Magazine by teens, for teens

Despite standing six foot two, Stacie Lynn Hatt struggled to hold herhead high as a student walking the halls of her Halifax-area school.

Despite standing six foot two, Stacie Lynn Hatt struggled to hold her head high as a student walking the halls of her Halifax-area school.

“I was picked on because of my size, and I was picked on because I didn’t have the courage to stand up for myself,” says the 18-year-old from Middle Sackville, N.S.

To help herself deal with the situation, Hatt began to explore her artistic side.

Soon, she was battling bullying by telling her story to other teens in Teens Now Talk, a locally produced magazine written by teens, for teens.

Launched in December 2007, the publication is the brainchild of Jessica Bowden, a spirited entrepreneur and motivational speaker from Halifax.

Years ago, Bowden, 53, says she started noticing a disheartening theme during speaking engagements at high schools.

“(Teens are) being told what to do, not being asked what they want to do,” she recalls.

The teens wanted a voice, but needed an outlet — and so Teens Now Talk, or TNT as it’s known, was born.

The project, which began as a website months before the first issue came out, has grown from its humble, online beginnings to a quarterly magazine with some 1,000 subscribers across Canada, the United States — even a library in Cyprus. Issues are also sold in hundreds of stores throughout Atlantic Canada.

Hatt, who graduated from high school last year, says the magazine is successful in her eyes simply because it’s relatable.

“If a magazine is written by kids for kids, then kids will appreciate it,” says Hatt, a singer who writes songs about being bullied and aspires to open her own recording studio some day.

“Everything that’s in that magazine is what’s happening in teenagers’ lives.”

Then there’s the “braggin’ rights” that come along with having your name and photo in a magazine when you’re only 13 to 19 years old, says Bowden.

The magazine’s contents include advice columns, recipes, fashion tips, poetry, interviews, entertainment news, as well as teen magazine staples such as horoscopes and embarrassing moments.

Contributor Hillary Taylor of Windsor Junction, N.S., has always had a flair for writing poetry and short stories — horror is her favourite genre, she says.

But, like many budding talents, the 18-year-old’s nerves used to get the best of her when it came to reading her writing aloud to an audience.

Being published has helped her overcome that anxiety, she says.

“It’s a magazine where everyone can say what they want to say, and no one ridicules them or anything,” says Taylor, who graduates from high school in June.

 
 
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