CENTERFOLDS

Front and center. The part of the read you turn to first. Enthralled with the beauty in front of you. But she's not just a pretty face. She's strong. She's a hustler. She's an entrepreneur.  She's smart. Her beauty inside matches her beauty outside. And she will fuck with you if you mess with her business. Oh, and her Safeword? She doesn't have one.

Meet our centerfolds. 


MODERN FERTILITY

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Carly Leahy: Co-Founder and Innovatress of Modern Fertility
@modernfertility

Q: Carly! Thank you so much for sitting down with us today and answering some questions. Let’s start off with a little bit about you – where did you grow up and where do you reside today?

Hi! I just want to say—I love everything about Safeword. People used to look at me like I had eight heads when I’d say, “I want to find a creative application of business.” I really appreciate the work you’re doing to bring badass creative women together.

I grew up in the Boston area—the middle of three girls—which teaches you a whole lot about social relationships ;) and I now live in the fabulous Castro of San Francisco.

Q: Now let’s discuss a little about your history because I don’t believe people just hop right into fertility from the get go, so can you go back and kind of explain your background before you started Modern Fertility?

Yeah—especially not someone who once didn’t think she needed to be concerned with fertility information. More on that in a second :)

My background is in creative and brand. I started off in creative agencies working on super old school P&G brands like Tide and Olay (back when it was Oil of Olay—throwback!) and then moved over to Google where I led creative on a program in 65K cities around the country that helped small businesses get websites and navigate the interwebs. For so many small business owners this is still a huge challenge! From there, I joined a team at Uber called the “Uber Everything” team. We were tasked with building out experiments and brands with the Uber network. We built and launched UberEATS from the ground up in three months (all of the burritos, none of the sleep) and spun up UberHEALTH and UberRUSH.

When my co-founder Afton and I met, I was blinders-on focused on my career don’t-talk-to-me-about-kids. It’s almost as if I thought that thinking about kids was anti feminist or anti progressive. But the more I started digging into the science—and realized how much I was not prepared for—the more convinced I became that being proactive about family goals was the epitome of having power as a woman. The more information we have about our bodies, the more options we give ourselves and the less “chained” we are to amorphous worries, assumptions, and misinformation. This was the problem that if solved, could make a dent in so many of the inequality issues we see today.

Q: And now, Modern Fertility, can I just say is one of the most amazing companies I have come across in a long, long time. As women in our late 20’s and early 30’s, this is a subject I believe is so overlooked in our society or not talked about. How did you and your business partner Afton Vechery come up with this idea?

That’s very kind of you to say.

Modern Fertility was born out of the glaring information gap that we recognized between preventing pregnancy and planning for it.

As I mentioned, I was knee-deep in this gap when I met Afton—who, for the last few years—had steeped herself in the fertility space. She knew she wanted to have kids later in life so went searching for a way to be proactive about fertility and had fertility testing done at a clinic. The process was challenging: the data was confusing, getting her questions answered was difficult, and then she was hit with a bill of $1,500. Once she saw the right doctors to break down the info, it was powerful. But why such a struggle to get access to it?

She (unexpectedly) became the de facto expert for all of her friends—me included. We put our heads together (and our collective experience—I told you about mine but hers is incredible: healthcare private equity, multiple health startups, and 23andMe) to build a service that would allow women to be proactive, however they see fit.

Q: When we talked to you on the phone a few weeks back we started discussing how times have changed for women – many women are putting their careers first in their lives and starting a family and having children are being pushed to a later time in life. This is a lot more the norm today and is seen as acceptable but, as I’m sure you know, this also has caused a lot of fertility issues among “older” mothers. Society makes it appear that it is still easy to get pregnant even if you are in your 30’s and 40’s but in reality, there is a lot more stacked against an older woman trying to conceive. How does Modern Fertility hope to help women understand their fertility better and prepare them for future fertility planning?

We hear all the time—“this celeb had a kid at 45, I’m sure I can, too.” What we’re not hearing about are the cycles of IVF, the financial implications, the emotional and physical uncertainty. It’s possible to have kids into your 40s but the  reality is, fertility declines with age and today, we need more information—more data points—to help us map our fertility and our future.

Modern Fertility makes that data more accessible. With a fertility hormone test that you can take at home, a 1:1 consultation with a fertility nurse, and a real talk community, you can know your body, and proactively track fertility year over year—before you’re ready for kids.

Q: You have talked about getting many getting some pretty interesting questions from customers. Can you share some of these questions and what these have shown you about how our society views fertility, sex, etc.?

We have the most wonderful conversations with women everyday—and everyday it’s crystal clear that we women need more answers, more resources, more options for navigating our reproductive lives.

Every time we see a pattern of questions, we reach out  to experts and research the heck out of them—then post answers to our blog.

A few themes.

  • Birth control comes up—a lot. There are so many myths about how birth control impacts your fertility. The TLDR it does not. But the  hormonal birth control “catch all” is not right for everyone. You can read up on BC and fertility here.

  • Egg freezing. It’s super buzzy but there are a ton of misconceptions out  there—namely that it is an insurance policy for your future babies (it’s not). We went deep into EF: the  process, the finances, the works, here.

  • PCOS. 1 in 10 women have it and we don’t learn about it—at all—when we’re young women. Women reach out to us all the time hoping to get some clarity on why they’re having irregular periods, weight gain, or hair growth. Although it’s not part of the traditional diagnosis for PCOS, hormone testing that Modern Fertility offers, specifically testing AMH (a hormone that helps you understand ovarian reserve or, how many eggs you have) can be useful in pinpointing PCOS.

Q: You are taking a process that can cost in the high hundreds into the thousands and making it $199, a price much more affordable for many women. With making this process much more attainable, what is your hope for Modern Fertility in the next few years?

We see a world where every woman can check in on fertility proactively, just like she gets a pap smear, tracks her steps, checks her credit score.

We have an internal motto—We Trust Women. To us that means, women know what’s best for them, to know how we can best serve them, to be their own best health advocates. We are here to listen to and support women everyday—and we take that responsibility really seriously. We plan on building a company that can continues to serve women. Until we no longer hear “I wish I would have known” we haven’t done our job.

Q: Now we always like to ask a few fun questions because we all have that side of us ☺ how old were you when someone first explained the birds and the bees to you and how did that go over?

Oh man. I don’t  think anyone ever explained sex to me. But I remember VERY clearly when my Mom told me about periods. She sat me down with a book (like...a text book) and pointed to uteruses but all I really heard was “You are going to bleed every month.” EVERY MONTH?! I couldn’t believe it. I thought it was the worst  thing I had ever heard and was shocked that there were bleeding women walking around all the time. It made me feel better than both she and my older sister had a system for this bleeding and she told me it really, “wasn’t that bad.” She was right :)

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

We are lucky enough to meet and share stories about badass women all the time and I swear I’m blown away by someone new almost everyday (just take a look at our insta). But right now, I’m pretty in awe of my big sister who just had her first baby (the first of the next generation!) she’s already an amazing mother and she also happens to be an absolute boss at work. I feel lucky that I have someone to look up to well before I’m ready for kiddos of my own.

Q: We all have our guilty pleasures – favorite place to eat in San Fran?

OOOH! My favorite is a little record store-turned wine bar (very  SF, I know) called 20 spot. It’s the kind of place that always makes you feel at home. The food is yummy and it’s owned by a brother and sister duo who are the epitome of #siblinggoals.

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

I really appreciate mundane, everyday objects as codewords. But today, I’m feeling fruit. Let’s go with...papaya.

VIBRANT

 All Photos by Ash Taylor

All Photos by Ash Taylor

Vibrant: Angela Wells aka Director of "O's"
@shopvibrantly

Q: First off we just wanted to say hi you wonderful women of Vibrant and thank you so much for taking time to answer some questions today. We know you are busy helping women and men one healthy sex toy at a time, and we are thrilled to partner with you on so much with Safeword. So, from the bottom of our hearts, we adore you all and can’t wait to do so much more with you

The feeling is mutual! We adore you. From the first time we met, the connection was clear. We have the common goal of women working to empower and uplift women. It’s a great collaboration.

Q: Let’s start with the very basics – you are a sex toy company that is inspired and backed by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. That alone I’m sure has people say, wait, what? Please tell us a brief history of how the idea of Vibrant was born and how it then grew into an actual reality.

Prior to Vibrant, I worked with Planned Parenthood for 15 years and ended my tenure as as senior vice president of business development and administration. During my time there, I saw firsthand the challenges Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains (PPRM) faces from political and social attacks to financial constraints. After witnessing this financial gap and struggling to cover costly infrastructure repairs and improvements for many years, I challenged myself to find innovative ways to fund these shortfalls and applied to be a part of the 2014 Colorado Social Enterprise Exchange Cohort on behalf of PPRM. In January 2015, a team of PPRM staff, volunteers and board members began learning how to launch a social enterprise on behalf of PPRM through feasibility testing, evaluating community and organizational needs, setting goals, assessing risks, and more. We came up with 40+ ideas for a new social enterprise. In the end, one idea showed the most promise --  the sex-positive, body-safe ecommerce sex toy company - Vibrant, Inc.

We launched the company through the website BeVibrant.com in September 2016 and endeavor to create the largest, safest and most inclusive sex toy retailer in the world that also generates significant revenue for Planned Parenthood.  

Q: How did the 15 years you spent with Planned Parenthood shape how Vibrant operates?

As you can imagine, working at Planned Parenthood makes you resilient. From day one it’s sink or swim. The strength and resiliency I gained through that experience is second to none. As a startup in the adult products industry, we face constant hurdles but I have the fuel to keep going. At the end of the day, I won’t ever give up. Planned Parenthood needs and deserves our help and people should be free to be and love whoever they are, including their own bodies. Everyone deserves respect, education, safety, and pleasure in their lives.

Q: Sex toys, let’s just talk about sex toys for a minute. I think sex toys are one of those things that are looked at in a few ways – 1. Things that only porn-stars use 2. Something no one talks about 3. Ew gross – these seem to be the views that go along with toys but in reality, in today’s society, it appears these views are changing and sex toys are seen as a more normal thing for everyday people to own. Can you tell us what you have found when working with customers and in general in the sex toy industry, how most people perceive sex toys?

If you were to attend one of the many events and trade shows we go to, you would see how acceptance of sex toys is growing across all demographics. We see people of every gender, color, age and ethnicity who are interested in learning more about what’s available to them, how the products work, and how to introduce them into the bedroom.But that doesn’t mean the stigma doesn’t still exist.

A good example of this is from Denver PrideFest when a woman was shopping while her partner waiting patiently with what appeared to be their 3-year-old daughter. The little girl started to play with the display of dildos on the table. She was making them dance and sing. I could see horror on the faces of some of the onlookers. Her dad quickly apologized and started to take her away from the table but I asked him to let her stay and play. To her they were her dolls not dildos. We continued on to have a nice conversation about sex positive parenting and where to start. Stigma and shame related to sex and pleasure is not something we are born with.

Q: One thing that we love about Vibrant is you only sell sex products that are body safe. I know we were a bit in shock when we found out that a lot of sex products are not regulated, can you elaborate more on that and the importance of body safe products?

Unfortunately, sex toys don’t have to adhere to the same manufacturing standards as other products in the US. Many sex toy manufacturers use harmful chemicals because they’re less expensive. And they get away with using these chemicals because the FDA runs a mile as soon as it hears the word ‘butt plug’. The FDA’s prudishness has resulted in the legal sale of sex toys made with chemicals like phthalates that can disrupt people’s reproductive systems as well as cause cancer.

To help ensure you are purchasing body-safe make sure you read the labels. If the sex toy label says Rubber, PVC, Jelly, Cyberskin, Realskin, UR3, Sil-a-gel or Vinyl, put the toy down and step away. These materials are porous, which means they can never be completely disinfected and can spread bacterial infections.

Q: Can we give a little shout out to Planned Parenthood because we are HUGE supporters of PP. We know you all are also very passionate about PP and just wanted to know if you wanted to share with us why you support PP, have worked for PP and will always be behind the organization?

Planned Parenthood serves as the national voice on behalf of patients regarding sexual health, reproductive health and sex education. We have the same set of shared values: health, safety, quality of products, care and education; a commitment to inclusivity, full body autonomy, and a celebration of all genders and sexual orientation. Vibrant extends the sexual health conversation from Planned Parenthood to a conversation about pleasure. Similar to Planned Parenthood’s educational initiatives, we also are committed to helping people live their best and healthiest sexual lives. The design of our online experience was very intentional - we don’t gender any of the toys because we see people for the people they want to be, which includes gender and sexual orientation. Our commitment to body-safe products underscores PP’s commitment to the health and safety of patients.

Planned Parenthood and Vibrant collaborate and lift each other’s messages to the public, particularly for any political issues that arise. From a business standpoint, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is the oldest and most significant investor and Vibrant proceeds fund PPRM.

Q: Can you talk to us about some of the misrepresentations many people have when it comes to sex in general but also sex products? I’m sure you have customers who come to you with quite the questions and experiences.

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding sex and sex toys that we are working hard to overcome. Unfortunately, lots of people feel shame and guilt instead of just enjoying sexual pleasure whether by themselves or with a partner. I cannot say this enough… Sex is a healthy and natural part of being a human being.

Giving yourself pleasure is the best way to acknowledge your needs and desires in a safe environment and a beautiful example of self-care. Experimenting with sex toys can help you understand what feels good and what doesn’t, which comes in handy when explaining your sexual preferences to a partner.

Q: Vibrant has its headquarters in Denver but where else do you ladies travel to spread the love?

We travel all over and do pop up shops at different trade shows and events across the west from Los Angeles to Las Vegas to Loveland.

Q: In relation, Denver as we know is the land of cannabis and there is a lot going on now in regards to sex and cannabis. You have thrown a couple of events in which you bring in a specialist to educate people on the topic. Can you tell us a little more about that?

We see a lot of congruence with cannabis and sex. We are all about helping people find deeper pleasure with themselves or with a partner. Cannabis can be used mindfully to enhance sensation, ease discomfort, and promote intimacy. And it’s not all about getting high. CBDs, for example, have  no psychoactive effects, but can help people who struggle with anxiety surrounding sex or having feelings of insecurity.

In Colorado, we have a lot of opportunities to explore positive connections between sex and cannabis and we plan to do more events on the topic.

Q: What are your hopes for Vibrant in the next couple of years?

I want to create the largest, safest and most inclusive sex toy retailer in the world, which in turn generates significant revenue for Planned Parenthood. But to get there, we have a lot of work and fun ahead of us. We plan to continue our educational programming. Some of the topics we will focus on include the orgasm gap in the LGBTQ community, sexuality in the disabled community, how to enjoy cannabis for sexual satisfaction, how to be a sex positive parent, how to keep the spark during fertility treatment, after a baby, and during menopause...the list goes on and on..  We will also be adding more of the best body-safe sex toys on the market to our inventory as well as developing our own sex toy line. We’re very excited to help everyone, everywhere become their most sexually enlightened and satisfied selves!

Q: Now time for some fun questions! Ok ok, because we love playing with words, if you were able to name a sex toy, what would you name it and what would it look like?

To be honest, I really love play for the vulva so it would have to be something for that area. I can’t give away too much though since Vibrant is looking to develop a line of branded toys. You’re going to have to wait and see.

Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

I have lots of female idols but one that stands out recently is Rihanna. Not only do I love to listen to her sing, she is taking her fame and her following and using it to do some really cool sex positive and body positive promotion through her Fenty Beauty line of products for people of all skin tones and Savage X Fenty lingerie made for women of all shapes and sizes.

Q: What are some upcoming projects you are excited to be a part of?

In addition to more educational events in the Denver metro area, we’ll be taking our show on the road and expanding our in-person outreach throughout southern California. We’ll be hosting more Orgasm Days as well as events focused on sex and cannabis, sex positive parenting, orgasms through the ages and more.

Q: How old were you when you bought your first sex toy?

I wish I could say 13, but it was actually 31.

Q: If you could sit down with one person and talk with them about sex and sex toys, who would you want to sit down with and why?

Jada Pinkett Smith is someone I truly admire. She is a role model for anyone looking to be a sex positive parent. She is also very open about the myriad issues she has faced from challenges in her marriage and the work it takes to keep it going to sex addiction and alcohol dependency. As a mom of two girls, I‘d love to bounce some questions off of her.

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

Don't stop.

SPROCKET

 Photo by Kaylee Dopkins

Photo by Kaylee Dopkins

 Photo by Kaylee Dopkins

Photo by Kaylee Dopkins

Sprocket: PR Powerhouse Aubrey + Kate
@heysprocket 

Q: Let’s start with some basics – please tell us a little a little bit about yourselves and how you two met (we love a good how we met story – Shayla and I met on a shoot after lightly…or heavily…stalking one another on Instagram for a year).

AG: Six or so years ago, Sprocket participated in World Park(ing) Day, basically an international event where you take up a public parking space and can do whatever the fuck you want within your space. We decided to move our office to a spot in LoDo and set up shop with file cabinets, desks, chairs, the whole nine - like it was just another day at the office. At some point Kate, who was working across the street, came over and asked what we were doing and shot the shit with us for a bit. End scene.

     At the end of the day, we headed back to our real office and found a note from Kate along with her resume. We were like, “who is this go-getter?!” So we legit stalked her, then interviewed her (she was wearing an animal print blouse, which made me like her even more) and essentially begged her to work with us. She started as an intern, then was a publicist, now she pretty much runs the show as Director of Operations. I CANNOT IMAGINE LIFE WITHOUT HER. I WOULD BURY A BODY FOR KATE MOSER MILLER.

KMM: Ok, so this is basically how I remember it, too—except Aubrey wasn’t on the street when I shot the shit with the other two Sprocketeers. So when I finally met Aubrey IRL a week or so later, I was in awe of this power-betch (a term I think I just made up but am sticking with) running her agency and rocking a short haircut. She was a GD KWEEN and she still is.

Q: Now let’s talk about Sprocket Communications which we have have the pleasure of working alongside on a few Safeword projects in the near future. How did Sprocket come to be and what all do you ladies do at your amazing firm?

AG: I started Sprocket in 2007 after working for a few other PR agencies. At the time, I had zero vision of creating a “company” - just wanted to do freelance work for interesting clients until I figured out what I wanted to do with my life. Initially, I focused on restaurant PR because I love cooking and learning about food, and quickly gained a lot of traction with clients locally. Then, that snowballed - the team grew, we grew into other industries, and now here we are! We’re totes legit.

Q: Is it like Mad Men in your office? But Mad Women? Joking of course but many people have a certain idea of what they think it is like in marketing and communication firms these days based off of shows they have seen. What would you say is a typical day in the office like (there are never typical days but let’s try for a normal day).

AG: There truly is no typical day, but the best part of working with this lady gang is that we laugh. A lot. This job is very demanding and we’re on 24/7, so to be surrounded by inspiring, hilarious and brilliant women is the best perk. Our meetings are usually interspersed with client strategy, the latest self care tips and product recommendations, what we’re eating, and lots of gentle dance moves. We’re professional AF but keep it light internally. Also, we have an office space in RiNo but tend to meet over coffee or lunches because #allthecaffeine. If you ever need to find us, go to Port Side, Denver Central Market, The Ramble, Vital Root or Hudson Hill.

KMM: I second that. Working with whip-smart, funny women is the best part of this job. We’ve been so lucky to work with women who we genuinely like, connect with, and feel like we can be our most candid selves with—and, yes, that often includes gentle bodyrolling. Aubrey’s mentorship has taught me so much about being your authentic self even in business—that brands (and the people behind them) want to feel like they’re working with real humans. But I digress!

Q: What are some projects you are working on currently that you are really excited about?

AG: We’re helping to launch a new, non-invasive technology that helps improve women’s orgasms. BYE.

KMM: RETWEET. Real excited about that one.

Q: If you could work with any client in the United States, anyone, who would you want to work with and why?

AG: Great question. I would love to work with Lord Jones and Beboe, two cannabis lifestyle brands who are absolutely killing it. I love their branding and story; whomever is doing their PR/Social is kicking ass for them.

KMM: I love self-care and wellness brands, so brands in the vein of True Botanicals and Outdoor Voices would be amazing. And up-and-comers like Diaspora Co.

Q: You have a lot of badass babes in your company and pride yourselves on being a firm that is known for that. How do you think it is in general for females in the marketing and advertising world these days? Do you see more women in art director positions and owner positions?

AG: Absolutely. I think PR tends to be dominated by women, so it’s kind of all I’ve known my entire career. Plus, right now we’re seeing this movement toward empowerment, highlighting female executives and entrepreneurs, so it seems like now is the best time to be a boss. However, I hate to say that this is a newer movement because that just seems so backward. Like, we’ve been here all along…

KMM: Yeah, PR specifically is one of the industries in which women have long held leadership roles. I feel lucky to have come up in an industry where women’s power is recognized and appreciated.

Q: Along that note, there is a lot of unnecessary competition between females in the different industries, women are pit against one another or females take it upon themselves to bring one another down instead of building one another up. How do you maintain a level of professionalism with the other females in your industry and how do you strive to build others up?

AG: I feel really fortunate in that we know almost all the other agency owners in town (almost all women) and have fantastic relationships with everyone. We all refer business back-and-forth. I think each agency has its own vibe, and therefore attracts the clients that are right for them, so no real animosity.

KMM: I think this comes back to authenticity. Each agency around town has their own niche and vibe, and is doing their own thing authentically. So that attracts the clients who are right for them.

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

AG: Elizabeth Warren, Gwyneth Paltrow (sorry not sorry), Emily Weiss.

KMM: I’m obsessed with politics, and Kamala Harris is my kween. Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer. Issa Rae. Ashley Graham. Any woman owning her GD power.

Q: Now we need a little fun – what music gets blasted in the office?

AG: Childish Gambino and Drake. Our next office space will include an altar to Donald Glover, Riz Ahmed and Michael B. Jordan. Kate, I just added Riz and MBJ but feels right, no?

KMM: Co-sign. I would add SZA, Frank Ocean. Fluidbae for life.

Q: Who do you have a lady crush on (Rhi-Rhi is probably our number 1)

AG: V obsessed with Busy Phillips. She’s super successful but seems down-to-earth and could be your best friend. Plus, her Insta is hilarious and I love her style.

KMM: Yara Shahidi. She’s literally still a teen and is already changing the world.

Q: How old were you when you bought your first sex toy?

AG: Oh god. It was in the recent past (see next answer for context), but BOY HAVE THEY BEEN A LIFE CHANGER. Shout out to our fabulous client, Vibrant (https://www.bevibrant.com/). Holla at us if you need recos, and use code: SPROCKET for 15% off.

KMM: I got one for free in college. I’ve definitely upgraded since, and let me tell you—it’s a whole wide world out there. There are so many great options (and there are also some that terrify me, TBH).

Q: Tell us about one bad date experience…it can include his mother coming along for the date, or, wait was that just me?

AG: Well, I was married for 10 years and have always been a relationship type of gal. I have literally only gone on two first dates in my life, and they were pretty ok, though one dude had an updo, which threw me off.

KMM: It wasn’t romantic, but I think I accidentally went on several dates with a weird reporter when I was a young publicist and thought it was work...does that count?

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

AG: Harder. ;)

KMM: Have people said Cacao every time you’ve asked this question? Cacao.

SHALISA POUW

 Above Photo by John Miller for Kadyluxe First & Second Photo Below by John Miller for Kadyluxe Third & Fourth Photo Below by Brent Andeck

Above Photo by John Miller for Kadyluxe
First & Second Photo Below by John Miller for Kadyluxe
Third & Fourth Photo Below by Brent Andeck

Shalisa Pouw: The Queen Bee
@shalisa_p

Q: Let’s start with some basics – what’s your name, where do you hail from originally and how did you find your way out to Colorado?

Hi! My name is Shalisa Pouw and I am a Colorado girl through and through. I grew up in Baker neighborhood, moved up to the mountains and then back down to Golden. I went to CU Boulder and, besides a summer in California, have lived here my whole life!

Q: We have gotten the chance to have some one-on-one time with you and know more of your story and how you have a passion for healthy living. Can you tell our babes how you first found yourself drawn into that and how you see health and fitness play a roll in your everyday life?

When I was little, my parents put me into pretty much every activity they could find. I bounced around from soccer to dance to ice skating to musical theater, and I think that’s where my passion for staying active began. I fell in love with dance and that carried me all the way through college where I spent a couple years as a dance major and was on the CU dance team. After college, I was able to dance professionally for the Denver Nuggets, and then went on to own a Pure Barre studio. Currently I teach Pure Barre, Rush Cycle and am working on my new fitness venture with my bestie: Mishalisa!

My younger years taught me a lot about how good it feels to stay active, but they also did a number on my mental health and wellbeing when it came to body image. There was so much focus on how my body looked, and so much time spent in tiny outfits, staring at myself in the mirror and comparing myself to others. As I’ve gotten older (and wiser😎), my passion for fitness has shifted to a passion for wellness. I want people to workout and eat healthy because it fuels their body and makes them feel good, rather than trying to look a certain way or live up to some BS societal standards. There’s nothing more powerful and sexy than a woman who
embraces her body exactly the way it is.

Q: Your email reads - denqueenbee@gmail.com - very jealous of this by the way, we wish that could be our emails. You now work for Bumble which, according to the website, has changed the way people date, find friends, and the perception of meeting online, for the better. Women make the first move. Tell us what you do for Bumble and how you started working for them?

Best. Title. Ever! My role with Bumble is Community Marketing and Events Lead, which basically means that I’m in charge of creating Bumble IRL experiences for all three platforms (Date, BFF & BIZZ) throughout Denver! I found Bumble and Bumble found me through fate…AKA Instagram. I love to share messages of empowerment for females in all aspects of their lives, and Bumble is doing the same thing on a much bigger scale! It only took a quick DM convo and a little research into the company for me to know that this was a perfect role for me.

Q: Bumble can have a negative perception by a lot of people because it is seen as a “dating app” and that is all. Tell us what else Bumble can do for women out there besides act as a dating platform?

Beyond the dating portion of the app, Bumble also has their BFF and BIZZ platforms. BFF is specifically to connect with other women as friends and BIZZ is a business networking platform where you can connect one-on-one and expand your network. BIZZ is a newer platform, and one that a lot of people don’t know about yet, but is my absolute favorite part of the app. Over the past 6 months using it, I have connected with some really badass women who are making serious moves in Denver. It uses the same swipe technology as date, so it is super easy to navigate and allows you to connect directly with people you are interested in working with or learning from. Much like Safeword, it opens you up to a community of people
who want to collaborate rather than compete!

The beauty of it all, and the reason why I was so excited to work for the company, is the way that Bumble is empowering females to make the first move when it comes to their relationships whether they are romantic, professional or otherwise. Bumble has made it not only necessary but acceptable for women to take control of the conversation. I love what the company stands for and the ways that Bumble is stepping up to change gender norms, create a safe online community and empower women.

Q: What are some projects you are working on currently that you are excited about?

With Bumble, I am always planning events (2 per month) and teaming up with local businesses to offer discounts and specials to Bumble users.  I’m really looking forward to August because it is a month of female empowered events! Along with Safeword, I am working to put together an event surrounding Women’s Equality Day at the end of the month and celebrating the 98th anniversary of women being able to vote!  Stay tuned for more info on that one…

Outside of Bumble, you can catch me teaching at Rush Cycle and Pure Barre. I am also working on a new fitness project with my best friend called “Mishalisa” (Mish + Shalisa)! Right now we are putting out free content via social media, but we are working on some local pop ups and eventually an online platform where you can get workouts, fitness tips and more. Stay tuned!

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

This one is too hard because I idolize any female who is out there hustling, creating and inspiring. I admire you all!

Q: Along that note, there is a lot of unnecessary competition between females in the different industries, women are pit against one another or females take it upon themselves to bring one another down instead of building one another up. How do you maintain a level of professionalism with the other females in your industry and how do you strive to build others up?

I think the key to eliminating competition and being both happy and successful in your profession is to keep a mindset of abundance. I read a quote once that said, “a person with an abundance mindset believes there is infinite money, happiness, love and success, and that someone else enjoying some of this is merely evidence that it is out there in the world to be acquired by anyone.” If you truly believe that all of these things are abundant in the world around you then fear, jealousy and competition start to fall away.

At this point in my life, I am involved in a lot of different industries, but my end goal is always to inspire and empower women. Whether that is by connecting them through Bumble or guiding them through their wellness journey. I take that goal very seriously and work daily to take out the negative stuff that gets in my way. I believe that women are way too powerful to spend time tearing each other down…if we work together we can change the world.

Q: Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community can grow and build together?

I love what Safeword is doing!! I truly haven’t experienced a more collaborative group of women than I did at the last event. One of my favorite ways to continue that growth is to go out and support each other the rest of the year! Attend each other’s events, meet for coffee, collaborate on a project or event, give support over social media. It’s all of those little steps that can create a kickass community.

Q: Are you excited for Bumble and Safeword to work together for the big YELLOW summer event?

I could not be more excited to partner with Safeword!  After attending the first event, I knew I wanted to figure out a way for Bumble to get involved.  Our values and goals are so aligned and I can’t wait to put together something extra special for this event!

Q: Wouldn’t be an interview without a few random questions now would it? Guilty pleasure music, you know, the kind you blast when NO one is around.

My guilty pleasure music that I feel absolutely no guilt about is Kelly Clarkson, haha. When I need to bust out some car singing and get some girl power vibes, she is my go-to. If you take any of my classes, she usually sneaks her way in to my playlists.

Q: What was your first email address?

Oh god. hippopouw@ (probably aol??). Someone in highschool told me that I reminded them of a hippo, and instead of taking offense I kinda just ran with it! Hippos were my thing for years.

Q: If you could trade places with one person for the day, who would it be?

Definitely Beyonce. I could find out what it feels like to be the real Queen Bee/Bey.

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

Hmmmm…buzz?!

CANNABESS

 All Photos Courtesy of Cannabess

All Photos Courtesy of Cannabess

Cannabess: Blazin' Beauty and Brains
@imcannabess

Q: Let’s start with some basics – what’s your name, where do you hail from originally and how did you find your way to Seattle?

My name is Bess Byers. I am a Seattle-based cannabis photographer and digital marketing professional. I was born and raised in eastern Washington, lived in China after college, moved to L.A. for four years and found myself back in Seattle when offered a job in the recreational cannabis industry.

Q: The other question I’m sure people are pinning an answer for is how did you get into the cannabis world? Cannabis itself has been around for quite some time, but the acceptance of it as well as it being used and curated in the public eye has only been around in the past couple of years. Give us the “how we met” story between you and Mary Jane.

Honestly, it just sort of happened! I lived in Los Angeles and started a political nonprofit to educate millennials about the national debt. I became especially passionate about fiscal issues while living in China. We were $14 trillion in debt at that time and had just borrowed the $800 billion “stimulus” package. I received an offer in D.C. and was set to move. Keep in mind, this was April 2015. With the upcoming election I intended to stick it to the man. Well the universe had other plans. I’d mentioned my relocation to a girlfriend in Washington State who owned a recreational grow and jokingly said, “I’m moving to D.C. in a month unless you know someone in the weed industry who can make me a better offer.” Well make me a better offer she did. I canceled my east coast opportunity. Less than a month later I’d moved back and started
my career in cannabis.

Q: We were lucky enough to meet you at this years 420 on the Block in Denver. How did you like the event and Denver in general? What are some events around the country that you really enjoy attending?

It was wonderful meeting you ladies at 420 On the Block! The festival radiated positive vibes. While I didn’t experience much of the Denver scene (I was so busy shooting the festival), what I did see I loved. Mayflower Cannabis gave me a tour of their grow and dabs with Action Bronson at Dio Mio Pasta definitely made for an unforgettable trip.

Other events I enjoy attending? Well I’m en route to Lift Expo in Toronto right now, then I’m heading to the High Times Cup in Sonoma the following weekend. Partying at Splash House in Palm Springs the weekend after that. I also love Emerald Exchange, Hempfest, the Capitol Hill Block Party and MJ BizCon. Needless to say, I’m busy!

Q: Also, when we met, you told us the story of how you got the handle for your Instagram and we would love if you would share it with the rest of these babes.

Ha ha, it’s a funny story! I’d been in the industry almost a year creating lifestyle cannabis content for brands. I started sharing these images on my personal Instagram, but didn’t want to bombard my followers with weed photos. I was in LA for an event and swiping on Tinder. I came across a guy who worked in the industry. I almost swiped left, but figured with his MBA from Harvard and cannabis career, he might be a good connection. I met for our date at his office in Santa Monica overlooking the ocean. Framed cannabis magazines like Newsweek and Time covered the office walls. It almost felt like an interview. We talked about work. He gave me some Strawberry Cough. Within the first 20 minutes I told him how I wanted to differentiate my cannabis photography from my personal photography. He said, “Do people call you Cannabess?” I replied, “No but they’re about to!” And the rest is history.

Q: More and more we are reading about more females entering and maintaining a strong presence in the marijuana world. Safeword has talked to many grows owned by women and also many companies whose board is made up primarily of women. More women are developing weed infused products from lotions to cookies and even lubes. This is an industry that appears to have some very powerful women involved in the continuous movement and development of legalizing marijuana. What have you encountered as a woman in the industry and with the other women in the industry?

One of my favorite things about the industry is all the amazing women. I’ve experienced how driven these ladies are and their willingness to collaborate. I wouldn’t be where I’m at without the support of female owned brands like Blunted Objects, Stonedware Company and others who’ve donated products for my milestone giveaways or reposted my work. Now as a female working with men in this space… Sure there’s the corporate bros or the men who think they know it all, but 99.9% of the time I feel valued, supported and empowered by the men I work with. I feel like an equal, and partially because I command it. If there’s one thing I’ve learned in this industry, it’s to confidently set your rates. Don’t be afraid to turn down projects if they are under budget. Women need to know our worth and not be afraid to ask for it.

Q: Along that note, there is a lot of unnecessary competition between females in the
different industries, women are pit against one another or females take it upon
themselves to bring one another down instead of building one another up. How do
you maintain a level of professionalism with the other females in your industry and
how do you strive to build others up?

I can relate to this so well. For the last two years I’ve experienced bullying from another female in the industry. It’s not only disappointing, it’s hurtful. I used to feel uncomfortable at events or get horrible anxiety wondering what she’d told other industry women. Some of them even told me. I spoke with this photographer multiple times to try and resolve the issue but the shit talking and sub-posts persisted. Eventually I realized it’s not me. That kind of behavior reflects on her and the community will see it. I strive to build other women up through collaborations and connections. Whether it’s featuring a female-owned brand on my blog, or connecting ladies for events and opportunities, I want to see my friends succeed. I shared one friend as my #WeedCrushWednesday and her account grew almost 600 followers overnight. That’s what it’s all about. Instead of feeling jealous over someone’s content, it’s easier to collaborate with them. After all, together we grow!

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

A few standout ladies who inspire me are Bethany, the owner of Falcanna, Ladies of Paradise for their amazing photography/events/styling, and my best friend Liz Jeffers, who is the head buyer of Uncle Ike’s. Liz doesn’t have a huge social presence, but we worked together in a grow. She basically ran that shit. Liz is one of the hardest working women I know, not to mention has serious industry knowledge on both the producer/processor side and retailer side. Other boss babes worth checking out? Jody Hall, the founder of Goodship, April Pride of Van der Pop and the insanely talented designer Jacqie Aiche.

Q: What are some changes you hope to see in the marijuana industry in the
upcoming years?

I’d like to see a mix of regulation and deregulation, as well as a community emphasis on grows who do it right. I support regulations regarding pesticides and mold. In some states, like Arizona, they don’t require testing on products. I believe for consumer safety, we should require testing on all products sold to patients and customers. I’d like to see deregulations regarding some of the advertising and packaging laws. State packaging regulations make it difficult to go 100% green. I’d also like to see lower taxes and licensing fees. Lastly, I’d like to see more community focus on companies who are sustainable and pesticide free. As the industry expands, I want to see people win who do it right.

Q: What are come upcoming projects you are excited to be a part of?

Oh perfect, that ties into my previous answer! I want to see companies win who do it right, which is why I’ve started Blaise Creative. Blaise is my creative digital agency which focuses on brand consulting, content creation, social media, web and email campaigns. As my social media presence grew, it became more and more important I align myself with brands whose values align with mine. Blaise Creative helps clients create and develop their online digital presence.

Q: Wouldn’t be an interview without a few random questions now would it?

Guilty pleasure music, you know, the kind you blast when NO one is around. Cardi B’s new album has me really fired up. I’ve been known to go hard rapping “Be Careful” while cleaning the house.

Q: Tell us about the first time you got high…

It was my junior year of high school and a friend’s brother joined the military. He had a going away party with a bunch of “older guys” who’d recently graduated, and they asked us to smoke. I hit the pipe and took the fattest rip. I remember coughing so hard afterward, and a couple of the guys laughed. I slowly handed the pipe to my friend and could feel it hit me. Next I handed her my keys. She didn’t smoke and instead drove me home soon after. On the drive, I
remember feeling like I was in the “Back to the Future” ride at Universal Studios. We got to my house and tip-toed into the kitchen to get ice cream. I remember whispering something to my friend. When she asked why I was whispering I replied, “Sssssh! They’ll hear you!” “Who’s they?” she replied. “The audience.” I said. I think that about sums it up.

Q: Favorite food to eat when you are stony bologna?

Well keep me away from the cheese platters, crackers and fig spread. A couple weeks ago girlfriends and I ate two blocks of cheese, a jar of fig spread and a package of crackers. It was all fun and games until we couldn’t stop farting on our shoot the next day! (Just kidding, we all know women don’t fart)

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

More weed! 

WAWE STUDIO

 All Photos Courtesy of Wawe Studio

All Photos Courtesy of Wawe Studio

Wawe Studio by Alexandria Devaux: Whimsical Artist. Fashionable Mega Babe.
@wawestudio

Q: Let’s start with some basics – what’s your name, where do you hail from originally and how did you find your way to Denver?

My name is Alexandria DeVaux, I’m originally from Hawaii. I ended up in Denver after my fiancée and I decided we needed a change of scenery- we chose Colorado because I’d
lived here as a kid and wanted to come back!

Q: Now talk to us a bit about your amazing art, your inspiration behind it all and how you started making these amazing pieces.

The inspiration behind my art spans from children’s books, to vintage Americana and Asian kitsch. I studied children’s books in college, originally thinking that would be my direction. My style reflects a playful simplicity that is meant to reconnect adults to their childhood.

I got started after finishing my BFA in traditional illustration, working freelance and it kind of snowballed from there. As far as making it into a small business, that happened completely
by accident! I was waiting for my teaching licensure to go through, and took the two months to work on a lot of things and realized by the time my license was finished, that it was actually plausible to continue full-time. I decided to ride it out and it’s only grown since then, which is really, really amazing.

Q: What does a typical work day look like for you? Or what does a non-typical work day look like (because we all know when you work for yourself every day is a bit different)

A typical work day for me varies from day to day. I usually organize myself to do different tasks throughout the week. One day might be spent doing packages and orders- while another is spent designing new items, painting or sculpting. I usually take one day a week off to relax, and this usually ends up being a day for going out and having fun, or being a lazy potato and laying in bed all day.

Q: We are so excited because you are going to be at our first Taxi Pool party this year, with a pink theme, and will be making portraits of people as well as selling some of your adorable work. Where else are we going to get to see you this year in Denver and beyond?

As far as Denver goes, there will be an upcoming group show that I’ll be doing with Lowbrow Denver, all I can say now is that there will be a bunch of plump little fruit babies! I’ve taken a lot of private commissions this year but I’ve also got a group show this upcoming September in New York (there have been 2 so far earlier this year) for custom dolls. I usually take things as they come and try not to take on too many projects all at once because I like to plan as much as possible. I also could be forgetting something because I have the WORST memory ever (post it notes are my friend).

Q: A lot of artists always talk about how hard it was for them to take the plunge and do their work full time but also knew it was necessary if it was going to prosper and become what they envisioned it to be. Can you tell us about when you decided to really start doing your art full time and what helped you push yourself to do so?

I had done freelance for quite a while- so there wasn’t really a span of time when I wasn’t working on stuff, or making art. It became a full time thing as I mentioned before, by accident. By the time it was happening it wasn’t really a plunge, but it was possible because I had a small amount of savings to tide me over after our move to Colorado, while I was waiting on my teaching stuff. I ended up scrapping teaching and working for myself but, I think it’s really very smart to build up your art portfolio or your clients, potential jobs before taking a plunge like that. There was a point in time when I worked a full time job Monday-Saturday 10-5 and spent an hour and a half in traffic, got home, ate dinner and then worked til 3AM on my art. I did this almost every day for over a year! By the time I was done I had a decent client list, a website, business cards, and a portfolio. Sometimes you have to put the extra hours in before you see your work flourish.

Q: Safeword is working hard to be a community that helps creative women network and grow in both their personal and professional lives in Denver and in other cities and hopefully, other countries. Why do you think it is important for creative women to come together as a community in this day and age?

It’s incredibly important for women to come together. I think naturally we tend to be competitive, while also being very nurturing and these are really important qualities for growing creatives. Surrounding yourself with women who can be competitive in a healthy way, so that you can make each other grow and constantly get better at the things you do is essential. I’ve met so many amazing women who are amazing at what they do, and are always willing to stick out a helping hand to guide others in the right direction. The women pin designers, illustrators and other creatives that I’ve befriended throughout the span of Wawe Studio is definitely one of the major reasons I’ve made it where I have.

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

I have to say first and foremost my idol is my mom! She’s probably the most strong female I’ve ever known. I also have some really creative and beautiful sisters and best friends and am really lucky to have so many cool women in my life.

Q: Wouldn’t be an interview without a few random questions now would it? Guilty pleasure music, you know, the kind you blast when NO one is around.

I don’t really have guilty pleasure music because I’ll listen to whatever regardless of who is around- buttttt any music that is tinkly or sounds like a child would listen to I’m all over.

Q: Who is your favorite artist?

I probably have too many favorites to just choose one because I’m so indecisive. I love Tove Jansson, Arthur Rackham, Edward Gorey, are some off the top of my head.

Q: If we emptied your purse, what all would we find?

You would most likely find lipstick, cards, old reciepts, toys, my sketchbook, pens, mouthwash, keys and trash.

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

Probably Banana 🍌💕

DJ POLYPHONI

IMG_2902.jpg

DJ Polyphoni: Vibe Boss.
@djpolyphoni

Q: Let’s start with some basics – what’s your name, where do you hail from originally and what is your creative industry?                                                                                                       

My name is Carla Moreno AKA Polyphoni I’m a Denver DJ/ Producer. I’m a Denver Native, although, my family originates from Michoacan, Mexico. We have Lived In Colorado for over 27 years.

Q: When did you first get into your creative industry?

Almost 6 years ago now, I was hanging out with a group of friends while they were working on music. I remember my friend throwing parties just to play on his new sick ass CDJ’s. Every once in a while I would hop on and it was such a dope feeling when I would play a song that people would get so hyped to. I then decided I wanted my own. I purchased a Numark DJ controller (which I still use to this day) and the journey began in my basement. I would spin tunes and spend a lot of time in my room learning the ins and out of the software. I had to learn how to use my controller because I had not much of a clue at first. I would record sets and show them to my friends and people were actually digging them. I set it on hold for a while due to a toxic relationship, which I’m sure many of you would understand. Finally 5 years later, after setting myself free from that mess of a relationship I picked up my controller once again, but this time it was different. This time, it literally saved me and brought me back to life. I agreed to play a few gigs and burst out of my shell that I had been hiding under for so long due to insecurities and it was the best move I had ever made. Although, I was full of nervous feels and very intimidated because of the male dominated industry I pushed myself, and proved that this is what I was meant to do. I gained respect of people in the industry that believed in my vision and believed in me most of all. I’m working on djing a few local spots and some local gigs here and there, but this is only the beginning for me. I hope to continue to grow and produce music that I create with all of your lovely souls.

Q: What are some projects you are working on currently?

Currently, I’m working on my skill set during live sets, but mostly working on production. I have so many ideas and sounds that I want to share with you all. I hope to have a project complete this year for all your minds to absorb. I want to give a real taste of the flavor that I can bring to your ears.

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

One of my biggest Idols is Jennifer Lee (TOKIMONSTA) she is a producer and kills it in the music industry. I was even more inspired by her after hearing what she went through losing her ability to comprehend language, talk and write music due to a rare brain disease. She recovered and wrote one of the best albums I’ve heard to this day. She is one badass producer and she inspires me to keep pushing myself no matter what obstacles come in my way. Never give up on what you were born to do.

I’m highly influenced by my fellow Denver creatives. Such as Justine Henderson, Kelci AKA S.X.X.XD, Erin Stereo, Jasmine AKA Hex Kitten, and Skeena. Shout out to Eleanor, the owner of Fort Greene bar, she has opened her doors to me and gave me the opportunity and space to completely be myself and bring music to the community. Also, all the fellow Safeword ladies Bryn, Shayla, Athena, and Coco you girls are a true FORCE and we should all live by the example you set. You have the right idea as far as building each other up and giving us all a safe place to bond and collaborate. I appreciate you babes so much. <3

Q: And who would you love to work with in the future?

I would absolutely love to work with DJ Premier and Anna Lunoe. DJ Premier is a legend in the Hip Hop industry producing music for some of the biggest in the hip hop game. And Anna Lunoe is also one of the biggest female producers these days, producing music for many artists in the edm scene, as well as having her own radio show. She is a very inspiring female and proves that gender has nothing to do with being a talented artist as long as you work your ass off anyone can be as equally successful.

Q: Many creative industries are still fairly male dominated and it can be harder at times for females to gain certain momentum to reach their intended end goals. As a female artist, how do you persevere through the adversity in your industry?

In a very male dominated music industry I feel like I share responsibility with females to keep being ourselves no matter what, to work as hard as any other person would and to do what we love to do for the love and passion of our art. Not to necessarily “prove” anything to anyone, but to be able to inspire other female artist's to do the same. It is hard especially when you share the same knowledge as a male, but they look at you in a different way and think less of you simply because you are female. I have come across my fair share of males that have given me the cold shoulder or didn’t trust in what I was doing because I’m a female. But that has not held me back. It pushed me more. This makes me much more curious. I feel like a BADASS when I show up to an event and I can handle setting up equipment and sound all on my own without any help. Like I did that shit and I will continue to learn and show my fellow ladies that we are capable of anything we set our minds to.  

Q: Along that note, there is a lot of unnecessary competition between females in the different industries, women are pit against one another or females take it upon themselves to bring one another down instead of building one another up. How do you maintain a level of professionalism with the other females in your industry and how do you strive to build others up?

Fortunately, I haven’t come across that many women like that. I’ve been lucky that I have had a heavy group of supportive women since I began to pursue my passion, and vice versa. I really try to uplift my women and the nights I host at Fort Greene bar I like to bring fellow female artists in to show how powerful we can be together. There aren’t many female DJ’s out there and I feel like the ones out there are real ones and we seem to support our community heavily.

I do hear and see it a lot with others though, and maybe I just haven’t encountered it face to face, although it may be happening behind my back. Regardless, I tend to avoid that negative energy. I have had an experience similar to where I had a female spinning at one of my events and she was having hardware issues and I was blamed for the issue. She made it seem like I didn’t know what I was doing or saying because I was a female. Yet to find out from a male that she “trusted” that it was the exact issue that I had initially told her it was. So there are those instances, but I’ve been very fortunate with my ladies in Denver they show mad love and support. So shout out to all those creatives out here just trying to collaborate and grow together. It’s so beautiful and amazing to see the things we can accomplish together.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?

I think more pre events/meet ups with our fellow ladies. For example brunches, dinners, park picnics, sports, creative projects together to build up that trust and have something outside of what we love to connect and bond around.

Q: What is something that both men and women creatives in Denver can do to better the creative community as a whole?

As a community, I would like to see more support between genders. I love the movement that The Safeword ladies have brought. It’s so special and I think this idea should be brought into our daily lives with anything we do. Be a positive creative with an open mind and the willingness to help no matter the gender. I think more events like this between both genders would benefit our community and help us be more collaborative instead of competitive.

Q: Wouldn’t be an interview without a few random questions now would it? Guilty pleasure music, you know, the kind you blast when NO one is around.

My guilty pleasure music is definitely Jazz, Motown like Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Winehouse. I listen to Spanish rock music heavily as well. Musicians like Mon Laferte and Carla Morrison. I’m a hopeless romantic and I’m constantly connecting heavy to the lyrics in these genres. It makes me feel understood in a world that at times can feel so cold.

Q: What are your pre-show rituals?

I wouldn’t say I have pre-show rituals other then try and keep calm, and remind myself that I’m doing this all for my love and passion for music. I love to sit back once everything has been set up and appreciate where I’m at and how far I’ve came. I like to take a moment and embrace all the growth I have accomplished through all the ups and downs. It’s special af to see the people I bring together. It’s nice to take a look around and thank everyone that comes out to support me because they could be anywhere else in the world, but they choose to be there with the artist involved and myself.  

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

My Safeword would be “Evanesco” Latin word meaning “vanish” or “disappear.” For all my fellow Harry Potter nerds they use this as a spell to make things disappear.

YASI

 Photo by Sanjana Stein

Photo by Sanjana Stein

YaSi: Songstress. Writer. Muse.                       @yasimuse

Q: Let’s start with some basics – what’s your name, where do you hail from originally and what is your creative industry?

My name is YaSi (pronounced yaa-si.) Born and raised in Denver and I’m an artist.

Q: When did you first get into your creative industry?

I’ve always loved singing since I can remember but I didn’t get into the “industry” until I was 19.

Q: What are some projects you are working on currently?

I’m working on a lot of things right now…My brain is currently in a blender with all my ideas but at the forefront, I’m FINALLY writing my EP. I’m getting more hands on with my artistic and creative vision for the videos, merchandise designs, and shoots around this concept. I’m very excited for this next chapter.

Q: Who are some of your lady idols (they can be someone in the same work as you or just some amazing women who you know and love, lord knows we have both!)

My mom, aunt, and grandma will always be my first idols. They’ve overcome poverty, war, revolutions, immigration and still are as strong as ever. Young women and activists like Malala Yousafzai and Emma Gonzales inspire me. Musically, I look up to so many wonderful woman like Lauryn Hill, Rihanna, SZA, Nelly Furtado, Missy Elliot, Beyonce. All of them are strong, intelligent, talented and a force. All things I strive to be as a woman.

Q: And who would you love to work with in the future?

The list would be so long I could type all day. I mean Kid Cudi, Drake, Kanye, SZA, Bibi Bourelly, Tame Impala, Starrah, Max Martin… those people would be an absolute dream just to see how they work in a studio/writing session.

Q: Many creative industries are still fairly male dominated and it can be harder at times for females to gain certain momentum to reach their intended end goals. As a female artist, how do you persevere through the adversity in your industry?

It’s a double edge sword for sure. I’d be lying if I said that being a “beautiful” woman couldn’t be used to your advantage, but it has been the exact thing that makes me resent men in the industry. At times I have a wall up because of it. How I’ve been sexualized in the past has really gotten to me, but how others perceive me isn’t something I’m going to let dictate how I move. This is my dream that I want to make a reality. I’m going to work hard on my craft and bring my vision to life and break whatever wall is in front of me down.

Q: Along that note, there is a lot of unnecessary competition between females in the different industries, women are pit against one another or females take it upon themselves to bring one another down instead of building one another up. How do you maintain a level of professionalism with the other females in your industry and how do you strive to build others up?

I mean, let’s be real. There’s always going to be people that you don’t get along with regardless of competition, but you have to be professional no matter what ESPECIALLY as a woman. People love to make feuds between women bigger and cattier than they actually are. It’s just something I’m not interested in. If you’ve been nothing but good to me, you’ll receive that same respect woman or man. I will always root for talented and kind people.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?

Supporting each other by sharing on social media is always something I preach. We all have platforms and we can use those to expose our talented peers to more people that trust our opinion. Support by coming to shows or buying art/clothes/music/etc. should be both fulfilling to you and the artist.

Q: What is something that both men and women creatives in Denver can do to better the creative community as a whole?

Again just support. Like Erykah Badu said, “I’m an artist and I’m sensitive about my shit.” We all just want to feel like our art has impact. So support your creative friends!!

Q: Wouldn’t be an interview without a few random questions now would it? Guilty pleasure music, you know, the kind you blast when NO one is around.

I love teen pop music…like so much. I’ve been reminiscing back to my childhood playlist of artists like Play, Lilix, A*Teens, Jesse McCartney, *NSYNC, S Club 7, Britney, Christina. OH shit! I also loved the alternative/pop-punk phase with Good Charlotte, Panic At the Disco, Fall Out Boy. Anything from the late 90s/early 2000s were a point where I learned how much I truly loved music.

Q: What are your pre-show rituals?

I wish I had a real pre-show ritual. Most of the time after I warm up my voice, I am usually at the bar with my band talking shit.

Q: And of course, if you had a Safeword, what would it be?

Hmmm.. I’m gonna go with MUSE. 

JAIN BARRETT

 Photo by Kim Desmond

Photo by Kim Desmond

Jain Barrett: Wavy Jain Co.                              @wavyjain

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

I would start this by saying I’m super fresh and new to what I’m trying to accomplish. I feel lightly seasoned in almost everything that has to do with Wavy Jain Co, which is thrilling in a lot of ways. Wavy Jain Co. is a collaborative fashion brand intended to speak to the non-linear. Non-linear is my favorite word I use to describe myself and the way I operate in life. I got in to fashion merely by always having an interest and an undeniable excitement over style and expression. Dance gave me insight on color, fabric weight, and fit of a garment as well as the way those elements can help tell a story. After I graduated from the Denver School of the Arts, I wasn’t sold on the college route and decided to embark on a gap year of creative exploration with someone dear to me. Film acting is another way I create and express. People in the film community that I looked up to at the time, encouraged me to find a way to be my own boss. They explained how in the long run, if I want to have a lifestyle and schedule that allows the acting, running my own business could be something to think about. So, that lingered in the back of my mind as I began simply messing with hand embroidery and beading. I instantly fell in love with the craft and wanted to take a stab at turning the pieces I worked on, in to a collaborative project to capture them. A film company ran by some incredible guys my age, a
photographer, and some freelance Denver models worked together to capture the customized denim sets in a few unsuspecting locations. It was a dream day and it propelled me to want to do my next project bigger, and better. We called that Wave 1. Wave 1.5 was another smaller collaboration and ended in a really unique run of hoodies. The hoodies have a black and white image printed on them that includes a construction orange prototype gown lathered in chain. Wavy Jain Co. is really just a supreme way for me to combine all of the things I love and wish to pursue.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?

My favorite project I’ve done so far is absolutely Wave 2 which wrapped shooting last month. We had the Bug Theatre rented out for 2 days that were filled with rehearsal for the fashion film, a photoshoot, and the video shoot itself. This project was centered around a series of black and white photos my mom took of my brother and I growing up. They always felt so impactful to me when thinking about childhood, and one day it hit me on how I could utilize them creatively. I worked with the seamstress from my dance studio growing up to make 1/1 garments that the pictures would be attached to. The pictures were printed on cotton so that we could attach them, and almost frame them with a satin stitch. The film crew and I worked together over a shot list I typed up to figure out lighting, angles, and symbolization. It was all so fluid. Actually being in the space, and watching the moments take breaths was something I will not forget. The energy the models shared with me and one another that day, as well as their level of reception to my ideas was chilling. Hands down my favorite two days.

Q: What would be your dream project?

My dream project would be Wave 2 on steroids with a live aspect entangled. I have so many large scale waves that I hope to see happen. My dream project would be a live story telling show centered around the brand’s clothing with film, dance/movement, music and photography all incorporated. I want to create an experience. That sounds endless and wild.

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?

Ohh man if I could ever work with FKA Twigs..or even just pick her brain. She’s so unusual. I live for the way she’s constantly experimenting and growing in various skills to enhance her visions. She does it so quietly. She creates for herself, and she’s usually ahead of what the general public wants to see/hear. I really admire her.

Q: If someone from out of state were to ask you about the creative scene in Denver, what would you say to them? And if they asked you further how it is for the women of the city, how would you respond to that?

If someone out of state were to ask me what the art scene here in Denver is like, it would be kind of difficult for me to answer. I feel like I’ve only just barely gotten in to what Denver has to offer. There are hidden geniuses here. I feel like it could be more connective than it is, but once again, I am newer to the scene. I’ve received what I feel like has been a LOT of support and encouragement from the other creatives here, which is a healthy spot for me to be. I’m soaking it up. I would say it is hard to make a living off of art here and as a women, we face more challenges finding safe places to share/execute our ideas. It’s a dynamic community though and it’s a major time for growth.

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?

I think the biggest improvement that could be made, is closing the gap between the creatives here and monetary support for their supplies/projects. Some of us are very serious about what we’re doing, and would seriously kill for a little backing. I know that it’s possible and could be improved. I think it would also be extremely beneficial to have more events such as the SafeWord for networking. It was really sweet to finally meet a bunch of faces off the internet. Also, spaces to simply get together and create things together would be magical. I’m talking monthly meet ups where artists of every kind just get together and experiment. Who even knows what could come of that? Things could be less separative I’d say.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?

I guess I kind of already got to this one in my previous answer but, I hear and read a lot of frustration surrounding the disconnect between artistic things people are accomplishing, and the magazines looking directly past them. I myself am too new to say that I personally feel that way, but it is something I notice consistently from others. There could be stronger platforms for artists here. I believe they contribute so much to what makes Denver as kick ass as it is, so I think they deserve recognition and resources.

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?
Jeeeeeeez just one? I’m going to have to go with Kelela in this moment. She’s otherworldly and her music always hits me differently so I know I wouldn’t get bored.

Q: Also, if you had to have a safeword, what would yours be?

My safeword would be alchemist. lol

SAMMY KELLER

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Sammy Keller: Fine Ass Film Guru                                     @sammykeller 

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

I’m a photographer with a heavy emphasis on film. I feel like every time I answer this question, the story always changes slightly. In a way, I think it’s always been with me. I have really early memories of stealing my mom’s cameras and I bought my first polaroid in high school right after Polaroid declared bankruptcy in 2008. I fell in love with the whole process while in college and I found myself having bidding wars with people on eBay for cameras I knew nothing about. I found something in it though and people started encouraging me to pursue it more seriously and I think that made all the difference. I haven’t looked back since.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?

When I’m making art. What I mean by that is when the project requires me to dig deeper than just taking a photo of a model wearing some clothes. I think that’s why film is my calling. There is something about being in the moment and asking the question why this matters. Film allows me to answer those questions while showcasing people who inspire me in every way. I need to be working with people, companies, brands, etc. whose values directly correlate with my own. Because of this, I work with a lot of females that the fashion industry and modeling industry haven’t always represented. We are definitely seeing a shift in culture and how we label (or don’t label) women but I still believe there is work to be done. My relationship with Orenda Lou is built on this exact premise and we are working overtime to help refine the industry. Besides my projects with them, I also work with Urban Outfitters and Top Knot Goods as well as some amazingly talented musical artists and muses/models. What’s really cool is that I’m working with badass gals to make it all happen. I hope this road never ends and I’m excited to see where it takes me.

Q: What would be your dream project?

Honestly, I had to stop myself from thinking up dream projects. I have reached out to countless companies and individuals I admire in hopes of making a collaboration happen and I end up breaking my own heart. Instead of focusing my energy on day dreaming or creating heavily detailed plans that won’t ever fit my expectations, I’ve allowed myself to make my own dream projects and to go with the flow. I focus on what I can do in the now with the resources I have using colors, people and settings to create visuals that make people happy.

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?

I just hope wherever I go and whatever I do next, there is travel involved and lots and lots of film. I’ll let the companies come to me while I stay focused on the message I want to spread. If a company or person feels the same way and encourages me to work on that while paying me, we are living the dream!

Q: If someone from out of state were to ask you about the creative scene in Denver, what would you say to them? And if they asked you further how it is for the women of the city, how would you respond to that?

I already get questions about it. Being from the east coast, I experienced a bit of a culture shock when I moved here 7 years ago. I was only use to my home city of Philly and it’s neighboring city, New York. I was in Boulder at the time but I definitely was quick to dismiss the creative scene in Denver until it welcomed me with such open arms and gave me the space to grow as an artist. I owe this scene my entire existence. A lot of the people rooting for me in Denver are females and that’s what inspires me the most.

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?

More collaborations with groups/individuals. There are some talented creatives here and I think the best thing for any creative scene is to get all those minds together to make something insanely original and wonderful. I’m all about the power of groups and understand we are much stronger together than apart and that applies to all realms of our lives.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?

I’m an introverted extrovert and sometimes knowing people through social media is the most comfortable form of communication for me as an artist. At the same time, I understand that meeting in person is crucial for growth in a community so I try to meet up with people for coffee or snacks or just to walk around and talk and get to know one another. I try to answer as many questions I can and ask them too. Existing out of my comfort zone is important and I think the same can be said for any community. Getting to know other styles and flows while understanding there is a space for everyone to thrive is also key. I love me some friendly competition and supporting the community in anyway I can. You don’t need to attend every event to show your support, there are others way to get involved.

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?

I’ve been a long time sucker for the man who goes by the name Drake. It’s a weird relationship that I don’t really understand but I could listen to his albums on repeat until I die. There’s a ton of people I feel this way about but I always come back to Drake. I think because I relate strongly to musicians who have lost parents or who were raised by single moms growing up as that fits along with my storyline losing my dad at a young age and how that impacted me immensely. I think there is something to be said about kids wanting to show their parents, alive or dead, who they are and what they are able to accomplish with or without them.

Q: Also, if you had to have a safeword, what would yours be?
 

‘SILVER’ - it’s pretty much the main chemical in film stock.

***Photos in this interview were taken by Sammy Keller 


ORENDA LOU

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Keesha Scheel & Kelsey Lundie: Style Goddesses           @orendalou

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

We own an online vintage shop, specializing in 90s streetwear and are a stylist duo. We both grew up loving  R&B queens like Aaliyah, TLC, and Brandy so our style really vibes off of inspiration from them and that time period. As we grew, our love for fashion continued to grow and we both worked in retail, primarily doing merchandising and buying. We got to a point where we wanted to use the skills to work for ourselves, and that’s how Orenda Lou came to be!

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?

EVERYTHING we’ve created with our friend and photographer Sammy Keller over the last two years. We met her, and it was love at first sight. We’ve always vibed really effortlessly and found out that we shared similar visions of what we wanted to create for the fashion world. We’re creating a new wave that goes against conventional beauty standards.

Q: What would be your dream project?                                                                                     

This one’s hard! Creating with women that inspire and empower us. There’s too many to choose.

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?                                                                                                                

Keesha: My dream person to work with is Elizabeth de la Piedra. I love everything about her from her style to the work she creates as a photographer. She’s just a bad ass all around and everything she does resonates with me.     

Kelsey: I would love to co-create with Solange. I’m obsessed with EVERYTHING that is her! The smallest details in her work makes the biggest impact on me as a stylist to a creative director.

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?

We feel like Denver gets a bad rap when it comes to the creative scene, at least in the fashion scene. We’ve had people from elsewhere not understand why we’re trying to build here--they’re always like, “why not, NY or LA”. We feel like Denver is the prime spot for creatives right now because it’s not oversaturated and we’ve been able to build a sense of support and community here. The creative community we’ve had the pleasure of being a part of is nothing but AMAZING. Everyone is doing their own thing and it’s so cool to see. We have nothing but love for Denver and admire anyone living in their truth and doing what they love.

The women of the city are killing it! There is a real sense of camaraderie. All the ladies we’ve met are so down to work with each other and not against each other. That’s a powerful thing.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?

We feel like it’s pretty on point. There are always events happening where different creatives are out showing others love. Our friend Sammy just had her first solo show at Melon Art Gallery and the support that she received was unreal. There were so many people there from all over the city and the night was so beautiful. The energy in the room was something we can’t even describe.

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?

At the moment, Brockhampton. We are obsessed! They’re our boys, we love how hyphy they are but romantic at the same time. lol

Q: Also, if you had to have a safeword, what would yours be? ;)

SO cute!


JUSTINE HENDERSON

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Justine Henderson: Photographer + Designer @justinek28  

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

I always was drawing growing up or creating things. I also had a weird obsession with electricity, I couldn’t sit still and was constantly making things. However, I got sold this idea from a young age that success and creative careers didn't go together or even that creative and career didn’t even belong together. So when I went to college, I picked a major that was practical and two years along I finally realized that Analytical Statistics wasn’t what I was made to do. My notebooks were back to back doodles and all of a sudden I wasn’t the best anymore in the class. Actually, I was very very average at math, and I was over it. So I took the next trimester to take completely “bullshit classes” or at least that’s what I thought I was doing with an all elective schedule lined up. However, I ended up finding a class that explored the future of digital media and was so enthralled by it I changed my major and took a major life switch that has now evolved into a life where I own my own business creating graphics, websites, animations and taking photographs. I also have taught Media Arts for Denver Public Schools, Johnson and Wales and The Office of Economic Development to name a few.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?                               

One of my favorite projects was designing the Japanese vector styled fruits and veggie wall for Green Seed at Denver Central Market. I was hired by LIV Studio for the project. The best part was designing something to that scale and as colorful as it was. I would love to work on more large scale works in the future.

Q: What would be your dream project?

Just a large scale interactive project. Something that involved multiple medias. My major was in Interactive Art which is a limited field with limited jobs.

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?                                                                                                                     

R/GA or a Digital Agency to that level. I love freelance but being able to work on Nike Campaigns or with companies such as Samsung and Google would be the next level.

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?                                                                                                         

Professionalism. Denver is a hard market to get paid what you deserve. I think it’s easy to feel like you're a big shot in a smallish city here but in reality your getting paid what an amateur creative would in a larger city in the US. I think we are scratching the surface of our potentials in Denver. That's a big reason why I prioritize traveling a few times a year. I love seeing where we stand alongside Miami creatives, Los Angeles Creatives, London ect. I learned a lot from my friends in the industry in Miami, who work with clients such as Puma, how they are getting paid, pulling professional corporate clients and not working for free.

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?                                                                                                                             

I would like to see more women behind the scenes or on sets of creative projects across the city. Not exactly sure how, but I definitely believe Safeword is helping solve this lack of women in the industry issue.

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?

Right now, most likely SZA. One of the only artists who I can play her songs on repeat.

***Fun Fact: Justine created our badass logo.


LIL FRESH SAM

Lil Fresh Sam: Founder of Infatué               @lilfreshsam

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

It started as a dream and over time became reality. I am a fashion stylist & clothing designer. 

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?                               

One of my favorite clients and shoots was with Skull Candy, they flew us to San Clemente and we produced an amazing ad campaign for some of their new products. The team was instantly family and very fun to work with! I styled the models for the shoot. The goal was to make them look “cool”  and that was easily executed considering they were super cool inside and out!

Q: What would be your dream project?

Right now I’m focused on my brand and expanding it - I’d love to collaborate with Nike on a shoe one day!

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?                                                                                                                     

Nike, Balmain & Chanel - 3 of my favorite brands from quality, intricacy and branding.

Q: If someone from out of state were to ask you about the creative scene in Denver, what would you say to them? And if they asked you further how it is for the women of the city, how would you respond to that?                                                                                                      

I just answered this question last night in New York -  Denver’s creative scene is growing rapidly right now! From more exposure to more people in the city doing their thing! It’s amazing and soon It’ll be a culture people can identify all around the world! I feel it’s a part of my job to make that happen one way or another, for the city! Also, Denver is the fastest growing women entrepreneur city in the Western hemisphere right now - so that says something!

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?

More collaboration and support, less competing with each other. Once we change our mindset I really believe we can come together and put the city on for all it is!   

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?                                                                                                                 

Building genuine relationships with each other is key.

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?

Drake. 

Q: Also, if you had to have a safeword, what would yours be? 

LOVE.


ANH PHAN

 
 
 
 

Anh Phan: Founder of Wolfsbane Intimates  @wolfsbaneintimates 

Q: Let’s start with a little bit about your line of work, tell us a little about your background and how you came to do the work you do today?

Becoming a designer has always been a dream of mine and to run my own company is just the cherry on top. I learned the basics of sewing in high school, but I am mostly self-taught. Shortly after high school, my dream slipped away from me as I dabbled in other interest. I played music, I started to bake, even a little photography. Soon I graduated college with a business degree and started working for a corporation. A couple years in, I started to lose my mind, I needed a creative outlet. I had lost my creative senses and was desperate to regain it. Wolfsbane Intimates was born out of the love of lingerie and for the incredible sense of following my dreams. I love being able to share my work with woman all around the world.

Q: What are some of your favorite projects you have ever worked on (what client was it for, what were you doing, how long did it take you, where did it take you)?                                 

By far, my most favorite project was creating a custom set for my dear friend who was getting married. I loved being able to make something that was truly one of a kind and unique just for her. I love being able to gift something so personal for her on her special day. This project made me want to expand into bridal lingerie and possibly swimwear one day!

Q: What would be your dream project?

Naturally, my dream project involves a lot of parts. Imagine a campaign depicting of a group of boss babes who are touring the country, promoting their latest rock album. They are fun loving, adventure seeking individuals who travel from city to city in an old Lincoln while wearing the sexiest lingerie paired with classic 80s punk attire. I would say if I had lived in another life, it would look similar to this.

Q: In line with that, who would be a dream person/company that you would want to work alongside and why?

I would love to work with Petra Collins and Brooke Olimpieri for a campaign. Both are phenomenal artist and photographers that have a vision that is unmatched. These women have defined their style and it would be a true honor to create alongside them.

Q: If someone from out of state were to ask you about the creative scene in Denver, what would you say to them? And if they asked you further how it is for the women of the city, how would you respond to that?                                                                                                

From my experience, I would say Denver is a bustling town of creatives who are excited and motivated to create content with one another. No matter what medium you are in, I have felt a great sense of community and support for one another. If they had asked specifically for woman, I would say it can be hard at times. You wanted to be taken seriously in your work and its can be difficult when you are young and starting out. I would love for women to have the same respect as men.

Q: What are some improvements you think can be made throughout the creative scene around Denver?

I find that it is somewhat hard to really interact on a personal level. I could blame the introvert that I am, but there isn’t a space that is specific to networking. I think it would amazing to have some sort of interactive calendar where artist can upload events or news that can be shared on a large scale!   

Q: The Safeword hopes to bring together all types of creative women of Denver so that women who may not know one another or only know each other through social media or word of mouth, have the opportunity to actually network and build personal and business relationships with one another. What other ways do you think we as a community to grow and build together?                                                                                                                              

I am so pleased that The Safeword Is has created a community that allows creative woman to build relationships with one another. I truly believe it is a great start to something the will flourish years to come. If I can think of some way to improve how we build and grow together, I would suggest that we take it upon ourselves to not listen to rumors and gossip. Let's not feed the fire that could burn the community down. Instead, let us plant a garden of complements and positive energy. Soon we will have a lavish forest!

Q: And what kind of interview would it be if we didn’t throw in a question out of left field? If you could only listen to ONE musician/band while you worked, which musician/band would it be?

Wow! Just one? This is probably the hardest question to answer! I love The Donnas. I was lucky enough to see them live once before they stopped producing music. They are incredibly talented ladies and their music gets me excited to work!

Q: Also, if you had to have a safeword, what would yours be? 

Is "STOP" too cliché?