Stephanie Pakrul is not a victim

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By Jennifer Fong

Web designer. Entrepreneur. Photographer. Writer. As if her resume wasn’t already long enough, 21-year-old Ryerson student Stephanie Pakrul recently added another title to her name: recording artist.

If Pakrul’s name sounds familiar, that may be because you’ve read about her in the past. She was featured in The Eyeopener when she posed nude in the Love & Sex issue last year.

This time, Pakrul is featured in print for a different reason. After nearly a decade of writing, recording and producing, the third-year ITM student is releasing her debut album. The album, Not A Victim, is being released on Friday, Nov. 14 at Oakham House. She describes the nine songs collection as being “edgy-folk.”

“I tend to say it’s alternative but people get an idea of loud guitars and a bunch of guys growling,” she said.

She said the title of her album symbolizes the choices she has made in her life.

“I’ve been through a lot at a young age but I don’t regret it. So I don’t want to play the victim — play the martyr — because I’m proud of what I’ve been through and what I’ve done,” she said.

Not all the songs, however, are a direct reference to her life.

“Some of them are personal and some of them are nonsensical. I find that I take one little snippet, one little idea, that may be a facet of my personality, and just explode that,” she said.

Pakrul knew that she would record her own album one day. Having written music since she was seven, she decided to go ahead with her dream last December. The road has been long and bumpy.

Pakrul didn’t realize that she would have to learn small but important details such as scheduling and designing the album’s packaging.

Still, she would do it all over again without hesitation.

“It’s been really frustrating at times, but it was incredible, especially to go through it with my friends.”

There were extravagant costs Pakrul wasn’t expecting. Her expenses totaled $9,600, which she paid for with a little bit of help from fans who donated money through her Web site, www.stephthegeek.com.

The site attracts 35,000 visitors each month. Many visitors are men interested in the racy Web cam photos she puts up of herself. That may have been the initial draw, but she does receive e-mails complimenting her singing.

Pakrul insists that she doesn’t strip down to sell records.

“It’s just a part of my life. It’s not like I’m doing that as part of a publicity stunt to have more people buy my CD. Write music, sell music, get naked on the Internet — they’re just all different areas of who I am. I’ve had people trash me just because I get naked, which I think is silly, but that’s their opinion and I just ignore them,” she said.

For all the negative feedback she has received, Pakrul has also been compared to the likes of Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. Despite such high praise, Pakrul isn’t looking to get signed.

“I don’t really want to make this my career. I do this because I love it,” she said.

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