Interview with Dear Magazine Founder, Jenny

1. Tell Us A Little About Yourself.

My name is Jennifer Sukut. I'm currently a 20 year old graphic designer, procrastinator, photographer, baker, awkward potato, and founder of Dear Magazine. I'm recently married to the most adorable man on the planet with whom I share a crazy, stinky, and sweet black lab and a much awaited baby due in March 2016. My life has been one of extreme ups and downs all working together to bring me to where I am today. My ever growing list of passions include gouache painting, coffee of any form, genuine, thoughtful living, questioning myself and my preconceptions, women's empowerment, cooking good food, hugs from my mister, challenging social norms, and living a love-centered life. 

2. When & Why Did You Start Dear Magazine? // Where Did The Name “Dear” Come From & Why Did You Choose That?

As do most of my best ideas, the inspiration and title “Dear” came to me right as I was falling asleep one night in Winter 2014. I was trying to come up with a title that was short and catchy, but held a lot of depth. “Dear” is everything I want to convey about women to women. Far too often, I find women – especially young women– looking at themselves as “not enough” because they don't see themselves in the right light. They see themselves as a two-dimensional thing that should meet silly and unrealistic standards set by the world around us – standards that actually have nothing to do with the real worth of someone. We place more weight on our physical and social appearance than in who we really are. 

As Christians, we are called to view the world through the eyes of our Creator and, in doing so, see the beauty in the everyday – we are compelled to see the beauty and worth in ourselves. When we truly see ourselves and believe we are valuable, we begin to live a more confident, empowered, and joyful life that can't help but influence the people around us. The truth is, yes, we are imperfect. There are parts of us we don't want other people to see or know about. We have problems inside and out. But we are worth far more than our imperfections. Quite the opposite in fact, they make us who we are. The way we respond to our struggles defines us. Our physical characteristics set us apart. And our very existence makes us worth something. We are full of potential. We are loved. We are Dear. We should live like we know it. 

“We are what we believe we are.” -C.S. Lewis

3. Can You Tell Us More About Your Mission Through Dear?

On a large scale, I would like to create a self-sustaining system where the magazine influences today's young christian women (that hopefully brings about a generation of informed, thinking, practical, true, strong, godly women) and simultaneously begins and funds women's awareness/wellness programs (more specifically ones that partner with local governments to help rescue women from modern day slavery by offering them housing, education, and skill training instead of punishment by the justice system.)

4. What Responses Have You Received Since It Began?

The most frequent responses have been ones about our fashion section. Apparently it's different and refreshing to flip through pages of a magazine and see pictures of real, relatable young women with different types of bodies and different styles. I get a lot of comments from readers about feeling beautiful and inspired after looking through Dear instead of feeling self-conscious against photoshopped models, and that just makes my day. My very favorite comments are from people who are inspired to think and take on a new perspective by our articles – especially ones on practical Christianity, challenging stereotypes, and real relationships since those are very important areas for young women to be challenged to think about and those subjects are very close to my heart. 

 

5. What Are Some Of The Biggest, Most Exciting Opportunities You've Had Thus Far?

The ability to have an idea spread and read by 120,000 people a year is a mind-blowing opportunity that I couldn't be more grateful for. It's both exciting and nerve-wrecking because that's a lot of pressure to say important things from a right perspective and with the proper grace. 

6. Do You Have Any Plans For Dear In 2016 We Can Be Looking Forward To?

We're launching a product line! We started out with a few hand-painted cards and jewelry pieces that we sold at conferences. After a lot of positive feedback, we decided to expand with more paper products and jewelry pieces to sell in the new Dear online store we're launching in 2016!

7. Last Question! (Our Favorite!) What Is The Highlight Of Your Day?

Oh goodness, there are so many things I like throughout the day. Morning lattes and alone time are pretty great – especially if I decide to read one of Chesterton's Father Brown mysteries. Running around the living room with my dog Tina is always entertaining. Having productive days make me feel great, especially since it means I've probably gotten some sort of art time in or new idea thought of and designed. Sundays are fun when we get to hang out with my family and laugh like crazy around the dinner table. But, of course, my favorite thing is spending time hugging, cuddling, talking, and laughing with my husband.