The WANT Women: The Darling Magazine Team On Comparison, Comfort Food + The Power In Being Female

Maybe I’m generalizing, and maybe I’ve been watching too many reruns of Sex And The City and Golden Girls (#imarose), but I think at one point or another, we all fantasize about having a whole slew of girlfriends to call up any time, anywhere. Not just any girlfriends, though: smart, funny, talented, diverse, all interesting and unique in their own right. The kinds of women who know how to dish out just the right advice and dole out the perfect words of wisdom whether it be through breakups or breakthroughs. The ladies who’ll lunch, laugh, or just lounge on the couch in their sweatpants while binge watching My So-Called Life for the umpteenth time right alongside you. Women who don’t need to speak a word to speak volumes, who respect you for who you are and admire you for all you have the potential to be. Bonus points if you share passions, even more if you share principles.

The team behind Darling Magazine is our dream girl gang come to life – and more.

If you’re not already familiar with Darling Magazine, get ready to meet the WANTiest magazine on the rack. Darling is an independent, quarterly print magazine founded to explore “the art of being a woman.” Empowering, insightful, and beyond eloquently written, Darling reads more like prose than a print mag and looks more like a coffee table book than a magazine. Instead of typical categories like Beauty, Style, and Entertainment  (maybe even a “Mind/Body” sprinkled in there if you’re lucky), Darling is separated into five “personas”: The Dreamer, The Hostess, the Confident, the Stylist, the Explorer, the Beautician, the Intellectual, and the Achiever. This is a magazine (and blog, too!) by women, for woman – and yes, is 100% bod-positive/inclusive and uses zero retouching.

 Emily Magers

photo cred: emily magers

Just like anything worthwhile, Darling’s inner and outer beauty is just a reflection of the inner and outer beauty of its stellar team. These are women who talk the talk and walk the walk, who are just as whip-smart as they are silly, who are just as down to challenge gender stereotypes as they are to chow down on comfort food (more on that later). They’re the antithesis of a “Mean Girls” or elite “squad” mentality, welcoming all women in with open arms and ready to tell you just how wonderful you really are.

I’ve always been obsessed with magazines, yet as I grew older I craved that thoughtful perspective that was way too often presented as a side note in my fave publications (and usually way toward the back). I began to notice that this mirrored average conversations in social groups: shying away from vulnerability, talking only on the surface, and digging deep after all other topics had been covered. I hoped we could do better. I knew we could.

Darling is the answer to that craving, and is setting a movement in motion that reminds us it’s okay to shine as brilliantly bright as we want to in this world. And today, I’m so thrilled to introduce you to not one, but five members of their all-star team. Meet your newest lady loves:



photo cred: emily blake

Sarah Dubbeldam, Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Darling Magazine
Ziza Bauer, Online Managing Editor
Kyle Wood, Director of Media Relations
Milena Mallory, Online Visual Editor and Operations Director
Erin Bunch, Partnerships

What I love about myself (and why):
SARAH: I love that I’m a goof. I like this because I have a very serious job as a female business owner and people don’t expect me to be lighthearted and as mellow as I am about things in life.
ZIZA: I love that I’m not afraid to think or consider a new idea or different opinion. I love learning and never want to feel like I’ve peaked.
KYLE: I love that I don’t care that the things I like to do or wear are not necessarily “cool” because if I did I would be so bored with my life. I love bold clashing colors, imperfection, and nature. I would hate sitting in coffee shops instagramming my latte everyday. So I don’t do that. I do what I like and I don’t care if it’s cool or super dorky.
MILENA: I love that I am passionate and have empathy for others. I love this about myself because it allows me to experience in relationships and community with others as we all feel motivated on a daily basis in work.
ERIN: I am the person people go to when they don’t want to be judged for something they’ve done, thought, or experienced.
I love learning and never want to feel like I’ve peaked. - @nicoleziza, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

What is your definition of “positivity?”
SARAH: Positivity to me is being fiercely optimistic despite the “facts” in life. It’s about seeing past any hardship to the possible gold in the situation and choosing joy.
ZIZA: Having hope. Considering the truth of situations but never letting the downside of something have the last word.
MILENA: Positivity to me is looking on the bright side of things even in a negative situation. Life can be hard and I think its important to look for those things that make you excited about each day you are living.
ERIN: Being supportive of people, regardless of whether you understand them or not.
Positivity is being fiercely optimistic despite the 'facts.' - @sarahdubbeldam, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

When did you start to love yourself – did you have a self-love “turning point?”
SARAH: I’ve always had a positive view of myself for the most part, but it really started to shift from like to love after I’d been doing Darling for a couple of years. It’s amazing how the mentality of this movement of women loving themselves and one another wears off on you in a deep way.
ZIZA: I think it’s been more of a slow turn, loving myself in looking back and realizing my mentality at different ages and how quick I’ve been to assume the worst. The more I’ve grown and met different people, different ways of life, the less hard I’ve been on my own journey.
KYLE: In college I lived with a bunch of girls who cared SO MUCH about the way they looked. I started to think like them and pick myself apart from head to toe. I worried about everything I ate, everything I wore, what my hair looked like…everything. I became so critical about my appearance and very self-conscious. Once I moved home from school I realized that this was not how I really felt. I was adapting the mentality of the girls around me and this was very unhealthy. Ever since then I realized that I need to always think for myself – and to surround myself with like-minded people who are comfortable with themselves.
ERIN: Still working on it!

How/where negative talk shows up in my life:
SARAH: I usually find myself talking negatively about myself when it comes to some of my weaknesses in business–such as not being super tech savvy.
ZIZA: Comparison. Thinking my life isn’t as cool or as enviable as someone else’s. Ahem, Instagram.
KYLE: When I am comparing myself to other women.
MILENA: It shows up in my life the most when I put myself in situations that are out of my comfort zone, especially situations where someone can reject me, it seems like it is a way of coping for me. I think, “if I call out the negative things about myself before someone else can then they can’t hurt me, right?”.
ERIN: So many ways! I constantly feel like I’m not enough. Mostly in work, because that is sort of where I do the bulk of my self-flagellating, but in other areas as well. It’s hard not to constantly criticize myself for not being a millionaire with perfect skin and a perfect body and a perfect relationship and etc. etc.


photo cred: morgan ashley photography

When I talk negatively about myself, it’s usually…
SARAH: I get frustrated and can be dramatic and say things like “Ugh I can’t do anything!”
 “I’m not as good as __fill in the blank___.”

KYLE: Because I’m PMS-ing.
MILENA: Because I am trying to make up for something that I feel insecure about, or make myself feel better about it.
ERIN: Being incredibly judgmental of myself and unforgiving in a way I would never be to anyone else in my life!

When others talk negatively about themselves…
SARAH: I don’t normally join in with my own woes, but instead try and divert them from their perspective on themselves.
It makes me wonder if I sound like that, unable to see my own value as easily.

KYLE: I let them do it. It’s not my responsibility to tell them that they are believing a total lie. My responsibility is to show them that I don’t believe those things about them and set a positive example of being confident and proud of who you are.
MILENA: It saddens me because I don’t see those things in them and it’s difficult to see someone you care for hurting and struggling with self-doubt.
ERIN: It drives me crazy, especially when it’s about their appearance. I do it to myself, too, so I’m not saying that in a judgmental way. It’s just like… you look beautiful! Your smile lines are beautiful! Your age is beautiful! Your body is beautiful! I think they’re delusional, usually. But then again, I don’t think I’m delusional when I say those things to myself.

It baffles me that women still…
SARAH: Think that women are as perfect as they are in magazines and ads. It seems that no matter the amount of truth is spoken about the reality of retouching, etc. people still measure themselves to perfect standards that aren’t even real.
ZIZA: Criticize each other for what it means to be a “feminist.” Isn’t the goal that we should decide what that means for ourselves?
KYLE: Feel threatened by each other or like they need to compete with one another. Cool it ladies, we all need to be on the same team here.
MILENA: Think it is better and more powerful to put each other down than lift each other up. I think we get the most out of life in community with others, and we can’t do that well with all the negativity that comes with gossip.
ERIN: Talk about their weight so often.
It baffles me women still think it's more powerful to put each other down than lift each other up. -@milenamallory Click To Tweet

sarah dubbeldam

photo cred: emily blake

I wish that more women…
SARAH: I wish that more women realized their worth and had the confidence to step out and pursue their dreams. So many are held back by fears of inadequacy.
ZIZA: Would stop doing the above;)
KYLE: Complimented other women.
MILENA: Would truly feel like they know who they are and love that person wholeheartedly.
ERIN: Just stopped having conversations about the way they looked all the time. Particularly aging conversations. I know we have better things to talk about.
So many women are held back by fears of inadequacy. - @sarahdubbeldam, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

The coolest thing about women is…
SARAH: The coolest thing about women is that they possess so many qualities all in one. They are strong yet nurturing and powerful yet gentle.
ZIZA: Our intuition.
KYLE: We are so powerful. If you think about it – wars have been started over women, armies have been lead by women, fortune 500 companies have been run by women, and entire generations of children are being raised by women. We can be beautiful, strong, fierce, gentle, intelligent and discerning. We can give birth to children and simultaneously support a partner, care for a family, and kick butt in a career. We play a huge role in so many lives around us. To me, that’s power.
MILENA: Their ability to read past words.
ERIN: Some of the answers I want to give are generalizations, and I don’t want to exclude men from being able to be sensitive or intuitive, as many of them are. I would say the coolest thing about women is our strength. I think because they are built to be mothers — and I mean, even if they never become mothers — women can just handle so much and are so resilient.
Women play a huge role in so many lives around us. To me, that’s power. -Kyle Wood, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

My favorite way to shift a negative into a positive:
SARAH: I capture the negative thought in my mind, evaluate its truth, and then if it’s not true, I replace it with a positive. I actually picture myself grabbing the thought in my hand and placing a new truth in its place in my brain.
ZIZA: Remember that tomorrow is a new day.
KYLE: Laughter! Always laugh it off. It reminds us to not take ourselves too seriously and to keep a light perspective to life.
MILENA: Thinking about things in a big picture.
ERIN: I have a new little mental trick I play on myself that instantly turns stressed or anxious thoughts into calm thoughts. Every time I stress that I’m not where I’m supposed to be work-wise, relationship-wise, financially, or otherwise, I think about the fact that life is all about timing and you can’t fight timing. If you don’t have a boyfriend now, it’s okay. Breathe into it. You will. It’s just not the right time. You’re supposed to be learning something else right now. Same goes for anything.

My top female role models:
SARAH: Sheryl Sandberg and Brené Brown. These women are thought leaders of our generation and my favorite part is that they are actually saying good things, lasting things.
ZIZA: Livia Firth, Kate Winslet, Angela Lansbury
KYLE: My Grandmother. She didn’t have any followers on social media, she didn’t have a lot of money, or flashy things, but man, she had a powerful influence on everyone she met.
MILENA: One of my favorite role models – a role model since I was a child – is Rosa Parks.
ERIN: My mom. Beyonce. Tina Fey.


photo cred: morgan ashley photography

Men can help women crush their negative talk patterns by…
SARAH: Reinforcing truth and reminding them that complaining and being negative actually makes them weaker, not stronger or more “empowered” like they might want to be.
ZIZA: Thinking before they speak and realizing their words are powerful.
KYLE: That’s tough. I can’t speak for everyone here, but my husband usually get’s pretty mad at me and says “Stop talking about my wife like that!”
MILENA: Showing them that they are more than the way they look and what they can offer someone else.
ERIN: Please, by all means, do not tell us we look prettier one way or another. All we hear is that we don’t look pretty in whatever state is the opposite of the one you mentioned! I think men are visual creatures and they do value physical appearances more than women from a biological standpoint; we’re all just evolved creatures. I think men can help by watching how much emphasis they place on complimenting our appearance. Maybe give us other types of compliments. Same goes for women-to-women as well. Compliment your friend on her work accomplishment, or the funny joke she made, or the thing she said that made you feel better moreso than how good her hair looks.

Favorite negativity-busting activity:
SARAH: Exercising! It clears my mind and strengthens my resolve.
ZIZA: Snuggling my dogs, regardless of whether they want to be snuggled.
KYLE: I am typically most negative when I am sitting in traffic after a long day at work. I know this may be a bit odd, but I like to go to a bar called The Gasser Lounge near my home in Redondo Beach. I don’t really fit in there, but it’s my favorite place to sit by myself and unwind from work. It’s the opposite environment of Darling and sometimes I need that to balance myself out and get back to zero. Plus the music there is so good. My advice is, find a place where everything internally can reset and get out of your negative funk. For you it could be at a park or a corner in your house, mine just happens to be a bar called The Gasser Lounge. Ha.
MILENA: Spending time with people I care about and trying to make them laugh at my dad jokes.
ERIN: Ballet or dance of any kind.

Find a place where everything internally can reset and get out of your negative funk. -Kyle Wood, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

Fave self-love ritual:
SARAH: Getting facials and massages.
ZIZA: Light a candle, pour some wine, put on a face-mask and read a book.
KYLE: Going for a run at the beach. I love the way I feel after a run – especially because it takes a lot to talk myself into doing it.
MILENA: A quiet, slow morning with a good breakfast and coffee.
ERIN: Bubble baths and usually with one glass of wine and on especially bad days with a bowl of mac and cheese, which sounds so gross and trashy….and probably is…but it feels so good!

Favorite feel-good food(s):
SARAH: French fries
ZIZA: Anything with avocado.
KYLE: Tacos
MILENA: Pizza. Hands down.
ERIN: Duh. Mac and Cheese.

Favorite movie(s) to watch when I’m feeling down:
SARAH: Pride and Prejudice and Mean Girls
ZIZA: Under the Tuscan Sun, Sound of Music, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers
KYLE: Love is in the Air – it’s a French rom-com and I HIGHLY recommend it. Trust me.
MILENA: I love watching rom coms, not the good ones though, the really bad ones that make some people cringe because they are so cheesy. Oh man I love that stuff.
ERIN: I’m more of a TV person these days. 30 Rock or Veep are some of the best writing on TV and they also cheer me up / make me laugh. Broad City, too. My old faithfuls are also My So-Called Life and SATC.

Favorite empowering book(s):
SARAH: Anything Scott Fitzgerald. And A Return to Modesty by Wendy Shalit
ZIZA: I read a lot of food/travel books. Something that gets me learning about the world that’s so much bigger than I am.
KYLE: The War of Art
ERIN: Marianne Williamson’s A Return to Love


photo cred: morgan ashley photography

My feel-good playlist:
SARAH: T-Swift, Beiber, The National
ZIZA: Cole Porter records on the turntable. I am notoriously bad with Spotify!
KYLE: I won’t put a whole list here because most music makes me feel good. But I am embarrassed to say, I can’t not start to dance when Nelly “Ride With Me” comes on. I DARE you not to start moving when you hear that song!
MILENA: I have a playlist on Spotify called “Pastiche” and it has a mixture of old songs from some of my favorites like Otis Redding, Al Green, Ella Fitzgerald and Etta James.
ERIN: I love rap. I just wish it wasn’t so misogynistic.

Advice I would give my…
…4 year old self: Hi, cutie.
…14 year-old self: Be kind, and stick up for people.
…24 year old self: You’ll figure it out. Don’t be so hard on yourself.
…4 year old self: No advice, just give grandmas and grandpas a kiss for me.
…14 year-old self: Don’t worry, you’ll get the braces off and hit puberty…eventually.
…24 year old self: Calm down, you’ll go back to Greece again.
…Younger self: Guys are not the end all be all, work at things you are excited about, and don’t fall into the trap of judgment on yourself or others, negativity breeds negativity. Go read a book.
…4 year old self: Keep reading.
…14 year-old self: Keep writing.
…24 year old self: You’re going to take a time-out from serious things to experience life for a while. That’s okay. Just let go and enjoy.
Don’t fall into the trap of judgment. Negativity breeds negativity. - @milenamallory, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

5 Things, personal or professional, on my bucket list:
ZIZA: Live in Italy, write a book, be a mom, grow my own vegetables (that are actually edible), take horseback riding lessons.
KYLE: Travel to 40 countries, Backflip on a wakeboard, Get Adele in Darling Magazine, Hang out with Snoop Dog, Have a family
MILENA: Traveling to Europe, having a family of my own, owning a business, having a garden at my house, and visiting my family in Bermuda.
ERIN: Have or adopt a baby (hopefully, two!); Live in Europe (Berlin or Paris) at some point; travel to Africa, Asia, and wherever else I haven’t been; write a book; sell a script.

My best tip on self love:
SARAH: Always be kind to yourself, even when you mess up.
ZIZA: The fact you are alive is a miracle. Don’t ever take that for granted.
KYLE: Don’t let anyone else decide how you feel about yourself. You dictate how you feel about yourself. No one else can have that power over you.
MILENA: You are not who people tell you you are, hold on to the things you know to be true about yourself.
ERIN: Treat yourself like you treat others. You really wouldn’t talk to anyone else the way you talk to yourself, and if you did, they would need therapy for the abuse!
The fact you are alive is a miracle. Don’t ever take that for granted. - @nicoleziza, @darlingmag Click To Tweet


photo cred: emily blake

When I truly love all of myself…
ZIZA: I don’t think I’ll realize it. I hope it feels as natural as breathing.
MILENA: I feel like I can conquer the world.
ERIN: I will probably be about to die? Haha. I don’t know, I can imagine that would be a very lovely feeling.

Right now, I am most excited about…
ZIZA: Simplifying. My husband and I just moved to Nashville for the next year, so I’m excited to savor the slow life outside of LA for a little while.
KYLE: Traveling. I love it. I’ve had the travel bug for about 10 years now (still waiting for it to get out of my system).
MILENA: Working on personal creative projects.
ERIN: How drastically my life will change within the next 5 years.

My body is:
SARAH: A work of art that is a miracle. It carries me through life and helps me to make an impact.
ZIZA: created to do great things.
KYLE: Always wanting cheese and pasta. Always.
MILENA: Not a full representation of who I am as a person on the inside.
ERIN: A combination of traits passed down from the two people I love most in the world. Also, it’s healthy, which is something to be immensely grateful for.
My body carries me through life and helps me to make an impact. - @sarahdubbeldam, @darlingmag Click To Tweet

Three words to describe me:
SARAH: Spunky, fun, thoughtful.
ZIZA: Intentional, witty, compassionate
KYLE: Adventurous, stubborn, beast
MILENA: Silly, feisty, and loving.
ERIN: Highly-sensitive, funny, introverted.

Current Mantra:
ZIZA: Today is enough.
KYLE: “Say yes.”
MILENA: Say yes to the things that scare you, go out of your comfort zone, you will grow into more of the person you want to be and will be more confident knowing and learning more about the unknown.
ERIN: Relax into the timing of your life.
Relax into the timing of your life. -Erin Bunch, @darlingmag Click To Tweet


photo cred: twin sparrow photography

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