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mad sounds

AUGUST/SEPTEMBER 2017

a publication for the young and daring

the girl power issue ISSUE NO. 25


the girl power issue


mad sounds a publication for the young and daring Giselle Melendres Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director, & Designer madsoundsmagazine@gmail.com Contributing Writers Emily Zheng, Giselle Melendres, Sydney Hildebrandt, Lea Porcelli, Morgan Liska, Christine Wilson Contributing Photographers Riley Taylor, Oliver De La Cruz, Madeleine Schaffner, Stefan Trotman, Chalisa Singh, Cait Ford, Stone Malick A Special Thanks To.... Devon Carlson, Riley Taylor, Madeline Sommers, Christine Wilson, Maeve Stier, & Ashley Seryn

ON THE COVER Photography by Riley Taylor Featuring Devon Carlson


the young & daring

@madsoundsmag www.madsoundsmagazine.com @madsoundsmag


contents


photography RILEY TAYLOR featuring DEVON CARLSON

introduction 009 a letter from the editor editorials 010 a girl is a gun by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER 020 flower girl by STONE MALICK 030 let my baby stay by STEFAN TROTMAN 042 don’t kill my vibe by CAIT FORD 048 like july forever by OLIVER DE LA CRUZ think pieces 058 redefining intimacy: what girl power means to me by EMILY ZHENG 060 the beauty in falling apart by MORGAN LISKA 062 country eyes, city sin by CHRISTINE WILSON features 066 Devon Carlson Wildflower Cases 080 Madeline Sommers Photographer/Visual Artist 094 Maeve Stier Editor/Blogger - Chic Now 104 Ashley Seryn Photographer/Visual Artist music 116 digital drugtour feat. Blackbear & Modsun


photography RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

the girl power issue DEVON CARLSON

RILEY TAYLOR Hey readers! I can’t believe we’re already on our 25th issue of Mad Sounds, but I am SO excited to finally be publishing our August/ September issue: the Girl Power issue. This has been a crazy past couple of months, but as most of you know, Mad Sounds has shifted to a bi-monthly release schedule which means that we’ll have more time to accept your lovely submissions and create bigger and better content for you, our lovely readers! Within these past couple of months I’ve so inspired by our latest reader submissions, and we’ve featured a ton of great new writing, photography, and more within the Girl Power issue. We’ve also had the incredible opportunity to work with some amazing creatives, namely female artists, entrepreneurs, and creators in a

variety of industries who bring Girl Power to a whole new level. We sat down with our cover star Devon Carlson to talk about female entrepreneurship and how she started one of the coolest businesses: Wildflower Cases; we also chatted with Maeve Stier, a blogger & editor for her website Chic Now, and Madeline Sommers and Ashley Seryn, two talented photographers whose creative visions and stunning photography has left us speechless. As I wrap up this letter, I truly hope that this issue helps to highlight ideas about girl power, women supporting women, and additionally, the importance of creative outlets as a means for self-expression. Get inspired to create, turn your obstacles into art, and always remember that you are never alone. Love and light!

Giselle Melendres Founder + Editor-in-Chief Mad Sounds

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mad sounds editorials

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a girl is a gun photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER / @mado.s.photo hair, makeup, & styling by MARIA ANA MICSUNESCU / @micsunescu featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO / @alexandraberit


photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER / @mado.s.photo hair, makeup, & styling by MARIA ANA MICSUNESCU / @micsunescu featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO / @alexandraberit


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photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER / @mado.s.photo hair, makeup, & styling by MARIA ANA MICSUNESCU / @micsunescu featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO / @alexandraberit


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photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER / @mado.s.photo hair, makeup, & styling by MARIA ANA MICSUNESCU / @micsunescu featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO / @alexandraberit


photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER / @mado.s.photo hair, makeup, & styling by MARIA ANA MICSUNESCU / @micsunescu featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO / @alexandraberit


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flower girl photography by STONE MALICK / @stonemalick featuring CHRISTINE WILSON / @stinewilson


photography by STONE MALICK / @stonemalick featuring CHRISTINE WILSON / @stinewilson


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photography by STONE MALICK / @stonemalick featuring CHRISTINE WILSON / @stinewilson


photography by STONE MALICK / @stonemalick featuring CHRISTINE WILSON / @stinewilson


photography by STONE MALICK / @stonemalick featuring CHRISTINE WILSON / @stinewilson


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let my baby stay photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


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photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


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photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


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photography by STEFAN TROTMAN / @mrcheyl featuring JARLINE ALMONTE / @jar.line


don’t kill my vibe photography by CAIT FORD / @caitfordphoto featuring COCO HIGGINS / @cocomariehiggins


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photography by CAIT FORD / @caitfordphoto featuring COCO HIGGINS / @cocomariehiggins

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photography by CAIT FORD / @caitfordphoto featuring COCO HIGGINS / @cocomariehiggins

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like july forever photography by OLIVER DE LA CRUZ / @revilodlcphotography featuring CHLOE KING / @chlo_king


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photography OLIVER DE LA CRUZ / @revilodlcphotography featuring CHLOE KING / @chlo_king


photography by OLIVER DE LA CRUZ / @revilodlcphotography featuring CHLOE KING / @chlo_king


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photography by OLIVER DE LA CRUZ / @revilodlcphotography featuring CHLOE KING / @chlo_king


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photography by OLIVER DE LA CRUZ / @revilodlcphotography featuring CHLOE KING / @chlo_king


mad sounds think pieces

redefining intimacy: what girl power means to me written by EMILY ZHENG @xmilyz photography by MADELEINE SCHAFFNER featuring ALEXANDRA BONDO


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

Homecoming. My friend Rebecca is applying gold eyeshadow to my lids. She holds my head still, the calligraphy precision of her hands as she colors in my eyebrows. I see my rose painted lips and winged eyeliner, and I feel recklessly pretty. We dance in my room to throwback songs as we prepare ourselves for a night of cheesy jokes and midnight fast food runs. This is our form of secret sharing, our unwritten language of love.

When I think about when I’ve felt the most loved, I never reflect on moments when boys have confessed to liking me. Or being complimented. It’s performing slam poetry for the first time to my friend Claire and her glassy, “Wow, that was amazing.” It’s my friend Clayton telling me he laughed so much at a part of my email he had to temporarily stop reading. It’s Sherry when we realized we hate the same people and Katy for sharing her personal thoughts with me and Hannah for taking my questions seriously.

I’ve always been fascinated by the small ways women take care of each other. Anyone can display compassion, but women usually do so more prominently, in acts of kindness that often go unnoticed. Shit talking ex’s, asking existential questions, doing each other’s makeup -- this is our “I love you.”

Despite being in a culture that promotes competition among women, we have forged our own means for expressing compassion. We read each other’s book recommendations. We listen and sympathize, even when the other person is creating meaning out of how the boy they like says hello. We ask, “Are you okay?”

I used to have this skewed perception of intimacy. Intimacy had these strict qualifications: must be through a romantic partner, must be through a boy, must be through sex. It was only when I realized the power of my female friendships though that I saw intimacy for what it truly is, a trust that has everything to do with love but no limitations as to what type.

I’m in a hotel room with my friend Sherry. We’re visiting Berkeley for Cal Day, and she pulls out two face masks as we do online quizzes. We take silly selfies together as we laugh about our inexperience with frat parties. Our appreciation for each other is rarely conveyed verbally, but through these nights in. Still, our bond is stronger than friendships that rely on explicit validation.

I write poetry about going to karaoke bars with my friends, and they provide comedic relief to my prolix, “here is my current life crisis” emails. I am an intense listener, and they tolerate my overthinking and tangents. I find concerts we could attend, and they go to my vegan restaurants. While we do not precisely mimic each other’s benevolence, the sentiment is the same. Appreciation does not have to be directly expressed to be felt. Sophomore year of high school. I’m having a shitty day for reasons that cannot be recalled. My daydream is broken by an, “Are you okay?” from the girl sitting next to me. I briskly nod a yes so I don’t have to explain myself. Two years later, I still remember her concern. What she did isn’t objectively big, but it is to me. She reminded me of something I had forgotten that day: I am not disposable. I am seen.

While men can display equal empathy, women are the ones who’ve fostered this culture of subdued thoughtfulness. It’s time to not only accept, but celebrate this. We are not only our own champions, but that for other females. We hold each other’s hands when no one else will. Love doesn’t have to be loud. Sometimes, the small acts of compassion are what count, the trust shown that gets shoved under the rug. Empowerment is women supporting other women, and perhaps these moments are the most meaningful, the ones with no expectation of gratitude. We do not listen to each other’s heartache for some hidden motive; it is because our love is unadulterated and selfless and full. We do each other’s makeup because we care, and we’re okay that no one notices. Here’s to the women with quiet kindness. You are not disposable. You are seen.

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mad sounds think pieces

the beauty in falling apart written by MORGAN LISKA @morganliska photography by STEFAN TROTMAN featuring JARLINE ALMONTE


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

Selena Gomez once gave a quote that resonated with me on a very a deep level, it went like this: “Girls need to be allowed to fall apart”. She was referencing the unspoken societal expectation that girls are expected to be this chill, always-down animation 24/7, and when one does express her feelings, or even falls apart, she is heavily judged. It’s the “she’s crazy” line that has even intimidated me at times from expressing my own thoughts. One of the reasons why I was so touched by this quote, is because I’ve always been that girl who has had strong emotions, someone who feels everything so deeply. When you are someone who is like me, you grow up with having a lot of moments where things become overwhelming very easily and you simply become emotional. Because I had so many moments as a child, and still do today, where I can’t control if someone sees me in an emotional state, I quickly observed how uncomfortable and judgmental people became who were around me. My childhood curiosity was always quite perplexed about the fact that we as a society are so hung up on being perceived as perfect beings who don’t feel sadness, who don’t have breakdowns, who don’t experience pain. People seem to forget that ‘emotional’ is not synonymous to weak. Through my own journey of struggling with growing up in a culture like this one, I decided to create a blog. I vowed for it to be a place where I would be all the things society told me not to be: vulnerable, candidly honest, and raw; and to talk about all the things that no one else was talking about.

I found myself starting to dedicate everyday of my life to doing one of the things that scared me the most: being 100% open, and giving free reign to anyone who wanted to see what was inside my heart- the good, and the bad. I knew I was starting to make an impact, when gradually, I started to receive messages from other young girls my age who felt so validated and comforted while reading about my own thoughts and struggles. I realized that one of the most beautiful things we have to give to others, is our stories, they are what connect us, through all different moments in life. For me, creating this platform and being able to share my own experiences, insecurities, and calamitous moments, as scary as it might be, has given me an incredible amount of fortitude in so many more ways that I had ever imagined it would. For a girl who was once deathly afraid of showing her own emotions and apprehensive that I would be judged, called “crazy” or even labeled “overly emotional”, writing has empowered me in such an intense way to share these insecurities of mine and pushed me to help change the stigma around showing emotions. I have grown into someone who lives by the mentality that the most powerful force inside you, is your emotions. You should never feel discouraged or afraid to show them, there is a tremendous amount of beauty in opening up to people, living candidly, and bonding through people’s stories.

“...writing has empowered me in such an intense way to share these insecurities of mine and pushed me to help change the stigma around showing emotions.”

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country eyes, city sin written by CHRISTINE WILSON photography by STONE MALICK featuring CHRISTINE WILSON


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

At its core, Country Eyes, City Sin is nothing more than the response to a thought an ex left me with- “I’m terrified for the day you’ll fall in love with someone else.” I spent a lot of time being sad, and spent even more time being mad at how unrecognizable I became to even myself because of that sadness, until one day I realized the most terrifying reality of all would be if I found a way to simply fall in love with the person I was becoming. The girl who wasn’t afraid to sit and drink coffee alone, to show up single to parties and weddings and housewarmings in her late 20’s with her chin up. Life pulls you in surprising directions, sometimes teaching you how to hang on loosely and let go gracefully. But I promise, when you come to peace with your tragedies, they will turn into triumphs. xoxo Christine

02/02/2016

the haunting

preface. i was told once I was too good at masking the ugliest parts of relationships behind beautiful images and beautiful words. he made it seem like a curse. we all have a choice on how we perceive what happens to us in this life, and i will choose to see beauty every time. and as for pain, it’s simply part of the human experience, so may these notes embrace you on the nights where a phone call makes every part of your being stand still, the afternoons that a letter makes your world seem instantly smaller, or the mornings you feel utterly alone.

i remember the first time someone asked if i loved you. it was a night in June of 2013 and i said, “it takes time.” they replied, “to feel or to admit it?” and that idea has haunted me ever since.

02/07/2016 love in it’s purest form is not bound by conditions, therefore unconditional love is not moved by or afraid to confront sin. but you must stop romanticizing the people who hurt you.

03/01/2016

here is to hope in the darkness.

01/01/2016  here does love go when it’s gone. w anyway, happy new year.

 don’t ever tell me again that you, “couldn’t say no”, to me. you said no everyday that you said yes to other lovers.

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mad sounds think pieces

04/02/2016

08/24/2016

the morning after

for the first time i looked back and smiled. for all we were and could have been,

i never wanted to be strong enough to have to pick up the millions of pieces of my own shattered heart and learn how to put them back together.

but more so for all we lost and are still losing. 09/01/2016 i laid my demons to rest. you befriended yours.

but now i get to create who i want to be. and i made a choice the morning after you left... i promised myself i wouldn’t be defined as the girl who was left two months before her wedding.

05/04/2016 i loved him when he slept. i think it’s the only time he was ever really at peace. i remember he told me he never dreamt until i was next to him, “that’s a tell if n  othing else.” he would always say of our love. but through the years, i watched his sweet dreams turn into silent screams.  nd now when i wake up alone, i wonder a where did you go when you went quiet?

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the end i’m not much for hugging strangers, but i didn’t think twice when i walked up to him for the first time and wrapped my arms around his frame like he was an old friend. they a erase you and they aren’t perfect. but i think that was a moment people write about.


read the full series: christinewilsondesign.com/ countryeyescitysin

keep up with christine: @stine.wilson


photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor / featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA

devon carlson


photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

devon carlson

written by GISELLE MELENDRES photography by RILEY TAYLOR

You may have heard of the popular phone case brand Wildflower Cases, whose innovative designs and unique style have taken the internet by storm. Devon Carlson is one of the

creative minds behind the Wildflower sensation, playing a vital role in the company as a co-founder, designer, and entirely self-made female entrepreneur. A triple threat girl boss

all in one, Devon was a major inspiration for our Girl Power issue, as we talked to her all about female empowerment, self-love & confidence, starting your own business, and being a female entrepreneur in a creative industry. Read our interview with Devon to learn more about our cover star for this special Girl Power issue!

Hi Devon, thanks for taking the time to talk to us at Mad Sounds today. To start off, can you tell us about a typical day for Devon Carlson? A typical day for me is waking up, taking my dog on a walk, the coming home and starting work!! I work from home so I’ll usually check my email and deal with the urgent things, then make some breakfast. Once it hits like late afternoon I’m either trying wrapping up Wildflower work & starting to find inspo for new designs or running to a photoshoot! I always like to treat myself to a good meal at the end of the day and I LOVE going out to eat. It’s one of my favorite parts of the day. No day is exactly the same for me though. I really like to constantly switch up my schedule. You currently live in Los Angeles. What is your favorite part about living in L.A.? Do you have any favorite spots? (Restaurants, stores, attractions, etc.?) It’s too hard to pick one thing I love!! I love living in a city surrounded by so many different peo-

ple! I love the food, the shopping, the weather, and pretty much everything about it. I grew up in the suburbs outside LA, but the city definitely feels like home. My current favorite spots are Trois Familia and Alfred Coffee. I don’t think I could live without either. You’re the co-founder and designer for Wildflower Cases, a company you and your family have started almost five years ago now. Can you give our readers a refresher on how Wildflower got its start? I was out to dinner with my family and we just so happened to run into Miley (who I was obsessed with) while in the restaurant. While talking, she noticed my phone case and asked where I got it. I told her my mom had made if for me and she asked if we had a company, which we didn’t.. She ended up tweeting a picture of our cases and tagged me in it. The response was huge. My dad stayed up all night making a website and I started replying to people on twitter with wildflowercases.com.

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photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


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What is one of your favorite things about your job at Wildflower? I feel really lucky that I get to work with my family. I learn so much from them and it’s really amazing that we all get to go through this awesome experience together. Having a creative career can come with challenges, but how do you manage to stay inspired and come up with new and innovative ideas? I keep the most creative people around me. My friends inspire me and are truly my muses. Where do you find inspiration for your case designs for Wildflower? How do you decide on collaborations for the brand? I honestly find inspiration everywhere. I love going vintage shopping for inspo and also my friends inspire me. As for collaborations we chose based on people who genuinely love and have supported Wildflower in the past. We like picking people that bring something extra special to Wildflower. What was one of the most exciting or pivotal moments for yourself and Wildflower thus far? Seeing our cases sold in stores like Free People and Nordstrom. It’s definitely surreal to me. Another thing that always blows my mind is seeing so many of our customers post photos and tag us on instagram. I love getting to see the people who buy our cases!! It makes me so happy and I am so thankful.

stoked and it’s something I’ve been wanting to do for a while so I’m so happy we finally get to do it! Our 25th issue takes on the theme “Girl Power” and highlights empowering female figures in different creative industries. What is your best advice for girls who aspire to become entrepreneurs similar to yourself? Find something you’re passionate about and keep supportive people around you!! There is no need for negative energy when you’re trying to start a business. Try your best to stay positive and know that everything happens for a reason. Self-love and confidence are also ideas we hope to empower in our female readers. What are your biggest tips for learning to love yourself and gain self-confidence? I think self acceptance is a huge part of being confident. Also trying not to compare yourself to others. Everyone’s different and that’s what makes us all so beautiful! Now for some random questions! Where do you see yourself five years from now? Working hard and living in a house with a beautiful backyard that my dog, Martin, can run around in and catch frisbees whenever he wants!! Who is your ultimate style icon? I’m obsessed with 90s supermodels... Also Rihanna. She’s queen.

Are there any upcoming projects for Wildflower that we should be on the lookout for? Some new customizable cases!!!! I’m super

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“Find something you’re passionate about and keep supportive people around you! There is no need for negative energy when you’re trying to start a business.”

photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


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photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


photography by RILEY TAYLOR @rileytaylor featuring DEVON CARLSON @devonleecarlson clothing ALBRIGHT FASHION LIBRARY LA


What are your top three fashion staples for the summer? Loafers, Réalisation Par dresses, and cute sunglasses Which is your all time favorite Wildflower Case that you designed? Probably our “Girl Power” case or the Unicorn Bitch case. I was really excited to make those cases and they came out PERFECT! Designer or vintage? Vintage Designer 100% If you could listen to one artist or band forever who would it be? Ughhhhhhh way too hard of a question c’mon!!! Probably my insanely hot bf Jesse Rutherford or Drake. How would you describe yourself in three words? Positive, loving, and silly Who is one female icon that inspires you? Alexandra Spencer. She’s a fellow female bo$$/ friend. The way she commits to her vision and won’t let anything get in the way of her final product is truly inspiring. Whenever I’m around her I feel so inspired and only a small group of people make me feel that way.

Keep up with Devon: Instagram/Twitter: @devonleecarlson wildflowercases.com


madeline sommers photography (left) by ZACH BROOKS photography (right) by ALBERTO VILLA featuring MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl


photography by ALBERTO VILLA featuring MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

madeline sommers written by LEA PORCELLI photography by MADELINE SOMMERS

Meet Madeline Sommers: a young photographer from Sacramento, California. Madeline has been playing around with cameras since she was a child, but has just recently turned her passion into a career over the past few years. With a focus on natural light and landscape, Madeline’s photos capture the true subject in front of the lens. Be sure to follow her at @yougoghgurl on Instagram to be updated with her latest photos and projects.

Hi Madeline, thanks for sitting down with us today at Mad Sounds. Can you tell us a bit about what a typical day in your life looks like as a photographer? A typical shooting day would consist of discussing outfits beforehand or I will put together outfits of my own to fit a certain theme. I would then meet up with the model and drive to one or multiple locations to shoot. Afterwards, we’d stop somewhere to eat or just hangout. Then, depending on how late the shoot is, I try to edit right away. Editing can take hours and hours to accomplish, but it totally depends on how diverse the shoot is. How did you get started in the field? Has photography always been a passion or is it a newfound interest? I got my first DSLR (Canon Rebel T3i) for my sixteenth birthday. I’ve actually been shooting with it for the past 3 years, but you caught me at an

exciting time! I recently preordered the Canon 6d mark 2 (so we can all wave my savings goodbye!) Growing up, my mother was a photographer and always had an interest in crafting and that sort of thing. She definitely influenced my desire to create art through photography and other mediums. I’ve had a few shoot and point cameras when I was a kid as well. I’ve always enjoyed shooting, but it wasn’t until recently that I’ve begun taking it much more seriously. How do you express your creative side through your photographs? I express creativity through my work based on how I feel mentally at that point in my life. In that aspect, it is very realistic, and I hope that some of you can relate to my work and empathize with it. My artwork will continue to alter as I go through different phases in my life.

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photography by MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl featuring MIRANDA WHITE @mirrandawhite


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

How do you go about setting up your shot? Is it something that happens in the moment, or do you create a plan for each shoot? I very briefly plan out my shoots. Normally, both myself and the model agree on a theme, locations, and outfits that will suit both. The rest usually depends on the weather and light conditions. What kind of preparation goes into each shoot? Each shoot varies in preparation. If I have a set plan that includes specific props, then I would bring those with me. Normally, I shoot models with natural or no makeup, but that again varies on the theme. Whether I discuss outfits with the model or not, I usually always will bring extra outfits. The most important preparation would probably be adjusting my camera settings to suit each location. What’s your current favorite shooting location and what is so special about it? I don’t know if I have a favorite shooting location, but I always enjoy going out of town with models and/or other photographers. So to answer your question, I suppose anywhere out of town is my favorite location because the photos I get from that shoot reflect the experience more than the shot itself.

do anything you are uncomfortable with. Be bold, be confident, and be carefree. The focus of this month’s issue of Mad Sounds is Girl Power. How do you think you convey this message through your art? A big portion of my portrait photography is of other resilient women. I try to capture a wide range of emotions that play an important role in the life of a woman. For example, I have attempted to portray abuse/oppression, sexual freedom, fearlessness, confidence, contentment, and the importance of appreciating and empowering one another as a woman. How can you inspire other young women to get out there and pursue their creative passions? As many of you must know, women have been oppressed for centuries. Though we have reintroduced the feminist movement, the battle to gain equal opportunities and rights is still in motion. For thousands of years, women were not credited for their work, artistic or not. The generations of women before us did not get us where we are today to watch us be silent. So be loud. Draw, paint, take pictures, film a movie, or write a book, but do not be silenced.

Do you have any tips for models that helps make shooting easier and more enjoyable? From experience, I know that being in front of the camera can be a little nerve racking at first. Remember that photo shoots are for both the photographer and the model. The community is a big part of artistic work, so if you go into a photoshoot acting like you’ve known the photographer for years I can almost guarantee they will return the same vibes. Never

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“...So be loud. Draw, paint, take pictures, film a movie, or write a book, but do not be silenced.


photography by MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl featuring ALBINA SILCHUK @albinasilchuk


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photography by MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl featuring EMMA BORKOVICH @emmaborkovich


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

The modeling world is often criticized for focusing too much on outer beauty and looks. Do you feel that modeling and photographing different models is empowering for women? That’s one thing I’m very adamant about. When editing portraits I hardly alter the natural state of the subject in my photos. I may clone a bruise or brighten the shadows on their face, but I try to avoid anything drastic. I want to see models look more alive, not altered and photoshopped into someone they’re not. To answer your question, I think modeling industries vary from company to company. As a model, if you’re working with a photographer or industry who wants to embrace your natural beauty, then I believe it will be a positive and confidence boosting experience. Avoid any company or being that attempts to make you feel like you aren’t good enough as you are. You go by “@yougoghgurl” on social media and it is the name of your website. What’s the meaning behind the name and how did you come up with it? I feel like the phrase “you go girl!” is always used when a woman accomplishes something or when a woman is praised for being true to herself. So of course, I’m all about that! The name pretty much just hit me one day. Vincent Van Gogh is probably the most invested artist in his work. He was known to spend the little money he had on paint rather than food. It wasn’t until after his death that his artwork really became known. As an artist, I believe that to be very important. So many of us desire recognition and admiration, but this great dutch painter is a reminder that if what you’re doing makes you feel alive, then you’ve got to keep on doing it. Hence youGOGHgurl was created.

How do you hope your art will evolve in the coming years? Do you set creative goals for yourself and could you give us some idea into what they look like? I hope that my art continues to reflect who I am and who I am becoming. I hope to meet and work with more creatives as my work continues to grow. Art is one of the few things in this world that I believe shouldn’t be planned or forced. Inspiration comes in many ways at many different times. So other than my website updates that I have in mind, I don’t have any artistic goals. It’s something that comes with time, inspiration, and ideas. Art is an important part of who I am, and there’s no doubt in my mind I will continue to create years down the road. Do you have any advice for those looking to get started in creative careers like photography? Patience is the key. You’ll probably start out inspired by very specific photographers and styles. You’ll probably beat yourself up for not producing the work you continuously envisioned in your mind. Just remember that it all takes time: your editing style, the lens you prefer, camera settings, everything. Don’t compare your work to other artists work. Art is a form of self expression, and I guarantee you will be more satisfied with your work if you can connect to it yourself rather than just recreating someone else’s.

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photography by MADELINE SOMMERS @yougoghgurl featuring (left) SARAH PHENIX @sarahphenixx (right) ALBINA SILCHUK @albinasilchuk


Are you working on any projects that we can look forward to seeing on social media/website soon? Within the next few months I plan on transforming my website to apparel and commissions only. So I will be removing my landscape photos as well as my paintings and drawings and will be adding womens shirts designed by me and hand painted jean jackets/ pants and possibly shoes as well! I will keep my jewelry section and

and send out a free button/sticker with every order! Finally, what is one thing that you want people to know about your career? I’m speaking out for every artist when I say this because I’ve witnessed it happen time and time again. Do not ask and expect free artwork or lowball an artist for their work. Value and respect every artist’s work! Whether it be a painting, a drawing, a sculpture, or a photograph. All artistic

mediums require money, time, and/or energy invested into every piece. As an audience it’s easy to overlook this because rather than seeing the effort put into each creation we only see the final products.

Keep up with Madeline: Instagram: @yougoghgurl yougoghgurl.com


maeve stier photography by ERIN KRESPAN @erinkrespan featuring MAEVE STIER @maevestier


photography by ERIN KRESPAN @erinkrespan featuring MAEVE STIER @maevestier


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

maeve stier written by EMILY ZHENG photography by ERIN KRESPAN

Meet Maeve, creator and editor-in-chief of the no BS, fashion and lifestyle blog Chic Now

chicnowblog.com. With her edgy yet feminine tastes, she documents her changing style through sharing her favorite makeup products and outfits. Her platform focuses on giv-

ing honest style advice, regardless of whether it’s on-trend or not. Maeve strives to treat her readers as unofficial best friends -- nothing half-assed or cluttered with sponsors. We brought on Maeve to discuss the pressure of being a lifestyle blogger and what girl power means to her. Read our interview with her here:

How did you get started with Chic Now? Slowly. The idea began in high school and took years to actually come to fruition. While living in New York, I ended up having the time to focus and make the blog a reality, and the rest is history. What advice would you give to people who are starting to discover their personal style? Go with your first instinct and build from there. If you like something, there’s a reason, and it’s that intuitive attraction that will help you to figure out what your style is. Also (I can’t stress this enough), don’t wear a trend just because it’s “in.” I can’t tell you how many trends I ignore because they don’t fit with my personal style or just are not flattering on me. Personal style will win out over whatever is “trendy” every time.

Your blog is centered around giving candid fashion advice -- no BS attached. How do you stay grounded in an industry that can at times be dishonest? When I started Chic Now, I was mindful of the fact that I was diving into a very crowded world of fashion blogs. I wanted to bring something fresh to the table, and for me, my closest friends were my biggest inspiration to stay honest. When I write for the blog, I write as if I’m talking to a best friend. People can find what the industry says is “new” and “trendy” on a million other blogs, but I want people to come to Chic Now as if they are coming to a friend for style advice, regardless of what’s “in.”

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photography by ERIN KRESPAN @erinkrespan featuring MAEVE STIER @maevestier


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

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photography by ERIN KRESPAN @erinkrespan featuring MAEVE STIER @maevestier


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

How do you see fashion as a form of self-expression? There’s only one you, so there’s only one person on the planet with your unique combination of taste and opinions on style. It’s so impressive to me when someone can take their personality and craft an aesthetic to match it, and I think that’s the truest form of self-expression through fashion. It’s the greatest compliment when a friend texts me a photo of something in a store and says “this is so you.” What does girl power mean to you? Why do you believe it is important? I think there are a lot of different ways I interpret “girl power,” but the first thing that comes to mind is women helping other women. The blogging world can be a very lonely place, and it’s so easy to feel competitive. Whenever I find another creative woman that I admire, I reach out and try to collaborate. Why compete when we can work together? I’ve formed many female friendships this way, and both myself and Chic Now are better off because of it. Women working together to lift one another up – that’s girl power. Who is the woman you look up to the most? Why? My mom. She was a total boss, quite literally, and started her own company the year I was born. I grew up watching her build this successful business from the ground up. I get my do-it-yourself, entrepreneurial spirit from her, and I’m always so grateful to have such a strong female role model. How did you find the confidence to express your personal style regardless of judgment? I won’t lie, it’s really hard. I had the idea for

the blog when I was eighteen, but it took me about five years to actually do anything because I was terrified to put myself (and my style) out there. It finally got to the point when I had to either start this project or give up on it. I really believed in my idea, and once the blog was ready I just took the leap and posted the whole thing on Facebook for everyone to see. I had to put my confidence in what I’d created, and I’ve never looked back. Where do you get inspiration for your outfits? Everywhere. I’ve actually gone so far as to take photos of random people I pass on the street if I like their outfit. I’ve pulled inspiration from Pinterest, other bloggers, magazines, celebrities, or just from a single article of clothing that I spot in a store. The list could go on and on, but that part of my brain never really shuts off, so inspiration can come from anything at any time. How has your style changed since the beginning of your blog to now? When I started, I didn’t have a set idea of what my personal style was. It took some time (and a lot of dog-eared magazines), but eventually I was able to hone-in on exactly my style. The blog was a little all over the place at first, but thanks to that discovery everything has become much more cohesive – and very me. What accomplishment, whether it be personal or career-oriented, are you the proudest of? I learned a really important personal lesson when I was 19: if you’re not happy with your life, you have the power to do something about it. I was very unhappy at the college that I was attending, but instead of just waiting another few years for it to be over, I

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photography by ERIN KRESPAN @erinkrespan featuring MAEVE STIER @maevestier


worked exceptionally hard so I could transfer to a school that I loved. And I did. The fact that I took control of my life and actively made the change I wanted is what I’m most proud of. How has your blog been shaped by you being a female creative? I always approached everything I did for the blog from a strategic, business-minded angle, mostly because I felt this need to have people take it seriously. It’s hard to create something from scratch, and I never wanted to give anyone the opportunity to brush off what I was doing as just some silly little side project. Being a female creative has made me want to work harder and smarter. How do you separate your work and personal life when your lifestyle has become part of your career? It’s tough when you are your brand. There are certain things I’ll keep off of the blog for the sake of my privacy, but for the most part, my life is out there for everyone to see. My style, taste, and opinions are fair game for the blog, but I make sure to keep personal relationships off of Chic Now. What is the most rewarding part of being a style blogger? The community. I’ve met so many talented, creative, and interesting people through blogging. Forming those friendships with other bloggers, photographers, and entrepreneurs has been the most rewarding part of my work, and it’s so inspiring to witness their talents and accomplishments.

What is the future of Chic Now? Bright, I hope! Right now, I’m focusing more on bringing my personality and everyday life to the blog and Chic Now’s social channels. In the next few years, I plan to create daily content and eventually come out with some sort of tangible product – whether that’s in the form of a large-scale brand collaboration or a Chic Now book, I haven’t quite decided. Stay tuned!

Keep up with Maeve: Instagram: @maevestier chicnowblog.com


ashley seryn photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring (left) LEXI BHARD @belexib (right) ANASTASIA DABIZHA @anastasiadabizha


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring HALEY HOFFMAN @hellohihaley


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

ashley seryn written by SYDNEY HILDEBRANDT photography by ASHLEY SERYN

If you scroll through Ashley Seryn’s Instagram feed you will see that she is more than someone who snaps a photo, throws on one of those infamous ‘Gram filters, and posts it with a cringe-worthy caption. No, you will see the thought, confidence, and not to mention the girl power that emanates from each image. After a few seconds of swiping through the gallery of the LA/OC based photographer you will notice the power and feminine audacity stamped on just about every picture - reasons why she is an ideal feature for Issue 25.

First of all, thanks for taking the time to chat with us here at Mad Sounds. To start off, what is a typical day in the life for Ashley Seryn?

Speaking of empowering other women, how do you try to empower the females you photograph?

During the school year, I would say class, studying (ideally at a cute café), and photoshoots. But now that it’s summer, it’s a little more variable; a.k.a. picking up piano again in between answering emails, catching up with friends over brunch, wandering around WeHo [West Hollywood], finding visual inspiration, etc.

My job as a photographer is to make you look good, essentially. So whenever I shoot with other girls I try to make them feel confident in how they look. It definitely creates a more positive self-concept, and it makes me happy seeing someone become less timid in front of the camera over the course of a shoot, or get excited over the images!

This issue of Mad Sounds takes on the theme of Girl Power. What is your personal description of that concept? Girl power is being self-confident and independent as a female. It is the collective and inclusive stride to empower other women and the unspoken, yet powerful bond that connects us as females.

Who is your role model when it comes to female influence? My friends. As females, they are all beautiful inside and out, and I’m constantly inspired and influenced by their unique dreams, talents, and qualities.

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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring (left) HEATHER @heathermost (right) LEEANA JACOBS @leeana.jacobs


“ I’ve learned that the best thing you can do is to prove that you’re capable. If you’re serious about your work, people will take you more seriously. “

photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring (left to right) HALEY HOFFMAN @hellohihaley EMMA LIEGLER @emmaliegler & REBECCA GANN @rebecca_gann

What do you think sets you apart as a female creative? Sometimes when I’m shooting with a model, especially other girls, they’ll tell me how refreshing it is to shoot with a female photographer. So I guess as a female creative, I can offer a different perspective from the traditional “male gaze.” What kind of issues do you face as a female creative? How do you overcome them? As a female creative, I feel like you garner less legiti-

macy in the eyes of other people (especially being 18 and looking a few years younger than that haha). I’ve learned that the best thing you can do is to prove that you’re capable. If you’re serious about your work, people will take you more seriously. What motivates you to continue pursuing photography? I’ve been wrestling with the direction I want to go [in] with my photography lately, mostly because being a full time student makes

you question how much time you want to devote to something that doesn’t directly lead to a degree. But what’s been motivating me is the fact that I thrive off expressing myself visually, and since photography does this while opening up opportunities and allowing me to meet other creatives, I say why not?


photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring LEXI BHARD @belexib


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

If photography was not a part of your life, what would you be doing instead?

What skill would you like to further develop in the future?

“What if” questions always get me. I hope to god something still creative/artistic/visual.

I definitely want to experiment more with external lighting. I love shooting with natural light but knowing how to work with lighting systems and using this as another element of control for your images is a great technical skill to have.

What intrigues you the most about photography? The gamut of emotions, stories, styles, time periods, and concepts that each image can evoke. Photography is all about visual storytelling, and it’s so inspiring to see how different artists achieve this in their distinctive ways and how different people subjectively experience an image. Your Instagram posts date back to 2013, four years ago. How do you think you have grown and changed as a photographer since then?

What are your favorite elements to work with in photography? I love incorporating the background into my images, so I gravitate towards anything that reflects light and adds visual interest like windows, mirrors, and even chandeliers. Lighting also makes or breaks a photo, in my opinion. But the most important element is the subject, and I love getting to meet new people!

When I first started out, photography was just a casual hobby without much direction or intention. Now, it’s a lot more of a meaningful investment to me. My style has also changed quite a bit since then and still continues to evolve. Everything is a learning experience. You shoot a lot and like a little, but it’s the little that counts. How would you describe your photography style now? I’ve realized it can be pretty hard translating visual into verbal. And then there’s the whole question of intended style versus actualized style. But to take a stab at it, I’d say my style is feminine and minimal, focusing on the model rather than location or clothing (and, to be frank, a little confused at the moment haha).

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photography by ASHLEY SERYN @ashleyseryn featuring HALEY HOFFMAN @hellohihaley & EMMA LIEGLER @emmaliegler


What is your creative process for structuring a photoshoot? It really depends on what the shoot is for, whether that be an agency test shoot, lookbook, magazine feature, etc. For personal projects, which I have the most creative direction on, a concept will be the backbone of the shoot. Usually this will be based on what’s been inspiring me visually (a movie, a location I spotted while driving, an editorial, what I save on Instagram). I’ll then get a creative team on board and choose an appropriate location. I always send over mood boards, but besides that, I don’t usually do much else. There’s only so much you can control, and I realized having freedom is more organic. And finally, what do you think is the biggest milestone you have hit since becoming a photographer? Probably having my images in a Ford model’s book or being on the cover of Mad Sounds’ Issue 24 featuring the Heirs!

Keep up with Ashley: Instagram: @ashleyseryn ashleyseryn.com


mad sounds music

digital drugtour written by CHALISA SINGH @schalisaaa photography by CHALISA SINGH featuring BLACKBEAR & MOD SUN


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

Performing in Silver Spring, Maryland at the Fillmore, Blackbear and Mod Sun threw it down with a sold out show. Opening for Blackbear, Mod Sun lifted the energy of the crowd with his groovy melodies and catchy lyrics. If you have never been to a Mod Sun show, please do yourself a favor and attend one. His energy is insane, you can feel the passion and love for his music when he performs, and he makes you want to dance even if you don’t know his songs. What I love most

about Mod Sun is not just his music but what he promotes on stage. He takes the opportunity to not only make people feel good through his music, but to also promote positivity and happy vibes. Mod Sun loves taking the time to talk with his fans about living the life you love and doing what makes you happy. Making the crowd satisfied, Mod Sun performed some of his popular hits such as, My Hippy, We Do This Shit, Two, and Stoner Girl.

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Following right after, Blackbear came out on stage and I’ve never heard screams louder than I did that night. Being a huge fan of Blackbear, I was so excited to finally see him live and he did not disappoint at all. What I loved most about Blackbear’s set was the vision behind the graphics, the lighting, and stage effects. It really helped to enhance the whole vibe of the show. Blackbear was very engaging with the audience and he was constantly encouraging people to sing louder and to go crazier. Performing my absolute

favorites, Blackbear performed his popular hits such as, 4U, I Needed You, Girls Like You, IDFC, 90210, Dirty Laundry, and closed it off with Do Re Mi. Blackbear and Mod Sun both killed their sets and I’m happy that I was there to capture it all.


mad sounds music

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written by CHALISA SINGH @schalisaaa photography by CHALISA SINGH featuring BLACKBEAR & MOD SUN


mad sounds available to read on

issuu.com/madsoundsmagazine


NO. 25 — GIRL POWER

stay tuned there’s more mad sounds on the way! for information on how to submit to upcoming issues, please visit:

madsoundsmagazine.com

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mad sounds

Mad Sounds Magazine - Girl Power  

Issue 25 - Girl Power of Mad Sounds featuring Devon Carlson (cover), Maeve Stier, Madeline Sommers, Ashley Seryn, and many more!

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