In her own words:
“When I was eight years old, I published my first magazine. Dedicated to my love of horses, I named it Pegasus.
At first, it was merely a cute childhood project. I wrote the articles by hand and cut out the pictures from horse posters. But soon I started typing and began printing the articles myself. I found out how to download fonts from the create text boxes on Microsoft Word. I cancelled playdates if I was on deadline; I ran through my family’s printer ink; I left smudges of glue on the laptop as I dashed back and forth from the screen to the scrapbook-style pages.
By the time I hit eighth grade, the project had grown into a fully-fledged publication with bimonthly issues and a list of subscribers. I kept it hidden from my friends at school, knowing how embarrassing it was to be A Horse Girl. I didn’t want to stop, though! Working on Pegasus Mag launched my obsession with article-writing and page layout. I always knew this project underwrote a passion I’d have for the rest of my life. At the time, I thought it was horses. It wasn’t; it was journalism.
When I came to college, I joined the print magazine staff for North by Northwestern immediately. I remember the creative director being curious of how I had so much layout experience, but it wasn’t until I’d been part of NBN for months before I finally showed Pegasus to the other students. I’d expected them to laugh at something so juvenile, but they were more impressed than anything. All this time, I’d been hiding one of the central aspects of myself because I was afraid other people wouldn’t accept it.
Two months ago, I published my first non-horse personal magazine. It was a lot of work, sure, but it allowed the unique experience to envision a story from every angle and tell each one exactly the way I wanted. Even though it might seem narcissistic to publish a full magazine of individual work, it actually makes me better at working with others. I’ve edited myself for so long that I find it easier to help other people be critical of their own work. But at the end of the day, I do it for me. There’s something to be said about creating something entirely on your own. It reminds me that I have the skill, the initiative, and the work ethic to do something this insane. I called it EmPower, the first magazine ‘powered’ by ‘Em.’
Initially, I only wanted to do one issue, but publishing the first one was too fun. I keep a journal in my backpack with a list of ideas for my next magazine. There are so many stories I want to write about, so many design concepts I want to try, and so many topics I want to dive into. Sometimes I am daunted by the sheer amount of goals I have for myself… but I’m only twenty! There’s still so much time to write, design, create… and recreate.
*** Please follow along on instagram as well and learn more about Emma. This year for my birthday, I am embarking on a weekly photo essay project highlighting 52 Phenomenal Women. This is week 24 of 52. Participants in this project will be supporting the efforts of Dress for Success Worldwide – Central. We are all stronger together and it is my sincere hope that we will be inspired by each other’s stories. Now is the time to celebrate as well as encourage one another. Tell your story!**