Making of the Mag

favorites, how to, messy thoughts

Emma is the editor & creator (and occasionally writer) for The Messy Heads. She enjoys yellow curry, print media, and singing to herself.



Editor in Chief, New York, NY

How does it all come together?

It takes a lot of time, always a lot more than I think it will. I’m always telling my friends, yeah, it will be ready next week! And that goes on for a month. There are so many little details that take time- making art for each page, taking photos, editing pieces, recruiting contributors, making sure that it all makes sense together. The original concept for the magazine has completely shifted by the time it’s over,because it’s such a learning process. I have to be mindful of my audience and what they want, but at the same time give them something that they don’t know that they want.

What is your favorite piece from issue 2?

I really love Melissa’s(lead singer of the Aquadolls) spread because it was such a great day and so fun to shoot. I met Melissa back in 2013 and have shot multiple concerts for her and danced up on stage with her and it’s cool that this all comes to fruition and she’s featured in our next magazine! We shot her spread entirely on film and went to Chinatown in NYC to do it. We sat around a lazy suzan at a vegan Chinese restaurant with her bandmates and after eating noodles and veggies, we opened up her massive suitcase out in the middle of the restaurant and got to styling. Then we adventured around Chinatown with Cybelle and Paris (who shot the whole thing) and just had so much fun. My favorite shot is the opening double page photo of her posing with three skateboarders zooming behind her. We were shooting her against a wall, and out of the corner of my eye I saw this group of guys and told Cybelle to run and ask them if they wanted to be part of the shoot. We did a few practice runs and I directed them to stagger in a way that they would all be in the shot. We only had a few frames left so it had to be perfect. We had bandmates block off either end of the street so cars wouldn’t come, I held my breath, and shouted “OK, GO!” Melissa struck a pose and the skateboarders charged down the street. Paris breathlessly raised her head from behind the lens and shouted “I GOT IT!!!” When we got them developed the next day I danced around with so much joy. Exactly how I had pictured it.

I also really really love Stef’s piece. We had been talking about the concept of her being in the Rebel issue, and I knew that I only had one chance to do it right and I had to do her some damn justice. She is one of my best friends and someone who constantly inspires me and I wanted to have people see this amazing, deep, artistic vision of her instead of seeing her as a character she might have played. I’m really grateful that she trusted me & this platform enough to share her story. We sat down in my living room in Los Angeles and while our friends were in the other room eating chips and guac we recorded her entire interview. I could tell she had been thinking about how she wanted to phrase it for days, and it came out so perfectly. When I was transcribing her interview I started crying because of how proud I was of her. I think it’s one of the most vulnerable and moving pieces in the Issue and I’m really excited for people to meet Stef and be inspired by her.

What is different about issue 2? What might people be surprised about?

In issue 1, it focused on the self and what that meant to me. In a sense I have a limited perspective because I had only lived 19 years as a female, so that was the extent of life I had explored. This issue I think is broader and could be for a bigger audience. The photography in it is really really beautiful and mostly all film photos. Issue 1 totally encompasses my life in LA and what I was feeling and who was in my close circle. The same is reflected in Issue 2. I don’t know if people realize how much of myself I put into the pages, so many of the photos as backgrounds or in little thumbnails are personal photos from my camera or my phone. There are little shout outs to people I love in the details- like the doodles or colors or stock images that I used. If you read in-between the lines of the mag it’s totally my personal diary.

What is a typical work day like?

I work best if I’m at a coffee shop, and I have my favorites pinpointed in all different locations of NYC. There’s one in East Village, one in Williamsburg, one in Dumbo, one in Upper West Side, and one in Lower East Side. Each day is kind of like a wheel of fortune, where am I gonna land? Where am I gonna work today? I work for a few hours and do more monotonous work at coffee shops- emails, edits, arranging and rearranging, organizing, etc. A lot of my writing is done at 3 am in bed or sitting on my windowsill.

What’s on your work playlist?

Wanderer Wandering-Slow Club

Feel This Way- Tangerine

A Place to Start-White Denim

Plastic- Moses Sumney

Dunes-Alabama Shakes



Assistant Editor, Portland, OR

What’s your job?

Assistant editor. I write articles, contact contributors, help on shoots, etc.

How does it all come together?

By a bunch of unique creators dedicating time and energy into one project. When you do that, and pull it off… The outcome is an eclectic piece of art.

Favorite article from issue 2?

The “Fluid Fashion” spread. I was in NYC working on the mag when the concept was born. We all sat at a coffee shop in Brooklyn pulling name after name of people we found who embodied that true, rebellious, personal style. A few days after I left I saw behind the scenes photos from the shoot and they nailed it. But there’s a tough second. A group of skaters passed by as we walked out of an all vegan Chinese restaurant with The Aquadolls. We called them over, Melissa was swinging the to go boxes around and the guys were off to the side for a smoke break. Paris loaded her camera and snapped the shot just as the skaters bombed the hill. Three days later when the film came back Emma and I couldn’t stop staring at that that one moments frozen through the lenses of the camera.

What can people expect?

Things you’ve never seen before. That’s the whole point. The only people in this issue are rebels in one sense or another. Their style, voice, ambitions, path. It’s all “abnormal”. You’ll see grungy lighting and color pallets. Genuine in the moment photography, meaning that through the image you can tell the person being photographed was comfortable. This style of shooting is special, and usually executed on a disposable or shitty point and shoot. What makes these photos gripping isn’t the quality of the camera but the emotion veiled by the blurry, grainy image.


It’s not clean cut. There will be unedited photos, raw interviews, crossed out cuss words, and smudged writing. It may remind you of a journal, the pages covered in polaroids, love letters, and paintings. Every page will catch your eye.


What’s it like working for The Messy Heads? What’s a typical day like?

I wake up, toss on a t-shirt or sweater, grab my bag, head over to a nearby cafe for espresso and free wifi, and work until the early evening. No matter where I am, NYC, Portland, LA, Paris, my workspace stays the same, a table by the window at a coffee shop. If you don’t find me there, I’ll be shooting or at home doing the artistic aspects of the job. Once the work day is done I head home and order thai food. The job is great, the best type for someone like me. I’m not one for a repetitive job, I like the ever changing tasks of a creative job, not to mention, a little piece of me is published and has the ability to impact someone. It’s an adventure, I’ll get texts from Emma for different concepts or travel plans and I pinch myself. It’s a dreamy career.

What’s on your work playlist?


Stephanie Says-The Velvet Underground

You Don’t Know Me-Caetano Veloso

Santa Monica Dream- Angus and Julia Stone

About Today-The National



Graphic Designer, Savannah, Georgia

What was your job in helping create the magazine?

I am the one behind-the-scenes. Emma sends me content, images, and feedback to put together the magazine and we work together daily to improve each page and layout to match her vision and The Messy Head message. It’s a lot of work, but getting to hold the magazine is the best part, it is very rewarding. I fucking love print.

What can people expect from issue 2?

Readers can expect an issue very different from issue 1, but also very similar to the first magazine. Emma still includes personal touches – very journal like, yet the mag has grown up! The magazine is full of first-hand experience, current events and issues that matter so much. It is truly a work of art – we have amazing photographers, Paris and Paige, and writers that are not afraid to speak the truth. It is a must read.

What is your favorite piece piece from issue 2?

‘High School’ is my favorite. As I piece together each spread I get to read the articles, that way I can get a sense for how they should be laid-out and what images to include. Reading Frankie’s piece I couldn’t help but be so interested by each response, how different everyone’s high school experience is, and how they coped with it. I found bits of my own high school experience in others and things I am still going through even into college. These situations don’t stop in high school, they are carried into the ‘real world’ with you. I am constantly learning and growing – it never stops.

What is a typical work day like?

I work every day. In some way I am either laying out, moving, and piecing pages together. I usually work an hour before my classes and then after classes I walk on over to a coffee shop here in Savannah to grab a smoothie and sammy to fuel me as I pump out more hours of work. I try my best to sit outside on my porch or at coffee shops while I work. That is a must.

What’s on your work playlist?

Baba O’Riley – The Who

Come Down – Anderson .Paak

Congratulations – MGMT

I’m sorry (feat. shiloh) – Swell

Waves (Tame Impala Remix) – Miguel



Where are you from? I grew up in Portland, Maine (just outside of the “city”) but am currently livin’ it up in the East Village of NYC whilst attending school 🙂

What can people expect from issue 2? Hmm, people can expect…the unexpected. This issue is magical. This issue is for you. Expect to be taken on a winding journey that is going to challenge you. It will prompt you to reflect; make you smile; make you feel empowered; make you want be hugged and to hug; and, ultimately, make you feel alive—this issue will make you want to live (and really live). Expect not only to more thoroughly uncover who you are (as issue 1 helped you to do), but also to truly discover what/who you, you rebel, have the power to do, say, and BE.

What is different about issue 2? This second issue simply isn’t the first. I don’t say this to make a mockery of the obvious, but instead to insist upon the distinctive flair and unique character that this new issue possesses. That’s the beauty of creation—the inevitable individuality that emerges. If the The Messy Heads was a painting, a work of art, issue 1 would be the base layer—the solid foundation of paint coating the canvas. Such base layer is more than just a bland primer, as it’s a work of art itself—beautiful and complex on its own. However, when a paintbrush and some passion get to work, something new comes into being—something that wouldn’t be possible or nearly as potent without the beautiful foundation that it garnishes. The added strokes further the complexity, depth, power, and beauty of the painting overall. THUS, “Rebel Rebel” is more than just a continuation of “Me, My Mess, & I”—it’s a masterpiece atop masterpiece (which equates to DOUBLE the magnificence). Get excited.

What’s on your work playlist?

You’re Mine – Lola Marsh

Right Here -Maxwell Young

I Love You So -The Walters

Katie Queen of Tennessee – The Apache Relay

French Navy – Camera Obscura




  1. Love getting a look into the process and hardwork everyone puts into the mags. Can’t wait to get a hold of both issues! ✨🌻🌿

  2. Hi Emma! Thank you so much for sharing this! This is like really inspirational. I’ve been wanting to make my own magazine but really have no idea how. lol.
    Either way congratulations! I really really loved your last issue. It really helped me a lot as weird as that may sound. And I’m totally looking forward to your new magazine!

    Never stop spreading joy 😘

  3. Sophia says

    Will you also release the issue as PDF? It’d be gorgeous, ’cause the shipping to my country is usually very expensive.
    Can’t wait to read it 🙂

  4. Urggghh I CAN’T WAIT for this issue, loved this post and how it shows perspectives of each of the creative minds that go into making the mag

  5. what a perf team, you gals are so talented and unique and all incorporate something totally different that meshes well. And what a dream job too ahh xx

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