Happy Wednesday Peeps!
Welcome to my WCW (Women Crush Wednesday) series. My WCW series will include women who inspire me and inspire many. They work in various fields but they all have one thing in common: DRIVE. I am happy to have my friend Koko Ntuen be the first post!
Koko is the Editor-in-Chief of LADYGUNN Magazine, a quarterly magazine based in NY and LA. The magazine gives a refreshing take on emerging fashion, music and art.
After receiving a graduate degree from Manhattan’s The New School, Ntuen worked at Elle Magazine and Paper Magazine before making the leap to launch LADYGUNN. She’s a busy gal, we missed each other when she was visiting NYC (damn you AC’s for getting people sick) but she was kind enough to answer a few questions. I really ask the important questions here. First things first:
O.C.O: LOL, Team Drake or Meek?
K.N: I'm a big tabloid gossip hound so from what I hear Meek got his ass handed to him. But why? I don’t think he was that LAME. I'm team Nikki because she is the one in charge at the end of the day and she has a better flow than both of them combined.
O.C.O: What made you start LADYGUNN magazine?
K.N: When I started the magazine in 2008 it’s because I couldn't really find a diverse voice for young indie fashion, indie music, indie culture that I could identify with, especially for young women. At that time I was working in the photo department at ELLE surrounded by all these supermodels and pop stars during the day and then hanging out with super creative amazing buzzy artists and events at night. I thought I would much rather read about these people and do look at editorial shoots with my favorite indie brands. So me and my friend Lydia Hyslop who lives in LA just started putting together bicoastal stories about our friends and people and things we wanted to read about and shoots we thought were cool it took off from there.
O.C.O: 2015 is halfway gone what has been your favorite shoot so far?
K.N: I have to be diplomatic and I say I love them all for various reasons but this year we have shot some really amazing people and worked with really awesome teams. Wiz Khalifa shot by John Michael Fulton was a big highlight, he also shot Banks for us, which was amazing. I got to work with Isaac Sterling shooting Nicole Richie this summer which was fun, and our Creative Director Spencer Kohn’s shoot with Marina and The Diamonds went viral online. So many amazing fashion stories, too many to count. I always look forward to working on shoots and getting back shoots that our international teams produce. It's like a Christmas for my eye every other day. I don’t know how I got to know so many talented people but it’s amazing.
O.C.O: Where print magazines are coming extinct what sets LADYGUNN magazine apart from the rest?
K.N: I don't think print is extinct or will ever be extinct. There are more and more indie magazines popping up now than ever. I think with digital culture, agencies and artists want to have a more tangible way of communicating with their audiences outside of a computer screen. LADYGUNN might be set apart from the rest with our positive vibes? I don't know. We tend to gravitate towards creative, strange, awesome people. I’m super down to earth and I think our vibe is very approachable and welcoming to our readers.
O.C.O: Who were your mentors?
K.N: I've always looked up to strong woman in the industry like Jane Pratt from Sassy and Jane. I loved Jeanne Beker from Fashion Television. She was so bold. Kelly Cutrone is another lady boner! . I didn’t really have anyone show me the ropes in the industry though. I just kind of looked at their work and did my own thing while I admired from a far. I think I gave up on having a mentor in this industry after sending hundreds of emails and not getting anything back. I thought I need to mentor myself!
My biggest mentor in life is probably my mom. She's the one who really inflated my ego and made me think I could be/do anything I wanted and always thought my ideas were great.
O.C.O: Since Ladygunn mixes music, art, and fashion, who are your muses?
K.N: The beautiful people in my life, my mom, my sisters, my friends. LADYGUNN editors and advocates, like Erica Russell , Tiffany Tso, Wilford Lenov, Carl Stenqvist, and Jessica Plummer, who are the definition of cool. My friend Gina Tron who makes me laugh more than anyone and slays in writing. Strong bad- ass women who take no prisoners, good music, good fashion, good food, good smells, good places. I guess life is my muse!
O.C.O: What do you have planned for LADYGUNN in the future?
K.N: We have so much planned! You just have to stay tuned and see!
O.C.O: What advice would you offer for anyone wanting to start his or her own business?
K.N: Be dedicated; be brave, be passionate. Don’t be an asshole.