When I was seventeen, I started doing research for a teenager’s guide to life that I would aptly entitle “I’m, like, seventeen” (think: Cher Horowitz). I must have been motivated by the fact that my dad detests the word “like” and never misses an opportunity to correct me no matter how many times I try to explain that rehashing a conversation with and then she said, and then he said sounds stuffy if not, colloquially stunted. And also, I loved Clueless. Maybe I was just totally buggin’, but in my adolescent wisdom, the working title seemed like a healthy mix of wit and defiance. Sadly, the book never materialized but if I’d had the fortitude of Lucia Tran, perhaps things might have turned out differently. Case in point: four years ago, at just sixteen (gasp!), she started Zooey, a magazine for the everyday woman and just this year, launched Little Zooey which is geared toward families. Lucia clearly knows what she’s doing and is a truly exceptional role model. Oh, and with the inclusion of Cappie & Evan, she’s a girl after my own heart.
NAME Lucia Tran
LOCATION Los Angeles and San Francisco
EDUCATIONAL BACKGROUND UCLA (English)
COMPANY Zooey Magazine | Little Zooey | Lucia Tran Public Relations
WESBITE www.zooey-magazine | www.littlezooeymagazine.com
At at an impressive 16 years young, you had the vision & fortitude to start Zooey magazine. What inspired you? The constant yearning for a platform that speaks honesty, intelligence, and of WOMEN drove me to create Zooey. So in a sense, women inspire me. There’s so many unheard and untold stories out there, waiting to have the opportunity to be publicized. I wanted an outlet that would allow for just that.
Curating content for the magazine must be quite a fun & exciting challenge. As editor-in-chief, how do you approach each new issue? Tell me a bit about the design/layout process. It takes me a while to develop themes for each issue, because it has to resonate with the current season and the emotions that are flying around. For example, I was inspired by Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” for the next issue, but wasn’t sure if it would translate well to a general audience. But with recent (and very sad) news, the line “to be or not to be” is very much fitting. I explore issues that are important, unspoken, and relevant to the female reader. In terms of the design and layout process: Everything is very clean. I think simplicity in design and presentation is important, so we have a lot of white and negative space.
Zooey has had a number of lovely cover girls, including funny girl Kat Dennings, Princess Anna, aka Kristen Bell & the incredibly creative sister duo behind A Beautiful Mess. What do you look for in a cover girl? There are so many factors to consider – inspirational story, background, what’s new for the talent, how they relate to our audience, and what they do for women in general. And in all honesty, I have to be a fan of the person too. I couldn’t ever put out a cover that I didn’t believe in. Our next cover girls, and yes, it’s plural, are the most amazing humans and I cannot wait to show it to the world.
How did you get the word out about the magazine when it first launched? How have you handled marketing since? Initially, the magazine already had a following and as time grew, we gained a larger readership through our social media and also by being on the newsstands. We market to women 18-34, and our readership is just within that range. It’s very important for us to serve these this range of women, because I think during these times, women are looking for inspiration in all directions whether for their creative careers or personal lives.
You very recently debuted Little Zooey, a magazine geared towards parents and children – congrats! What motivated you to create the new magazine? Aside from the audience, how does it differ from Zooey? I really wanted to produce a platform for families that go beyond just advertisements. There’s an abundance of these blogs/magazines that only produce editorials with little to no stories linked. And I also feel that children and their families are losing out on simple living. We’re all so attracted to instant gratification of our phones and tablets, that we forget what it means to work hard and have patience… To me, that’s the ultimate satisfaction. I’m seeing more and more empty playgrounds, and more kids with their heads bowed down to their screens. And of course, parents allow it because it keeps the kids ‘occupied.’ I think it’s sad that our generation has succumbed to these trends, and I want nothing more than to encourage a life without all the mess of technology. So yes, it’s ironic that I produced an online platform to talk about these issues, but we post no more than once a day, and everything we create is to encourage a life made happy and simply. I hope that makes sense! It’s pretty similar to Zooey, except it’s more for families!
What has been the highlight of Zooey to date? There have been so many highlights! I’ve met amazing people and experienced wonderful events, so it’s hard to pinpoint what the best highlight has been. I think it would just have to be that I have the opportunity to do what I love, and live it out each day. So many people struggle with finding their passions and finding happiness in their careers. Thus, I’m incredibly grateful and I hope to be able to help others reach this level of happiness too.
Let’s go back in time several years before you launched Zooey. What advice would give yourself on the topic of entrepreneurship? Study your industry inside and out. I really thought I nailed it, but I had so much more to learn. I also think it’s important to establish what exactly it is you want, and you will grow and change overtime. But as long as you have that foundation, there’s no other direction to move to but forward. Find mentors and surround yourself with great people. It might sound like a silly thing now, but imagine your professional career years down the line… you will always want someone to turn to for support, whether for professional support or moral support.
Fast-forward five years. Where do hope to see yourself & Zooey (big & little)? I hope to build a community for our big and little magazines, and travel across the country to meet our readers. We’re planning a coffee tour; have a conversation with women face-to-face.
Guilty pleasure? Wasting time at used bookstores. Oh, and watching Netflix (I just got hooked onto CW’s “Beauty and the Beast” and I never thought I would be).
Favorite animated movie? Do cartoons, count? I have no idea anymore (hints of old age). Can I give you my favorite movie? It’s “You’ve Got Mail.” I can recite all the lines.
Cake or pie? Neither. I really don’t like frosting or filling.
Spirit animal? Blackbird. I have no idea why, but it’s my favorite song anyways.
Go-to breakfast? Cup of coffee.