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THE CELEBRATION ISSUE | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2018

DIGITAL VOLUME 4 | ISSUE 5


DIGITAL EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Maggie O’Connor

IN THIS ISSUE

CREATIVE DIRECTOR Shannon Maiers FEATURES EDITOR Amber Mitchell FASHION EDITORS PRINT Liv Verlande Alana Valko DIGITAL Blake Pittman DESIGN EDITORS PRINT Katie Beukema Xinyi Liu DIGITAL Aliya Falk PHOTO EDITORS PRINT Ryan McLoughlin Benji Bear DIGITAL Mackenzie King VIDEO EDITOR Paige Wilson DIGITAL CONTENT EDITOR Elena Odulak PUBLISHER Lauren Ayers ACCOUNTS DIRECTOR Sabrina Zayek

02. masthead

18. street style

04. from the desk of the editor-in-chief

26. new year, same shit

08. lunisolar 16. drippin’ in faux-nesse

32: black is beautiful 50: self-love: on your own terms

MARKETING DIRECTOR Carly Dineen-Griffin ADVERTISING COORDINATOR Ellen Toal DISTRIBUTION COORDINATOR Christi Suzuki FINANCE COORDINATOR Connie Zhang EVENTS COORDINATOR Allison Powell OUTREACH COORDINATOR Kristin Swad SOCIAL MEDIA COORDINATOR Serena Pergola

Our mission is to inform, inspire and engage deeply with the University of Michiga provide a marketable media platform for students to push the boundaries of what


Index | Volume 4 Issue 5

54: your own valentine 58: student spotlight 70: rio’s carnival of color .

an campus community at the intersection of student and professional life within the fashion industry. SHEI Digital is intended to t has traditionally been possible within print without compromising the level of quality associated with the SHEI brand.


DIGITAL

january/february contributors FASHION Adam Van Osdol Tina Yu Gigi Garate Jessica Peterkins Sophia Jaskoski Courtney O’Beirne Francesca Romano Jason Du Jenny Gryka Molly Shulan FEATURES Tarik Dobbs Sean Tran Caleb Hogeterp Maggie O’Connor

Amreen Kanwal Kamryn Abraskin Sean Tran Alexa DeFord Jenny Ruan Alexa DeFord Elizabeth Haley, Jenny Ruan Jana Wilson Lauren Westphal Alexa Di Luca Katherine Feinstein Theresa Manfredini

MAKEUP ARTIST Lauren Westphal PHOTO Anurima Kumar Tina Yu Francesca Romano Eliz Akgun Benji Bear Evan Parness VIDEO Rosalie Li Bethany Lehman

Derrick Lui Sam Plouff Dana Dean Robina Rranza Lucy Carpenter

Mariana Ruiz

DESIGN Aliya Falk Paige Wilson Manda Villarreal

Carla Borkmann Sara Groenke Claire Abdo

MODELS Swati Aravindan Katherine Feinstein Jessice Xinyi Liu Imogene Yimeng Zhao Jeremiah Hollis Senna Lim Lucy Dickerman Jenny Ruan Anna Parks

Madhi Bosier Cescily Barnes Mikah Sherrill Lauryn Hobbs Lauren Ward Khadija Williams Brad Sklarski Eric Terbush Evan Parness


Playing Havoc, SHEI Fall 2017 now available at our online store


THE CELEBRATION ISSUE practicing pride; embracing joy

written by Maggie O’Connor photographed by Robina Rranza layout by Aliya Falk


Letter from the Editor | Volume 4 Issue 5

I

t’s 2 0 1 8 . T h e ba l l h a s d rop p ed , th e snow h as p i l e d i n (I ho p e M a teo i s treat ing yo u w el l ) , a n d th e semester i s in f ull s w in g . T h i s t i me of yea r, a l th o u g h f rozen an d c h a o t i c , i s o n e j a m- pa cked wit h oppor tunities for improving and embracing o u r sel ves. As we beg a n b ra i n storming id e as f o r t h i s i ssue o f S HEI D i g i tal, our co n ver sa t i o n s con si sten tl y grav i tat ed to b o th t h e o c c asi on s wi th i n J a n u ar y and Fe b ru a r y w h i c h ca l l for cel ebra ti on and th e n e c e s si t y to sh a mel essl y celebrat e yo u r o wn i n d i v i du a l i d en ti ty. (I ho pe t hat it g oes wi t h o u t say i ng tha t th e lat t er n e e d s n o o c c asi o n ). As p ro b a b l y co mes to mi n d fo r all of o u r re a d er s, t he sea so n o f New Year ’s re s o l u t i o n s i s upo n u s. In New Yea r, Same S h i t fe a t u re s wri ters Ca l eb Hog ete r p and Ale xa D i Lu c a g i ve th ei r a d v i ce o n st icking to o u r g o a l s a nd remi n d us th a t n o mat t er h o w fa r o ff the b a n d wago n you have f all en , i t i s n ever too l a te to h o p b ack on [p g . 2 6 ] . ( Wh i c h I a pp reci a te, because, let me t el l yo u , I a m so o ff the b a n dwagon th at I’m n o t sure i f i t’s even i n th e same s t at e a s I a m any more. ) Als o i n t hi s i ssu e, we celebrat e B lack H i sto r y M o n th wi th a n ei ght eenp ag e sp rea d , fea turi n g th e beaut y and p e r s o n a l i t y o f mo d el s J eremi a h H ollis, M ad hi B o s i er, Cesci l y B a rnes, Mikah S h e r r i l l , L a u r y n Hob b s, La uren Wa rd, and K h ad i j a Wi l l i a m s [ B l a ck i s B ea u ti f ul, pg. 32].

For our cover shoot , Photograp h e r Tin a Yu brought Chinese f ashion br an d s s u c h as Tang Fei toget her wit h swir ls o f c lo u d s and sky to creat e a breat ht akin g trib u te to Chinese f ashion and t he u p c o m in g Chinese N ew Year [Lunisolar, pg. 8] . In a color f ul embr ace of M ard i G ras , st ylist s and photogr apher s e xp lo re d t he possibilit ies shoot ing mode ls S w ati Aravidan and Kat herine Fei n s te in in play wit h an ir idescent plast ic f ilm . Th e result : photos t hat feel equal par ts j oy f u l and ot her worldly [Rio’s Car nival o f C o lo r, pg.70 ]. I am so t hr illed to br ing t his ce le b rato r y Januar y/Febr uar y issue to our re ad e rs . Whet her your f ir st few wee ks b ac k on campus have been ins p irin g o r under whelming, we hope t hat th is is s u e lif t s your spir it s and reminds yo u th at no mat t er where you are or wh at yo u ’ re doing, t here’s always reason to c e le b rate .


DIRECTORS Adam Van Osdol Tina Yu STYLIST Gigi Garate MODELS Jessice Xinyi Liu Imogene Yimeng Zhao

PHOTOGRAPHERS Anurima Kumar Tina Yu PHOTO EDITOR Tina Yu LAYOUT Aliya Falk


LUNISOLAR


Qipao - Tang Fei Black Boots - ASOS


drippin’ in

FauxNesse For my mom

U

p until I reached my teens, my mom bought and picked out all of my clothes. To this day, she still helps with both — the only difference is that I’ve learned how to express my personal style on my own. Little did I know that I’d be sorting through her closet to find what has become one of my absolute favorite items: an off-white faux fur coat from Guess that I first borrowed as the pièce de résistance of my Chanel Oberlin costume. From the moment that I threw that jacket on, a sense of confidence grew within me, that of which was only heightened as the result of compliments given by both friends and strangers alike. As I stumbled across campus that Hallo-weekend night, dodging drinks from sweaty partygoers while struggling to keep the cape slung casually over my shoulders, I felt fashionable. I felt alive. I felt as though my mom was right there with me. With the ever-changing nature of Michigan weather, the only thing I knew about the future was the coming cold. The cold came, along with the homesickness. At this point, I had never been so far from my family for such a

long period of time. Lost, I just couldn’t shake the feeling of loneliness. The small things were what helped me step away from that feeling, including the internal mantra of: “when you look good, you feel good.” Eventually, there came a time when, right before I left my dorm, I would opt to take my mom’s coat instead of the standard navy blue Michael Kors one that I normally wore. Equipped with that coat, moving through Ann Arbor felt a little more like a strut. I’d walk like what I thought was the fivefoot-two Asian male equivalent of a Victoria’s Secret model. Even though that image likely resembled more of a hyperactive twelve-yearold kid in somebody else’s coat, y’all couldn’t have told me otherwise. I found myself being drawn to that coat more and more often. The faux fur tied the outfit together — taking everything that was already present in my look and pushing it to the next level. There was something in, or more literally, underneath, that frock that must have created this greater sense of self. There it was written: not the label inscribed on the tag, but even better. Although she wasn’t physically present, in


my mom’s coat, I saw her. I saw the lifetime of lessons that she had taught me, from how to mix patterns to how to coordinate colors. I remembered how she inspired a love for fashion within me throughout my entire life. I realized that, underneath this coat, how I dress myself and how I present myself to the world has come from her. Wherever I went with that faux fur, I took my mom with me, and I wasn’t alone. Everyday, as I look into the mirror at my outfit, I carry the love of style passed onto me. What the coat was, what it is, is a literal symbol of that same process of inspiration — my mom there with me, helping me complete my look and my growth as an individual. Going out into the world, every kind word in relation to the jacket is echoed by her. Compliments became my mom telling me I look cool or handsome. Inquiries on where I obtained it traced back to her closet. The way that I felt while wearing it — stylish, secure, strong — was hearing her say “take care” and “I love you.” Dressing up became its most sentimental when I took the light-colored fur off its dark hanger.

I’m no longer that kid who struggles to keep his shirts tucked into his pants, nor am I just the title of “best dressed” in my high school’s graduating class of 2017. I am and will always be my mother’s son, the first child of a woman who receives compliments constantly, even from workers at McDonald’s drive-thrus. Upon first meeting her, you’d never guess that she’s worked everyday at a factory ever since before I was born. She looks like she owns the world, and she definitely deserves to. So, I’ve kept her coat as I take on life, just as I keep her in my heart. Without any meaning associated to it, looking good is not the same as feeling good. The faux fur will always remain synthetic in material, yet its glamorous grandeur is as real as you and me. Fashion is a way of expressing yourself, and it’s a form of storytelling in its own right. Every piece chosen as you assemble an outfit matters, because it tells the rest of the world about who you are before you even speak. Personal style comes in layers, the outermost part being the cover, a jacket. So what better way is there to show off who you are than by a killer coat?

written by Sean Tran layout by Manda Villarreal


street MODELS Lucy Dickerman Jenny Ruan Anna Parks Brad Sklarski Eric Terbush Evan Parness PHOTOGRAPHERS Benji Bear Evan Parness Lucy Carpenter LAYOUT Aliya Falk


t style


NEW YEAR, SA

A SHE


AME SHIT

EI GUIDE TO GETTING IT TOGETHER


I

t’s that time of the year again: gyms get cramped everytime you go in for a workout, and talks of “new year, new me” are daily reminders of what’s upon us. The new year is here. With a new year comes new resolutions (that don’t always end up panning out). These are moderately popular, with almost half of all Americans coming up with at least one annually. However, only a fraction of that number are successful at completing these newfound goals. Much of this can be attributed to most people being uninformed about how to create and execute their resolutions for the best chance at success. For the sake of 2018, let’s clean up our acts and bring these goals to fruition. First off is the importance of choosing a resolution that you can follow through on. This is where a lot of people go wrong, because in these circumstances, phrasing matters. Having an abstract goal tends to make resolutions much more general and idealistic, rather than something that can realistically be completed. To make

goals reachable, focus on tying them to specific behaviors such as “I will not eat red meat more than once a week” rather than just saying “I will eat less red meat.” With concrete plans of action, positive improvements and progress will begin to take place. So you have your goal now, what next? In order to make the process of working on a resolution truly stick, developing productive habits as you approach the finish line is the way to go. This is definitely the most difficult part of a New Year’s resolution. In a two year study of 200 New Yorkers who had resolutions, almost eighty percent maintained their goal for the first week, but less than twenty percent kept that same resolution for the full two years. The main hindrances to success listed? Failing to limit their control stimuli (a temptation in relation to their resolution), and a failing of willpower. What does this mean for your resolution? Well, it means that slips are usually related to multiple factors, whether that be your


environment or your emotional state. Sometimes, this may mean picking and choosing your battles. One thing that may help is monitoring behavior that you find leads to good or bad habits. Keeping a journal of how a resolution is going and noting your progress or difficulties can turn out great information on what helps and hurts you. It should also be emphasized that your goal does NOT have to be complex! In fact, the smaller and more achievable your original resolution is, the more quickly you’re likely to build it into a habit. In a study done using 96 volunteers on the time needed for creating habits, there was a huge range in the amount of time needed to make a habit automatic. While the easiest-to-accomplish tasks took only a few weeks in order to develop, the most difficult task used was projected to take almost eight months to complete. The goal you set out to work on should be tailored to your feelings on your own discipline and willpower. If you know that you really can’t resist having that fourth cup of coffee, maybe

cutting it out of your life cold turkey isn’t for you. Even if you slip up once, twice, or a dozen times, that’s completely normal. In that same New Yorker study, the average number of slip-ups by subjects who lasted the entire two years was fourteen. Like Mark Twain said, “A habit cannot be tossed out the window; it must be coaxed down the stairs a step at a time.” Regardless of how many blunders you have, as long as you keep getting back on the horse that threw you, you’ll be able to continue to work towards making your resolution a reality. This could also mean compromising in some situations. If you’re trying to cut down on coffee, cutting down to one cup or decaf may be simpler to start with than none at all. Conversely, if you have a breakthrough in relation to your resolution, be satisfied in your accomplishments and reward yourself! And most importantly, don’t forget that being able to stick to the pursuit of a resolution is a reward in itself.

written by Caleb Hogeterp layout by Carla Borkmann & Sara Groenke


FORGETTING FA

2018 IS THE YEAR O

F

ailure is often the hallmark of January. After one too many glasses of champagne, shouting countdowns, and a kiss from a special someone, you set irrational goals that show you dream big, but end up crushing your sense of accomplishment in the upcoming months. Every year that the ball drops, so do you: you lose sight of what’s realistic in hopes of becoming the ideal versions of yourself. As “New year, new me!” hashtags fill up your newsfeed, the real meaning of New Year’s resolutions will soon get lost under a pile of unkept promises. While the majority of us struggle to keep up with inflated resolutions of going to the gym every day or finding ‘the one,’ there are certain lifestyle bloggers and influencers who have mastered the perfect perspective on how to create practical and meaningful goals for the new year. “I want you to make that goal specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and in a certain time frame (S.M.A.R.T). The reason I stress this, is because if you make a goal unrealistic, you will be disappointed. Focus on small achievable goals. Finally, set yourself a goal in a certain timeframe, so you can work extra hard to make it possible,” said fitness Instagram influencer Krissy Cela, on Gym Shark’s website. Choosing a small goal and achieving it is much

better than picking a goal that is too large to accomplish. Setting a timeline for your New Year’s resolution will make the goal feel attainable and real, instead of something that may or may not happen vaguely in the future. This will also help you decide if the goal is realistic enough, because the timeline will help break it down into a clearer picture of what aspects need to be accomplished by what date. For those who are planning on sticking to a fitness goal for 2018, Cela has some additional great advice for you: “I’m a firm believer that pictures say it all. I personally hate scales, and always encourage my personal clients to take progress pictures. It can be so scary at first, but it will be worth it when you begin to see all the amazing changes your body is making,” Cela explained. Tracking visual progress will keep you motivated because it is a way to document every step of your journey. Staying motivated is a huge part in seeing a New Year’s resolution through, so it’s no surprise that staying positive is a must. “Productivity is a choice […] ask yourself if the things you’re doing with your time are actually going to benefit you or (help you grow) as human beings. So just being wiser with your time because all of our 24 hours each day are such a precious gift,” Julie Ledbetter, a self-love and health Instagram


AILURE

OF ATTAINING ACHIEVABLE GOALS influencer, said in her Instagram story. This is just one wave in Ledbetter’s ocean of positivity; she is constantly reminding her followers to embody ideas of acceptance with her #EmbraceYourReal mentality. This is a great piece of advice to hear when choosing a New Year’s resolution, because it’s a reminder that your goals need to make you productive, instead of acting as an added distraction which will linger over your head. Choose a resolution that will make the most of your time, while helping you grow. New Year’s resolutions are typically thought of as additional quests that we somehow are supposed to fit into our already busy lives; however, this is a misconception. Instead of feeling pressured to add new things to your lifestyle this year, your resolution can be the elimination of negative aspects. “[One of my New Year’s resolutions is] Learning to say ‘no’ in situations that do not fulfill me or allow me to grow into a better person,” said Dani Austin, a fashion and lifestyle blogger, in a recent blog post about her goals for 2018. On top of saying ‘no,’ Austin reflected on how she plans to tackle her obligations. “This year I felt like my head was down, and I missed opportunities to thoroughly appreciate the blessings thrown my way. I consumed my days with work and all of my ideas, but didn’t slow down enough to be in the

present moment. I want to allow myself more time to relish in the little things because I believe these are the most precious,” Austin explained. By eliminating the constant stress of everyday life and taking the time to slow down to appreciate the smaller details, you will develop a mindset that will make you feel more grateful. This may seem contradictory to stereotypical New Year’s resolutions, but giving yourself the liberty to invest in both mental and physical health can be even more rewarding than sticking to a fad diet or workout regimine. By focusing on practicing gratitude and moderation, you will find that the way you think about your self-worth will be more productive. Whether your 2018 resolution is to eliminate negative aspects in your life or encompass a new positive component into your lifestyle, remember to set a concrete and feasible plan for reaching your goal. “I think the problem with goal setting is not having an action plan to actually carry it outand just as important to setting the goal is figuring out how to get there,” said fashion and social media influencer Brittany Xavier. As Xavier emphasizes, it’s not just the goal that matters, but also the journey of achieving it.

written by Alexa Di Luca layout by Carla Borkmann & Sara Groenke


DIRECTORS Jessica Peterkins Sophia Jaskoski STYLISTS Courtney O’Beirne Francesca Romano Jason Du MODELS Jeremiah Hollis Madhi Bosier Cescily Barnes Mikah Sherrill Lauryn Hobbs Lauren Ward Khadija Williams VIDEOGRAPHER Rosalie Li PHOTOGRAPHERS Francesca Romano Eliz Akgun Derrick Lui PHOTO EDITOR Derrick Lui LAYOUT Aliya Falk

black is beautiful a celebration of black history month

“As a black woman, I see the versatility of my hair as a form of creative expression. Doing our hair is cathartic: we talk, we gossip, we pamper, we feel better. It transcends much deeper than simply ‘what looks cute’ today”

- Lauren Ward


Grey Tank - H&M Green Top - Forever 21


Tan Top - H&M Yellow Top - Forever 21


Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Self Love: On Your Own Terms Love O Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love Love ne of the greatest ailments of millennials today is image: body image, perceptions of our intelligence, and our overall social reputation. We constantly - we being an extremely selfconscious generation of tenacious dreamers - question ourselves throughout the smallest movements of each day. I myself utilize the reflections of windows on State Street to check my appearance all too often. I walk out of my house, dorm, workspace, or wherever, and I ask myself if I’m okay. I don’t ask myself if I’m okay as in mentally or emotionally stable, but rather if I’m acceptable. Am I okay to be seen in the presence of others? How am I perceived by the people around me? Do I fit these standards, or am I otherwise an anomaly in society? Today’s society is progressively moving in the direction of a counter culture that embraces self love and a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and colors of people — so why is it that I focus so much of my energy on fitting a set of model-like aesthetics that are quickly going out of style? The answer is simple: I have not learned to accept myself on my own terms. It is a lot of pressure to name myself the sole proprietor of my happiness; but these days, ever-changing standards of societal validation are just not cutting it.


Self love has to come from yourself. Sure, it is extremely empowering to see such a revolutionary movement of acceptance sweeping the nation. Companies like Aerie, with their new lingerie line “Aerie Real,” and even Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, with it’s “Beauty For All” makeup campaign, remind me of the progress that society is making in expanding beauty standards and teaching young women to embrace themselves the way they naturally are. However, I can’t shake the feeling that I am still relying on celebrities, models, and social media influencers to teach me how exactly to accept myself. Is it just me, or are we learning to love ourselves based on validation from societal norms that are only just now starting to reform? I am beginning to learn that I am my only reliable source of self validation and acceptance. While it absolutely is a positive thing to rejoice in the body positive movement and applaud companies like Aerie and Fenty Beauty for taking those essential steps forward, we also have to take time to find the things about ourselves that we can appreciate without resorting solely to that outside influence. For example, when was the last time that I listened to my Spotify playlist and complemented myself for having awesome music taste? Or the last time I ate an amazing meal and thanked myself for fueling me body plentifully? The way we talk to ourselves is key in determining how we feel about ourselves. It’s not enough to read a magazine or look on Instagram and see other super happy and confident body positive people. In order to be one of those people, I have to see myself first and learn to compliment the little things. That’s not to say that body positive Instagram accounts aren’t inspirational and empowering, but learning to love yourself also takes some inner collaboration and hard work. Aside from an inherent dependence on societal validation, I have realized that the current movement towards reform has had other effects on my self esteem. While different body shapes are being celebrated, society is still setting limits and conditions on what’s a “normal” or “womanly” body type. Now, instead of frail

wrists and toned legs defining womanhood, it is accepted and encouraged to embrace curves. As we shift from the era of thin idealism, we then shift towards a culture that is still discouraging certain body types. Eating disorders, which affect 10% of collegeaged women and 10-15% of all Americans, manifest because there is a constant need to assert control and find things on one’s body that need to be ‘fixed’ or ‘perfected.’ This need is insatiable, which is why the disease is one of the leading causes of death among young women today. I personally have struggled with this vicious cycle. Within an eating disorder, there is the cruel reality that there will never be an end game or point of satisfaction. I would look for validation where it wasn’t applicable- such as Instagram models who serve as physical representations of the current unachievable societal body idealsand then would further strive for numerical goals that would reset themselves whenever I “reached” them. Like today’s ever-shifting expectations, I was constantly finding new standards for what my ideal body should look like. It was a never-ending acceleration that did not slow down until I learned to not rely on what my body type or weight should be, but to rely on loving myself based on the body I have. This is not to say that I necessarily threw my hands up and made myself accept that I was “stuck” with whatever natural body type I am. Instead, I accepted that racing against the scale to achieve numbers that would never make me happy no matter how low they got was not going to get


me anywhere, and I would have to find ways to be happy that were not dependent on what size jeans I wore. Like my journey to self love, the smiling faces behind the iPhone screens also have a story. When we look to social media and societal encouragements, we lose the human aspect of these ideals. Celebrity body icons and other public messiahs, contrary to popular belief, have real lives, real emotions, and living, breathing bodies different from ours. People are people, not just images on a screen, and when we buy into socially-endorsed ideals for inspiration and validation, we strive towards body types and physical goals that have nothing to do with us as individuals. For example, Alexis Ren is a 20-year-old model and social figure who has amassed a significant social media presence. With 11.7 million Instagram followers, Alexis’ public platform holds a lot of weight in the world of Instagram members admiring her figure and looking to her for “fitspiration.” That being said, it was a shock to many of her followers- including me- when, in an interview with Cosmopolitan in May of 2017, Alexis revealed that she actually had been struggling with a severe eating disorder for years. The smiling, L.A. model girl who effortlessly posed on beaches and showed off her washboard abs while eating pancakes was not, in fact, happy with her “perfect” body. Similarly, the relationship with her model boyfriend portrayed on both of their Instagrams was just another mask for her emotional and personal struggles. In the Cosmopolitan interview, Alexis noted her influence in media and how “...I felt like my body was the only reason why people liked me.” The model found herself in a vicious cycle of undereating, eating a little bit, and then feeling guilty and overexercising to compensate.

It was astounding to me that someone so beautiful and “perfect” could be feeling the same way I did. For me, Alexis was physical proof that the motivations of eating disorders and other body-dysmorphic insecurities are cripplingly irrational and therefore cannot be lived with. When I scroll through my Instagram feeds and longingly examine these celebrities’ lives and bodies, it is easy to then turn around and compare their supposed happiness to my own. However, I don’t see what is going on behind the scenes and misinterpret the lives I think we should be looking up to. Again and again this dependency leads to me falling short and not being able to fulfill the ideals and goals of other people. I was reminded that no matter how far I go to perfect myself, it will never be enough because I’m not loving myself on my own terms: self love cannot realistically be on the terms of societal ideals or my eating disorder. At the end of the day, seeing other people love themselves — or present an image of happiness — will not help you love yourself if you’re not practicing positive self talk, appreciation, and acceptance. Happiness is a specialized, individual process that cannot be achieved by comparing yourself to someone with a completely different life and natural body type. I am working on and trying to be present with my thoughts and conscious of how I speak to myself. The world is a hard enough place externally without internal criticisms. I have realized that I am virtually in charge of how I feel about myself. The way that every negative thought that enters your system is processed is entirely up to you. If I can take mere seconds out of my day to thank my body and realize what an incredible feat it is to make it through the day and thrive in this modern chaos, there is no reason why self love can’t be achievable.

written by Katherine Feinstein layout by Claire Abdo


YOUR OWN VALENTINE


DIRECTORS Jenny Gryka Molly Shulan STYLISTS Amreen Kanwal Kamryn Abraskin Sean Tran MODEL Senna Lim VIDEOGRAPHER Bethany Lehman PHOTOGRAPHER Sam Plouff PHOTO EDITOR Sam Plouff LAYOUT Aliya Falk


Pink Fishnets - Urban Outfitters Maroon Bomber - American Eagle Black Leather Skirt - Zara White Leather Jacket - Forever 21 Grey Sweater - Brandy Melville Star Boots - Dolce Vita


ST

A

j unior at the University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and the Stamps School of Art & Design, Tarik Dobbs is a photographer, poet, and narrative nonfiction writer. This fall, Tarik received a Hopwood Award for his poem sequence “Men from Mankind Who Sought Refuge in Men from the Jinn.” His latest photography project is titled “butch/femme/fashion” and visually explores the identity of an individual (they/ them pronouns) through fashion and clothing choices. The project contrasts two sides of expression through a spectrum of butch and feminine aesthetics. Features writer Theresa Manfredini reached out to learn more about his experience.


TUDENT SPOTLIGHT: TARIK DOBBS


TM: When did you come up with the idea for your project, butch/femme/fashion and how did you bring it to life? TD: In Professor Carol Jacobsen’s photo class last semester, I had the opportunity to freely explore documentary photography. I am someone who creates artwork that thematically surrounds identity. For example, I’m a queer, Arab, Muslim man, so my work includes explorations of sexual orientation, gender, race, and religion. For this project, I got very interested in potentially documenting a friend’s going-out looks, so, I spent about a month-and-a-half documenting my friend’s outfits; I was initially interested in giving Peter’s (they/them) looks a platform; however, in its final form, I was really interested in seeing how the project could display how portrayals of gender are performed in different spaces, and so I moved to place the photos from most butch-left to most femme-right. TM: What are a few things you have learned while working on this project? TD: I think this project pushed me to hone my visual style in the photographs. I opted to shoot on vintage USSR portrait lenses as well as with a purple-painted lens coating to give the image

a more-cinematic, Panavision-1970s look. In the end, I thought the softer image was also important to capture forgiving portraits using only available lighting (for two-thirds of the images). I think, because the photos are highkey, it could seem like I’d staged every pose, but really, I shot with available light, handheld, and edited heavily in post. TM: What are some places you look to for inspiration? TD: Ultimately, I think my aspiration to the skill of ‘capturing a moment’ would be Daniel Arnold; I’ve been following his work since high school and he’s an almost-undetectable street photographer from what I’ve read. TM: What are some goals you have for the future? TD: After winning a Hopwood Award this fall and having some of my poetry published, I’ll be focusing more of my artistic efforts towards creative writing, but photography will always be an important part of my artistic process. After all, identity can be captured in many mediums of documentation.

written by Theresa Manfredini layout by Aliya Falk


DIRECTORS Alexa DeFord Jenny Ruan STYLISTS Alexa DeFord Elizabeth Haley, Jenny Ruan Jana Wilson Lauren Westphal MAKEUP ARTIST Lauren Westphal

PHOTOGR Dana Dean Robina Rra PHOTO ED Robina Rra VIDEOGRA Mariana Ru MODELS Swati Arav Katherine F LAYOUT Paige Wils


RAPHERS n anza DITOR anza APHER uiz

vindan Feinstein

son


Blue Top - DIVIDED, H&M Yellow Skirt - Urban Outfitters Necklace - Holy Love Fashion Jewelry


Earrings - Killspat Designs Body Jewelry - Amazon Top - Urban Outfitters Jeans - Zara


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SHEI Digital // Vol. 4 Iss. 5  
SHEI Digital // Vol. 4 Iss. 5