The common thought that “print is dead” serves only as fuel to Rogue Magazine founder Heather Seidler’s fire.
A true rebel by nature, if you say she can’t do it, Heather will show you that she not only can, but that she’ll succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Rogue’s success is in their insistence on featuring artists and creatives that are pushing the cultural boundaries and telling stories that matter—it doesn’t hurt that those stories are from the likes of Aubrey Plaza, Cole Sprouse or bands like Thirty Seconds to Mars. Here, creative duo The Maxwells chat with Heather about Rogue’s mission, her passion and her process:
What does a typical day of work look like for you?
People think the magazine world is glamourous, when really it’s just a lot of hard, humdrum pre-and-post production work. There’s a lot of moving parts to juggle daily. My typical work day starts with green tea, going through emails, strategizing, then setting up shoots, casting talent, coordinating with my staff and publicists and sifting through our contributor roster to pair together dream-teams of photographers, stylists, HMU artists and locations. While talent is key, so is energy, therefore I try to match up the right teams with each artist we feature—that way there’s a synergy that only exists the perfect blend of energies on set. My day usually extends past sunset and consists of more back-end stuff: research, caffeine, emailing, mood boarding, editing and a lot of writing. Every day I’m clumsily groping towards, if not achievement, then at least one good sentence.
What have been some of your most proud achievements with ROGUE? What are your goals for its future?
There is something about rebelling against convention that is crucial to my existence. Not only by definition is it significant and essential to my happiness—but more definitively, rebellion is the altar on which I stand. The anchor in my wandering ship. It is the one aspect of living that I worship. Bucking convention and embracing defiance is the fuel to the flame on the torch I bear with Rogue as my conduit.
My goal for Rogue is to defy and help reshape the dying art of print. To prove that independent print is still viable. My proudest achievement with Rogue was when I really learned not to give a fuck. Not to give a fuck when things don’t happen as you planned, not to give a fuck what others think and no fucks given about what people expect a magazine to be. Not giving a fuck has been a very good business model for me. When I first launched Rogue, I didn’t know if anybody was going to buy or read or care about it and that allowed me to curate it without any outside or internal pressures. I didn’t have to think about what people or advertisers expected and as a result I’m able to create content without tormenting myself like other editors do. The only thing that I care about, all that actually matters, is presenting artists in an authentic and outside-the-box way. I wish to explore and defy convention with the only approach I know: fashion, words, and imagery that aims to sell nothing, to be free, a playground for all the greats to flock and break rules, a place where we can feel free to leave the politics of fashion and advertising behind. My goal for the future is to create that on as large of a scale as I’m permitted and to shift the power away from advertisers and put it in the hands of creatives. Also to further expand the pool of people and talent that we’re able to collaborate with.
Your career gives you a unique insight into the entertainment and fashion industries. Are there any emerging artists from any medium that have you really excited?
Good question! All the time I’m excited about new artists that cross my path. It’s one of my favorite aspects of what I do, getting to discover and showcase emerging artists. In film, I think Caleb Landry Jones is a really exciting actor. He is weird as hell and entirely bizarre and not from this planet and I think he’ll go on to do big things.
Is there any particular advice that you’ve received that has helped you in overcoming obstacles and challenges in your work?
Absolutely. I haven’t particularly received any profound work advice, but I’ve gotten some pretty major life advice that has enabled me to overcome the challenges I constantly face in work life. There are moments in life when we need to challenge ourselves, push forward and overcome major odds—that moment comes at least once a day at Rogue. One piece of advice has always stuck with me: Be, Do, Have. First you gotta really BE who you are, so you can DO what you need to do in order to HAVE what you want. A lotta people have it backwards and think you have to HAVE certain things in order to do what you need to do, so you can be the person who you want to be. Just be everything you want to be, and then do. Produce constantly, exchange in abundance and the rest falls into place. Also, it sounds cliche, but never let defeat or failure stop you, allow yourself to learn from it and let it color your palette. Don’t let anyone invalidate your work, your goals, your personality and don’t try to be something that isn’t natural for you to be. For so long I strived to be some kind of idealized version of myself without truly understanding who I was. It wasn’t until I started really being myself that I achieved success. It started with the decision to succeed no matter what, and the beingness / doingness / havingness all started to align.
How do you find relaxation and peace with a job that keeps you on the move?
Relaxation—what’s that?! I think the best way to unwind and relax after my non-stop work days is actually kinda the antithesis of relaxing for most people: I love going for a walk at night after my work is done. I wander my Larchmont neighborhood for miles, it helps me decompress and clear my head, it’s also where I daydream and think about what I want for the future. I believe that continually creating the future you want in your mind is what helps manifest it in the real world. I was taught at a young age that you can accomplish anything you want, but first you must decide you can and will have it. Make it a certainty for yourself before it becomes a reality in the physical sense. It all starts with a decision, I like to make decisions while I walk around and enjoy the space around me. I’ve made seemingly impossible things happen with the power of decision. It always sounds a little hippie-dippie when I say it, but I find almost all my peace comes when I go for walks, stretch my mind and expand my space. I can’t do that when I’m “relaxing on the couch” or other things people typically think are relaxing. The magazine industry is a stressful climate to co-exist in, so I try to demolish some of that stress by literally walking it off.
What inspires your decorating style (apart from cats and Chanel)?
I spent half a dozen years living in small studio apartments in buildings that were built in the 30s and 40s, and that’s where my love of vintage bloomed. I fell in love with the exposed brick, the cracked walls, the carved trim so I started collecting vintage things to fill the room. The house I’ve been in the last 5 years is a hybrid of the vintage things I’ve amassed (lots of old cameras / typewriters / books) with splashes of Chanel and cats in clothes to cement my crazy cat lady motif. I’m always inspired by past decades, fashion and oddball tchotchkes.
However, I’ve been thinking about style in a new light lately. In Los Angeles especially, people tend to put too much significance on how to dress, how to decorate or what car to drive. As a magazine editor, I understand how we look and the stuff we own can be an extension of who we are, but it’s important to know that it’s not really a reflection of what we are. So I just decorate my home with things I like to look at, without being concerned about what others will think.
What are your go to methods for setting up a space that helps cultivate your work flow?
Honestly, I like to just pile up pillows, stretch out with my laptop and have at it. When I’m not on set or in the office, I prefer to work from home as much as I can. I’m a weirdo who never likes working at a desk, I find it more comfortable (and therefore efficient) to work on the floor surrounded by floor pillows, or on the sofa or in my bed propped up on my fav Society6 giant pillow. Also, music is key to my flow. I almost always have my record player going in the background when I’m working from home, it definitely triggers my creativity.
What’s your dream room / space look like?
My dream space is a room with a view—it’s the only thing I’m lacking in my current house. Gazing outside while I work is ideal, sometimes I spend hours in my backyard writing, or in the park. My dream room would be spacious, tidy, full of candles, with wallpapered walls and a comfy area to setup my pillow forts. And rad artwork is essential. If I had my way, the walls of my house would be full of Society6 art and Tyler Shields prints.
Any exciting upcoming features for fans to look forward to?
Oh yeah! We’ve got some radical features in our Summer Issue like Olivia Munn, Timothy Olyphant, Dorothy, 5 Seconds of Summer, Travis Fimmel, Tove Lo, Justine Skye, Joey King, Blake Anderson, and we have Troye Sivan confirmed for our Fall music cover. Also we just posted up some recent features on Evan Peters, Danai Gurira, Freddie Highmore, Adam Scott, Fetty Wap, Jared Leto and Imagine Dragons—lots I’m excited about that I can’t announce yet. I’m always on the hunt for fresh talent of all shapes and working with so many awesome artists is honestly the most inspiring aspect of what I do. Anytime I hear an artist get excited about their feature, it’s an extraordinary, indelible feeling that melts away the 80 hour work weeks and inspires me to keep going.