Christina Stoever had always wanted to create a zine. Growing up she would mess around and make small zines using photos she had taken, but she never published them or showed them to anyone.
Then during her junior year at College for Creative Studies in Detroit, she was tasked with a photography assignment that required her to go beyond a typical fine arts assignment and create something interesting and unique.
While classmates created clothing or collages, Stoever decided this was the perfect opportunity to create a legitimate zine. She started out using just her own photos, but later invited some friends to collaborate on the project. She is constantly inspired by her friends and colleagues at school, so she wanted to showcase them and their work.
The zine, which Stoever named BFF, is meant to “unify girls through a variety of shared experiences that they can relate to and learn from.” It includes content ranging from sex ed to New York trips.
“As a girl, growing up I’ve seen myself and other girls excluded from relationships with other girls and wondered why it had to be that way,” Stoever says. “It feels detrimental to one’s self esteem.”
She doesn’t see why girls should be keeping themselves distant from one another in a time when they should be coming together.
To start BFF, Stoever interviewed seven of her female friends and put together a small book layout with the interviews and some portraits she took of the women. But then she thought, why stop there? She wanted to create a bigger production that expanded on design, photography, and information.
Stoever recruited a team and created the zine in just one month. The process was hectic, but she met the project deadline and created a physical product that she was happy with. The biggest challenge Stoever faced was narrowing down content to fit a focused message. She wanted to include more than what she did, but did not want the zine to seem random.
Stoever has received positive feedback to her project with multiple people telling her how inspired they are by what she’s done; One of the women she featured texted her and said “This made me cry. Thank you so much for inspiring me.”
“That means the world to me,” Stoever says.
Even some of the men in her class were impressed, which is what she wanted. The zine isn’t just supposed to be for women. Stoever wanted to show the genuine side of the female experience to all genders without any kind of judgement.
The zine was published digitally due to limited funds. She hopes to continue creating issues of BFF in the future, and eventually be able to make physical copies of the zine.