Copy
September 12, 2018

Hi friends, 
It's officially September, and I'm delighted to share an interview with Anja Charbonneau, who founded Broccoli last year and previously directed art & creative at Kinfolk. The free, triannual mag is all about weed culture for women.
I've been familiar with Broccoli since I read this Man Repeller piece, "Weed Is Trending, But For Whom?" We got into the "whom" and more details about the magazine, its very cool 'gram and Anja's inspiration here. 
— Natalie 
🍁

share CLIPPED with your 420-friendly fave
Q&A with Broccoli's founder & editor-in-chief
Broccoli magazine covers (all photos courtesy of Broccoli)

The cannabis media space is still quite new and narrow. Why did you want to make a magazine aimed at women?
Years ago I worked as a photographer and my clients were all women-owned boutiques or fashion lines, and I worked with a lot of really wonderful groups of women and queer people on those jobs. I’ve always found those communities to be the most comfortable and supportive to work with. On the weed side, a year ago no one was speaking to that audience and presenting cannabis in a beautiful, thoughtful way, so it was a natural choice from a personal and business perspective. As a woman, I’d make the same choice no matter what industry I was working in because unfortunately, most (or all?) industries are male-dominated and could benefit from more non-male voices.
 

Has your overall impression of contemporary or historical women’s media changed since starting Broccoli 
I think some of the most compelling, inclusive and forward-thinking media out there exists within independent magazines led by women.  I want to see even more of it! In the contemporary space, there are titles like CRWN, Riposte, Bitch, She Shreds (just to name a couple) that publish stories you’re simply not going to find on a media platform run or owned by men. These titles aren’t part of a big heritage publishing house either, so they have a lot of freedom in the sense of what stories they want to publish. The other side of being independent is that you need a really strong support network of readers and contributors in order to survive, simply because making a print magazine is really expensive.
Anja Charbonneau, Broccoli's founder & editor-in-chief 

What other publishers or brands have motivated or influenced what you do?
I am tremendously inspired by the magazine Flair, which was a monthly fashion and culture title published for a single year in 1950, led by Fleur Cowles. It was far more playful and conceptual than its counterparts at the time (Harper’s Bazaar, Vogue) and used all kinds of experimental printing techniques like cut-outs, gold ink, rose-scented paper for their rose themed issue, inserts, all that. The editorial design is so fun, and Cowles was crazy connected, she knew everyone from actors to royalty, so the mix of voices and stories within the magazine is really broad for a fashion magazine. Unfortunately, Flair struggled with finances, you can imagine that in the 50’s all that avant-garde printing was super expensive, not to mention all the travel their editors seemed to do, and I’ve read that they struggled with securing advertisers because of all the competition with the leading fashion titles of the time. It’s too bad it came and went so quickly, but I’m glad it existed!

Your about page says “Broccoli explores and shapes modern stoner culture by looking at cannabis through a global art, culture and fashion lens.” How did you decide on these topics?
Cannabis is fascinating as an editorial starting point because it touches so many parts of life… art, food, music, history, fashion, etc, which are all part of the broader concept of culture, all of these creative and multifaceted ways that people express themselves. We highlighted art and fashion because they’re two of the most unexpected sectors when it comes to a modern take on weed, with so much room left to explore. The magazine covers a lot more than that, but I’d say that on a surface level, those are the categories you’ll see expressed most thoroughly throughout our pages, whether that’s through art history articles about lesser-known women artists, or highlighting fashion designers who are toying with weed imagery.

Broccoli issue #2 spread

You stock in Europe, Asia, Canada, and the U.S., and ship internationally. What’s it like to cover this subject for an international women’s audience?

The global nature of our community is really exciting for us, because we get to discover the common threads of experience that cannabis weaves between people who have very different lives. We have subscribers in over 40 countries around the world, and we hear from readers in Turkey, Japan, Italy, Brazil, all over the place, who all want to tell us about their experiences with cannabis. Recently a woman in Sweden emailed me because she felt like she had no one else to talk to, and told me all about her plans to make paper using the fiber from the cannabis plants she’s growing in secret. Everyone has a really unique relationship to the plant, and Broccoli is an interesting tool for connection. Imagine living in a country where weed is totally illegal and you have to hide your cannabis use, but you get a copy of the magazine and it’s full of other women who feel like your people. It reminds me of my early internet experiences, getting online in the 90’s and finding other people who were into anime or whatever when I felt pretty alone in my hometown. Making connections encourages you to feel good about being yourself.

You’ve been described as a lifestyle magazine, but your content has also gotten political, and covered weed in a way that feels inherently activist. How do you think about the intersection of lifestyle/culture and politics/law with Broccoli?

You can’t engage with cannabis without having activism on some level. We’re talking about a plant that is still very illegal and stigmatized in most of the world, although day by day the laws and cultural perceptions are changing. There are [absurd] amounts of people who are currently incarcerated because of cannabis, and the vast majority are people of color who are systemically kept down by racist infrastructures that exist in all parts of life. Legalization comes with its own challenges—there are so many barriers to entry into the industry as a business, and like most capitalist industries, it’s a realm of investment money and corporate structures, systems that are designed to empower those who are already powerful, mainly white men. There’s also a biological battle going on, with organizations working to prevent Monsanto-style monocrops, patented cannabis strains, etc. The medical and health side is pretty deep as well, not to mention the political donations being made by cannabis companies to sketchy politicians…. Honestly, the political side of cannabis is huge. There’s no shortage of important stories to tell.

Candidates like Cynthia Nixon, running for governor of New York, are and campaigning on legalization of weed as a “social justice” issue.  Weed lifestyle brands or media has been called out for catering mostly to white people. When entering and continuing to publish in this space, how were you thinking about race? 
For our first issue, we were fairly new to the cannabis industry (despite some of us being long-time weed users), so we did a lot of listening in order to gain a better understanding of this incredibly intricate plant and everything that surrounds it. We’re still listening and learning every day. Witnessing the legal market unfold in California has been a major education on the negative impact that racist infrastructures have on hopeful cannabis entrepreneurs. While some work is being done to solve for these issues through equity programs, and there are many powerful activist voices in California (like Supernova Women),  it’s going to be a very long road and will require constant effort to make sure that the war on drugs doesn’t continue to harm people of color even post-legalization. Legalization does not solve racism, and I think a lot of people overlook that fact. On the editorial side, Broccoli always includes features on people from different parts of the world, which in turn encourages people from non-white, non-American backgrounds to see that Broccoli can be a space for them as creative contributors. The cannabis community is very broad, and we are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to highlight women doing amazing work.


How do you use Instagram to build a community of women around Broccoli?
Fingers crossed that we continue to fall under the radar of Instagram’s delete button, a lot of cannabis companies (even in legal states) get their accounts removed. We’re just a magazine, so hopefully that keeps us safe. It’s amazing the way our Instagram has grown in just a year, and I love it for the quick and casual interactions with our extended community. I wish I had more time to keep up with people on there, but it’s pretty overwhelming, and doesn’t lend itself well to in-depth conversations. It is a great way for us to quickly share work made by people we admire, it’s a nice extension of the magazine itself, like big Broccoli puzzle. When we held our Issue 02 launch party at Rachel Comey in LA I got to meet so many of my Instagram friends from California, it was so fun! Like hey, you’re real!
Broccoli's Instagram, highly double-tappable

How do you use Instagram to build a community of women around Broccoli?
Fingers crossed that we continue to fall under the radar of Instagram’s delete button, a lot of cannabis companies (even in legal states) get their accounts removed. We’re just a magazine, so hopefully that keeps us safe. It’s amazing the way our Instagram has grown in just a year, and I love it for the quick and casual interactions with our extended community. I wish I had more time to keep up with people on there, but it’s pretty overwhelming, and doesn’t lend itself well to in-depth conversations. It is a great way for us to quickly share work made by people we admire, it’s a nice extension of the magazine itself, like big Broccoli puzzle. When we held our Issue 02 launch party at Rachel Comey in LA I got to meet so many of my Instagram friends from California, it was so fun! Like hey, you’re real!

Much of your team has roots at Kinfolk magazine. A Racked piece noted: “For both brands and media companies, identity is becoming the product, and Kinfolk has created a tighter sense of identity than most ever could.” Is there a Broccoli identity?
Kinfolk is such an interesting specimen, the height of its popularity coincided perfectly with the rise of Instagram, where suddenly more and more people were online and using social media as a tool to represent who they are and what they are all about. Kinfolk has always been about showing an aspirational life, so the sense of identity for Kinfolk fans can get caught up in what they don’t have, and that can feel bad. It’s not Kinfolk’s fault, it’s just human nature and a big part of media culture. With Broccoli, we try to tap into the parts of our readers lives that they already know and love, and showing them weird and beautiful twists on their passions. Our readers love plants (obviously!), so we make conceptual arrangements with hemp leaves. Our readers love sensory experiences (using weed taps into so many senses!), so we tell them about a cool ambient record by the Japanese composer, Midori Takada, that might heighten their experience. Our readers love badass women in history, so we’ll write about the activist nun Corita Kent or Anna Atkins, the first female photographer. I see Broccoli as an honest and creative celebration of who we are, not who we wish we could be.

in other women's media news
share CLIPPED with a Cynthia Nixon stan

Thanks for reading, and hit us up! We want to know your memories with magazines, including what you loved and hated. And if you’ve never read a women’s mag, welcome. Send notes and scans: clippedmagazines@gmail.com.

Share
Tweet
Forward
Copyright © 2018 CLIPPED, All rights reserved.
Written by
Natalie Daher and Danielle Fox. Designed by Martina Ibanez-Baldor.
You can
update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.






This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Clipped · 201 W. 105 Street · Apt. 21 · New York, New York 10025 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp