The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

New student magazine explores in-depth storytelling

Zealous Magazine focuses on fashion and trends, but also explores deeper topics like social justice.
Cody Blissett
A poster for the Zealous Magazine is seen in the Adler Journalism building on Monday, Feb. 19, 2024.

A new student-run, fashion-focused magazine is joining the University of Iowa’s literary scene.

Editor-in-chief and founder, UI student Abby Wedemeyer, cited an absence of editorial fashion magazines on campus as the driving force behind Zealous, the newest student magazine at the UI. The first issue will be published by the end of this spring semester.

Unlike other UI campus magazines, which are primarily literature-focused, Zealous focuses on fashion, beauty, entertainment, and culture, including topics like inclusivity, equality, underrepresented stories and perspectives, and political and social issues relevant to the UI’s student body.

“I really wanted to do something that is more editorial and allows journalists and nonfiction writers to be more creative in their work and get more hands-on experience in the magazine industry,” Wedemeyer said.

With the magazine still in its infancy, Wedemeyer emphasized the potential that a clean slate can provide a concept like Zealous.

“It’s definitely it’s overwhelming, but it’s also really exciting,” she said. “There’s so much [Zealous] can do.”

Like any burgeoning publication, its beginnings saw trials and errors. Establishing the logistics of the magazine’s funding was one of their main hurdles.

Wedemeyer said connecting with other writers and creatives was a major source of comfort throughout the process of starting the magazine.

“Giving myself the time to get to know the people that are giving their time to us is super helpful. It makes me more comfortable around a large group of people,” Wedemeyer said. “I think having that communication is key.”

Wedemeyer said adjusting to her new leadership role was a struggle. She remembers feeling nervous after creating the magazine and preparing to lead a large group of people.

“I think of myself as pretty introverted, so having to create a group like this was kind of nerve-wracking,” she said. “But we have a really good group of people and a lot of creative minds.”

Wedemeyer shared her idea with a friend, fellow UI student Isabella Cervantes, during a class they had together. In her pitch, Wedemeyer asked Cervantes if she would be the magazine’s creative director.

Cervantes happily agreed to oversee the magazine’s creative direction because she felt Zealous would make a name for itself among the other magazines on campus.

“It’s not a literary magazine; it’s not just words and it’s not news,” Cervantes said. “It’s just not photojournalism — it’s more creative.”

Tahirah Den Beste, a UI third-year and the magazine’s secretary, also worked with Wedemeyer to create Zealous. She said one of their goals was to make the final product one that people would read.

“I know some other magazines can be kind of more like this dark mood or the poetry can be kind of just dark, [but] we wanted it to just feel like a relatable magazine and bring in inclusivity as well,” Den Beste said.

While the editors had an idea of what they wanted their magazine to look like before they started crowdsourcing for more staff creatives, Den Beste said the team had no solid plans until their first all-staff meetings.

Writers for Zealous can explore topics they care about and enjoy, including music, fashion, beauty, and social issues.

Cervantes also wants the magazine to have long-form stories and cover different people and groups as opposed to typically news-worthy events. Wedemeyer said she initially pushed the magazine to dive into topics such as fashion and pop culture and sees the benefit of exploring deeper topics in Zealous as well.

“[We] definitely want to focus on inclusivity and equality and telling stories that need to be told, and not kind of doing the same thing that we sometimes hear other magazines doing,” she said. “I want students to be able to resonate with it, particularly students who like these topics [which] are very important to Gen-Z and this younger generation.”

Editor’s Note: Isabella Cervantes is a former staff member and editor of The Daily Iowan.

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About the Contributors
Sophia Connolly
Sophia Connolly is a first-year honors student studying journalism and mass communications. She is interested in politics, community events and exploring unique perspectives. After college, she plans to go to law school or graduate school.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.