Interview: Natasha Slee, creator of Alice Magazine.

For those of you who have followed this blog since the early days, you will know about how much we like reviews here, as well as interviews. There was also a  few reposted ideas lot of reposting from Jump4Journalism, as we charted Natasha’s Slee’s journey for her final degree, whilst making a magazine.

Click here to see ALICES journey:

One half of a degree, completed! By Natasha Slee


Finally, the end!

It is available to buy from Natashaslee.com  and is destined to become something great. Here with have a chat with the Editor!

What is your opinion on the blogging field?
Firstly, kudos to anyone and everyone who manages to maintain a regular blog! I have tried probably three times since realizing I wanted to be a journalist, and each time have slowly forgotten to post until I realize I last blogged three months ago and I’d better give up.
In general I think blogging is a fantastic tool for practicing your writing and testing it on an audience without too much consequence if its not quite right.

Do you think that it will ever be useful to ALICE?
Lots of teen fashion bloggers inspired ALICE, and I also found writers from reading blogs.

As a fashion and lifestyle journalist, how did you go about setting up your own magazine?
ALICE started as the final major project of my degree in fashion journalism. I knew I always wanted to create a teenage magazine for my final project, because I never found the right magazine for me when I was a teenager. So ‘what I wanted’ basically inspired the content and the design – though I checked that was what actual teenagers wanted too first. Setting it up and getting started required finding lots of writers, photographers and illustrators – friends, friends of friends, and bloggers. Now, as I start the second issue, instead of doing it all on my own I have a friend helping with the business side and another with the editorial.

What is being editor of Alice to you in five words?
Exciting, creative, inspiring, dreamlike and stressful!

Since what age did you want to be a journalist?
I was always interested in art, fashion and English but pursued a fashion career for a long time first. It wasn’t until I was at art college, aged 18, that I realized I couldn’t leave English behind and I wanted to be a fashion journalist. (Combining two loves!)

How did you start out as a Journalist?
First I got on the fashion journalism course at the London College of Fashion, then I applied for lots and lots of work experience! At home in Devon I worked at local newspapers. Then when I moved to London I got placements on websites, newspapers like the Independent and magazines like Dazed & Confused. As soon as your writing is available to read by someone else, whether online or in print, you’re a journalist! (Well I think so anyway…)

How did you come up with the name for ALICE?
Lots of people ask me where the name ALICE came from. To be honest, I never really liked the name Alice so it is slightly bizarre that I went for that! I guess it stemmed a little from Alice in Wonderland, but mainly when I think of the name Alice, I think of an English rose type girl: very carefree, quiet, intelligent, and creative. A little bit odd, but someone everyone admires. Calling the magazine after a girl’s name definitely helped keep my enthusiasm and determination – everyone refers to ALICE as if it’s a person, even my tutors!

Where do you see yourself and ALICE in five years time?
ALICE is in its very early days so it is hard to speculate, I will have more of an idea after the second issue. ALICE is a personal project and a labour of love so I don’t want to rush it. As long as I’m working in journalism and earning enough money to keep ALICE going on the side, I will be happy.

What was the idea surrounding ALICE?
Growing up with an interest in art and fashion, and never much of an interest in celebrity or pop music, I found normal teenage magazines boring. I would flick through Bliss in one evening, and feel completely unsatisfied. At 13 I started reading Vogue regularly, but felt alienated by the adult content. Teen Vogue and Cosmo Girl were perfect for me, but unfortunately Teen Vogue was American and Cosmo Girl closed down after two years!
I wanted ALICE to be a teen lifestyle magazine that covered everything I was interested in as a teenager – and everything girls told me they were interested in when I did focus groups. So art, fashion, music, movies, culture, beauty, and real life. But I didn’t want anything to feel tacky – so no ‘shocking real life stories’ or boy bands! I didn’t want to produce a magazine that was already there on the shelf. I knew there were so many young girls on tumblr, writing blogs and reading fashion magazines way over their age group that would love a magazine written for their age that covered cultural topics in a mature way. It was important to reflect this in the design too, so no flashy fonts or patronising layouts. I knew my audience had the maturity level to read long form articles, so I felt happy to include them. The design is very much influenced by Oh Comely and Scandinavian magazines: minimal and calm, but still pretty.
It wasn’t until I finished ALICE that someone pointed out to me that I hadn’t included anything on boys or sex! I guess I had so much more interesting stuff to write about. I have included quite controversial topics anyway, such as body piercing and drugs, so its not like I am patronising the audience. This is why I think ALICE works: because it covers all the topics a teenager is curious about, in an informative way.

What tips would you give to aspiring writers?
Don’t feel under pressure to have an amazing blog read by thousands of people who always comment! Even if you just keep a private blog and write on it regularly you will be making huge steps in your writing because you will be practicing. Get as much experience as you can, even at local papers and small companies – you will get to do more there anyway. Read lots, talk to people and form opinions.

And one final random question….
What is your favourite out of the following: TOWIE, Eastenders, Strictly or Documentaries?
I haven’t actually had a TV for the last three years! I have never watched an episode of TOWIE so I can’t comment on that, and I find Eastenders pretty depressing so don’t watch that either. I used to be a MASSIVE fan of Strictly when I lived with my parents (free TV!) but I don’t watch it any more. I do like a good documentary though, especially anything on fashion, art or the royal family 

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