By Soraya Roberts
Shameless magazine launched its second issue at Toronto’s Word on the Street last week, having come a long way since the first issue, which was released last spring.
Three months ago, Shameless co-founders and publishers Melinda Mattos and Nicole Cohen premiered the magazine with a $5,000 budget, a bit of professional guidance and a lot of promoting.
Today, they have over 300 subscribers.
“We looked at magazines we didn’t like,” said Cohen. The two Ryerson Journalism graduates read through old issues of Fashion 18, Seventeen and YM to avoid replicating the glossy publications filled with make-up tips and feminine stereotypes.
“It was harder to find what we did want to be,” Cohen says. But they felt traditional teen magazines were doing more damage than good. “The focus with Shameless is for girls to be active,” said Mattos. “They’re encouraged to be passive in society, to please boys and friends. [But girls] aren’t powerless. You get power by taking it.”
The funding for the second issue can been seen in the cover alone. The new issue is more visually exciting and features new columnists. “This is the sex issue,” Cohen says with a grin.
Next, Mattos and Cohen want to incorporate as a non-profit business, which will force them to get their books in order.
Right now, says Cohen, “our accounts are receipts. In an envelope. In a box. In a room.”