BY LISA MARIE BASILE
Over the past three years, we've spoken to and published dozens (hundreds, we think) of incredible women who make art, write music, make porn, think big ideas, run businesses, stir trouble, write intimately and challenge the status quo. In this very first featured installment, we wanted to round up some (seriously, there are SO many) of the amazing women we've talked to recently since our relaunch in October. Keep your eyes open for their magic and leave comments below if you want to talk to us or know some bomb fucking lady we should feature.
MUSIC x ANDREA DIAZ: "I am a brujita living and working in Brooklyn with my two little parakeets, Sol and Luna. I'm a vocalist, songwriter, and visual artist. Dancing and reading keep me sane. I recently got a new black bicycle, which I promptly named Nightrider. For those of you who are astrologically inclined, I'm a triple Gemini--( sun, rising, and moon). So far, my life revolves around learning to accept ( or at least try to manage) all the whims, desires, and paradoxes within myself and to channel them into something worthwhile. Because of this, I took on the name DIA LUNA to help me empower myself in my creative projects."
WRITER x AMANDA MONTEI: "I do write about sexual experimentation (with women) and bad sex and violent sex (with men). In terms of sexual violence, it was important for me to account for the ways in which women are pulled into extremely abusive and damaging relationships and sexual experiences simply by virtue of their living as women in the world."
TAROT ILLUSTRATOR x CRISTY C. ROAD: I’ve since gotten way into sculpting my magic and using Tarot as a way to differentiate anxiety and intuition. I think with that came knowing why I want to do this—because it’s a beautiful illustrated project that I was already committed to; and because it felt like a natural next step after writing a bunch of books about sexuality and ethnicity and being pissed at the state.
WRITER x KRISTIN RUSSO: The Parents Project came out of This is a Book for Parents of Gay Kids. So many of the questions we heard at schools, and so many of our inbox messages were: “How can I come out to my parents and how can I get them to understand?”
JEWELRY DESIGNER x VIVIANE HEBEL: Jewelry began as a challenge about 13 years ago, when a friend liked a very pricey necklace she saw at a trendy store window. I said: "I can make that for you,” and so it began.
POET x SOPHIA STARMACK: I grew up in a haunted house, so ghosts were familiar companions from an early age. There are so many kinds of ghosts. They could be truths I’m afraid to tell, stories I sense but don’t know how to put into words, half-clear impressions of my parents’ and grandparents’ unfulfilled dreams, the inherited tragedy of a small place and its “forgotten” history. Or they might just be parts of myself that could have been, but aren’t quite.
ESSAYIST x YVETTE DICKSON-TETTEH: Beautiful and a true African, eh? A true African. And beautiful to boot! I look him directly in the eye and share a small smile with myself before turning back to my beer and away from him. Having spent many of my twenty-two years an unremarkable black girl in white spaces in the UK (where I was born), and in the U.S. (where I went to college), I had trouble internalizing this comment. Despite having some version of it murmured, intimated, or shouted towards me everyday since I arrived in Johannesburg. “African Queen” // “Black is beautiful!” “Never change ! Dark and Lovely!” // “Hello baby!”
ARTIST x COURTNEY BROOKE: The witch, for myself and I think for many other women as well, is a symbol of feminine strength and a woman with agency over her herself. She is not afraid to grow old and be wise. It is in her wisdom and agency though that she became something for men to fear.
FILMMAKER x MS. NAUGHTY: Of course, mainstream porn can be pretty sexist and tacky; the commercial imperative means people don’t spend much time on porn scenes and there are conventions about how it’s shot that focus more on arousing the (presumably male) viewer rather than giving time to cinematography, story, character or emotional impact. But I do try and bring at least some of those aspects to my work. Otherwise, why bother?
ESSAYIST x JASMINE MILLNER: Growing up, I always felt this way. Being a mix of both African American and Caucasian descent, I was always a little bit curvier than most of my friends. I was never actually big, but in my head, all I saw were flaws and fat. In my junior year of high school, I was so desperate to change this that it began to consume my life. I cut my calories nearly in half, I overworked myself at the gym, and I refused to eat anything with sugar on the label. This made me sluggish and weak, but I refused to give up. I wanted nothing more than to be like those other girls, even if it meant hurting myself.