“Be bold and don’t conform to anything you don’t believe in. Use your voice. Always.”

Alana Andrade is a fourth year Media Studies student at Guelph-Humber. She’s also the production manager for an online publication called TUFF Magazine. TUFF is a publication that’s made for everyone that focuses on things like lifestyle, diversity, world issues, and much more. It also gives the young adults who work there a chance to show off their talents.

When she’s not doing school work, Alana is working at TUFF making sure everyone sticks to deadlines and that photo shoots are scheduled. She’s the behind-the-scenes talent; checking email every day, talking to contributors, and assembling the flip book at the end of each month.

IGNITE had the pleasure to talk to Alana about TUFF and life as a working student. Here’s what she had to say:

How would you describe TUFF?

“I would describe TUFF as a lifestyle magazine that tackles a wide range of different topics that are important to our team, and that we think students and young adults would be interested in or should read about. We want to give a platform for writers to voice their opinions, for artists and creatives to display their work, and for talent to be shared overall. Our magazine wouldn’t function every month without our amazing graphic designers, writers, and artists of all kinds.”

Instagram post screen capture of TUFF behind the scenes. Model is sitting on a set for a photo shoot beside a girl holding an iPad.
Courtesy of TUFF Magazine Instagram


How did the magazine start?

“TUFF Magazine was actually created by my two best friends. Kyana Hatch is the Creative Director and Diana Wrona is the Editor-in-Chief. They both have passions and talents that they thought could be put together to create this magazine. Last summer, I pitched the idea of making monthly issues in the form of a flip book so that our content can remain consistent. We all agreed that this is the best direction for TUFF, and the three of us have been working on this together since September 2017.”

Where do you get your ideas for the issues?

“At the beginning of each month, right after we publish our latest issue, the three of us sit and discuss the direction of the issue for the following month. We discover a theme and plan out the articles accordingly. We typically have nine pieces each month corresponding to the sections of our magazine, including politics and world issues, entrepreneur features, living and lifestyle, and a lot more. The ideas for the theme usually depend on the month. February is Black History Month and it’s also Valentines Day on the 14th. Adhering to this, we are currently using a Black model for our cover, and including an article that speaks of Black History Month, as well as illustrating love in different aspects like self-love and love for the environment.”

It’s so nice to see content that talks about diversity and self-care. Is this something you see in other magazines or would like to see?

“You can definitely find content on diversity and self-care in other magazines, I just feel that its not included enough. I feel that magazines created by the students and young adults of today are so important because our generation is fighting and trying to correct all the absurd standards our society has. I feel that some of the biggest magazines are afraid to be controversial sometimes. My friends and I are very passionate about these topics and usually include controversial topics in our issues. I would tell students to always be bold and don’t conform to anything you don’t believe in. Use your voice. Always.”

Instagram post screen capture of TUFF Magazine's January cover. Image of a model wearing a t-shirt style dress in a winter landscape.
Courtesy of TUFF Magazine’s Instagram


What do you think makes a good magazine?

“I think a good magazine is one that develops what the creators and the contributors are passionate about, and what stays true to their colours. Not conforming to the subject matter that is the most popular or trendy. Magazines that are passionate about what they believe in and what they wish to tell the world are the most admirable. That is what we strive to be.”

How do you manage to balance school work, life, and TUFF?

“I consider myself to be a huge multi-tasker. I’m that person who always has a million things on my plate. I like to keep busy and be involved with a lot of different things. Keeping an agenda or notes on my phone is how I stay on track with everything. If I don’t write down my thoughts, or things I need to do, or places I need to be, I wouldn’t be able to do anything.”

Is there anything that helped you in this venture that you learned at GH?

“One thing I like the most from my experience at Guelph-Humber in the Media Studies program is how many different aspects of the media we learn about. So many areas were covered, and I feel like that really helped me move forward. It really helped me with my understanding of how to operate a magazine because you need all of these skills to run a magazine. Each area of emphasis within the Media Studies program touched on things that really helped me with TUFF.”

Instagram post screen capture of model pulling her hair up of TUFF Magazine's page
Courtesy of TUFF Magazine Instagram


What advice would you give to students who want to create their own work outside of school?

“Get out there and do it. Even if you’re not completely sure of your voice or aesthetic or whatever it may be, start creating and let yourself refine things as you go. If my friends didn’t just go for it and create the name of the magazine and the starter website, it wouldn’t be what it is today. Take it step by step, and watch your ideas and creations bloom. Any creative process is beneficial to your future. Simply bringing your ideas to life is impressive and gives you something to show.”


*This interview has been edited for length and clarity

Want to get involved with TUFF? Visit their site to learn how.

Check out more from Alana and TUFF on their Instagram pages.

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