Interview with Rehana Paul
We're so totally stoked to present our interview with Rehana Paul - aka the 16 year old founder and editor in chief of Overachiever Magazine. Nope, not a typo. Overachiever Magazine works to empower Asian women by giving them a platform and a voice. Aside from managing a staff of 12 Asian women and editing all the articles Overachiever publishes, Rehana helps mentor young women starting bizes (you're not the only one who thinks that's totally amazing) and works with Asian women and organizations to help support them. We'll repeat: she's 16. Check out our inspiring interview with her below.
Oh, and be sure to follow follow follow Rehana and Overachiever Magazine via their website, Twitter, and Instagram.
theCramm: What inspired you to start Overachiever Magazine?
Rehana Paul (RP): I saw and interacted with publications that talked a lot about diversity, but never included Asians. I saw non-Asian people explaining my own culture back to me. I didn’t see a single Asian woman I could look up to. When Asian women succeed, we are either shoved into the background, or we are so separated from our race people barely recognize we are Asian. I wanted to create a platform where Asian women could share their stories, and see that there *are* Asian women succeeding in every field, from politics, to art, to modeling.
theCramm: How did you go about creating Overachiever Magazine and putting it into action?
RP: I knew there was no way I could do this on my own. The same day I thought about starting the magazine, I made an Instagram account, and started messaging Asian activist accounts on Instagram asking for shoutouts. I DM’d countless Asian women, asking them to write for me. I sent probably 50 DMs a day: and considered myself lucky if I got 5 replies in total. I managed to put 20 articles together for the first issue, about a month after I started the magazine.
theCramm: How does Overachiever Magazine hope to make a difference?
RP: Overachiever’s goal is to make Asian women proud of who they are. We want to keep our history alive, bring our culture into the 21st century, and showcase the amazing diversity of Asian women. If I have made even one Asian woman proud to be an Asian woman, I have succeeded.
theCramm: What, if any, obstacles have you had to face as a result of your age?
RP: I’ve been lucky in that most of the people I work with do not see my age as a stumbling block. For a long time, I did. I never told anyone I was 16, in fact, I went to great lengths to hide that. I definitely doubted myself a lot- I’ve never been in charge of a magazine, or even written for one! And of course, there have been people who’ve told me I have no idea what I’m doing (which, to
be honest, is fair...), because I’m so young.
theCramm: Do you have any advice to young women hoping to get into journalism?
RP: Leave a paper trail crediting everything you’ve done to yourself. Always be cautious of who you are talking to - journalism, especially in the digital age, is not a friendly place to young girls. And, above all, have a very, very thick skin and stay balanced. You’re going to get everything from love letters to constructive (and not-so-constructive) criticism to death threats. Don’t take it
theCramm: What cause or causes are you currently most passionate about?
RP: Personally, I am extremely passionate about climate change and gun control. Although that’s less passion, and more fear. I don’t think our generation has a choice about what to be passionate about. I want to focus on staying alive for now.
theCramm: What do you think some of the biggest problems facing today’s youth are?
RP: Apathy, and a lack of self confidence- I don’t think we can solve one without the other. We’ve grown up in a world where we are constantly bombarded with bad news, and have gotten desensitized to it. We need to realize that no one is going to fix this. If we don’t, no one will.
theCramm: If you could ask yourself any question, what would it be, and could you please answer it?
RP: "What can we look forward to see this year as far as Overachiever initiatives - do you have anything planned?"
Overachiever is always planning something new! I’m lucky to have a hard-working, capable staff who love what they do and can keep up with a million new projects. Coming very soon is an exciting entrepreneurial venture, a YouTube show, an online art shop, and many, many more editions!