Here at BE. Magazine, we’re all about you–the articles you want to read, the tools to help you become the best version of you, the real version of you. But we thought we ought to take a little time first thing to help you get to know us–who we are, why we’re writing these things and what we’re going to accomplish. First up, I sat down with Bridget, my sister, and one half of the partnership that created BE. Magazine, to talk about her life, her interests, and her motivation for founding the site.
Bridget has lived in New York City for eight years, in three of the five boroughs, but has finally found her niche in a quaint Brooklyn neighborhood. She works as an editor for a publishing company based in the UK and like so many of us during the workday, needs to take mini mental breaks throughout the day in order to keep her sanity. One of her preferred breaks is reading an article or two she finds interesting and engaging–but she increasingly found it difficult to find a media outlet she could enjoy. She craved a “one stop shop” to read up on a variety of topics.
Smart and witty, Bridget often doesn’t let on when she’s teasing you, as she does so with such a straight face. But tease you she will, because her silly sense of humor requires frequent jokes and laughter. She is a lover of all things sweet, especially the peanut butter and chocolate combination [see our decadent dessert], an adventurer at heart and an avid traveler. Bridget has her sights set on visiting all 50 states, all seven continents, and as many countries as she possibly can.
What has been your coolest life experience?
Well, I did just get married, so I think I should probably say that [she grins], but after that, I really think it was the semester I spent studying abroad in Australia. Specifically, the week we spent in the bush on the outback tour. You know all about that, but for others, basically, we spent a week traveling around the Australian bush with a tour guide that was like a less adorable, hygienic version of Crocodile Dundee, even down to the hat. We rode around in a Jeep, ate wild boar for breakfast, sheered a sheep, mined for opals, slept in an abandoned train car—it was the most badass week of my life. And then to finish it all off, we ended in a beach town called Byron Bay where we had a Day of Adrenaline. We started with zorbing—rolling down a hill in a giant inflatable ball–then moved to a quick skydive over the ocean from 14,000 feet and then finished it all off with a hang glide off the beach cliffs. I have like 9 good stories and 6 of them probably come from this particular week. It was the coolest trip ever, made even more amazing because I was on it with my sister and the fact that we totally stumbled on this one-person tour company and got a completely legitimately-untouristy experience, while all my study abroad friends were booking bus trips with major tour companies out to Ulururu and the Reef. Which are awesome ways to spend spring break, but I’m so glad we had this sort of backwoods, off the beaten path, won’t-find-it-in-Fodor’s type of experience!
That was a pretty awesome week. Hard to top. Unfortunately, real life prevails and we can’t spend all our days sunning on Hawaiian beaches or adventuring through the Outback. What do you do for fun back in the real world?
Drink and watch movies. HA! But really, I do watch a lot of movies, despite having a love/hate relationship with most. This year has been tough for a lot of my hobbies, what with wedding planning and things like that. But in general, I love reading and I try to love writing, I like New York-y things like “doing lunch” and “grabbing drinks” with friends. I love planning hypothetical trips—I stalk all kinds of travel websites. And I’m trying to get better at photography!
What’s your drink of choice for movie watching?
I’m deep into a red wine phase. In fact, it’s been so long, you probably can’t call it a phase anymore.
Pancakes or waffles?
If you were an emoticon…what would you be?
There’s this one I came across randomly the other day of a woman–she’s getting a head massage. That’s definitely it! Emoticons are so weird…I mean, when would you ever need a fried shrimp? And there’s like eight different ones for a train but only one airplane!
What is the best book you’ve read this year?
Like I said, it hasn’t been a good year for reading. But, Runner, by Patrick Lee was fantastic. It’s a great thriller that you jump right into!
You’re a lister. What was the last list you completed?
Things to do before leaving the city for Christmas. Although, I didn’t really complete it. I almost never do.
What would you say is your greatest accomplishment?
This is a really tough question, and my answer probably sounds really hokey, but I think my greatest accomplishment so far is the life I’ve built until now. There are things that I’m unhappy with, or wish were different, but overall, I really like my life, the choices I’ve made, the strength of my relationships, the people I love, and the experiences I’ve had.
Where were you when you came up with the idea of BE.?
That’s a hard question, because I’ve been toying around with this idea for a long time. I think probably the very first time I thought of doing something like this was back in my college dorm room. It stuck with me since then, and one day I told Andrew (my then-fiancee) about wanting to do it but how I wasn’t sure if I could, if it would work, if anyone would want to read it. We were out for a run together one Saturday morning (it was probably more of a slow jog) and we talked through the whole thing and he made me promise to come up with a list of steps I’d need to take to get it off the ground and submit it to him with a timeline—for accountability and motivation. I did that the next week. The first step I wrote was “find a collaborator,” someone who shared my opinion on media and who could be passionate about the project with me. You were at the top of the list, so I texted you “I’m thinking of starting a digital magazine. Do you want in? This is a serious question.” And that was that.
I remember that text. I’m pretty sure I saw it, responded “Yes!” and then immediately had the same doubts about how we would make it work. But here we are, preparing content for the debut issue! What is it that keeps you motivated to get BE. out there?
There are sort of two prongs to this answer. The first part is that I was a journalism major in college, but wasn’t using the skills I learned there, and I missed writing and reporting. But the main part is that I am totally dissatisfied with mainstream “women’s” media. I disagree with so many choices made by big print magazines, and the internet is so full of junk and negative content that it can be frustrating trying to sort through to find the stuff that is fun but still intelligent and worth reading. And then once you find a great source, it’s usually focused on one aspect. For instance, I’m interested in a lot of different things—travel, writing, books, live theater, DIY, technology—and I’ve yet to find a site that caters to multiple interests that is also a positive, intelligent, uplifting outlet. I think there might be other women out there who feel similar frustration, so I thought, maybe I’ll create a site that I would actually want to read, and see if those other women find it!
So is this your “dream job?”
I think there a lot of jobs that could be my dream job! I’m interested in a lot of things, so it is hard to imagine being happy doing only one thing. But some jobs I think would be amazing for me would be travel writer, airplane pilot, editor of a successful magazine [she inserts slyly], novelist, adventure photographer, small business owner… But ultimately, my dream job involves having a certain level of autonomy, being able to do something that has a positive impact and that leaves me busy but totally loving what I do every day.
Written by Emily MacDonald