Maybe it's me, but in the last few years I've noticed an increase in the amount of editorial content targeted at real women. That is, women who are talented, hardworking, interesting, have great style, but are also nice and honest about their lives and experiences.
It's refreshing to say the least.
For a while I was somewhat frustrated by the editorial world. The women and their worlds always felt idealized and fluffy, even if it was in an indie, dishelved hair kinda' way. Instagram is maybe partially to blame for this, but in general it felt like we were missing honesty, messiness, and the real stories that come with that.
And then I started to find them – the writers, editors, and women who I could relate to. The real bloggers who were nice, hardworking, had flaws. Magazines like Golly came out and grew followings. These were platforms were the women seemed fun and looked cute, but were also talented, smart, and vulnerable.
This brings me to OKREAL – a young publishing platform that tells the stories of women who are interesting in real, regular ways. Aside from interviews with these women, the site also features nuggets of advice with OH YEAH, thoughts on body image, and the OK KIT that offers not-so-deep things like a review of New York's theclass and a recipe for sugar-free Kombucha.
Obviously I had to talk to the real gal behind OKREAL. Founder and Editor Amy Woodside tells me all about it:
How did OKREAL begin?
AMY WOODSIDE: My background is in communication. I wrote, illustrated, xeroxed, bound and distributed a newspaper about my life to family members when I was 4-years-old, so you could say that it started then.
How would you describe OKREAL to someone who's never heard of it?
AW: OKREAL is a movement enabling people to recognize and build upon value in their lives, connecting them with themselves and each other. It is a network and resource for motivation and guidance in leading a successful, meaningful life.
What gap did you see in the market that led you to creating OKREAL? Who wasn't being heard from?
AW: I didn’t understand how you could read about what interesting women ate for breakfast, what clothes or products they wore and used, or what their morning routine was — but could not find content related to what was truly important to them. There are an abundance of stories but a lack of meaningful information. OKREAL fills that gap, providing a collective resource for authentic insight into real lives. It’s a curation of wisdom for how to be who you want to be.
You've featured some incredible women – from Maya Jankelowitz of Jack’s Wife Freda to the New Museum's Karen Wong. Any dream interviews you haven't had the chance to do?
AW: The site is less than 4 months old – it is still very new. I am overwhelmed on a daily basis by my ever-growing list of people who I want to connect with and learn from.
Is there a specific or message you're trying to convey with the site?
AW: That we are defined by what we value, and that a strong sense of self is a foundation for getting what we want out of life. So we should probably pay attention to this, and learning from others helps. Which is why the ‘real’ element of the site is so crucial: we need to trust someone in order to resonate and learn from them.
What's the most interesting interview you've had so far?
AW: It’s impossible to narrow this down to just one, because I learn something new each time I speak with someone. They are all equally valuable lessons—regardless of where that person is in their life.
Color plays a big role in OKREAL's design and branding. How important is design for the business?
AW: The branding was important in that it needed to feel down to earth, positive, and simple—with the focus being on the content, specifically the people featured. I could say that the color was symbolic of the varied personalities and identities brought together in this community, but really, it just turned out that way. It looked good and it worked. I also have an awesome design team: XXIX who let me interfere as much as I wanted throughout the build.
The women on OKREAL are from a variety of different industries and lifestyles. What would you say is the one element that ties them all together? What's your process for scouting OKREAL subjects?
AW: Sometimes I’ll go into an interview with particular angle, but the person will completely surprise me. There has been an inclination towards the creative industries because that is my default network, but it really comes down to something I admire about the person; something I am drawn to, regardless of their occupation. The common ground would be that each person I interview is doing something that is an expression of their real self and they have a story to tell.
Feeling inspired by Amy and the badass women of OKREAL? Want to (finally) sort your life out? Here's your chance:
OKREAL has teamed-up with Penelope Trunk & Quistic to offer $100 off all Quistic courses for 3 days, and 3 days only. See here for details.
Thanks to Amy for her time, and for creating such a beautiful, platform.