Brooklyn Benjestorf [seattlepeach]
What is your profession? What is your title printed on your business card?
I am a freelance writer and visual artist. I single handedly run a blog called Seattle Peach and all of her sister sites (Tumblr, Soundcloud, Flickr, etc.), which collectively cover music, fashion, and nightlife and are targeted at young women. I am the Capitol Hill Nightlife Examiner for the Seattle division of Examiner.com, which is a fancy way of saying I cover Bars and Clubs in my neighborhood. I have been publishing some articles for HubPages, satisfying my desire to do more entertainment and pop culture writing. My title on my business card currently reads "Head Peach in Charge" at Seattle Peach.
What did you study and why did you choose to study that field?
In college I designed my own degree through an interdisciplinary program at Western Washington University. I called it "Feminist Activism" and it was a combination of theory with an emphasis on praxis (theory into action, i.e., actively applying the concepts I was learning in the classroom in the field), as well as writing and film. My thought was that in today's world, understanding how to successfully disseminate information to the masses would be essential to any social change movement. I choose to study "Feminist Activism" because I had the great luck of having a random conversation with a girl in her last year of school during my first week at Western. She said, "Don't worry about what you want to be when you grow up. That's going to change every week. Just study what you learn about right now." At that time, feminist activism and women's issues was what riled me up and got me going, so I went for the degree. I decided a few quarters before graduation that it wasn't the career path that I wanted to take, but I draw on the skills and knowledge I acquired during my time in school every single day.
What links do you have on the Internet: website, blog, social networks?
In which areas have you thought of building upon your education?
I've considered going back to school a number of times. The first time I considered it was for a Master's Degree, preferably in Journalism or something comparable. Last year I really wanted to enter into Seattle Central Community College's Commercial Photography program. Since the new year, I've requested information from Cornish about their Graphic Design program. In the end, the financial burden of school intimidates me, and I end up putting it off for yet another year.
When did you realise that your work was being considered important and that it could possibly take you places?
When started meeting influential people around town (journalists, radio DJs, promoters, etc.), and they said they had already heard of or seen my website when I told them about Seattle Peach, I realized that the word was getting around. People were reading my blog! And not just anybody, really rad people whom I have the utmost respect for. Eventually I got the analytics working on my website and I was better able to understand the quantity of readers I was attracting, but back when all I had to base things off of was face-to-face feedback, it was both gratifying and encouraging to see that people were taking notice.
Which publications associated with your field do you regularly read?
I loooooove Nylon. In my ultimate fantasy, I would be on staff at Nylon, but I don't know if I'm ready for NYC just yet. I also like Paper, Blackbook, Filter, Elle, Vogue, Vanity Fair, Vice, the Stranger, and W.
Which languages do you speak, and how have you learned them?
I speak Spanish pretty well because I lived in Ensenada, Mexico for about seven months when I was in high school. I continued my studies in the classroom until I graduated, and have had a number of amazing opportunities to practice since. I have visited Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta in Mexico, and spent Christmas in Buenos Aires in 2009.
How do you feel about speaking in front of an audience? What experience have you had in this arena?
I get the jitters when I have to speak in public, but it is definitely one of my strengths. I have always been a bit of a performer, and get a fantastic thrill from that sort of attention. I was on the debate team in high school, serving as secretary my sophomore and junior year, and even brought home a Superior Award for Oratory at one of my last tournaments. In college I participated in the Vagina Monologues twice, and gave a presentation about women in the civil rights movement for the university's Martin Luther King Day Celebration my senior year. Most recently, I joined a band called Lisa Dank and the White Widows, a dance pop act with a flamboyant front women and choreographed back up dancers/singers. It may not have been public speaking, per se, but it forced me to get on a stage every other weekend for 45 minutes and give the audience everything I had.
Do you attend cocktail parties, presentations, fairs or conventions related to your profession?
Sometimes it feels like 90% of my job is big giant cocktail party! Between meeting people over lunch or coffee for interviews, shooting and reviewing live shows, and scoping out new bars for my freelancing gigs, the line between working and socializing is very blurry in my profession.
Do you feel your hobbies serve to elevate your career?
I tend to turn my hobbies into a career. When I got into photography, one of the first things I learned how to do was shoot live music so that I could start using my own photography on my website. My interest in dabbling in DJing and beat making immediately led me to making mixtapes for Seattle Peach. And it goes both ways. In exploring the infinite universe of social networking sites I have discovered Lookbook.nu, which has inspired me to start doing some wardrobe styling and has deepened my interest in fashion photography.