Interview with a Zinester: Brandi

Kindly give us a short description of yourself and the work you do
I am Brandi! I am from Brooklyn, NY but am currently living in Western Massachusetts with my husband and two cats for a PhD program in Sociology. I create two zines; Fat Grrrlz! and …Like Weeds. Both are personal zines, though Fat Grrrlz! focuses on fat embodiment and …Like Weeds is more of a mental health issue/survival zine. I have two issues out of Fat Grrrlz! and one of …Like Weeds and am currently working on the next issues of both. I am hoping to start working on a zine about being working-class and in grad school, too! As for academic research, I am interested in – broadly, the fat acceptance movement, zine culture, gender, work, working-class identities, ethnography, feminist theory, and queer theory. I am also currently the NYC Ladies Arm Wrestling champ and a retired janitor of ten years.

How did you get introduced to zines? Were you influenced by anyone?
I was first introduced to zines at punk shows when I was younger – maybe junior high? Eighth grade? Most of them were produced by guys and were strictly fanzines focused on punk and hardcore music. When I was in high-school I got into more personal zines, but I’m not sure exactly where that first point of contact came. I’m thinking through some Riot Grrrl connections I made during that time.

What does it mean to do “feminist zine-making”? Does feminism appear in your work (explicitly or implicitly)?
For me, doing feminist zine-making involves giving myself and others a space to allow our voices to be heard. Typically, our voices might not be heard – at least not in such an accessible and autonomous way. It is also about feminist community building via these exchanges of personal and political narratives. I think Fat Grrrlz! reads more feminist explicitly; I talk about body positivity, sex, and that intersection of women and fat bodies, amongst other things. …Like Weeds might read more feminist implicitly; though with this idea of self-care really hitting the internet and social-media networks recently, it might end up being explicitly over time.

What is your favorite zine or piece of mail art? Do you like any specific style/part of a zine?
I really love personal zines especially when talking about social class issues, body positivity, and queer stuff. I am also really into diy gardening zines and graffiti zines. Three favorites: Neckmonster, Figure 8, and FaT GiRl.

If you could sum up your zinester life in a kitchen appliance, what appliance would it be?
The lemon squeezer; I start whole and vibrant and then I squeeze all of the juice out – spilling all of my guts almost- and there is a period where I might wonder “did I go too far?” but then I realize I am whole and vibrant again, with a glass of fresh lemon juice. This sums up much of my creation process, and how I feel after reading some zines! They can transform you into new vibrant beings either after reading or creating.


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