I don’t remember how old I was when the first issue of Models, Inc. was published. Even at a young age I was interested in creating publications. My mom nurtured my creativity full-force, contributing heavily to my giant collection of crayons spanning every corner of the color wheel and my tall stacks of construction paper, amongst other art supplies. I would attack those blank sheets of paper with my crayons and constructed a mini-publication that I aptly titled Models, Inc. which I think was the name of a short-lived nighttime drama back in the day, kinda like a Melrose Place type show. I was an avid reader of Seventeen magazine and YM, but I would lie to my friends and say that I subscribed to this really cool magazine called Models, Inc. Haha!
Then after college, I got a job working the after-hours crisis lines for a domestic violence agency. I hardly got any calls so I used my spare time (and the agency’s Xerox machine, legal paper and staples) to create a zine called Yo Mama!
Ha! I was in this total grrrl power phase.
After 2 issues, I expanded my half-a-page zine and created a full 8.5″x11″ zine called Penay, which was a blend of the word “pen” to bring attention to the written word, and the term “pinay” referring to she who identifies as Filipina.
Penay began as a tool to explore my Filipina indentity. I even went to a pageant called Miss Teen Filipina in San Francisco (my brother’s friend was competing) and did an article on the drawbacks of pageantry.
(Heehee, obviously, my cut-and-paste and Xeroxing skills were not my highest priority.)
I was encouraged by the positive reception from friends and family. The zine only lasted for 2 issues as well due to my entrance into grad school where writing became a heavy part of my training anyway. And as I’m wrapping up my training, the publishing bug is starting to bite again.
Back in November, I ordered the Teen Vogue handbook in the interest of educating myself on fashion matters. I came across a chapter on Claudia Wu, the creator and editor-in-chief of Me magazine, an independent publication in New York. The coolest part about the magazine is that it focuses entirely on one creative individual who acts as a guest editor and interviews multiple people in their lives that have influenced them in some way. Freakin’ genius. Inspired, I ordered a back issue on Rodarte, one of my favorite designers.
The issue was a little bare for my taste, but I did feel like I got a good idea of what they were like (ie., twin-like, mysterious, sweet, down-to-earth, unlike the stereotypical stuck-up designer).
In my quest to bring positive attention to creative and inspirational spirits in the Filipino community, I figure I could do something similar, but probably use a more “case study” format. If I interviewed, say, Evelie Posch, a musician and practitioner of female-centered spirituality, I’d love to accompany her on her tours or performances to get a better idea of how she expresses herself creatively. And I’d mix up the format of the publication itself. Whereas Me magazine asks the same questions of each person being interviewed, perhaps I could have the interviewee provide creative pieces like poetry, lyrics they wrote, tutorials on how readers can DIY things; it wouldn’t have to just be interviews, you know? The clincher would be enlightening discussions on the interviewee’s experience as a Filipino or Filipino American.
I’m going to wait, though. My other projects have always been done on a whim, which is exciting in a way. But I really want this project to last, not just have a shelf-life of two issues. I even have a tentative name for it! Artifacts. Isn’t that cool? It stems from the idea that we’re all made of “artifacts” or qualities that are significant to our development as individuals. I’m so excited! I’m even thinking of hiring interns or mentoring youth in the community who are interested in being part of an independent publication. Alrite, I gotta write up plans for this project. Get ready for the dream to become a reality…