In a world dominated by social media and celebrity icons, Ohio State students are working to create a new magazine that highlights realistic influences and leadership.
Samantha Sabihi, a third-year in neuroscience, founded SEEK Ink, a student organization at OSU that is focusing on launching BeMag. The BeMag magazine will focus on “self-esteem, empowerment and knowledge,” as displayed by the organization’s acronym.
Sabihi, founder and president of the magazine, noticed a problem when she was a camp counselor for girls ages 8-12 last summer, and realized how insecure these girls already were at a young age.
“It wasn’t just self-confidence. It was anorexia, bulimia, these things that I don’t think I was exposed to at that young age. I realized it was because of their phones — they were on Instagram, Twitter, and they would see these idealized images of celebrities and women and they had no real women role models,” Sabihi said. “I was like, ‘Why is there not a tangible source of media that can provide that kind of role model in all aspects?’”
The idea for a magazine came from a trip Sabihi took to the grocery store, when she really took notice of all of the covers of the magazines on the stands.
“I was just looking at the magazines on the stand and I was like, ‘This is just ridiculous, the things that are out there and the things that these girls and even young women my age see,’” Sabihi said.
She spoke to her roommate, Carmella Ruberto, a fourth-year in Italian and marketing and also a writer for BeMag, who told her that if she wanted a magazine with better influence, she should create one.
Sabihi founded the SEEK Ink student organization through OSU with the purpose of creating the magazine, which members of the organization are working on now.
The magazine has writers from all different majors covering various topics, including health, relationships, fashion, beauty, and national and international news. There will also be a section dedicated to men, Sabihi said.
“Everything we’re trying to talk about we’re trying to talk about in a unique and different way that hasn’t been talked about before,” Sabihi said. “All the fashion stuff our writer is doing is getting information on all body types, all skin colors and more than that, affordable fashion. It’s just trying to integrate all women.”
The target audience ranges from young teenagers to college students, and Sabihi said she hopes the magazine can reach a broader audience than OSU. Currently, the magazine is in a prototype stage, with the group designing the layout for the online page. The magazine will begin publishing online, but according to both Sabihi and Ruberto, the ultimate goal is to be in print.
“We stand out being in print. I think a lot of publications, organizations are going to have a website, but because we’re putting out this tangible product, it puts us in another light,” Ruberto said.
Until the first issue of the magazine is ready for publishing online, the group is operating a Facebook page, where the writers share various articles that relate to their specific topic. Sabihi said she hopes that the first online issue will be released in the fall of 2016.
“I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future. It may take off, I may have to pass it down, but the biggest thing I want to accomplish is that print,” Sabihi said.