Senior features creators in self-produced zine

A photo of the cover of MOODzine.

MOODzine’s most recent issue is dedicated to celebrating the beauty and power of feminine energy. (Photo courtesy of Hailey Long.)

2020 has been a moody year. Just as the state of the world has been unpredictable and ever-evolving, so has Hailey Long, a senior majoring in health and human sciences.

This concept of moodiness is nothing new for Long. She claimed “mood” as a sort of personal catchphrase that she would copyright if she could. But what’s different about Long’s moods this year is that she decided to encapsulate them in a self-founded, self-produced magazine.

Aptly titled MOODzine and published every two months, Long’s arts-and-culture print-only publication is centered primarily around creators. Each issue of MOODzine features a different social issue such as sustainability and femininity, lending a glimpse into Long’s “current mood” through the curated photography, writing, art and fashion of hand-selected creators, as well as original interviews and pieces from Long herself. Long — a self-proclaimed busybody — said she started the project by teaching herself how to use Adobe InDesign and Photoshop in an attempt to cure boredom during the statewide lockdowns mid-March.

“I started it as kind of a joke at first,” Long said. “I was like, ‘It’ll just be like my own personal thing.’ But then it kind of spiraled into me being like, ‘Well, what if I interviewed someone? That would be kind of cool.’ So I picked four artists that I kind of liked. And I was like, ‘OK, I’ll ask to interview them for my magazine,’ and after that, I was like, ‘This is my passion. I absolutely love it.’ And I just kept making issues.”

Although Long said she entered college strictly focused on her interests in STEM, her perspective changed when she was signed to a modeling agency her junior year. In addition to her modeling work, Long interned for Jill and Jordan Styling, a styling company where she helped identify emerging designers, artists and trends for the company to work with and to use as inspiration. Long said this experience with fashion A&R and finding emerging creators is what laid the foundation for MOODzine.

At the center of MOODzine is a desire to feature underrepresented voices, Long said. In addition to featuring artists with relatively small followings who she encounters via social media and online blogs as well as in her community, Long — who is a quarter Black — said that she seeks to primarily feature artists of color and international artists.

“I just think a lot of times, there’s instances in larger publications like Vogue or Glamour where they only really feature artists who are very privileged or very Eurocentric, where it’s like, you’re not really giving the space for artists of color who are really small artists to be spotlighted when half the time those artists are really really talented,” Long said. “So it’s kind of giving people [that spotlight] who don’t already have the opportunity to be in Vogue and the opportunity to be in a magazine.”

In many ways, MOODzine is reviving a lost medium, according to Long. In an era when so much information is transmitted digitally, Long wanted to create a publication that was print-only to combat a cultural reliance on technology and to preserve the contents in the form of a physical keepsake. MOODzine also contains a classifieds section — something Long hopes will bring back the sense of community curated by print publications of the past by encouraging readers to respond to each other’s ads.

“[MOODzine’s print-only availability] forces people to just have an hour by themselves just actually reading a paper thing, and I like the fact that you can hold information,” Long said. “Like, I have such a problem with Snapchat and apps where it’s like, ‘Oh, I put up this thing, but you can only see it for 24 hours.’ It’s just too temporary whereas, with print, it’s forever printed and you can have it forever. People are so focused on one thing, so focused on being an influencer or whatever, that they don’t realize that you can actually influence and educate people in many different ways without [social media].”

Long’s partner Elan Bia, a junior majoring in screenwriting, has witnessed MOODzine’s production process close-up. Bia said Long undergoes a tedious and laborious process when producing an issue of MOODzine. But according to Bia, Long more than rises to the occasion.

“When she’s in work mode, she’s always working and she talks about ‘her team,’ but her team is really just her and sometimes help from her mom,” Bia said. “Coming from it being a concept in her head several months ago to how far it’s come now has just been an insane process to watch.”

Long isn’t the first in her family to explore their creative side: Her mother is a graphic designer and creative director, and her father is a painter. Long’s mother Angela Williams, who helps with post-production editing on MOODzine, said she is impressed not only with Long’s speedy acquisition of technical skills but with her personal growth as well.

“I think it’s just about building confidence,” Williams said. “I’ve seen her getting much more confident about her ideas and her opinions and, you know, she’s getting support, not just from us, but just from her whole community … And that’s been really nice to see also.”

Long just released the fourth issue of MOODzine and doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon. Long said this community support has been an encouraging factor in her decision to continue the project. 

“It’s just been getting gradually bigger and bigger. And I think it’s also because everyone has a good response to it,” she said. “Like, everyone’s been liking it so far. So I was like, ‘I’ll just keep going!’”

Issue No. 4 of MOODzine is available for purchase from Nov. 1 to Nov. 30.

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