Letter from the Editor: September

Oh dang guys, it's September. September always brings back those elementary school feels for me - the sort of dread of giving up long, lazy summer days full of sun, bike rides, and MTV Jams mixed with the butterflies of a new school year and the possibilities of new friends, new experiences, and new things to learn. This summer hella flew by for me, not really on some whirlwind of fun shit but on some like, hella working + self-reflection + semi-depression shit. It's cool though, I feel like it's easier to embrace it than fight it, and every situation is temporary. I've been laying super low on the site and Instagram for awhile, but been spending a lot of time tryna figure out how to make the vision I have for Hella Pinay become a reality doing it dolo with no funding and no internetting experience. Then one day the idea struck me like, hello it's totally ok to ask for help, just reach out to the community - and of course, there have been so many amazing people who are totally down. Growing up as an only child raised by a single mother and living on my own for almost 2 decades (yikes), I've gotten used to thinking I can shoulder all of the everything. Lesson learned: all the support you need is right there waiting for you, you just need to ask.

This month is all about that new new - getting re-grounded and bossing up as we have less daylight (and day parties!) - and of course, fashion. I worked in the fashion industry for 10 years, and while it definitely has its share of bullshit, I feel like we have plenty of things to be excited about in the fashion world these days - more diversity, more designers making unisex clothing and representing a wider range of genders, skintones, and body types, more designers of color, and more Filipinx models on the runways. With the current state of many many things in the world rn, I'm down for some beauty and fresh ideas to shine a little bright spot in this hot garbage heap of a year. This month, we expand our fashion and beauty coverage by welcoming Ruby Veridiano, our new Fashion & Style Editor, and Elyssa Marie Rivera, our new Beauty Editor, to the Hella Pinay team, as well as a bunch of new contributors that we're super proud and excited to work with - peep them all here and keep an eye out for their work in the coming weeks.

The catalyst that re-lit the fire in me to do this work was when I recently met with a business plan counselor to go over my idea for Hella Pinay, and the first thing dude says is "Ethnic magazines tend to fail." He has a ton of experience in the media industry and some of his points were valid, but instead of discouraging me it made me like, "Oh yeah? Well, let's fucking see." I knew his opinion also came from being a white man not even knowing who Filipinxs are and how many of us there are (he was stunned and skeptical when I brought up the fact that we're the third largest immigrant group in the U.S.), but it fired me up even more to show him and everyone else like him that we exist, and we are important. We deserve to see representations of ourselves in the world and feel pride in our culture, just like everyone else.

Since that day a few weeks ago, we've thrown our first event, revamped the site a lil bit, and have brought on a solid team of ride-or-die Pinays to give you tons of great new content and represent a diverse range of voices and viewpoints. I really wanna make Hella Pinay a real thing for you guys; a digital magazine for us. It's been all about getting over fears and taking small steps to hopefully grow this into a big-ass thing. 

Here's to proving them all wrong.

<3 Steph