In this interview, written by Tara, we spoke to Kalani, the editor in chief of Four-all. She told us her favorite part of putting together and releasing each issue of Four-All, how the content submissions are separated and laid-out and how she comes across and contacts the student artists, activists and entrepreneurs who feature in the magazine
Question one: Thank you for reaching out to us, Kalani! We are big fans of your virtual magazine, Four-All. You’d mentioned that this platform is open to any and all Gen-Z creatives to submit their work. As editor in chief, how has it been to witness the growth and recent achievements on your page?
Thank you as well! My journey as editor in chief over the past few months has been absolutely incredible; if you would’ve told me at the beginning of quarantine (back in March) that I’d be running a magazine with thousands of readers from all over the world, I would’ve probably laughed in your face. But seriously, it’s been crazy being able to work with other young creatives and writers. Everyone apart from the vast Four-all community is honestly so inspiring and amazing in their own ways. I started off the Four-all instagram account with no actual magazine issue out yet, 0 followers, and no one I’d known had ever ventured out to start their own publication. But I worked so hard over the summer: building up our community and really trying to distinguish ourselves within the Zine community. In my opinion, I think I was able to accomplish that, our whole sort of “aesthetic” is centered around bright colors and the signature fonts we use. But like I said, it’s been amazing to watch the account grow from 0 followers to over 1.8 thousand. Even looking beyond the numbers beyond the followers and the views and likes and all of that: it’s been amazing to build a true platform that young people across the world can enjoy.
Question two: You’d mentioned, “I’ve been able to make amazing connections with other driven young people from around the world..” How do you come across and contact the student artists, activists and entrepreneurs who feature in your magazine? Do you also offer them the opportunity to be interviewed about their content and artistic vision?
I can say with 10000% certainty that social media has been the most powerful tool we’ve been able to use to connect with the people we feature. To be specific Instagram has been a great tool, simply because the community of young leaders and artists on there is so strong. Usually people find us on their explore page or see our work reposted by other creatives, and reach out to us to collaborate.
My favorite collaboration so far was an IGTV Q&A video with a super talented youth education activist and content creator from Turkey named Selin Ozunaldim. Our followers got to ask her questions and she answered them on our IGTV, which was so exciting because not only Selin and I got to interact and bond as content creators, but our community of followers got to participate in the entire collaboration as well. And that’s what’s so amazing about Four-all: it’s the way every single avenue we pursue or create is driven by our community. I love that every single person who reads and follows us has a place in the magazine, no matter how big or small their contribution may be. We also accept submissions to every single magazine issue, which allows Gen-Z writers and artists to have a chance to see their work in a publication. Four-all literally would not be possible if it weren’t for the amazing artists who share their work with us. We love all submissions, but some of my favorites are always poems, pop-culture articles, and photography. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: everyone in the Four-all community is incredibly talented.
Question three: What inspired you to create this collective? Are you yourself passionate about pursuing any specific art forms?
The creation of Four-all was definitely an idea I had on a whim! Which sounds crazy because I definitely have always taken it very seriously, but it’s true: I had the idea to create a virtual magazine in the shower one night. I’ve always loved working on independent projects; at the time I was running an online mask fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement which is where I began to find out about other youth-led organizations and nonprofits on Instagram. From there I found the “zine community”, and I was truly in awe of these virtual magazines that were completely led by other young leaders. After my fundraiser ended, I kind of needed something else to do: another outlet to pour my creativity into you know? Thus, Four-all was born. As for my own creative endeavors, like I said I absolutely love starting my own creative and entrepreneurial projects. From childhood to now I’ve always been really creative: I’ve started my own false eyelash business, fundraisers, blogs, etc. But at this moment Four-all definitely takes up the bulk of my time, and it’s really allowed me to get more into digital media and writing. I’m currently applying to college, and I actually decided to apply undeclared but I’m definitely leaning towards going into some sort of writing or media-based field.
Question four: Who are your personal icons? Which other Gen-Z led magazines do you admire?
First of all, I freaking love this question! I can talk about my inspirations all day long, especially the community of Gen-Z led magazines. I’ll start with my personal icons, my top three are definitely Zendaya, Kim Johansson, and Stacey Abrams. I’ve been watching Zendaya since she was on Disney Channel, and I loved watching her grow and become as successful as she has over the years. Seeing her grow from acting in things like Shake it Up to seeing her win an Emmy for her performance in Euphoria has been so inspiring. She’s also a Bay Area native, so it’s always nice to think like, “bro we literally could’ve been neighbors”. Not really, because she’s from Oakland and I’m from the suburbs.... but a girl can dream, no? I’m not sure if everyone knows who Kim Johansson is, but she’s an American social-media influencer, artist, and entrepreneur. She is truly such an inspiration to me because of how creative she’s always been, I’ve been following her since I was in middle school I think. She always has something creative going on: whether it’s a podcast, a skincare business, a magazine, etc. I really relate to her as a young creative (and as a fellow Sagittarius sun, everyone who’s into Astrology knows we can be impulsively creative in a way). Anything Kim does, any creative venture she goes on: I will support. Lastly, Stacey Abrams has been an inspiration to me because of her resistance and dedication to the people in her community, which is something you rarely see in politicians these days. She lost in her race for governor a few years ago, but instead of denying her loss (ahem... unlike Donald Trump is doing currently), or giving up on the people she desperately wanted to serve, she helped to register over 800,000 voters in the state of Georgia. That is queen behavior if I’ve ever seen it. As for the amazing community of Gen-Z led magazines, man I could talk about them all. day. long. They have been incredibly supportive of Four-all since day one, from their feedback on the content and magazine issues we put out to featuring as on their Instagrams. Usually youth magazines pick a focus or demographic they want to cater to beyond just “young people/Gen-Z”. Some, for example, some magazines choose to cater to niche groups and/or interests like South-Asian Gen-Z, or Gen-Z who identify as women, or Gen-Z who are college students, etc. That’s what’s so amazing about this community: the fact that every single person, no matter who they are or how they identify, can find a place within this broad community is so beautiful to me. For Four-all, we tried to cater towards Gen-Z of course, but on top of that we have a sort of “general” focus on anyone who identifies as a creative, artist, activist, and/or student. That way, pretty much anyone and everyone is welcome to engage with and contribute to our publication. I admire every single Zine/youth-magazine, and I could roll off a 5 page list of my personal favorite Zines or Zines we’ve interacted with in the past.
Question five: What is your favourite part of putting together and releasing each issue of Four-All? How are the content submissions separated and laid-out?
Jeez, how can you expect me to pick just one? Just kidding, while I do love the entire process, I think my favorite part of putting together the issues has to be designing each page. Before starting the magazine, I had no formal design experience, I only had experience in writing. But after putting together our first issue, I really developed an eye and a love for design. It’s so much fun to play around with the positioning of words and the colors and the images, all of it. It is the most time consuming part of the process, but after I finally finish that last page of the issue, and get to flip through the entire thing and look at all of my hard work: it’s all worth it. It’s such an amazing feeling: finishing a body of work and getting to say, “wow, I really made that”. What’s even more amazing is when I begin to think about how many other people had contributed to said body of work, because then that feeling of pride and amazement turns into, “wow, we really made that.” you get what I mean? Every single thing we do is a collective effort, which is why at the end of every issue you can read the Editor’s Note, thanking each and every one of our contributors, right before you read the Credits. The production of the issues is always a fun, but stressful time in Four-all land. Issues, as of now, are released each month, so my team of interns and I work on putting together the issue for only 3 weeks, and then during the 4th week we have a big release week. The days leading up to releases are so exciting for me because it’s like the celebration for the month's worth of work my team and I put in. Speaking of my team, back in August I opened up applications for our Four-all Fall Internship Program. I was looking to give members of my generation an opportunity to gain experience and grow their skills amongst other young creatives. We had open internship positions in Instagram content creation, pop-culture and creative writing, and community outreach. It’s a 13-week program, starting in August and ending in November. Additionally, we continued to accept content submissions. Our current process happens where we hold a 1-2 week submissions period where we accept submissions through an online form, where submitters can upload photos or files of their work. Having the team of interns and accepting submissions definitely made the creation and release of Issue 3 run so much smoother, and allowed me to not have to carry the entire weight of running and producing a magazine on my own. Though Four-all is something I take extremely seriously and put a lot of time into, I’m still a full-time high school student who has a family and has friends, you know; basically I’m still a normal teenager, just like the rest of us. I try to take breaks to focus on school and of course my own mental health.
Question six: On the @/fourallmag Instagram feed, I’d noticed a good number of posts that regard information about social justice. Why is bringing awareness to current global issues important for your audience?
Oh for sure, social Justice is super super important to me and to a large majority of the Four-all community. I mentioned that before I created Four-all I was working on a fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement, so I was personally getting more and more involved in social justice. It’s so important for me to bring awareness to current global issues because awareness of the masses is the first step to bringing change. There truly is power in numbers, and if we are all aware and all know what’s truly going on, and a large number of us take that knowledge and go do something about it: change is more likely to come. Whether that’s sending a letter to our elected officials or going into the streets and protesting or raising money for a cause we care about: change can come if we use our voices. Obviously using our voices is rarely enough, but it’s a start. And for most of us who are a part of Gen-Z, who maybe can’t vote yet or can’t go out to protest, sometimes bringing awareness is really all we can do. That’s what it’s so important for Four-all: it’s about giving everyone, no matter how old or where they’re from, an opportunity to be a part of future change in this world.
Question seven: Four-All’s third and fourth issues are out! What is one of your favourite pieces in these issues and are there common themes?
Definitely! For Issue 3, I loved how colorful the issue was and how different it was from our first two issues. I think visually it showed how much my design skills had grown. I really liked the pieces on Cancel Culture, the Back to School pieces, and One Direction. The way our team was able to relate current issues and hot topics in pop-culture and relate it to our generation specifically was so interesting as an editor and as a reader. There was no general theme, but the topic of Back to School season definitely appeared a few times throughout the issue. I’d like to think the overarching theme for every single Four-all issue is always simply “Gen-Z”, meaning no matter what the topic is, whether it’s a piece about something whimsical like Disneyland or something serious like Tax Fraud, every single page of our issues will almost always be specifically targeted towards people in our generation. As for Issue 4, this was our first time doing a mini issue, where the issue had only around 20 pages, when normally we hit around 40-60 pages per issue. It was also our first time doing a specifically-themed issue: themed around Halloween. Halloween is one of my favorite holidays ever, so of course we had to do an ode to it. In my opinion, while it was quite short, it was intriguing and gave a lot of history on Halloween’s origins. I loved the piece about how people celebrate Halloween internationally, because our followers come from all over the world, and while Halloween is a big deal here in America, it is celebrated much differently in other countries. I’m really glad we were able to pay homage to our large international following with that piece and the entirety of Issue 4.
Question eight: Is there anything else you’d like to share? If not, I’d love to thank you for engaging with our organization!
I’d love for each and every single person seeing this to join the Four-all community! Follow us on Instagram, @fourallmag (you can follow me too... only if you want to though... @bbkalani), for updates on issue releases and opportunities to contribute to our amazing platform.