Frankie Magazine turns 10

Australia’s Frankie Magazine has just celebrated its 10th b’day. Carmen Juarez, Walkley Foundation intern, talks to Frankie editor Jo Walker about the magazine’s past, present and future.

Frankie have just published their 60th issue – marking a milestone 10 years of publication.

The Melbourne-based independent magazine and winner of Australian magazine of the year at the 2012 and 2013 Australian
Magazine Awards is a national bi-monthly aimed at arty youngsters. It covers design, art, photography, fashion, travel, music, craft, interiors and real-life stories.

Frankie celebrated with a birthday bash in June. Editor Jo Walker told Walkley Magazine all about it.

Which stories have been your favourites over the years?

One that always sticks by me was from the VERY early years. I interviewed a group of ladies who were in their 20s in different decades. So, ‘I was in my 20s in the 1940s’, ‘I was in my 20s in the 1950s’. I managed to hunt down the most amazing group of women and they were all really open with me, sharing stories about everything from scone-making to birth control, mental health and female liberation. Some other favourites: a pictorial feature on lesbian couples and families that was just about the cutest, loveliest thing ever; a hard-hitting review of different brands of toilet paper; a historical piece on early female explorers; and I think just about the best interview I’ve ever read with Marianne Faithfull. Just by coincidence our writer had been dumped by text 10 or so minutes before chatting to her, and she spent most of the interview coaching him on how to deal with a broken heart. Who better to give advice on being dumped than Marianne Faithfull? It ended up being equal parts beautiful and hilarious.

…our writer had been dumped by text 10 or so minutes before chatting to [Marianne Faithfull], and she spent most of the interview coaching him on how to deal with a broken heart.

What has changed the most since the magazine started?

When I contact people I no longer have to spend half an hour explaining who I am, what Frankie is, and that I’m not a random crank calling them for no reason.

What’s the motivation behind the magazine – what inspires you?

The motivation behind all our editorial has always been stupidly simple: what do we think is awesome and interesting that we would like to share with other people? It’s all about what our reader is getting out of every image, every story, every joke and piece of info.

What are some of the things Frankie has achieved that you are most proud of?

Well, achieving big circulation increases and that sort of thing has been nice. But honestly it’s the smaller things I’m most proud of. Like getting feedback from a reader that an article on depression helped them relate better to a friend with the condition. Or that they shared one of our recipes with their nan. That kind of feedback is amazing. Also, we have had a lot of babies named after us! And a lot of dogs, too.

What do you want the magazine to accomplish over the next 10 years?

This is a tough one. I’d love for us to expand more overseas and represent Australian design and culture to more foreign folk. My mantra for every issue is ‘try not to suck’. So I also hope we continue not to suck!

Frankie Editor Jo Walker

Frankie Editor Jo Walker

Where do you see magazine publishing over the next 10 years?

I think that thoughtful, quality titles that resonate with readers will come to the fore. Mags that don’t just duplicate what people can get cheaper and faster online.

How big a part do freelance writers, photographers and artists play for Frankie?

A massive part! Our editorial team is tiny (there are two of us), so freelancers make up the bulk of our content. We are lucky to have some of the most talented folk around doing things for our pages. We have long-term relationships with writers like Benjamin Law, Rowena Grant-Frost and Mia Timpano; photographers like Hilary Walker, Carine Thevenau and Nat McComas; plus artists like Sara Hingle and Dawn Tan, so we’ll have stuff from each of them almost every issue. Also we have one-off artists, writers and photographers every issue too.

Tell us about Frankie’s 10th birthday bash?

It was super-fun! We had bands playing, loads of cakes to eat, some craft tables where people could make hankies and paper rosettes, a photography booth specially set up for awkward portraits (with plenty of hideous and weird clothing to dress up in) and – classily – a sausage sizzle. We had lots of readers there as well, so it was nice to meet people who are really supportive of what you do. There was a lot of crazy dancing, noshing and chatting.

Sum Frankie up in 10 words!

Awesome art, photography, craft, creativity and design, plus fart jokes.

Carmen Juarez is currently interning at the Walkley Foundation, after completing her Journalism (Honours) thesis at QUT. Twitter: @CarmenJuarez