Art Institute of Philadelphia – B.S.A., Graphic Design
Society is fed a steady stream of inauthentic, photoshopped images. Patricia Colli wanted to break away from that and create a body-positive platform.
With that, she founded Beutiful (pronounced “Be-you-tiful”), a body-positive online magazine and news source that fosters inspiration and encourages self-acceptance. Equipped with Colli’s digital skills, the support of mentors and a passionate community, the publication took off.
Read more, and learn why Patricia believes we’re stronger together, how her childhood led to her current mission-based job and why her graphic design degree has paid off in a major way.
Be open to suggestions and a little bit of risk.
How did you discover your current job?
While I didn't start creating Beutiful until my early 20s, the idea for a body-positive media source came to me when I was 16 years old.
I struggled throughout most of my childhood and teens with disordered eating, obsessive exercise patterns, and bad body image and self-esteem. This was influenced by what I saw in music videos, advertisements and magazines.
I wanted to create something that would prevent women from feeling the way I did and teach them to appreciate their bodies. So, I went to school to learn the design tools I'd need to create and design a digital magazine—and here we are!
Roughly how much time do you spend on the magazine?
Probably around 15 hours per week, although that time increases during the month I'm releasing the quarterly magazine. Things that take up my time that are not magazine-related are managing the social media accounts, newsletters and researching/tweaking improvement strategies. In addition to the magazine, I'm a freelance writer for a website called Addicting Info.
What responsibilities do you have in your role?
I wear many hats! As the editor-in-chief, I collect, design and edit content for the website, as well as the quarterly digital magazine, newsletters and workshops. Then, of course, there are the admin tasks and business puzzle pieces. I also manage most of Beutiful's social media accounts myself and oversee a small team of amazing, passionate writers. Right now, I'm coordinating a website redesign, which is super exciting!
What’s the magazine creation process like?
First, I decide who would be a great fit for a particular issue because sometimes my magazines have themes. I'll message several people (sometimes 20+) I'd like to interview and see who is interested. After the interviews are completed, I'll gather imagery and any other projects I want to showcase.
In the digital creation, I'd have to say my B.S. in graphic design has definitely been useful because I'm able to do everything in-house. I design the entire magazine in Adobe InDesign and then export to Adobe Acrobat to add all the links. I then upload to a few different digital magazine platforms, such as Issuu, Magcloud and Magzter.
What is it about your job that makes you feel it’s the right fit for you?
Body image is a subject close to my heart due to my own history. My heart has always been strongly rooted in activism and it's hard for me to sit back knowing that other women and men are suffering in a way that I can help lessen.
Basically, I started creating content that I was passionate about and the creation of Beutiful just kind of "happened" over the years. It continues to grow organically – as do I – and I'm excited to see what forms the message will take in the future!
What challenges with the magazine keep you awake at night?
As of this past year, my focus has been very much on expansion and monetization, mostly in the way of connecting with the larger body-positive community and reaching out to advertisers. I desperately want to keep my content free and accessible to everyone, so I have to be a bit more creative when it comes to generating income.
As of right now, I freelance to support myself and Beutiful. I would love to be able to do Beutiful full-time one day – that's my big goal! Needless to say, I've definitely lost sleep trying to figure out how I can get Beutiful to that point.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you?
It can be! I work from home, which means that any hour could turn into a business hour. I've always had a bit of a workaholic tendency. But, as I've gotten older, I've become more aware of it and have gotten better at recognizing when I need to take a break.
Fitting in exercise and scheduling mandatory social time keep me from feeling depressed and worn out if I'm working a lot. I've found that taking time off can actually help keep me stay focused. No one can work efficiently and effectively if they're frazzled for days on end! I've learned that the hard way.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!”?
There have definitely been a few memorable moments! One was when I had an interview with Psychology Today. And, of course, whenever someone I really admire lets me interview them in my magazine. That always feels so amazing! My biggest win so far was Jamie McCartney, the artist behind the Great Wall of Vagina (check out his interview)!
What qualities does it take for someone to be successful in the online magazine industry?
Be open to suggestions and a little bit of risk. As a growing magazine, it's important to explore possibilities and learn from the experience of others who know more than you do.
Also, building relationships in this sort of community is really crucial — we're all working toward a common goal and we're stronger together! Support over competition!
Anything else you’d like to add?
I'm always on the lookout for inspirational body acceptance stories to share. If any of the talented women in the I Want Her Job community would like to participate in the next magazine, I'd love to connect at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I'm also launching my third body-positive swimsuit challenge and am looking for submissions! To see the project, you can visit our Facebook album and either send us a message on the page or email me.