To celebrate International Women’s Week, we’ve put together a series of interviews with inspirational female creatives. Introducing Laura Terp Hansen – Founder and Art Director of Stella magazine. As Laura aptly summarizes:
“Stella features women who are interesting because of what they do and think rather than because of how they look or how big a wardrobe they’ve got. Stella was born out of the will to put personality before glamor.”
How did Stella get started?
I had been working as an Art Director for a range of women’s lifestyle and fashion magazines for seven years. I thought that many women’s magazines looked like each other and I got bored of the stereotypes they presented. There was, and still is, so much focus on how women look and dress instead of what they actually do and think. Don’t get me wrong, I love being inspired by beautiful pictures in fashion and lifestyle magazines, but I need something else, something deeper to read about. Why are articles typically so short in women’s magazines? Why are they often so alike?
I wanted to make a magazine that combines culture, fashion and music, and features interesting women. It started out as a small project then more and more people got involved and it grew from there. Two months after our first issue was out I was contacted by an English distributor agent – suddenly Stella magazine was out in ten countries! It was amazing to see my little baby on shelves in London and Paris among my favorite magazines!
When did you realize that you wanted to have your own magazine? What made you take the leap?
I had been thinking about it for a long time and one day in April 2010 I thought that I must try to make and publish something myself. I love new projects and I thought ‘just do it’.
What challenges have you faced?
Besides the financial worries, I spend a lot of time organizing, emailing, going to the post office and arranging deadlines – lots of practical things. I am trained as a graphic designer so it’s a challenge having to fill so many roles myself.
What are your thoughts on gender equality in the publishing/graphic design industry?
I used to think that gender did not matter in our industry. But I recently had a baby and realized that there is a big difference in equality for men and women in this business. It is especially tough with maternity leave when you are self-employed. There should be barselsfond (maternity payments) for those who are self-employed in Denmark – it would make so much sense!
Who are your biggest female inspirations and why?
I am very inspired by a lot of women… I admire when people just go for it and take a chance, and use their creativity.
My grandmother was a very inspiring, strong woman. She was active in politics and in the local community, and had seven children. Originally I thought about naming Stella magazine after her.
If you weren’t working as a graphic designer, what would you be doing?
When I was younger I dreamed of being a ballet dancer. I would love to be able to dance on my tiptoes!
Do you have any advice for young creative women following in your footsteps?
Prepare yourself for a lot of hard work and a lot of organizing! But when you hold the final product in you hand it is all worth it.