Is ‘Verily’ the Future of Women’s Magazines?

The cover of Verily's August/September 2013 issue (Verily Magazine)

The cover of Verily’s August/September 2013 issue (Verily Magazine)

If you’re a woman who loves reading about fashion, culture and relationships — a woman who finds that Cosmopolitan and Glamour don’t speak to you — you should know about Verily magazine. It’s not your typical women’s magazine, and it’s motto proves that fact: “Less of who you should be, more of who you are.” Launched in June, Verily speaks candidly and respectfully to women, just like a good friend. Co-founders Kara Eschbach (Editor-in-Chief and Publisher) and Janet Sahm (Style Editor) recently spoke with The Sisterhood by phone about their new venture.

THE SISTERHOOD: What inspired you to launch Verily?

JANET SAHM: I really wanted to start a magazine, because I had experience in the fashion industry — at Elle magazine — and I had never seen a magazine that was really good for women. It’s a negative industry. I thought, gosh, why does it have to be like this? I wanted to see women be the best version of themselves, and thought, if there’s nothing else out there, maybe I should start something one day that’s really good for women.

What makes this women’s magazine different from all other women’s magazines?

KARA ESCHBACH: Dove Real Beauty says three-quarters of women feel worse about themselves after reading a women’s magazine. We want to give them really good information, have them feel empowered instead of diminished or like there’s something they need to fix about themselves. In our style and beauty sections, we’re showing a different model of what it means to be beautiful.

Could you talk about your social mission?

KE: We want to give women permission to be all the things they want to be. The magazine is for women already looking for a more holistic lifestyle, and for those women who are trying to navigate what the lifestyle of a modern woman looks like — the desire for family, career, and respecting ourselves in the true sense of the word. We have an opportunity to talk to women about that in a way other magazines aren’t.

JS: I’m passionate about inviting women to know their own worth, helping women use fashion as a powerful tool to communicate who they are, and who they want to be. Dove’s study showed that women don’t see images of what they think is beautiful reflected in women’s media, so this is a chance to show things they know to be beautiful. For example, having a curvy body is beautiful. We’re really showing that by choosing models with that body type and different ethnicities. It’s one thing to tell people “this is beautiful,” but another to show it.

Someone familiar with tzniut (modesty) might find your fashion spreads noteworthy. Is the modesty purposeful?

JS: Yes, the words “modest” and “modesty” in our culture make people shudder, but in Verily we’re trying to show it, not say it. Modesty highlights women’s beauty and femininity. We want to celebrate it. When people think about it, they think of covering, hiding — a shameful thing. It’s actually an affirmation that a woman is much more worthwhile than even she realizes. It’s more than just being attractive. It invites people to see women in a more dignified way.

What inspired you to wrap your fist issue in an Anne Frank quote about Tikkun Olam?

KE: We pick a quote to help guide us as we put each issue together. I love that Anne Frank quote, because you don’t have to have a ton of experience or be someone important to do something that’s going to make a big difference in somebody’s life.

Who is the Verily woman?

JS: Modern young women in their 20s or 30s, just getting out school, navigating their careers, work/life balance, or starting a family. We talk about those times in an honest and true way. It’s women who trying to reconcile all the things we want in an integrated and holistic way.

What makes a woman beautiful?

KE: Women who know their worth and seem comfortable with who they are. That manifests in many different ways, but there’s a certain energy. It’s something many women have.

JS: A beautiful woman is very self-possessed. She knows her own emotional and intellectual life, is really integrated. She has strong self-knowledge. Humility is important. She knows her worth and the worth of other people she interacts with.

After reading an issue of Verily, what do you want readers to feel?

JS: We want people to feel inspired and hopeful about their lives and the world, and empowered to be the women that they want to be, and that in many ways, they probably already are.

Where can readers find the new issue of Verily?

KE: You can order a single copy or sign up for a subscription at http://www.verilymag.com.

 

This article appeared in The Forward.
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