We love Ponytale’s rich, rowdy content and editorial style. We asked Bree Zucker and Andrea Ferrer—the duo behind the magazine—to give us a look at the lawless creative life of a Mexico City-based publisher. Their fluid editorial line shows up here in Bree's alternate cover and in the rough-and-ready outtakes from Kathy Lo’s piece for Ponytale 3.
How did the idea of making a magazine dedicated to “girl culture” come across? How would you define Ponytale’s editorial line?
Bree: Ponytale began as a vision to create a space for girls like us, who were lacking a voice in set genres within printed publications. We began in 2012 and since then have released annually. The idea of “girl culture” is related to fanzines, riottt girls, underground culture and women whose work and efforts express freedom itself. While we definitely have a specific relation to an established historical lineage, Ponytale is all about defining a space that is yet to be. We give our collaborators and guest artists all the freedom we can, as a way to support women like ourselves while remaining fresh, sexy and audacious. Our editorial line is defined by things we come across which we believe need to be addressed, promoted and seen, usually in a collaborative spirit.
How’s life in Mexico City?
B: Mexico City is a lawless, difficult and beautiful platform where things that cannot be done anywhere else have the potential to happen. Here, you can take time for yourself, without the public demimonde tracking your every movement. Because of its political history, it is a place where you have to draw your own rules, create your own system of survival, educate yourself, in short, you have to be creative. For this reason, it is a city that is constantly questioning itself, a city that is not made out of templates, which is why I love it. Mexico is a place of intense possibility, it has a sort of disrupted history that lends itself to constant, creative interrogation.
In terms of keeping abreast, I’ve lived in Madrid, Vienna, NYC and LA, and we've collected a small but potent family of worldwide contributors, people we’ve become friends with or adopted as family from travels. But mostly we keep in touch with things by the fact that each of us is a very active, voracious cultural consumer. We grew up devouring magazines as a form of self-education and as a result, we like to know what’s happening all the time, everywhere, especially if it involves women who are fiercely independent and doing their own thing. This comes from having to define your own language, something Andrea and I started to do as best friends together in Madrid, which later expanded into Ponytale.
You both do many things besides the magazine. Could you tell us what are your different interests and how they relate to the magazine?
B: I work with the gallery kurimanzutto in Mexico City and still shoot editorially while Andrea has a production and design studio in Madrid as well as occasionally accepting commissions as a celebrity stylist. We’ve always supported people who have multiple projects. We were born in a time when our generation was told it could do anything, accomplish whatever we set ourselves to, and so part of the pain of so-called “growing up” has been being told we need to choose just one thing. In recent years there’s been the proliferation of the artist-gallerist model and while this is now accepted as a normative practice, I still think those who seek to avoid definition (and not just as a falsified escape route) are exciting. In New York, there’s often the drive to professionalize, determine or declare oneself. That is a lucrative option, but I’ve always been interested in what lies outside the boundaries of traditional success. That’s what informs our content—people taking chances and doing things their own way.
How did the Kathy Lo editorial happen? It has a very different, sort of raw look—especially compared to the cover editorials...
Andrea: Kathy Lo’s photos were one of the best surprises of this issue, when she offered them to us without any prior proposal, we immediately loved them. Kathy works with a feminine aesthetic which is very similar to Ponytale. The model’s hair may not be always perfectly combed, the clothing might not be traditionally flattering and the positions of her models may be slightly off. This is what makes Kathy’s work so interesting, because she uses these rare elements to build compositions that walk the line between documentary photography and fashion.