The question we sometimes get asked is what the SheRa team is reading. Since we are committed to the female story and pledge to champion real women, we are attracted to magazines, blogs, and movements which are doing the same. On our reading list is Riposte, a biannual magazine launched in November 2013 that touts itself as “a smart magazine for women.” The London-based magazine was founded by Danielle Pender and profiles “bold and fascinating women whose achievements speak for themselves.” The essays and features focus on art, design, music, business, innovation, politics, food, and travel. But it is their interviews that especially that appeal to me—full of humor and frankness, they delve deep into the women being portrayed to reveal their perspectives, passions, and personal quirks. I had a chat with Danielle about her magazine, Arnold Schwarzenegger films, and what’s next.
Why did you decide to launch Riposte?
I felt there was room for a women’s magazine that covered a broader range of topics than was currently on offer.
Tell me a bit about your background.
I studied History of Modern Art Film and Design at uni and then did an MA in Creative Writing. After college, I worked on various film and design festivals and curated exhibitions on a freelance basis. Since 2009, I have worked at KK Outlet, which is a multi-functional gallery, retail space, and communications agency. I curate the gallery space with different shows each month and work on bespoke communications projects. In my spare time, I work with a small team of close contributors to produce Riposte.
I love Arnold Schwarzenegger films, This American Life podcasts, and trainers.
Your pet peeves?
I’m currently five months pregnant so my current pet peeve is the fact I can only comfortably wear 10% of my wardrobe.
We love your simple, image-less covers. Where did the idea come from?
We had played around with lot of image-based covers which Shaz (our Creative Director) had designed but as nice as they were, we felt that we’d seen them all before. She took inspiration from an old National Geographic which had a text based cover; we loved how brave it was and how it made us slightly nervous. The accepted wisdom is that images sell so it was quite a risk to take away those selling points. I’m really happy we took the risk.
We also love the “five ideas, four meetings, three features, two essays and one icon” format. Where did this idea come from?
I wanted a format that let the reader know where they were and something which would make it easy for us to make sense of the content we were looking for and where it would fit.
Do you have regular writers on board and do you accept contributions?
Yes we have a team of regular contributors and we also accept contributions. We’re working with some great contributors for the next issue who have contacted us speculatively. It’s always good to be open to new ideas from new places.
What have been some of your favorite stories that you have published?
I really love Sister Corita, the screen-printing nun, and we featured an interview with Françoise Mouly [the art director of The New Yorker] in our first issue which I really love. She was a plumber and an architect in Paris before she moved to New York and bought her own printing press and became an authority on graphic art. I love those stories about fascinating women which have an unexpected turn or angle.
What’s next for Riposte?
We’re hoping to grow our distribution network, build on the great feedback we’ve had so far, and look to building more around Riposte as the print product such as events, books, podcasts, and merchandise.
Next week: We profile the ladies behind Reductress.