From the Editors:


This month I’ve been thinking a lot about success.

I just joined a discussion group here in New York that meets once a week to tackle life’s big questions (it probably sounds weirder than it actually is, I promise), and this week we watched a video about humans’ search for meaning in our lives.

The narrator of the video said there’s an interview he read once that always stuck with him; in it, a “successful” artist was being interviewed and was asked what he’d tell his 18-year-old self.

“I wish I could tell him that once you get to the top, there’s nothing there,” he said. Despite his struggles to become successful in his profession, and his eventual rise to the top of that field, he still wanted more.

That’s kind of a bummer, but it speaks to some broader themes going on in Issue 8.

Monica Moser wrote about the issue of defining success in this issue. Her definition of success as an artist is quite different from the definition others may have in her Texan hometown.

And Leah Bilquist is “successful” at filling her life with travel and adventure, but that doesn’t mean she has all of life’s questions figured out yet.

Sheila Lukwanzi was successfully able to move to Paris to study fashion, and despite the glamor of her life there, she made the difficult decision to pursue a future in her home country, Uganda.

Fortunately, there are some smart people who have come before us who have tried to figure this conundrum out, too.

As our Instagram followers may have seen this week, I loved this interview in GQ with RuPaul Charles, the famous drag performer and creator of his own show. 

He once famously said, “I'd rather have an enema than an Emmy," in response to reporters' questions about his not having won one. In his recent GQ interview, after he DID finally win an Emmy, here's what he had to say: “My rewards system was not based on the status quo, and my goals didn't have to do with everyone in the status quo accepting me. My prize was being able to live freely and to be creative on my own terms."

Whether you’re newly back at school this fall, deep into your career or looking for a new job, let’s lift ourselves up on those words.

Who decides what makes you successful? A successful life is whatever you decide it is.

For some additional inspiration, check out these stories from other women who are defining success according to their own terms, on Man Repeller.

And thanks for reading Issue 8!

Maria (and Marina)



I loved this interview with Food Network personality Alton Brown in the New York Times. I feel like it’s rare for someone to be this real and vulnerable in an interview. Take this excerpt: “Mr. Brown seems to be seeking clarity on matters more internal. ‘I’m not where I thought would be at this point in my life,’ he said, ‘but I’m wiser by a long shot.’ Still, he said, taking another sip of sangria, ‘I don’t really know what I am anymore.’”

I haven’t gotten too far into it yet, but I’m really enjoying the Netflix show “The Get Down.” Is anyone else watching? I love learning more about New York during another era, and from a perspective different from my own.


Sleep is a continual struggle for me, and last week my lack thereof resulted in a pretty debilitating cold. When I have work to finish and friends to see and events to attend and laundry to do, sleep is the first thing I cut. What's six hours of rest instead of the recommended eight? But unwinding with friends at happy hour and making sure I have clean clothes to wear — now those are musts. Yet research shows sleep is actually paramount (#TheSleepRevolution). I know I need a bedtime. I'm working on it. So any tips on prioritizing sleep would be much appreciated!

My favorite YouTuber, Christine Nguyen (who I was introduced to on one of my fav podcasts, the Ladycast), is currently doing a content flush and posting a new video just about every day. So that is what I have been watching. I am fairly new to the world of YouTubers (I'm fascinated by people's everyday routines, current obsessions, etc., so vlogs and hauls and tours are my dreams come true), but I already appreciate Christine's particular style. She's chill and open — nothing about her or her videos feels overdone.