entire outlook on life and helped me realize that women are superheroes. 4. A girl handing another girl a tampon (especially if they’re strangers). Nothing screams, “I got you, my sistah” more than handing a fellow woman a tampon. Actually, the tampon scenario is my favorite. I think we should approach our relationships with each other just as sensitively and generously. It is extremely unrealistic to love every single girl we come in contact with, but we have to love each other. Girls remember, we are phenomenal. Never let anyone tell you that you aren’t fabulous and never ever allow anyone, especially another girl, make you feel bad for loving and expressing your amazingness. It’s happened to me— I know, hard to believe right?— it isn’t fun. You are unique. You are beautiful. You are here for a reason. You matter. No one can beat us. Girl power. – morgan drain, content creator



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As far as girl power goes, Morgan Drain has a lot of it. Starting in December 2009 while bored on Christmas break, she began making youtube videos sharing advice to her subscribers. This soon expanded to include videos focusing on fashion and style, some of her first loves.

“It makes me look like I tried on the days I really didn’t at all.” But she doesn’t stop there. She recently moved to Hollywood, CA where she is majoring in Cinema Studies, with a focus on screen writing and acting. She’s loving it so far, and we feel it will only get better as time goes on.

“I have always loved fashion. I especially love making whatever I wear unique,” she says. Her fashion tips focus on the affordable, hip, and distinct, with her own quirky flare. And unlike a lot of fashion channels found in the YouTube world, Morgan has a focus on thrift store finds; perfect for any young adult on a budget, or those wanting a one of a kind piece without breaking the bank. “I was encouraged by Melissa and Stephanie from TheFashionCitizen on YouTube. They really helped me understand that you can still be on trend even if you thrift. A lot of people don’t realize that, so that’s why I make videos about it!”

“Pretty soon, my channel will have a lot more sketches and creative content. The mixture of fashion and comedy is very me!”

Even farther from the standard YouTube fashion column, she often puts theatrics and comedy into her videos. It’s entertaining, relatable, often funny, and a breath of fresh air in the YouTube world. Citing Ariana Grande, Scream Queens, and the 90’s (Clueless especially), as her fashion inspo, one can’t help but love the nostalgic feel of her outfits creations that still somehow feel very now and modern. Keeping with her 90’s obsession, the cat eyeliner and a bold lip are her go to look especially on days where you just don’t feel like making the effort.


However, she doesn’t plan on leaving the world of fashion behind. “I will always be involved with fashion in some way. It’s so important to me.” And thankful we are for that. Who couldn’t use some advice on how to put that bada*s thrifted cheetah scarf to use in your wardrobe (Okay, maybe not that but that’s why we go to her channel for advice on these things!) Her advice to anyone trying to start a YouTube channel? Work hard. Stay unique. It’s that simple. “That is what will take you all the way. I don’t think there is a simple answer. I don’t think there should be either, but you have to work hard. Don’t try to fit in with what’s popular because trends fade and you can very easily lose yourself.” She does ask add that you must have patience and be pursuing your path for your own, right reasons. “I’m still learning that. Your time will come.”

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To us, girl power means women empowerment. Not to be confused with feminism (i.e. equality of the sexes). Girl power is more than just having a confident attitude. Rather, it is the intentional act of women supporting women in the fight against sexism, inequality and violence against women. It is about being allies instead of enemies. Girl power, if viewed as an individualistic ideal, is more selfserving than it is empowering. To us, girl power is about working with and for other women— more than it is about being strong, independent and “blazing your own trail” to the top. Not all inequality is created equal. Women face varying levels of discrimination. That is why it is important to recognize if you are more privileged than your female counterparts, and when appropriate, use that privilege to aid those who are placed at an unfair disadvantage in the hierarchal society we live in. In order to be an ally, we must have open dialogue. Talk to women of color. Talk to LGBTQ+ women. Talk to women of different socioeconomic classes.

Talk to women of varying body shapes and sizes. Listen to them speak about their experiences. Ask them how you can help. Girl power is about celebrating all kinds of women.

“ Op i n i o n at e d wo m e n . N u rt u r i n g women. Driven women. Feminine women. Masculine women. Women who are mothers and women who will never be— the list is infinite.” Girl power is fully embracing who you are, while also embracing the multitude of incredible women out there who are different than you. It’s celebrating women who live authentically and also creating a space to help others achieve that. It’s about not trying to define what it means to be a woman, because no woman is any “more” or “less” of a woman. It’s realizing that each individual’s experience with womanhood is different and all of our stories are important. – chloe + taylor turner oF CHASING LOVELY, band

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This acoustic folk-rock sister duo from Nashville, TN combines poetic lyricism with soulful harmonies, making a congenial sound enjoyable for a variety of audiences. After growing up in the tundra of Minneapolis, MN, Chloe and Taylor Turner of Chasing Lovely decided to move to Music City in 2011 to better their exposure and influence in the music industry. “Nashville is a fun city to be a creative entrepreneur in because there are so many likeminded people looking to support and collaborate with you,” Chloe shared. “Looking back though, it’s interesting to see the influence the place you grew up had on you. Being from Minneapolis shaped our values and ethics and spirits in a way we never realized until we left.” With the recent release of their Unbridled EP in July of 2015, these sisters have had great response on social media, including a message saying, “Holy sweet mother of mercy, you knocked this thing out of the park” which Taylor shared as her favorite response from their fans. Growing up in the same household meant that the two sisters listened to a lot of the same music as children. “I picked up guitar in my preteen years,” said Chloe. “I already loved singing, so I would perform at my middle school talent shows, and then I started posting covers to YouTube.” After Taylor pressured her to “be original” and make her own music, Taylor decided to just write the songs herself, and then joined her sister, forming the duo. The name “Chasing Lovely” then came to them from a fashion blog that Taylor had created under the same name.


When they began playing and writing together, they saw how perfectly the name worked for them. “She got the idea after looking up the definition of “lovely”: having a beauty that appeals to the heart or mind as well as to the eye. When we needed a name for our duo it seemed a natural fit.” With three independent summer tours under their belts and a total of nine months on the road, Chloe and Taylor aren’t strangers to the touring musician lifestyle. “It’s cool to be able to travel and see the states from our car. Granted, we rarely have enough time (or energy) to really enjoy the cities we visit, but we’ve loved having the opportunity to travel. It’s so interesting to see how people live in different regions, and even how the culture differs from city to city.” The duo has already tackled the west coast, midwest, and southern states of the U.S., and looks forward to making their way to the east coast. “We play mostly house shows, which are rad. They are super intimate shows where we get to pour our hearts out to a small group of people and hear their stories. We love getting to know the audience we’re playing for.” The duo also shared that they hope to tour internationally in the next few years, and are looking forward to touring with other bands and playing shows in bigger venues. STORY: MICHAEL GRASSESCHI PHOTOGRAPHY: JESSE LABAUVE



I heard Sarah Silverman say, “Stop telling girls they can be anything they want when they grow up. I think it’s a mistake. Not because they can’t, but because it would have never occurred to them they couldn’t.” I really think we’re almost to a point where that can happen. Girls born today are being celebrated and encouraged in the most beautiful ways and it wouldn’t occur to them that they couldn’t do what their male peers can do. Gender equality and the movement to empower girls isn’t just a “female” issue anymore. It’s a human issue. It’s not just moms trying to build their daughters up; it’s fathers, brothers and even corporations. There are incredible organizations such as Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls. They’re making it so cool to celebrate girls and what makes each one unique and special. You like math? Awesome, let’s get you into a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program. You want a new toy? Here’s a really cool building set. If you want a doll, here are thousands of choices, not just “Housewife Barbie.” Parents are encouraged for every tiara they buy their daughter to buy a hard hat, and for every teaset buy a tool kit. Every single day it becomes a little cooler for girls to do what they feel moved to do. Our futures are no longer being dictated by so called gender norms, at least in the United States.

However, there is so much more that needs to be done even though the momentum is definitely taking us in the right direction. I feel a responsibility to do everything in my power to help other women. While we know girls can do anything, we lack strong leaders for them to model. For every year a girl gets older, the belief that they can gets smaller and smaller. There are so many ways people our age can empower women. We, ladies have to stick together. Support each other and lift one another up. Quit shaming girls. Not just for things you wouldn’t shame boys for but stop all together. Be a role model for a younger girl. Be nice. When your friend is a leader, don’t let anyone call her bossy. When your niece picks up a microphone to sing, ask her to practice her presidential speech next! Encourage other girls to be in alliance and not in a competition. Celebrate accomplishments of other girls. Every time we encounter a limitation, not just for yourself but others as well speak up. If we notice someone else being limited, we just have to feel confident enough to speak up in a really positive and proactive way. Sure, it’s important to fight for yourself but when you’re fighting on the behalf of someone else, it just becomes magical. – GRIFFIN ARNLUND, CONTENT CREATOR

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There is something to be said about those who accept the hand that is dealt to them, and shuffle the deck until the cards are in their favor. For Griffin Arnlund, it was the stress of her teenage years that got her thinking of a productive way to channel her thoughts and feelings. Enter YouTube, one of Griffin’s many popular social media platforms. Here, she has been creating and sharing videos every Thursday and Sunday from lifestyle, advice, and vlogs, to fashion, and beauty. At only eighteen, Griffin has become an online sensation and a trusted voice for teens and young adults. With a massive following and a diverse collective of active users, Griffin managed to join a community at a time where she was lacking a sense of connection. “It was such a relieving feeling to connect with people outside of my small town and know that my story could affect others in a positive way,” shared Griffin. The comments from her subscribers and followers have attested to this. Though her success did not occur overnight, it certainly did happen. Griffin shared that her largest platform, Instagram, was the one that grew the fastest, and from there, she was able to share links to her YouTube and Twitter accounts, which slowly allowed her to build a community of followers. “There is an ebb and flow to everything—social media included. Let’s take Instagram for example: it can grow very quickly and then slow down so much without any explanation,” shared Griffin. “I can’t say that I never look at the numbers but I try not to focus on it too much. After seeing my audience grow, it was time to finally sit down and come up with some sort of streamlined strategy, to keep my energy and motives extremely focused.” For Griffin, it was very important to channel her inner creativity and intertwine it with her past experiences. This, she shared, would allow her to set goals that could grow as she did. Part of this plan lead her to narrowing down her YouTube focus towards primarily creating “lifestyle” videos instead of the very popular subject among young women— all things beauty. “I think I was 15 when I uploaded my first video and I didn’t really wear makeup until I was 16, so uploading a beauty video just wouldn’t have occurred to me,” she shared. “Creating lifestyle videos came so naturally to me and that’s where my brain goes when I’m brainstorming for video ideas.” But this doesn’t mean that you won’t ever see a beauty tutorial from the gorgeous gal. Griffin shared that her interest in beauty and fashion has increased with age. “My recent daily makeup routine is one of my favorite videos I’ve ever done.” Griffin also shared that her channel will, and does grow and evolve as she does— with age and in personality. “I don’t want to pigeon-hole myself to one category,” she said.


“I want to be myself, and luckily, makeup and beauty, among other things, happen to be key interests of mine.” Apart from beauty related videos, Griffin has shared life tips and advice on her channel by introducing a series called “60 Seconds.” These videos allow her to discuss topics in a very honest, open, and authentic way. “I love the “60 Seconds” concept because it forced me to take a look at how I communicate,” shared Griffin. “Before starting the series, I could easily ramble on for hours, saying very little! Initially, I painstakingly wrote down every word, used my phone to time myself and then went back to pen and paper to adjust and edit. After a few videos, I realized I was unhappy with how emotionless they seemed to me. So now, I write a rough draft so I know what points I want to cover and just go for it,” she said. “My “60 Seconds” series on my channel gives me 1 minute per week to sit down and genuinely connect with my audience, and some things that could be happening in their life. Within 60 seconds, one thing I say could change, help, or uplift their spirits.” With a large online following of supporters and fans, Griffin has found herself in a position of “online stardom.” She admits to being recognized by passersby when out walking through town, though her authenticity and humbleness ensure that these moments of recognition are honest and exciting ones. “I get to know the people in my online community by staying really active in comments, so when I have the chance to meet them in person, I am just as excited as they are to put a face to the many names I am seeing from day-to-day, and give them a huge hug! It’s one of my favorite things about being an online creator.” And although Griffin is an online role model herself, the teen has found inspiration from other fellow YouTubers like Zoella and Natalie-Tasha, as well as two very funny ladies, Miranda Sings and Lauren Giraldo. When asked why these women inspired her, Griffin shared that at the end of the day, she looks for a creator that channels their inner-self and stands for who they are. “If they are doing something organic in their own way, I’m most likely behind the screen watching, and ultimately enjoying,” said Griffin. And if she wasn’t spending her days creating content, Griffin shared that she would most likely be living a fairly normal teenage life. “I would be in my senior year of high school. I have taken acting classes forever so I would probably be applying to fine arts colleges and trying to figure out a way to talk my parents in to letting me move to L.A.” shared Griffin. “I am a strong believer figuring out a way to make your dreams happen. Backup plans feel like self-doubt to me— once I figure out what I want, I go all in,” said Griffin.

True to her words, Griffin has definitely gone “all in,” and this has worked to her advantage. By showing a relentless desire to improving herself and her videos, she has made it big and now enjoys her time working hard to produce high quality videos while editing them in the comfort of her manager’s office in L.A. Her advice for someone hoping to get started on YouTube, or achieve their goal, is to not waste another second. “Just start,” she says. “I think of it like learning to play piano. Your piano teacher would know if you had been practicing between lessons because there would be noticeable improvement,” Griffin adds.

“I am a strong believer figuring out a way to make your dreams happen. “Same with YouTube. If you’re serious, work your tail off learning everything you can. Creator Academy by YouTube taught me so much. There are also tutorials by creators on everything from how to use your camera, to learning the ins and outs of editing software. Everything you would ever need to know is available to you, for free! If you work on your craft, your videos will reflect that. You just have to get started! And last, but certainly not least, be yourself. If you can genuinely be yourself and grow an audience based on the person you are organically, it’s the most rewarding feeling ever. And in turn, when you do have an audience, use your voice to do social good. Give back to the community that has given to you.”

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Lately, I’ve learned a lot about what it means to be powerful in a world that can so easily make you feel powerless. As a female artist in an industry that is riddled with skepticism and criticism, girl power comes down to three things: being kind, being convicted about your vision, and most importantly keeping a sense of unwavering optimism. The hardest thing to do is to believe in yourself especially when no one else does, but it is absolutely essential to your creative process and understanding your identity as an artist. I’ve hit so many roadblocks along the way in my career but none of them have stopped me because even on my bad days, the thought of giving up is more painful than pushing past a seemingly impossible obstacle. Those moments have made me infinitely more powerful as a woman in all aspects of my life. Learning to deal with whatever comes my way has taught me how to be more patient, wise, and compassionate in every relationship in my life, not just my career. And speaking of relationships, girl power isn’t just about building yourself up; it’s about building up other women. Competition is difficult to avoid in the music industry but I’ve found so many amazing female artists that I respect and admire and vice versa. I feel most powerful when I’m encouraging and empowering others. Girl power is all about being generous with the strength you have within and radiating that light to everyone around you. – Chelsea Lankes, ARTIST


Story: Ashley Bulayo PhotoGRAPHY: Melissa TILLEY

“I just can’t forget you. I just can’t forget you.” That’s literally how we feel after listening to the track, “Can’t Forget You” by RAC featuring Chelsea Lankes. It’s catchy, upbeat and the vocals resonate with you way after the song is over. Oh, and those vocals we just mentioned? Give your props to Texas raised Chelsea Lankes for that one. Aside from lending her voice to RAC, Lankes creates her own music and releases them via SoundCloud. She’s already racked up to 739K hits on one track alone.

Speaking of not knowing who someone is, the music world is just getting familiar with Lankes and so are many different crowds she may or may have not won over yet. She’s taking on each brand new audience with absolute confidence, “It’s an amazing opportunity. I do not, for a second, take for granted every chance I get to share my music with other people. I’m still learning and growing as a performer but every show has been an awesome experience.”

So, yes. The internet enjoys her music. However, we haven’t even heard everything yet. In the past, she’s mentioned she has enough songs to put a whole album together but hold on to that thought. She’s giving us everything piece by piece. “Releasing music independently is a bit of a game, you don’t want to put everything out there and risk it getting lost in an already oversaturated market. I’m just waiting for the right moment and opportunity.” With the tracks we fortunately can hear at the moment, Lankes puts it all out there for everyone to enjoy.

Before Lankes was living in what is known as “La La Land” she was a gal growing up in Texas (where everything is much simpler). It was in college when she spent time playing in different open mics and slowly sharing her talent to the world. After graduation, Lankes worked at a record label in Nashville where she was able to learn and network from within. Nashville may be a huge music scene for country but it was in that area where Lankes figured herself out and figured out her sound. It was no easy task but hey, we all need those moments where we take a break from the world and determine what’s going on in our lives.

And by that, we mean she puts her heart and soul into her lyrics just like so many others), “I think it’s hard to write any other way! If I can’t believe what I’m singing no one else will either. And, as an artist, it’s important to be vulnerable and open because music is all about connection so hopefully if I can connect, others will too.” In a way, when we listen to music, we’re looking/listening to different artists’ diaries, right? We hear their emotions, their feelings and see what pains them or makes them happy. We get a glimpse of their thoughts without even really knowing who they actually are, scary but cool thought, isn’t it?

Needless to say, the self-discovery worked itself out because here she is cranking out tunes that she’s proud of and tracks that we love to listen to. It may be a few months, a year or even a decade until we hear a complete album from Lankes but no need to fear. She recently released her newest single, “Home” and she’ll be playing some shows to win over the hearts and ear buds of others.

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Power: ability or capacity to do something or act in a particular way. Over the last couple of years, women have strived for equality. Equal pay, equal rights, and equal treatment. A battle that was once led by only a few, brave, women has now become a global movement. But girl power has brought far more than just equality, it has brought confidence, passion and the desire to be who you truly are. In a world that is constantly trying to make you someone you aren’t, ‘girl power’ has brought us the much needed confidence to stand up and be ourselves. Girls no longer need to fit a specific mold. Nobody should be telling you what you can and can’t be. Whether you want to become an astronaut, a scientist, a body builder or a politician, women all over the world are gaining the power and confidence to do so. Because nobody should tell you ‘you’re not fast enough, strong enough, smart enough.’

Girl power is about gaining rights that shouldn’t be denied to any individual in the first place. It has helped break the stereotypes and misjudgment that was once a barrier to women, as they believed they weren’t good enough. Women across the world are leading this movement in their own unique way and contributing to ‘girl power’ as best as they can. The list of women is endless, whether it is Taylor Swift, Malala Yousafzai, Ellen DeGeneres or Emma Watson, we have all heard and been inspired by their work. They are all helping in building the image of strong, independent and ambitious ladies. We can only be inspired in doing the same. As girls we are proud and grateful for all the hard work that has been done so far and we hope that female empowerment continues for many years to come. If more women encourage each other and promote a positive image then we will be sure to see a change not only now but in the future generations. We hope that you are proud too and we encourage you to chase after your dreams and become the person you have always wanted to be. – LIZ AND NAT OF ADVENTURES DU MONDe, bloggers

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photo taking process

RE C I P ES before starting we try to make sure there’s as much natural light as possible, it really makes the food look a lot better. it’s going to get tricky with winter around the corner so we’ll have to work that one out!

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ingredients shot, we always start with a layout of all the ingredients, just so people get a visual on what it is they need. always, top view/bird eye view we then go through the recipe together and liz highlights the main steps, nat just makes sure she captures those important steps

final plate, we often have more than one way of plating the food and when editing we go with whatever looks best or whatever we prefer. keeping our options open is important going through the 100+ pictures we often get and selecting our favorites

editing, we use adobe lightroom, it’s quick and easy


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taking a picture of the outside, it’s important that the place looks welcoming to us

we always try taking a picture of the menu, at least that way our viewers can expect what to eat

capturing every dish, we both take pictures at this stage as we order different dishes and different angles are always nice to have. editing process is always the same

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As you sit down and tuck into this month’s issue of Local Wolves, the chances are you’re reading it from a tablet or laptop. Your phone will be nestled close by and, if you’re really lucky, you might even be wearing a watch that (ping!) tells you when you’ve got a notification on one of your various social media accounts. Technology is a remarkable thing and thanks to it making a blog has never been easier. From fashion to music to travel to lifestyle, there are thousands popping up each day. That being said, it takes care, determination and lashings of imagination to create a successful one. Take Aventures Du Monde for instance. Run by Liz and Nat, the site has developed a keen following of food fanatics, who are hooked on the girl’s delicious recipes and in-depth restaurant reviews. Crispy duck with sweet potato puree; classic chimichurri steak; yummy lamb and mint stir-fry. Beware! They’re sure to get your stomach rumbling. “Our blog is basically a combination of the things we love most, food, adventures and photography,” says Liz, the mastermind behind most of the cooking. Having recently moved to London, Aventures Du Monde also allows the pair to document their many escapades, including channeling their inner Tarzan at Go Ape! Adventure Center and enjoying the breathtaking views at the capital’s Sky Garden. “We plan out the adventures together and try to do things that haven’t been done before,” Nat, photo–

cont’d grapher and “professional” taste tester adds. Of course having an idea of what you want to blog about and actually doing it poses it’s own hurdles. Gone are the days where you can quickly type up a ‘how to’ article and hit publish. With thousands of competing blogs surfacing online, not only is there a pressure of creating an informative post, but there’s also a need for eye catching visuals and the ability to come up with fresh, new ideas. “We are both really picky when it comes to the pictures for our recipes. There are a couple of drafts just because a picture isn’t fully focused or we don’t like how the food looks on the plate. Our priority seems to be quality over quantity,” informs Liz. “It gets a little time consuming, but it’s all worth it in the end.” With plans to document more of their “travel experiences,” cook autumnal pumpkin recipes (“Liz is obsessed with pumpkin, even her dog is named Pumpkin, it’s crazy!”) and potentially start a YouTube channel, Aventures Du Monde is currently a mere bud, in comparison to what the girls have in-store for it. Packed with creativity, ambition and excitement for the future, Liz and Nat want to inspire other people to do what they’re passionate about. Nothing shows that more than their number one tip when it comes to starting out online: “Just stick to what you love and keep doing that, you’ll find lots of people have the same passion and it’s a really nice community.” What are you waiting for?

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I USED TO whisper when I said the word “feminism.” I likened it to a curse word— the label of being a “feminist” not to equality, but to selfishness. I became silent, voluntarily ignorant because I was afraid about what people would think about me. I was being selfish. Feminism isn’t called feminism because it promotes female supremacy, but because it holds so much historical significance of gender equality. No, being a “feminist” isn’t new or fashion-trendy, but is more a way of expressing contribution to the continuation of an endless journey to empower all genders. While we do have to inform our community that men do go through struggles, women struggle with similar issues but at greater intensities (especially concerning their race, sexuality, socioeconomic status, and anything that makes them different). Just because I promote the empowerment of one gender doesn’t mean I put down the other. All women, cisgender, transgender, gay, bisexual, queer, colored, disabled, and everyone in between throughout the globe, have the right to be and feel confident. Not only do we have to realize feminist issues like school dress codes and the wage gap, but more specifically we need to acknowledge the injustice women go through for being anything but white and cisgender. We have to recognize women struggling beyond the borders of America.

To raise fundraisers, start clubs, to do anything we can as young adults now for a greater future for the next generation to come. To respect women for who they are. To let them speak. By supporting intersectional feminism, we can recognize females on a wider spectrum. As the youth of this generation, it’s time to voice our minds. It’s our chance to embrace this journey of empowerment. In order to create a just, modern 21st century, the world needs to comprehend the concept of feminism. No— not because of the belief that women are better than men, but to advocate the equality to men socially, politically, and economically. To be treated fairly, justly, and uniformly. To tear down the old, traditional standards that a woman’s priority is to please a man and to wreck the conception of a world that is male dominated. To tell schools to not address a dress code, but to teach their students that women are not objects. To exclaim that neither skin color, sexuality, nor socioeconomic status is a factor that should detriment a woman’s importance in society. To inform people that gender inequality still exists, even if it may not seem to. To have a society that is equal. It’s time for people to support and raise up women on a worldwide level. Don’t be quiet; speak your mind. – KIANA FERNANDEZ, CONTENT CREATOR

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“All of the women in my family— my Lolas, which means Grandma in Filipino, my mom, my sister, my brother’s wife, my aunts, and my cousins,” KIANA FERNANDEZ says listing her female role models. “They are all so incredibly strong and independent, and that is something I strive for.” Luckily, strength and independence seems to be hereditary because Fernandez is using her voice, and large online following, to bring to light the things she feels passionate about— even if not everyone agrees with her. “I was kind of in a slump at the end of my freshman year, so I decided to start up my own YouTube channel. No doubt, it was the best decision of my life,” she says as we begin our chat by discussing what inspired her to start in the first place.“YouTube has always been a huge part of my life. The first YouTuber I watched was Joey Graceffa when he had about 50,000 subscribers. I would watch his daily vlogs religiously. It intrigued me to see people like him have such passion for content creation.” Her own channel, Kianahearts, has nearly 61K subscribers and features videos about the great finds she snags at thrift and antique shops from her favorite spots in Dallas, DIY videos, and beauty. Even as her channel rapidly expands and more and more big names are reaching out to her (including Tavi Gevinson— cue jealousy), Fernandez says she feels its important to stay true to herself so that her viewers know, and trust, her as she continues to make


more courageous content. “I’m thinking of making more videos where I express my opinions on social issues,” she reveals. “Since I’m gaining a wider audience, which I am super grateful for, I feel like it gives me the opportunity to voice what I believe in on a larger scale.” One of those subjects is feminism, which as a young creative and ambitious woman, she feels strongly about. “Feminism has no borders,” Fernandez begins. “It promotes equality for everyone, and I don’t think a lot of people realize that just yet. It’s about acceptance, representation, and love for all genders across the globe. I think it’s beautiful.” Her audience seems to agree and understand that Fernandez is something special. “I have countless amounts of screenshots from the comments on my videos that I hold close to my heart,” she admits. “One of the first ones I took ended with ‘you’ve changed more lives than you realize.’ It’s difficult for me to think that I could even have an impact on anyone— it’s really surreal.” Not a bad achievement for someone who hasn’t even graduate high school yet! Still, even though she’s mature far beyond her years, Kiana still has a long way to go before she’s achieved everything she wants out of life. “If anything, I hope to find myself doing something I am undeniably passionate about,” she says when I probe the tough question of where she sees herself in five years time. “I’ve kind of just realized how short life really is, and I just want mine to be happy.”

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The beauty of the internet is that it is an easy, creative way to spread your voice to millions of people around the world with just a touch of a button. For internet sensation ORION CARLOTO, the internet became a way for her to share her inspirational voice with her viewers, as well as an avenue to pursue many of her passions in a creative way. From personal advice videos, to musical covers, to comedic sketches, Carloto can do it all. With 625,000 Vine followers and 133,000 YouTube subscribers, Carloto’s natural charisma and true passion has made her stand out among the other internet personalities out there, helping her open doors to what she has always dreamed of becoming: an actress. As a young girl, Carloto loved putting on shows for her friends and family, such as performing a dance or monologue from one of her favorite films. “Being able to be in front of a camera and have thousands of people watching me has always been a major goal,” admits Carloto. “I was 5 years old and had dreams of being featured in a movie filmed in Hollywood!” Now, she has the ability to perform online to thousands of viewers around the world.

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Recently graduated from high school, Carloto has learned a lot during this stage of her life. Although Carloto admits she spent a lot of her time having fun and goofing off in high school, she says that she does not regret one minute of it. “I had a great time. I’d just remind my younger self to chill out and actually show up to class more often,” jokes Carloto. However, Carloto learned a lot in high school about living in the moment and not trying to control the future. “I have this crippling fear of the future. Before going to bed my thoughts could literally eat me alive, worrying about where I may end up,” admits Carloto. She credits her mom for giving her the advice she needed that she carries with her to this day. “My mom told me that I’m still young and I have so much life ahead of me. I don’t need to spend my youth worrying about what I’ll be or where I’ll end up,” says Carloto. “Now I focus on what’s happening in my life right now.” Starting a new chapter in her life, Carloto still faces many of the same obstacles that occur in high school. The Internet has a community full of friends and supporters, but unfortunately also cyber bullies. Although it can be hard to deal with at first, Carloto says she has learned to


just ignore it as much as possible. “Honestly, it’s better off ignoring that person because chances are, they only know you based off one video or one tweet,” says Carloto. “I’ve lived with myself for 19 years, and I’m pretty sure I know who I am as a person more than someone hiding behind an anonymous profile.” Carloto admits that her favorite aspect of the Internet is being able to share her positive voice with a huge audience instantly. With her strong, confident attitude, Carloto inspires her viewers around the world to embrace their true selves. She posts personal advice in her “Tub Talks” videos, addressing a wide variety of topics, such as going back to school and recently, body image. In her recent video, #BodyPositivity, Carloto uses her confident voice to help spread the message of self-love and accepting your true self. “I think the internet plays a really big role in body image,” says Carloto. “It’s so important to feel good about yourself and enjoy the body you live in because you will live in that body for the rest of your life. Words carry on and make marks in other’s lives, and the internet, as weird as it can be sometimes, can definitely help those who are struggling.”

One way Carloto inspires her viewers to accept their true selves is by embracing her natural beauty on the camera, going #NoMakeup in some of her videos. Carloto is a huge lover of makeup, even creating her own makeup line with her best friends. She believes makeup is a great way to express yourself creatively, but embracing your natural beauty is just as important.

“EVERYONE NEEDS TO LOVE WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE WITHOUT MAKEUP,” SAYS CARLOTO. “IT DOESN’T MATTER IF YOU HAVE BAGS UNDER YOUR EYES, UNEVEN SKIN TONES, SCARS, PEACH FUZZ, OR ANYTHING ABOVE. BEING IN A NATURAL STATE IS BEAUTIFUL AND IT IS SOMETHING THAT EVERYONE NEEDS TO ACCEPT.” Being a role model for self-love and natural beauty, Carloto has also become a voice for female empowerment. Her number one advice for finding your own female confidence is finding someone to look up to. “I’ve always looked up to my mother and the hardships she’s had to go through and how empowered she is. So, I believe in finding inspiration from other women in your life,” says Carloto. “However, you must also find empowerment in yourself. Just make sure to always be confident in what you do and what you want to achieve.”

“It’s so exciting to finally achieve a dream of becoming a lead in a production,” admits Carloto. When asked if she can share any inside scoop about the show, Carloto says, “I’ll let you in on this for right now. My character’s name is Anabelle and the story that I’m in is pretty empowering.” When asked what her favorite part about acting is, she says that it is the ability to play a character that is so different from her true self. “It is so much fun becoming someone that you’re not and putting yourself in their shoes,” says Carloto. “It would be wicked to be in a Tim Burton or Lars von Trier film. Their films always bring the audience to a whole new world, and they are so hard hitting. I would love to be casted in something like that.” Carloto also says that it would be a dream to work with Angelina Jolie, Zooey Deschanel or Winona Ryder. The internet has become a great platform for Carloto to express her passions and chase her dreams. With so many talents, Carloto has no plans of slowing down anytime soon. So what can fans expect from Carloto this upcoming year? “My goals for this upcoming year are to finish my book, focus more on my acting career, and maybe begin to write a few tunes for the future,” says Carloto. With a drive and passion like Carloto’s, in less than no time you will see her transform from the internet screen to the Hollywood big screen.

With a prominent voice on the internet, Carloto hopes her viewers take a lot out of what she has to say in her videos. “I hope I can inspire my viewers to spend more time doing things that make them happy and to fall in love with the world and what it has to offer outside of anything negative,” says Carloto. Watching her videos, it is evident that Carloto follows her own advice. Her videos contain a variety of her own passions and talents, from acting, to singing, to writing. She recently uploaded a cover of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” with Jack Whitesides on her YouTube channel. When asked if music will be something she will be pursuing as a career, Carloto admits truthfully, “I can’t make any promises, but I do know that if the perfect opportunity arises, it would be hard for me to say no.” You can also find Carloto directing and producing alongside Michael Morales in an emotional video uploaded to her channel featuring poetry by Michael Faudet. Carloto admits that producing is a fun hobby, and “it’s thrilling to come up with an idea of your own and mastering the little details about it so you can make it come to life.” She also focuses a lot on writing, hoping to finish a book she has been working on for the past year. However, Carloto says that her dream has always been acting. Carloto shares a lot of her personal life with her viewers, but she admits there is still so much more to be discovered. One fact Carloto wants to share is that this upcoming year she will be starting her acting career in her hometown of Atlanta, starring as the lead role in a new small series.

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GIRL POWER is so unbelievably important to me. It taught me how to love myself unconditionally and to stand up for who I am. In the 7th grade my teacher once assigned me to be the leader of my group for the science fair and a boy in my group called me “b*tchy” and “bossy” because and I was simply giving him the direction to collect a hypothesis. Something as little as giving direction turned me into a bitch. In the 9th grade my gym coach told me I wasn’t allowed to be the dodgeball captain because I’m too small to order people around for them to actually take me seriously. Little comments like that put so much doubt in me and stopped me from wanting to achieve my goals in fear that I wasn’t fit for the job simply because I’m a girl. Girl power turned me into a into woman that isn’t afraid to speak a piece of her mind when she wants to— it made me believe in my potential and pushed me into becoming someone I’ve always dreamt of being. – ORION CARLOTO

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Girl power to me is feminine energy in its purest form. It is so important to have that energy continuously impacting all aspects and fields of our society. I personally believe that women have a special touch that allows us to be inherently more connected to our own nature and the world around us. Women create life; and that to me is one of the most powerful things you can do. The idea that there would be no humans on this Earth without a woman to first give birth to them is so empowering. Women are so important. Luckily for me, I am in a field that does not turn a blind eye to that statement. Being a part of the beauty community on YouTube truly did help me find myself. Makeup and fashion tips aside, this community showed me an overwhelming sense of acceptance. I am very proud and humbled to be apart of such a supportive and close-knit group of people. Even though it’s digital, I feel incredibly connected to all of the men and women that I, in a way, work with on YouTube. I feel like fellow YouTubers are my “colleagues” in this is job we call being part of #TeamInternet. We’re like this big happy family, and it is so vital that it stays that way. I feel as though women in particular fall victim to comparison entirely too often, myself included! As humans, we constantly strive for more. We are always trying to do better, work our way up, or get ahead. With the job I have, I’ve caught myself countless times looking at another girl, thinking, “what does she have that I don’t?” Luckily, though, I have trained my mind to recognize when it is doing this and take a mental step back.

The lesson is simple. Comparison is the death of confidence. Wanting what someone else has will in no way make you better. This is where self-empowerment comes into play. Empowering yourself and bettering yourself will produce much larger outcomes than studying over and over again what you believe that you “don’t have.” Female empowerment is so vital because, like I stated before, women are often way too critical of themselves. We must focus on lifting each other up, encouraging and growing with one another every day.

With our confidence levels shooting through the roof, imagine what we could do with this overwhelming sense of feminine energy for the world around us. Look at total rockstars like Yoko Ono, Alanis Morrisette, and Willow Smith for example. In my eyes, these women have done wonders for this planet and are only continuing to do so. Women like this continue to inspire me to make something of what I do in this life. My mother, as well, constantly serves as an inspiration to me physically, mentally and spiritually. It is so important for all women to have other feminine figures to look up to, not in a “I want what you have” way, but in a “you make me want to make the world a better place” kind of way. So, Local Wolves readers, start believing and be inspired! – MEGHAN HUGHES, CONTENT CREATOR


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MEGHAN HUGHES is only eighteen, but she is becoming a force to be reckoned with in the YouTube world. Since 2012, she has been posting videos on her channel, “MissMeghanMakeup” and has been steadily rising in popularity since, with her videos consistently getting thousands of views. In addition to makeup tutorials, she also offers life advice and words of positivity to her subscribers. Hughes’ interests in makeup and video began before she was even a teenager. She started experimenting with makeup in fifth grade and began making YouTube videos shortly after. “The first YouTube videos I ever made were music videos [with my friend Claire]. She is the one who introduced me to editing and everything,” said Hughes. Her sister, Lindsey, who began her own YouTube channel before she decided to give it a go, was also was a big influence, helping her amass followers and a brand very early on. “Lindsey was the one who encouraged me to start a beauty channel back in 2012. She got me so many of the loyal viewers I still have to this day, and I’m so grateful for that.” Hughes is originally from Atlanta, GA but made the move to Los Angeles with her sister to keep growing their brand and content. “LA definitely influences my content a lot,” she said. “When I’m there, I feel so inspired by the creative world around me, as well as all of my friends who live there and make awesome content as well.” While she does brainstorm her own creative content beforehand, jotting it all down in a notebook, Hughes gets a lot of ideas from her fans and strives to take all of her subscribers suggestions into consideration.


One of her best ideas, however, started back in 2013. After reading, “Did I Ever Wake Up?” by Mod Sun, she decided to expand beyond makeup tutorials to include videos giving advice and spreading positivity. “I learned all about the law of attraction, and was so inspired by the way Mod lived his life. Right when I finished it, I decided to devote my life to positivity.” Shortly after she posted a video sharing what she learned. The response was so overwhelmingly warm and receptive that she decided to continue. “I realized I had a passion for talking about so much more than just beauty and fashion. That’s when my channel took a turn for the best if you ask me.” Despite her success, this is just the beginning for Hughes; you will likely see her expanding her content even more in the near future. “Makeup will for sure always be a passion of mine, but I’d like to be known for it less as my years on YouTube pass.” Hughes did offer her advice for those starting out in the YouTube world, saying,

“THERE IS ABSOLUTELY NO MOLD YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW ON YOUTUBE. MAKE VIDEOS ON WHAT YOU LOVE. PEOPLE LOVE PASSION. TALK FROM YOUR HEART AND EVERYTHING ELSE WILL FALL INTO PLACE.” If Meghan could only listen to 3 music artists for the rest of your life, “Mod Sun, Nahko & Medicine for the People and Amy Winehouse.”

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Girl power means not only being limited to a “girl.” I’m a non-binary gender fluid artist. My identity ranges from feminine to masculine. Being a non-binary black artist I feel as if I constantly have to re explain myself with my work. The perspective of black women in the art world is so limiting and grey scaled. There is this notion that we all fit this one line thesis. That’s a completely flawed viewpoint as this isn’t true. In a quintessential world I wouldn’t have to validate my identity with my work. In contrary to this quintessential world we don’t live in it’s my job to create a discourse on non-binary representation. Girl power and female don’t correlate. People always equate the two terms as two peas in a pod when really they’re not. I feel as if this perspective of women in varied fields makes progress reach a halt. Being a black non binary woman provides so many repercussions in my field of interest. It’s not just a matter of spaces for us being almost nonexistent but it’s this detrimental preconception we have of ourselves from white society. This is applied to how we carry ourselves and our work. “Girl power” to me is setting an example for non-binary people of color or women of color. To raise hell by building platforms for ourselves where we can give each other constructive criticism. The media is slowly improving in regards to women empowerment but needs a lot of work for raising representation for women of color. Inspirational women of color need to be put at the forefront instead of just being miniscule headlines on publications. Our voices are constantly subdued and the voice of our oppression is deemed as controversial. Inspirational women of color such as Laverne Cox, Nicki Minaj and Amandla Stenburg need to heard instead of ridiculed. It’s good that we are starting to create a dialogue between ourselves and the community. Discourse pertaining to women empowerment needs to be intersectional and conversed about. – MARS, Rookie mag photo contributor + Co-creator of the art hoe empowerment movemenT


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I found MARS on Instagram, under the intriguing username sensitiveblackperson. Only a few minutes into admiring their beautiful images did I understand how they managed to amass a tiny, veritable army of followers. Each image is through a distinctive lens: Mars’ unique perspective and naked honesty with themselves. Although their work is mainly comprised of political issues and often moody in nature, I am taken by the juxtaposition between the subject and the vivid color. The beauty lies in Mars’ ability to instigate open dialogue with each new project. Although bold pink hues first drew me in, it was the message from the self described visualist and amateur photographer that ultimately compelled me to stay.


“I believe in the intersectionality of race, culture, gender, sexuality and class influencing the representation of women in society and how we address our oppression in a myriad of platforms.”

Mars’ strong sense of self and deep awareness of society around her permeates her work with meaning. “It would be imperative to say that I identify as an intersectional feminist and a womanist,” Mars notes. “I believe in the intersectionality of race, culture, gender, sexuality and class influencing the representation of women in society and how we address our oppression in a myriad of platforms.”

“I want to put people in a trance. I want them to feel how I’m feeling and get a glimpse of my true intentions. I want people to feel sorry, elated, melancholy, and the list goes on. I see the world in a plethora of hues. I want people to know that the world isn’t just a narrow sidewalk. It’s cluttered streets and mosquito kissed city parks and noise. The world isn’t limited but people make it limiting. With lectured ideals telling the wrong message it paints grey. I strive to fix that.” In understanding themselves and their place in society, Mars also begins to change the stereotypes they are so often a victim of. Instead of being defined by those around them, Mars strives to be the one who does the defining.

This reflects on their responsibilities as a nonbinary, black and gender fluid artist. “Mainstream feminism is rather whitewashed and colorblind,” Mars says, “It seems to dismiss issues on intersection and keeps discussion grey scaled. It’s my job as an artist of color to highlight these in my works. To give a visualization of the intersectionality of topics. I see the world in color. In fact I want the world to see color. My palettes are vivid and thought provoking.”

One of their most recent series of intimate photographs was directed at reimagining black femininity. The emotions conveyed in each image express the human qualities which have been routinely denied to black communities. The images also aim to encouraging the black community “to feel comfortable in who they are. I want them to feel warm and loved and make them relate. I don’t want us to keep suppressing our feelings because we are lectured

cont’d to do so.” Besides their own personal projects, Mars has found ways to keep other artists voices from becoming silenced. Mars and their partner, Jam (2jam4u), co-founded the art hoe movement to raise a platform in the arts crafted by POC (People of Color). Mars elaborates, stating, “As POC our work is often exploited, misrepresented, and dismissed.” In the collective, they have created a space in which POC “can thrive and provide constructive criticism to each other.” The collective has not only created a space for exploration, but an incredibly diverse and supportive community. Mars shares a fraction of the many up and coming artists that represent the intentions of the art hoe movement, making clear the extent to which the movement has resonated with many young creators. Mithsuca is a 15 year old African American who showcases their vivid narratives with sublime visuals.

Myles is a 17 year old visualist and photographer from Maryland that paints black men in a fragile manner. Sage is a “kick*ss” writer/poet whose pieces revolve around African American studies, gender and race politics, sexuality— anything that requires valid discourse. Nat is a south Florida painter whose work focuses on experiences and progression. And of course, there is co-creator and partner, Jam, who is a superb singer, painter, and visual artist. Also referencing the likes of Amandla Stenberg, Laverne Cox, Nicki Minaj, Azealia Banks and Rihanna, it is doubly clear Mars recognizes the importance of “black women [raising] awareness and insight to varied perspectives.” No doubt Mars will soon be amongst the names she claims as inspiration. If art can affect change, can shatter walls within our hearts, can reveal truth, it is safe to say Mars’ earthquake has only just begun.

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ON JULY 31ST, 1998 my mom bought me my most sacred clothing piece ever: my Spice Girls “Girl Power!” t-shirt. That night I sat on her lap next to my older sister at the Spice World tour in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Although we were sitting in nosebleed seats I was mesmerized by the pop stars and their amazing vocals (and/or lip syncing skills). A 5-year-old me spent the next week dreamily being what Kate Sanders would call “an outfit repeater,” tracing my fingers over the glitter filled bubble letters. I was the definition of “cool” whenever I wore it out to Cub Foods. I also vaguely remember getting a pair of red 4-inch platform heels made out of foam— those of which I would later twist my ankle in while performing a Spice Girls dance routine.

Constantly insecure, a bully to myself and a bully to others— I tried to morph myself into becoming a picture perfect image of a preteen girl. You could blame it on the media, my family’s parenting style, or perhaps the general domination of patriarchy in our society. But here is the thing: it happened. So, now what? #GirlPower to me is having the strength to pick yourself up when you’ve been taught your whole life that you aren’t adequate enough. #GirlPower is being the person you would have needed when you were a kid. #GirlPower is about not taking anyone’s crap, learning through your mistakes, and looking out for others. It took me a long time to realize that #GirlPower didn’t have an expiration date.

Then there was Aunt Lisa who lived in San Diego, California. She was the cool aunt with a wicked laugh and a flair for flirtation. With long curly dark hair and a red hot manicure, Aunt Lisa always blasted trendy pop music in her SUV. One day she was packing my cousins and I into the car when she gave us the mantra of our lives: “Girls rule, boys drool!” We screamed it the entire ride home to annoy my brother. There were many moments like that growing up when I felt empowered to be a girl. Yet as I got older, things started to change. My Spice Girls “Girl Power!” shirt started to get too small for me after I became more pudgy, so I stopped wearing it. Instead of seeing my cousins as my girlfriends, I became slightly jealous of them— wishing I looked more like them or had lives like theirs. My sister, who I idolized, soon became a moody teenager who no longer tolerated my obsession—with her and her friends. Girlhood was not what I thought it was going to be. I was not a happy girl growing up.

I learned that if I wanted to be happy with myself I had to start from scratch. Movies helped a lot (Erin Brockovich, Twister, Never Been Kissed). Music helped a lot (The Runaways, Dolly Parton, Fleetwood Mac). Even thrifting helped a lot (goodbye Limited Too and your tiny*ss clothes!). I guess I had to get to know myself again after I tried so hard to be someone else. I think that is why I feel connected to so many other young kids out there— I want them to find themselves along with me. But #GirlPower is ultimately about looking out for your friends and making sure that you are all doing okay on the uphill battle that is life. It’s okay if you don’t peak when you’re in high school, or if you are still insecure about yourself today. It’s important that you try, that’s all. I’m here for all of the girls who had to reprogram themselves to love and be happy again. So while we’re at it, let’s have some fun. – LAUREN ROSE, VIDEO ARTIST AND HOST OF VAGINA SLIMS podcast

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Meet LAUREN ROSE — thrifting guru, #SelfLove activist, and the voice behind a powerful feminist podcast. You may recognize this beautiful blonde from her previously active YouTube channel, but this young woman from Minneapolis is making her mark all over the online sphere. When she is offline, Lauren can often be found at The Electric Fetus on Franklin flipping through records, or thrifting at Unique during the daytime. At night, she heads out to the Hexagon Bar for a night of good tunes. Between her podcast, Vagina Slims, and her popular Twitter page, Lauren is captivating audiences with her sultry voice, and her wicked sense of style. Her podcast, she shares, is an outlet for topics surrounding feminism, pop culture, and cult interests such as movies and music. Far from the norm, Lauren also takes the time to answer listener comments and questions throughout the episode, all while playing some great handpicked tunes. “I wanted to find a way to bring myself and my online friends together again since I stopped making YouTube videos about thrifted fashion about a year ago,” she shares. Though her previous YouTube subscribers most likely followed her over to her new outlet, her podcast’s name itself could lure in audiences without a hitch. When asked about how it was chosen, Lauren shares that “the name Vagina Slims happened when one night, my friend Lucy and I were hanging out in front of her apartment. A grossly drunk guy from the bar across the street came over to us to flirt and asked Lucy for a cigarette. In an attempt to make him leave, she gave him one, and when he saw her take one out of the carton, he said “Yuck, Vagina Slims? No—


thanks!” and staggered back across the street. Turned out she had a pack of Virginia Slims— a historically feminine and lady-like” cigarette. We couldn’t stop laughing about how we were just saved from a conversation and possible harassment by a stupid cigarette, simply because it was “feminine.” “So now, the phrase has become our battle cry for opposition,” making it the perfect fit for her podcast. When it comes to her listeners, Lauren shares that she is very interested in who they are as people. “Some of them are artists themselves, or are in bands, and I am always looking for ways to collaborate with them,” she reveals. “I’d also like to interview artists in Minneapolis or New York City when I visit this winter.” Previous to Vagina Slims, Lauren spent her time curating a perfect collection of thrifting videos on YouTube. Though originally inspired by well off female YouTubers sharing impressive gifts they received for Christmas in their ‘Christmas Haul’ videos, Lauren started a channel herself, but soon realized she was unlike these women. Later on, thanks to YouTubers like Jenn from ClothesEncounters, she found the thrifting community— a niche in which she felt most expressive. “I guess I was a bit lonely at the time and found it fascinating how I could make friends online if I just posted about things that I liked,” she discloses. For Lauren, the art of thrifting is something like a well-calculated sporting event. Before starting the day, she recommends eating a good meal. “Go in with an open mind and make sure you feel good before going. Wear loose clothes so you can change quickly, and keep an eye out for good colors and textures.”

But her most important tip for newcomers to the world of thrifting, is to have patience. Though she is an online inspiration herself, Lauren shares that she has been interested in the art hoe collective on Instagram— a space for queer people of color to share their art. “I think it’s rad how people are mobilizing online and sharing their projects,” she said about the project. She has also been a fan of Elisa and Lily’s work with StyleLikeU, a platform that showcases profiles on creative people, and what their style says about them.

“Some of them are artists themselves, or are in bands, and I am always looking for ways to collaborate with them.” Though she considers herself a podcaster, Lauren finds she fits best under “artist/collaborator.” And though she is open to sharing details of her life with the internet, she is grounded and reminds us that there is more to her than what some may see. “I do a lot of things on the side that people really don’t know about,” like the fact that she is currently in her senior year of college. Lauren shares that she has come to value the liberal education she’s received. Completing a degree in Public Relations and Fine Arts in Film and Sculpture, she has learned that the importance of being weary of burnout, and that of taking time for yourself. Another tip she shared is to work towards gathering capital before jumping into a big project. But if this project does not require a college education, she says follow your heart.

“I’d just research as much as possible and devise a plan to achieve your goal,” she advises. Like the world online, Lauren knows that things change quickly, and when asked what her goals are for the next five years, she keeps it simple and real, “I’d like to keep growing into myself.” In her life away from the screen, she has been working in film distribution and would like to branch off and do collaborative productions with other artists. “I suppose I just want to be happy with the projects in my life,” she shares. “I want to bring people together, and put good stuff out into the world.”

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Story: Sydney Clarke Photography: Jade Park

The first time I really became aware of feminism was when I first started my blog. It was around my junior year in high school; and while feminism was a concept I had obviously heard of before, it was the first time I really became aware of its functioning in a modern sense. It seemed almost overnight that all my favorite bloggers became focused on writing about feminism in the fashion community. The mantra was “wear what you want, do what you want,” and I was immediately hooked. I suddenly began to see problems with the way media portrayed women and became angry about it. This was a very developmental time for me, and a lot of what I believe in now came from this early exposure to feminism. However, as I began college, my online feminist community began to push my views further. The conversation went from being anti-slut shaming to this promotion of hypersexuality. Things became less about equality and more angry and hateful. I wanted to be accepted by this group of people, so I started toughening my appearance to take on this extreme feminist one. When I thought I was reclaiming my identity and freely expressing myself, in actuality I was masking my identity and trying to take on a new one. This time was actually very dark for me. I felt guilty and weak for liking anything “girly” (God forbid anyone knew I loved the movie, Leap Year) and was constantly self aware of how others perceived me. Toward the end of my freshman year, I grew close to a group of girls who embraced this concept of girl


cont’d power in a way I’ve never seen before. They were unapologetically themselves. They weren’t afraid to stand up for what they believed in, but also not afraid of their desire to feel beautiful and girly. And most importantly, they accepted me for who I am; not for what I wore or what I believed in, but simply just for myself. They didn’t judge other girls for the choices they made; but instead, saw the beauty that each individual has. They didn’t try and put on front but embraced womanhood in it’s truest form. These girls really shaped my view on what true feminism and girl power is. I’m definitely no expert, but I believe there is nothing more powerful than a woman who truly embraces who she really is. Girl power to me is about not trying to fit into any molds, not letting anything hold you back from your passions, and not being afraid to stand for what you believe in. It’s about embracing yourself and every weird quirk you have, and showing support and love to others. I’ve discovered that there is nothing more powerful than finding fulfillment in self acceptance. As cliche as it is, there really is truth in the statement that once we love ourselves we can truly love others. And once we begin loving others more, that is when we will see true change happen. When we learn to embrace our strengths and weaknesses and not be ashamed of who we are, then we could really see change and impact the lives of others. – Taylor Balding, BLOGGER

Taylor Balding is here and ready to take the blogosphere by storm. A current fashion student, Balding is the mastermind behind indie chic blog, Restless Youth. Her style is prevalent throughout the blog, something she credits to both her California roots and fashion icons. “[California has] definitely influenced my in different ways in at different points in my life,” she says. “In high school I was really inspired by weird LA street style. [I have also] been inspired by the surf and youth culture, particularly Orange County’s Burger Records scene at one point. Currently, I would say that living in San Diego has inspired me to think about things in a simpler and more functional way.” As for famous fashion icons, Balding says that a lot of people have inspired her, ranging from Edie Sedgwick to Alice Glass. Currently, both music and Jane Birkin have played a large part in influencing her style. Restless Youth was born during her junior year of high school, thanks in part to inspiration from other bloggers. “I was really obsessed with the blogger Madeline Pendelton of Jean Greige. At the time, she had this super weird gypsy biker style that I had never seen before,” she says. “It really challenged me to not only be more experimental with my style, but also to put myself out there and have my own voice in the fashion blogging community.” As for the name, Restless Youth was born out of her obsession with youth movements and subcultures. “I have always been really inspired by subcultures in terms of style, so I wanted to give attention to that.” Being a fashion student has also provided inspiration to her style and blog. She cites branding as one of the biggest things she has learned from being a student.”


“To make it in this industry, you really need to have a clear idea of who you are and what you want to communicate. Not only is thinking this way going to make you successful, but it is really empowering!” Creatively, Restless Youth is constantly pushing the bar with edgy photo locations and unique styling. Part of this can be credited to music and movies that Balding is inspired by. “Usually any work I put out reflects my current interests. I also am very inspired by the character of places, so a lot of times if I see a place that really interests me. I try to form an outfit around that location.”

“Don’t worry about followers, or having perfect content, or fitting a certain image. As long as you focus on blogging for your own enjoyment these things will follow, or better yet they won’t matter. What’s really going to bring you fulfillment is enjoying the creative process and being able to contribute to this larger creative community.”

The attention to inspiration and detail can also be seen in her Instagram. “I try not to think about how I look or what my outfit looks like as I think about the final product,” she says. “I think first about the mood I want to capture and then about a place and the reasons why I want to shoot there. From there is where I choose my outfits. For me, I’m usually inspired by really run down or old looking spots in my community. That’s where you can find the most character.” For those looking to get into the blogging world, or just trying to express their personal style a bit more, Balding has plenty of wisdom to share. When asked about her favorite piece of fashion advice, she recalls a lesson she learned in high school: “The only thing you need to pull something off is the right attitude. This helped me overcome a lot of shyness that I had. Whenever I heard someone say, ‘I love ___ you’re wearing, I wish I could pull it off,’ I always made sure to encourage them that they totally could.” For those looking to begin blogging, Balding says that it is more important to focus on yourself than on what others may think.

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Girl power is an interesting phrase because most people associate it with a woman doing something a man traditionally would do or if a woman beats a man at something. It has almost become a negative phrase because society lets men define it. For example, women who are doing typical “male” tasks like fixing a car or playing a sport, taking initiative in a relationship with a man, or gaining a position of power over a man. Notice how men have to do with all of these things. Don’t get me wrong; all of it is still considered girl power. However, to me, girl power is much more than that. It’s all about owning who you truly are, regardless of gender roles. You can be sweet and delicate, or tough and rough. Or perhaps even a mixture of both. Nobody can be defined with a few empty adjectives. Every individual is infinitely inconsistent and that’s what makes us all so interesting. I noticed this as a female in the blogging industry. The most successful female blogs were mommy/baking blogs, fashion/beauty blogs and relationship/lifestyle blogs. These are all things that fall under the typical female gender role. I could never see myself focusing on one subject because I’m passionate about so many things and my life is always growing. I love cars, film and video games, but my blog also covers lifestyle, food and fashion.

I could never limit myself to just one thing to appeal to one demographic. Sure, I would get more page views, but I would have less relatable. Every so often I think about changing the focus of my blog to gain more success and publicity, but what would that make me? I remember why I started writing. It was for me and for genuine connection to my readers. I only wanted to write about things I knew, things I cared about, and things I experienced. I demonstrate girl power everyday simply by just being me. I don’t have to paint myself as a delicate feminine flower but I don’t have to break the boundaries by being the exact opposite, either. A female who focuses on makeup and raising children can be more powerful in their life than a man who works on cars while his wife stays home. If she is being herself and doing what she loves and he isn’t, she is displaying more power and control in her life. A lot of my readers have written to me saying they enjoyed how versatile and diverse I am in my writing and as a person. While I truly appreciate the kind words, I believe everyone is versatile; they just don’t always display it. Nobody is 100% their gender. And if you start letting people define you, you slowly become powerless in your life. – Maria Elena, BLOGGER

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With a surge in blogging, tweeting, and posting, we are undoubtedly in the era of instantaneous self-publishing, and the relationship between writer and reader is becoming more personal and more immediate than ever. Blogger Maria Elena of Pink Chanel Suit, connects to her own readership through an honest and open rawness about her own life. We feel like we know her, if only through a laptop screen. Why? Her blog seems at first to be simply a beautiful collage of rose tinted fashion, food, and cappuccino photos, but Maria also shares with us her personal thoughts, spontaneous musings, and anything else on her mind. “I’m very grateful I get to express myself freely through the platform I created for myself. That’s why the internet is cool sometimes,” she says. Maria started blogging as a way to showcase her artistic side. “In high school, I was always


journaling, taking pictures and religiously keeping up with art and pop culture,” she explains. “I loved everything from fashion to theatre to video games to poetry to photography to dance. I could focus on one and begin my portfolio, or I could focus on all of them and create a blog. That was four years ago. Now I’m here!” However, despite using the blog as way to open up, Maria found that it often closed her off to her peers in high school. “I became less approachable and more untouchable. I started when I was really young so I think my peers didn’t really know how to react. When you choose to be vulnerable and open your soul for the world to see, it can be blinding. It gave people the opportunity to judge me on a more intense level.” Sharing anything personal can be daunting, and when broadened to the global mass readership that is in the internet, it is terrifying.

“Instead of just random people on the internet, I now realize my employers, my family, and even the people I used to go to school with read my blog which makes me not want to share certain things in my life. It’s like, ‘Do I wanna post vegetarian recipes or should I talk about my love life? An album review or my mental health?’ But I can’t continue with that mentality anymore and no one should have to. I have so many stories in me and they are meant to be told.” The way Maria boldly shares her life on her blog is what makes blogging so great. Blogging is such a unique platform in that way, allowing everyone to tell their own story and in their own way. Yet as we engage more with these platforms, the distinction between our ‘screen’ life and our real life can quickly blur. Maria says she hasn’t considered blogging full time, as many popular bloggers now do, because she values

that separation between her blog and her life. “Art imitates life, and to create, especially when you’re writing about your experiences, you need to be actively participating in life outside of your art,” she says. “When I tried blogging full time, I was in the house constantly and I wasn’t producing quality content because I wore myself out.”

Story: Anna Hall PhotoGRAPHY: Christel Robleto

For now, Maria is trying to prioritize her blog while juggling everything else in her life. “I think I’m always going to be doing things other than just blogging, but in the future, I would like to make it more of a priority. Renting out a bigger workspace. Buying more professional equipment. Have a photo studio in my apartment. Hire people to work for me. Make some more business deals. Stuff like that. But I don’t see myself dropping everything for my blog yet.”

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It’s easy, if you are a silly person, to write me off immediately upon meeting me. A lot of people do. I dress in alarming shades of pink, enjoy dramatic eyeliner and bright lipsticks, and hold one of the most joked about titles of the new century– I’m a fashion blogger. But remember Elle Woods? I’m also a former California 4-H State ambassador, speak three languages, graduated high school in the honor society at 16, and have written for everyone from MTV News to the New York Times. I don’t feel like I need to tone down my “Barbie tendencies.” Or even my tendency to talk about Barbie. She’s done well for a plastic doll– female president, astronaut, aviator, doctor. I’ve never been taught to expect that people shouldn’t take me seriously because of what I look like, or devalue my work because of what I do. Here’s the problem: I’m a lucky one. Girls everywhere are still being told that because of their gender, their looks and personality need to be adjusted in order for them to have power in society. When I was thirteen, my mother, who has always made sure I was surrounded by and educated on strong women, made me join an all-boys soccer team, because I “needed a group experience.” (There was no girls team in our league.) I hate running, being cold, and nylon shorts. I was also crashing on the ultimate fraternity– that of boys who had played organized sports together since they were in diapers. To top it off, I wasn’t even remotely good at soccer. But three seasons later, I had learned an important lesson about an unexpected topic: girl power. My teammates loved to make jokes at my expense, but no one else was allowed to say anything. Not because I needed protecting, but because I could hold my own. After my first season, I never played myself down to fit in either– they witnessed all my first experimentations with makeup, and my insane nail polish choices. But somehow, through the rain, and bruises, sweaty hugs and missed goals, I had learned a


a lesson too many girls aren’t taught to that level: confidence in themselves. Because of that, I learned something else: the world still couldn’t handle it. The habits I had learned as being ‘one of the guys,’ being competitive, speaking when I had something to contribute, walking into every room like I belonged there and vocalizing my feelings–were out of place, not just because I was a girl, but among other girls. I remember the moment I realized everything had changed. Three years, and what feels like countless lifetimes later, I sat on my back porch looking at a bunch of people, boys and girls, who are my best friends. What a group of girls too– between them we’ve got a future DJ, a nascent astrophysicist, a champion equestrian, a makeup guru, a Martha Stewart challenger, a world traveller, a photographer, a fashion designer, and the future President of the United States. Each one of them are strong, confident girls who are changing the world we live in. I could give Taylor Swift a run for her money in the #squadgoals department. They were having a conversation about Nicki Minaj, highest selling female rapper in history, and how she runs her business empire. She’s smart– she’s never letting them forget how good she is at what she does. Then, and her hair always looks good. Always. There it was. Appreciation, not denigration. The replacement that needs to happen, so that I’m one out of a million, not one in a million. I run a summer camp, where I spend a week with little girls up in the woods. To them, I am infinitely tall, and I have met all their favorite boy bands, and I am impossibly glamorous. But I am also normal. I am a big sister, and I get muddy, and I let them braid my hair, and I tell bedtime stories. Just for that week, I want them to see everything they can be. I want them and the world to know that we are girls, and we have the power to change the odds. – JUSTINA SHARP, BLOGGER

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When your parents tell you that you can’t do something, naturally you’re bound to rebel. Got a curfew? Break it. Can’t go out with your friends? Sneak out. Aren’t allowed to dye your hair that teal blue shade you’ve been lusting after? Improvise. (Although we wouldn’t necessarily recommend food coloring. It’s not a good look, despite what Wikipedia might say). But unlike most teenagers, for JUSTINA SHARP rebelling against the rules worked in her favor.

Who said bending the rules doesn’t pay off? Of course, none of this would be possible if it wasn’t for the internet. Sure, it’s an invention we take for granted now. It’s practically archaic in the grand scheme of things. But it’s one that continues to flourish in its ability to shape the careers of young people. Particularly in Justina’s case where she’s developed her writing and is typing away for other sites like the Huffington Post.

No, we’re not taking out a wild hair color or regrettable piercing. Instead we’re talking about setting up a blog. “She [mom] thought the whole thing was a bit silly, told me I’d be done with it in two weeks, and to not even bother starting,” she reveals. “She’s since admitted this was wildly incorrect, but I’m glad she said it to start.” Justina kick started her online presence age 13. Now 17, A Bent Piece Of Wire has soared to popularity. She’s worked with brands like Dr. Marten, Hollister and Adidas.

“I have friends around the world, and around the corner, who are doing amazing things and living their dreams thanks to the internet. This series of 1’s and 0’s is changing our whole world.”

She’s received publicity from Teen Vogue and The New York Times. She’s even scored herself a regal title with her 42k Instagram followers. All hail, the ‘Selfie Queen.’ “I was 15, and Disney Channel flew my mom and I to LA to do a photoshoot for the Teen Beach Movie. I remember getting the email and assuming it was some elaborate spam, but there was a phone number, so I called,” she says. “The entire process happened so fast I thought I was imagining it. I was a Disney kid— you know, I grew up on High School Musical, That’s So Raven and Kim Possible!”

As for ways that other young people can follow suit and delve into their online passions. There are heaps of mediums out there. “I feel like now, blogging is a very “traditional” platform that takes a deep commitment. Don’t do it because you think it’s the only way “in,” and pick your platform wisely. In this moment, there are so many ways to express yourself, especially online. You might be an insanely talented Tumblr curator, or write the funniest tweets.” Oh and remember if Instagram is your go-to web space her ‘royal highness’ has one simple rule: “Do not take a selfie in a bathroom mirror! I don’t care how you crop it, that toilet is still there.”

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I grew up before the internet was everything. Not to say I’m grown up now, but the brunt of my childhood was pretwitter, pre-Facebook, right when AIM was getting cool. I didn’t know everything that was going on in the world because there wasn’t a place for kids to go to hear the truth without it being sugarcoated by the news, or our parents, or kid friendly magazines. Girl power to me wasn’t something feasible. It was something of legends, Powerpuff Girls, Sailor Moon, and the Spice Girls. Girl Power was something female celebrities or cartoon characters screamed as a battle cry, but never actually explained. It was something between “sugar, spice, and everything nice” and “a-ziga-zig-ah.” I didn’t understand what feminism was and why we needed it, because it wasn’t something people talked about in my elementary school, my high school, my after school activities, on Disney Channel or Nickelodeon. I didn’t know about the wage-gap, that cisgender women weren’t the only kind of women, and about the shocking statistics on sexual abuse against women. I didn’t know that that every day when I grew up I would feel scared in my own skin walking down the street because I couldn’t walk a block, even in sweatpants and no makeup, without getting objectified and cat called, and even receiving unwanted physical advances from men. I didn’t realize that the sexual abuse I would face was almost inevitable today. I didn’t realize as a woman who doesn’t identify as heterosexual, I would be either objectified as a porn-y stereotype of a lesbian, only existing for men’s pleasure, or assumed to be somehow not feminine or womanly because I don’t require a male counterpart. I came from a generation of girls who weren’t taught that girl power was feminism and that was something we needed to fight for in order to get a fair chance in this world. An equal chance. Now, with the internet being what it is, a vehicle in which I can reach thousands of girls who are growing up right now, I try and use my platform as not just a place where I share amazing music (seriously, listen to my music!) I won’t let them grow up without knowing the kind of world they’re growing up in, so hopefully, they can change it, or at least be better prepared and equipped to fight back. I don’t want anyone to grow up like I did: unaware and uneducated because this was considered unimportant. thing we don’t talk about, or be a thing we think of just as a cute catchphrase. I want to keep talking about it, fighting for our rights and equality and a better world. We need feminism to be on the lips of every human in the world for us, and our daughters, and nieces, and granddaughters until the only place we hear about feminism is in the history books; as a movement that changed the course of the world and brought on a better future. – LILY LANE, ARTIST


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As a singer-songwriter, newly signed Wilhelmina curve model, and the “L” in Winky Lux cosmetics’ limited edition O+S+L collection, Lily Lane is woman of many titles. All that being said, I’m lucky to be able to call her of one of my best friends. It might seem like Lily has a lot on her plate at only 23 years old, but she’s been performing since she was a child in Boston, Massachusetts. Armed with a list of accomplishments such as original music featured in Pretty Little Liars and a degree in Recorded Music from the highly prestigious NYU Tisch School of the Arts, Lily is ready to show the world what she’s made of. SAM FAZZ: Can you think of the first song you ever learned all the words to? LILY LANE: No, I’ve been memorizing songs since I could hear and talk. My friends do this thing where they try and find songs I don’t know all the words to all the time. They’ll pick songs that were popular when I was 7, and maybe heard on the radio once or twice and I’ll somehow know every line. I won’t even know I know it until the verse starts and I find myself singing along. It’s like my weird party trick. I literally even know all 14 minutes to the rap song “Rappers Delight” by The Sugarhill Gang, and that came out in 1979. The first song I ever performed I remember though, “Natural Woman” by Carole King. Still one of my favorite songs to perform. I performed it at a bar called Roggie’s in Brighton, MA, when I was in third grade.


Let’s talk about your new single, “Supernatural.” I remember when you let me listen to one of the first demos back in April, now you’re finally getting ready to release it! How does it feel to get to put out some new music? It feels amazing. It took a while. I haven’t released a new project since 2014, and now it’s nearing the end of 2015 and I’m finally releasing the new single and prepping for the whole EP to drop. I took a while for a reason. I didn’t want to release a new project until I could 100% guarantee that it was better than my last— not equal to, not almost as good as better than Nothin’ But Trouble EP. And this is. My style is the same. It’s who I am. My music as long as I’m allowed to control my own sound will be blues-y and jazz inspired pop. However, the content of the music is definitely different. I’m at a happier place in my life so there are more upbeat songs on this EP and this single “Supernatural,” especially is a contrast to Nothin’ But Trouble. I’m not going to play the victim anymore in my music. A lot of the last EP was about experiences that happened to me, and most of them weren’t happy or positive experiences. My music is still dark and sexy, but it doesn’t have a lot of the sad undertones it used to have. Even the negative experiences I’ve had that I wrote about in this project I learned to spin positively, to show that they’ve made me stronger, I’m better off without someone if they don’t appreciate me, no longer pining for someone who has brought me Nothin’ But Trouble.

It must be nice to be able to have creative control over your music and to be able to say what you want to say. It definitely is. As you know, I haven’t always had this freedom. In the start of my career, before the emergence of “Lily Lane” (I say emergence and not birth because I was always Lily Lane, she isn’t new, she just wasn’t something I shared with people yet), I was on Nickelodeon sponsored tours with Cody Simpson and Big Time Rush— playing music that, though I helped write, I didn’t really have much control over. I wrote songs about friendship, and colors, and it was all very bubble gum pop and PG-rated. I remember once on tour at the House of Blues in Boston I was getting very passionate about an anti-bullying song and begged the audience not to let anyone push them around, and used the “F” word to make my point. I don’t think I even said the word, I think I just said “F” and I got in so much trouble with management and the tour PR and got a long scolding afterwards. You know me— I don’t sugarcoat things. I’m an honest person, sometimes to the point of brutality. I’m a devout feminist, body positive advocate, sexually fluid chick. I’m like that as a friend, and as a performer, and being told what to write about and being given all these rules for behavior and etiquette was so not me. Finally being able to just be me, be Lily Lane, say what I want to say, tell people what the fuck I think, and hope that it resonates with them, I think is much more impactful than talking about whatever PG topic was assigned to me. I can’t help someone if I don’t believe in what I’m saying. You know how much I love Gaga, she’s such a powerful lyricist and her songs have such a strong impact on people’s lives. Do you ever think about the message your lyrics can carry as you write them? That is honestly the reason I do what I do. I had a really rough time growing up dealing with depression, coming to terms with my sexuality, and some pretty unfortunate events that occurred. I was the youngest in my family, with two older brothers, and absolutely the black sheep of the family, I felt a lot of the time like I had nobody to talk to, to confide in, and nothing to keep me going. If I can be that for one person, or my music can be that for someone, and help them keep going, help them find their own happiness or at the very least help them feel not alone in their sorrow. This is the reason I use my platform as more than just a musician. Sometimes I can’t say all the things I want to say in a song, or just haven’t written a song or released a song about a topic yet but I still want to speak on it. I get to do that now and it’s wonderful. Feminism and standing up for yourself and what you are owed as a human being is so important to me, and is a message I try desperately to get across. Another message I am very passionate about because I am recently going through it myself is fighting against the unrealistic and crazy expectations and standards that are set for beauty.

I am beautiful. And women like me aren’t represented in the media. I am not a size 0, 2, 4, or even 6. I am a tall, full, figured woman and I have recently signed with one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world, Wilhelmina, as a curve model in hopes of being an example of a new kind of beauty that may be less accepted but is just as valid. Yes, congratulations on Wilhelmina! I know you love to use the #PlusIsEqual hashtag they’ve come up with. What kind of message do you think the hashtag and being signed as a plus sized model sends out? I think it sends a message that no matter what size you are, you are beautiful. I have so many beautiful fans that don’t look like what you see on billboards or in magazines but are so, so stunning and don’t see themselves that way because they only see one type of woman considered beautiful. I wish I could meet each one of them and tell them how beautiful theyare and how they could sell clothes in an ad just as well as Cara Delevingne or Kate Moss or whatever emaciated blonde is on the cover of Vogue. Until I get to that point where I get to meet every one of my stunning fans and tell them that though, I think through plus size modeling I’m using myself as an example, as a symbol that if I’m doing it, they can too. I’m beautiful, in the same way they are, with imperfections and all that jazz, and if they see me in a magazine or in an ad then maybe they’ll realize they can get there too. Being the oldest sibling in my family, it’s really nice to be able to ask you for the big sister advice I can’t get anywhere else. Do you remember the night we first met? First night of VidCon 2013? I will never forget that night. I felt so protective over you right away. You were immediately family. I saw you the way I must’ve looked when I first started in the industry, touring with Nickelodeon and stuff, and I wanted to make sure you were happy, comfortable, and safe. LA and that whole lifestyle a lot of kids our age lead out there is incredibly grown up and overwhelming and I didn’t want you to be thrust into it like I was without anyone looking out for you. You were, what? 16? You were a baby. Especially for girls there’s such a predatory way that men can treat you in this industry, I wanted you to know you had a girl who was looking out for you and you didn’t have to rely on the good will of men. I had this whole hotel room to myself, I got my performance over with on the first day, and all I wanted to do was order pizza and lay in bed instead of doing the whole “party and drink” thing, I was so glad I had you to join me. That was such a fun night; it was like we became best friends overnight. It’s cool how now we get to have experiences like that with our viewers at our meetups.

local wolves magazine // 89

“I am a tall, full, figured woman and I have recently signed with one of the biggest modeling agencies in the world, Wilhelmina, as a curve model in hopes of being an example of a new kind of beauty that may be less accepted but is just as valid.”

cont’d It’s the absolute best. I feel like every time we have a show, and I’m able to sing for these girls, and talk to them, and try on makeup with them, and eat pizza with them, we are reenacting our first hangout and I’m gaining a whole new group of little sisters I want to look out for! I’m so happy that our tour is actually in motion! It took a while to make sure everything was just right, but I think we nailed it. From you and I sitting on my living room floor a year ago, calling Orion on the phone and saying “Hey, Sam and I just came up with this crazy idea.” to planning our west coast dates now, it’s been a while, but I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. Winky Lux is the perfect partner in this because they use makeup the same way we do, not to cover anything up, but to express ourselves artistically. You are an artist with fashion, Orion is a writer, and I am a musical artist, and it just makes sense that the company we teamed up with sees us as such and creates makeup that is art with us. This makeup and these shows are about sharing that art and that self-expression with our fans through music, makeup and personal interaction, and I couldn’t be more happy about it. It’s still so hard to believe that we have our own makeup collection now. One night I wrote it down on a list of career goals and now it’s happening only a few months later. In all your years of putting on makeup did you ever think you’d have your very own line of products? Yes, (laughs). I did. I didn’t think it would happen this quickly, and I didn’t think I’d get to do it with my best friends, but yes, I think I always thought I’d have my own makeup. I love it so much. I’m a terrible visual artist in terms of painting, drawing, so this was the only type of visual art I’ve ever been able to do, and I always knew I wanted a visual component to go with my music. I’m so lucky that this dream has come true. Seeing girls tweet me wearing our products is a dream. It’s like how I feel when I see them tweet me that they’re listening to our song, or that they have OSL in their username, the fact that they understand and support our vision and our art is a blessing, and makes me hope they realize if I can get here, so can they.


local wolves magazine // 91



local wolves magazine // 93


local wolves magazine // 95


local wolves magazine // 97

Profile for Local Wolves


On the cover, Orion Carloto // Chelsea Lankes, Kiana Fernandez, Lauren Giraldo, Meghan Hughes and loads more.


On the cover, Orion Carloto // Chelsea Lankes, Kiana Fernandez, Lauren Giraldo, Meghan Hughes and loads more.