Eleven years ago I created an online magazine. I was living in Chicago and sick of not getting opportunities to publish my fashion work. I wasn’t one to sit on my ass and let other people determine what I deserved and I knew my work was as good as anyone else’s. I took graphic design classes while I was studying photography, and I spent years studying magazines and fashion photography and I knew that technically it wasn’t that hard. Mostly I didn’t want those Chicago assholes thinking that they could keep me down. Nobody wanted to hire or book me, so I hired and booked myself. Screw them.
There’s something maddeningly frustrating about having your work ignored that I couldn’t live with. I really busted my ass coming up with ideas, finding locations, looking for models and designers and makeup artists and stylists and shooting and editing and then getting nowhere. Every so often I would get a job or win a little contest or something but it wasn’t enough. I worked hard and I tried hard and I deserved to be published. No one could tell me that I didn’t deserve success.
I asked people that I knew and had worked with and I even styled another photographer’s shoot to get what I wanted. The pics in the Pink Lady spread features all clothing that I had collected. I settled on a pink/black/white color scheme with a punk, new wave feel. I could have shot it myself, but I wanted to try starting a styling career back then since I wasn’t doing assisting work. You have to get on the sets somehow. I only did a few styling gigs, though. I ended up selling and giving away all my stuff and moving to New York.
Here’s a funny thing, I did a shoot with a nice girl who was looking to start a modeling career and one night in hotel in Montana I found out that she made it onto ANTM’s 15th cycle. And I only saw it because I was fighting with the person I went out there to visit so it was completely random that I found out. She was a cool girl, but that Mexican wrestling shoot did her in. Anyway. I was renting the first floor of a grey gardens type house in Humboldt Park and I had people come over to shoot all summer and she just happened to be one of them. Crazy, huh?
I didn’t end up getting the editorial work I wanted, but I did get a fashion internship which helped me learn more about desktop publishing. Then I started getting paid to write for a fashion website. Then I started publishing on another site and drifted into fashion/beauty blogging. The Magazine OK helped me get fashion show invitations and gave me a feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction. I had my own magazine. If I wanted to, I could do it again. If I felt like it.
Eleven years ago I made a decision not to let other people determine my fate and it led me on a path to where I am right now. I’m not a world famous anything, but I’m happier just chilling and being basic and loving the life I have. I’m capable of affecting change and shining a spotlight that lets other people shine, even as people judge me worthless. I took great photos, and then did a great job editing my own publication with no help from anyone else.
I can do anything.