Isabella Dias, the founder and editor-in-chief of dreamy Gem Magazine, is what you could call a Boss. The photographer/writer/psych student/mastermind behind Gem is on her game and we absolutely love it! Read below for a look inside the magic of her mind and her lens. Interview by Shannon Carol.
Could you tell us a bit about yourself?
For sure! I’m a 17 years old (my birthday is on halloween, yay!) photographer, writer (I’m currently writing my first book!) and actress from Belém, Brazil but now living in NY because of college where I am majoring in psychology and also because I know that the US can provide me with more opportunities for my art.
I love magic and everything related to energy and to women, I’m a lesbian feminist and also a vegetarian! I’m always creating mini worlds in my mind and I love to create stories for everything that happens on my day, because I see every little thing as meaningful in some way. I also read more than is healthy, I’m obsessed with sports, and I love Pink and Paramore. Oh, and I can talk a lot and very fast, am always putting too much pressure on myself, and my hobby is to pretend that I`m being interviewed on famous talk shows 🙂
When and why did you start Gem Magazine? Where do you hope to take the magazine in the future?
I started Gem Magazine on April 4th of 2016, which was a moment where I was going through a very hard time and an art block and was living in a very toxic environment. So I was in a desperate need of a safe space and something new that I could grow and put my heart and soul in.
Since I have always felt that aesthetic, beautiful colors and art provided me with a new energy that helped me to see my problems and feelings in a brighter light, I always found myself going to famous magazines websites to try and find things that would make me feel better, but I could never truly find that. So, that was when I had the idea to curate my own magazine (I actually had already dreamed about it since I was a kid but never thought I would have the opportunity and courage to do it), to create a space exclusively with magical and ethereal artworks, not choosing the artists because of their name or fame, but because of the energy they pass through their work. However, I then started realizing that I also wanted to create something that talked about social issues and feelings we girls experience. And then Gem was born, being a fusion of all of this!
So, what started as a desperate need for me to create a safe space for myself, became a platform in which I could feature incredible people, connect girls to girls and maybe (hopefully!) help women all over the world to feel magic and have their bad feelings eased by the energy the magazine has. I realized that I could help other girls that felt like I did or in other bad way, to believe in the world more and to see that there`s magic and good energy everywhere, and especially in themselves.
How long have you been making art/taking photographs for? What/who inspires your photography?
I have been making art ever since I was a kid, I remember that I used to lock myself in my room so that I could write stories and pretend that I was the leading actress in movies or theatre plays! but I didn’t start photographing until last year, however, I only started to really focus on my photographs and to feel like I was doing something worthy this year.
I don`t think there is someone specific that inspires me, I have A LOT of favorite photographers but I believe that my biggest inspirations are the people that I photograph and love.
In your instagram bio, it says you are an angry, magical and radical feminist. How long have you identified as being a feminist for and why? What are the biggest issues you feel we as feminists should be fighting for/against today?
I have identified as a feminist ever since 2014 even though back then I didn’t really know much about the movement, and I was more of a white feminist to be honest.
For me, now that I have much more knowledge, the biggest issues feminists should fight against is gender, because we must understand that it is a social construction and very negative concept that is a tool that the patriarchy created to control women and to tell us what to do or not to; is also crucial to fight for abortion rights, for more educational rights for women, and so many other things that I could be talking about for days!
Does your feminism play a role in your photography process?
Yes, it does. Even though I can’t really expose my thoughts about social issues as I wish I could because of my parents, I always do my best to photograph and portray POC women because of the lack of representation, and I also have some upcoming projects that have a big focus on women and on important issues for us 🙂
What is your advice for young girls wanting to make a change in the world?
My advice is to take it easy and get to know yourself first, because with everything that we can do through the internet and social media in general it’s extremely easy to feel overwhelmed and want to change the world and help everyone in a day, which is impossible, and can make us feel unworthy and not good enough. And since we are always seeing girls that are famous and are doing so much, which is very incredible but can make us feel small, it’s truly crucial to first take care of ourselves and really reflect about what we want to do and what makes us happy instead of jumping into millions of projects and doing billions of things per minute just to feel that we are making a difference in the world and are being “useful”; even if it’s making us feel exhausted and miserable.
Girls need to know that they can’t forget about their inner worlds, and that just by existing, creating art, being feminists and aware of social issues we are already changing the world. And also, other girls aren’t competition and we must embrace and be happy for their achievements!