International Women’s Day & an Interview with Katarina Alaupovic of RUBY Magazine

For International Women’s Day I was very fortunate to be in Michigan, where my best friend and my extended family reside, celebrating our Grandmother’s 90th birthday. So when my friend Katarina asked me if I would help her launch a Kickstarter campaign for her new Women’s magazine, RUBY — I was so pleased to say yes. My Grandmother isn’t the only great woman I know but she’s certainly on the forefront of my mind right now and so this is partly in dedication to her that I support Katarina and I thought instead of telling you only about the magazine in my words, that I’d let Katarina tell you, in hers:

There is no tool for development more effective than the empowerment of women. – Kofi Annan

Kirsten: Thank you so much for talking with me, Katarina! Ever since you told me about RUBY I’ve been so excited about seeing it come to fruition. I think I did some sort of fist pump in the air when I first got your email about it in fact. So tell my readers, what is RUBY?

Katarina: I’m so glad to hear that! RUBY is an online lifestyle publication that promotes female camaraderie, supports sisterhood and inspires women to make a difference. It’s all about inspiring women from the inside out – nurturing a woman’s relationship with herself and with her fellow female. My goal is to make it an inclusive community for women from all walks of life. Articles will be inspiring, thought-provoking and informative. Most importantly, it will help lay the foundation for future generations of women who will champion other women…I want us to start seeing one another as a support system, not always competition.

Kirsten: Who do you envision as the target audience for Ruby? Can you describe the person you envision in your head when you think about a RUBY reader?

Katarina: Sure! RUBY will target women of the millennial generation and maybe younger, because that’s where I am in life and that’s where I think it’s most important to start. But, I think RUBY’s message is relevant to all women, so I certainly don’t want to exclude anyone who doesn’t fall within that demographic. I think women of all ages, places and backgrounds will see themselves in RUBY and find something they love in RUBY. I envision the RUBY reader to be a woman who seeks a little more substance in life to supplement other content that’s out there about fashion, beauty, fitness, DIYs, etc. And I want to say – there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those things. I love fashion and beauty and DIYs and, on a good day, fitness. But that’s not all there is to life and I think RUBY can inject a healthy dose of world events, profiles of inspirational women, stories of women coming together to do something great…all in an effort to round out what’s currently out there.

Kirsten: I’ll be mega honest here and tell you that apart from my best friend of 34 years, I’ve often struggled with female friendships and I’ve been at the receiving end of more than a fair share of ugly behavior from women who claimed to be my friends. How do you hope, and plan, to encourage women to truly support each other, instead of being so competitive all the time?

Katarina: You’re not alone, sister! I think we’ve all been there. And, to be completely honest, I’ve been on the giving and receiving end of ugly behavior. My own personal journey and struggles with female friendships is what really inspired RUBY. It’s like one day I just woke up and thought – What’s the purpose? Why am I being so catty with some women?

The answer was simple and difficult at the same time: I was unhappy with certain parts of myself and I was projecting. Once I started nurturing the relationship with myself…really learning to love and accept the person that I am…I grew into more of a girl’s girl. And I have to say, life is so much happier this way. I think that’s really the key: Help women be confident in themselves and in turn they’ll be confident in their relationships with other women.

So, a large chunk of RUBY’s content will help teach women to love themselves from the inside. There’s a lot of discussion out there about body image and I think it’s a really important conversation. But, for RUBY, I’d like to take the conversation away from women’s bodies and outside appearance as much as possible because I think it’s only one part of happiness and self-love. I want RUBY to address the heart and mind more than anything else. Whether we realize it or not, media has a big influence on our lives. We’re moved to live and act a certain way by the messages that we’re surrounded by, either on a conscious or subconscious level. One of the best ways to bring about positive change is to alter the conversation.

As women, we must stand up for ourselves. We must stand up for each other. We must stand up for justice for all. – Michelle Obama

Kirsten: Tell me about some of the stories you already envision being in the pages of RUBY?

Katarina: I’m still working through exact verticals and how stories will be “packaged,” so to speak. But general ideas I have include profiles of women entrepreneurs or philanthropists, career and life advice, world events, travel, examples of women championing their fellow females, honest commentary and stories on female friendship, so on.

This is probably a good moment to tell people what they won’t find in RUBY. I don’t plan on having any fashion or beauty coverage, no DIYs, no red carpet fashion roundups, no celebrity gossip…in fact, celebrity stories in general will be very minimal. You also won’t necessarily find commentary on things like Lena Dunham’s leaked supposed pre-Photoshopped images…because, again, I want to drive conversation away from outside appearance.

You also won’t find articles on whether or not Kim Kardashian is a positive role model for women because, well, I think the most important thing about being a girl’s girl and being a feminist is to recognize that every woman has the right to choose how she wants to live her life. Amy Poehler sums up this thought so perfectly in her book, Yes, Please, with one very simple but powerful mantra: “Good for you, not for me.” It’s something I’m trying to live by!

Another thing about RUBY’s content: I want to hire trained and talented journalists and writers who know how to research, report and tell a really compelling story. So, my goal is to stay away from Top 10 lists and roundups – to hopefully give people smart, entertaining, thought-provoking nuggets that will enrich their lives for a minute, a day or…if we do our jobs right, I guess…maybe even a lifetime.

Kirsten: Who are some of the women in your own life who might have inspired you to launch RUBY?

Katarina: There are so many. My mom, first and foremost. She inspires me in a lot of ways. My friends and female family…cousins, aunts. Also, the girls and women that I’ve personally been catty or mean to in my past life – the women I didn’t give a fair chance to because I was insecure or being influenced by others. Mostly, though, the women who have made a positive impact on my life…those girls who have been doing great things and supporting their fellow female for years and just because.

The Secret of Change Is to Focus All of Your Energy, Not on Fighting the Old, But on Building the New. – Dan Millman