May 23, 2019 | By Cassandra Gagnon
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Jan 16, 2018
By Sara Radin
Today, the parameters of what is deemed beautiful are being thrown out the window as a new movement is championing a more honest and positive approach to beauty. Noa Vee is a UK-based platform whose 21-year-old founder Beth Fuller is becoming a leader of this rising movement. With 8K Instagram followers, the social media account and online magazine believes that we are our most beautiful selves when we are totally true to who we are.
We sat down with Fuller to learn more about her background, her growing community, and her plans to spread this much-needed message.
How did you first get in to writing and publishing?
I come from a working class background, growing up in Durham, in the North-East of England. Growing up with hardly any money taught me to appreciate what I did have, and learn how to fight for what I want in life. I’ve had many setbacks, having no safety net, but have learned to stay resilient.
I began interning in London aged 17 for Sabotage Times, an online magazine/content creation agency. I was accepted onto a design course at the London College of Fashion and moved to the capital city, despite its high cost of living. I studied, interned in PR, writing and design all while working in a cafe. It wasn’t long before I had no money, so I went back home and worked three jobs at the same time to afford rent. This is where social media became my best tool.
I began Noa Vee on Instagram, and was able to connect with influential people in the industry on my personal page. I began freelancing in photography for local brands such as Tutti & Co and writing for London-based publications like Neighbourhood magazine. I wanted to get some experience in advertising too so I rang and emailed every ad agency in the North-East and landed a few hours per week as the social media manager with the agency Keltie Cochrane.
It was a lot to juggle at once and I didn’t have a entire day off for five months but I still can’t believe how quickly things progressed. It’s crazy to think that this time last year I didn’t even have a laptop. I couldn’t have achieved any of this work without social media. At the moment, I focus on Noa Vee and study English Literature at university. Due to the work experience I’ve had and the people I’ve met, I’m fortunate that I can now manage my own workload. I’m able to freelance and build my own publication whilst still live as a student in Newcastle. There’s a lot that’s happened for being 21 but it makes me super excited to see what’s to come.
What is the concept behind Noa Vee?
Noa Vee is essentially a safe space online to celebrate honest beauty in all women with the aim to redefine beauty standards and remove the oppression they create. I aim to break beauty standards and also raise political awareness. I wanted the notion that the identity of women should be explored, not defined to be clearly understood. Hence, it’s important that the platform discusses beauty standards in light of them being political not superficial. Noa Vee does this by publishing personal essays, photography, artwork, interviews with emerging creatives and write ups on brands that allow women to depict their own identity.
How did it come about and what kind of content do you focus on?
It began as a project on Instagram and I continue to curate the page in the same way, planning content from imagery created by artists across the world that challenge existing notions of what it is to be a woman, what a woman should look like and how a woman should feel about her appearance. The website was then introduced just two months ago, which then meant that people interested in the platform could contribute, and in the short space of time women/womxn from 12 countries have had work published which, to me, is surreal.
I didn’t want the publication to sound unapproachable and also didn’t want to chase content from celebrities or people with large followings in order to grow the profile of Noa Vee – it’s extremely important that anyone feels that they can contribute. People reach out to Noa Vee about every hour now and so I love that, as a positive online space, it has a consistent and direct conversation with those interested. I think it feels just as much of a community as it does an online platform, which makes the conversations I get to have undoubtedly my favourite part of working on it every day.
As I run Noa Vee single handedly, I write a lot of the larger think pieces to shape the narrative of the platform and give people a sense of what it stands for. However, I’d say that the most important pieces of content are the personal essays, photography and artwork that is submitted, as they are what give the platform it’s diverse voice. I began Noa Vee, but it isn’t my platform, it is built by the people that contribute to it.
What sets Noa Vee apart from other publications?
I think the sharp focus on dismantling beauty standards is what sets us apart as there are so many incredible online publications and zines out their at the moment, which are doing such great things in changing the narrative of mass media but there aren’t any aimed at beauty. At first, I was worried that it was too fine of a focus and that some people would dispute it as a publication but I think by championing the platforms niche rather than attempting to be the most popular, Noa Vee seems to ‘hit the nail on the head’ for thousands of female identifying people.
How do you hope to grow the platform in the future?
I feel unbelievably protective of Noa Vee so it’s quite a strange feeling to me that one day it may be in a different place than it currently is (despite my desire for it to grow). Today, no magazine is just a magazine as, in order to profit, they function in other ways. For instance a lot of magazines offer work as a creative agency. This is definitely something I am considering for Noa Vee but I refuse to allow any ads or brand alignments that don’t align with the ethos.
As a solution to this, I have an idea that suits Noa Vee that I hope to play out over the next three years, which will allow the platform to grow without disrupting the accessibility it offers, so that when I finish my degree I can hopefully put all my efforts into it. Since everything is currently under lock and key it’s best to keep the ideas quiet, however the Noa Vee community can definitely expect more from the platform in the next few months.
Love this? Follow Noa Vee on Instagram here.
For more from our WGSN Youth Editor, follow Sara here.
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