You have featured women such as Olivia Purvis, Cherry Healey and Chloe Grace Moretz, who are all very influential in their fields; Do you sometimes feel shell shocked over the amount of support Lionheart has received from such inspirational women?
Definitely! It’s always a bit of a punt when I contact someone who I greatly admire, tell them about the magazine and ask for a chat. I screw my eyes up in hope as I click send and wish for the best. When I get an enthusiastic response, it’s like everything clicks together. I can see the feature on page becoming real, how it will work with images and words together. Often, when I actually have that chat, how I see it changes completely – it becomes alive and vibrant! It’s true to say, every single supportive comment brings me pride and always a little burst of surprise. I’m super touched that anyone has taken the time to contact me to tell me their thoughts on the magazine.
I’ve seen from your Behind the Scenes footage on Youtube from 2011 that you use a vintage camera for some of your editorial shoots, is this something you have chosen to compliment Lionheart’s unique feel or was it more of a personal preference?
That’s my friend Stells’ beautiful camera, she had it in her collection and we thought it would be fun to use for the first shoot. I enjoy experimenting and not having strict guidelines. If something feels Lionheart, then I know. I think an old camera can take very crisp shots, with a different sort of quality. I’m not sure what we are going to use next time, but it’s not restricted by being old or brand new – just the feeling. I’m aware that may sound up, up in the clouds, but it’s what binds each issue together and Lionheart as a whole.
Themeing your issues has become part of Lionheart’s identity, what made you decide to do this?
I started with bravery because I was genuinely feeling pretty darn scared about publishing my own magazine. I wanted to know about other people’s bravery in their lives. People do incredible things, have stories that stay with you and words that resonate for years. I learnt so much from this first issue, that I thought it would be nice to continue and explore different themes, what something means to one person, can obviously mean something completely different to someone else. I think that understanding and learning about people, places, the world, is priceless and I can do that a little more through themes.
Can you tell us about Bristolkin?
Bristolkin began when I had our little girl, Alba. I started it with my friend Sally, who has a daughter a few days older than Alba. While on maternity leave, we wanted to create something that was very honest, non-judgemental and informative for other Bristol parents. It’s has recommendations, birth stories, experiences, ideas and the odd emotional love/rant post. I like it as a space that’s changing as we are and I can see it developing to include different branches. We just want it to be like a cup of tea and a Hobnob, out of the wind. Then a merry dance with a cocktail!
I’ve read that you’ve moved around a lot. Do you feel Bristol is your home?
I really love that when you come up with an idea in Bristol, there will be a bunch of people that will be behind you, cheering you on. The city loves creativity and ideas. I think it’s somewhere that’s special to me because we have had some important years here, with milestones aplenty. I can see us growing some more, nurturing and learning, perhaps somewhere new/old. I get very restless, I love to move. That said, I think there’s something quite magic in solid foundations, with plants growing wild to the skies. (I’d love a garden abundant with spiralling greenery and successful crops of fruit and vegetables. We are very good at lettuce only at the moment.)
What does community mean to you?
So much! When I had my daughter, it was the best thing in the world to have a group of women around me. Almost everyday, tea, cake, feeding for hours, tea, cake, walking on the Downs, tea, cake, feeding clustered on sofas as night fell, home, cake, WhatsApp. Though we lived in different areas of the city, we were united. I also love communities in the traditional sense. Places that you can feel are bonded, working together. When you visit certain areas in Bristol, the UK/world, you can feel instantly, a place where everyone is in the same groove. Going at the same pace. It’s like a party with everyone in the kitchen talking and debating with passion, then dancing the night away – if you find a great place, with a strong community feel, you leave the party feeling content. It’s about being welcomed and belonging, whoever you are.
What’s your advice for balancing work and motherhood?
I completed a Lionheart while on maternity leave and knew then, officially, that it was what I wanted to do. It has never felt like work, though it takes up a huge amount of time, I love it. It was a sign that I felt inspired to do issue five with a new baby and it made me happy and fulfilled. Since my maternity leave ended, I have experienced how difficult it can be to juggle employment and motherhood. however. We needed funds and I had to go to work, look after my daughter and take on any freelance that came my way. At one point we had our lodger friends living with us in our little flat, as well as two cats and a baby – and I was working into the night, then going to work or looking after our little girl. It’s not at all like that now and balance has been restored. We have our own house, funds are settled and I can look at what I want to be doing most for work: Lionheart. Total balance is impossible, but some is crucial. Be kind to yourself and if at all possible, do what you want to do and feel passionate about. You can do it, you’re amazing!
What experience did you have in publication before Lionheart?
I was music editor and fashion contributor to Amelia’s Magazine, an editor at a publishing agency (after issue one) for two years, I also contributed for years to local magazines as a feature writer and reviewer. I worked on a local paper for a couple of years part time, where they also helped me complete my NCTJ. I also interned at many places, from Factory Media, to Homes & Antiques. I had my first piece published by a London based magazine with national distribution, called +1 magazine. I was working with my boyfriend as an admin at a call centre – we were inputting coupons for incontinence pants and the smoking helpline. It was about that!
The magazine has a lovely artistic feel to it, where do you get your inspiration from?
You strike me as a big reader, what do you like to read most?
Fiction, I love a story. I quite like it when there’s an element of truth in there too. I have just finished Tove Jansson’s The Summer Book, which is about an elderly lady and her granddaughter on an island by Finland. It’s about life moving always forwards, experiences and powerful imaginations. I also love the dramatic glamour and melancholy of F. Scott Fitzgerald and the sad truth of Huxley’s Brave New World.
How do you find your beautiful, eclectic talents featured in your magazine?
I don’t know! I guess simply through meeting people, talking, listening and then the train travelling on and finding more people, with interesting tales and weaving a little web. Sometimes if something catches my eye, I will contact whoever created and ask to discuss, or people may contact me and something sparks.
Can you tell us about the creative process of designing and printing an issue of Lionheart?
It’s about sitting down with coffee and going through features, with myself and Dan either agreeing or sparring a little over images and layout. It’s all friendly discussion! Then going away, working and meeting up with new ideas and designs/words created and voila! Somehow we meet both our ideals without knowing and it comes together. We agree on the whole look and feel and rejoice! Sometimes there’s a lot of back and forth, because I am faffing, he is faffing, but ultimately, we both end up happy. Dan is a true perfectionist and will faff with the end tweaks forever. Eventually we have to call it a day and we send our files off to Ian at the printers and there’s normally some more back and forth, some cake for Ian and then we watch the magazines print and be bound. There’s a whole bunch of emotions watching those reels turn.
What advise can you offer anyone wanting to start their own magazine?
Believe! You have to believe in what you’re doing because that’s what will keep you going. It’s really, really hard work, but brilliant.
Can you tell us about your next issue?
It’s super top secret at the moment, I’m afraid. But it will be worth the wait. I just had an email from someone I really admire and an illustration has arrived that makes my heart go boom. I hope you’ll love issue six!