Encouraging teen girls to be exactly who God created them to be and developing a tool to help them realize that inner beauty is more important than outer beauty are the ideas behind Real Girl magazine, the longtime dream of Elizabeth Bennett, its publisher and editor.
Launching the first issue in September 2011, Real Girl appeals to teen girls of all sizes, shapes and backgrounds. As with most teen magazines, there are trendy D-I-Y projects, advice columns and models - models who aren't necessarily pencil thin. At further glance, it doesn't take long to realize that this magazine has more to offer than its secular counterparts.
Recently, Bennett spoke to AFA Journal about realizing and achieving her dream of creating a purposeful magazine to help teen girls find out who they are in Christ.
AFA Journal: What was your motivation for starting Real Girl magazine?
Elizabeth Bennett: This has been a dream of mine since I was a teenager, and I feel like there is a great need for this kind of magazine. The media in general has always had a really negative impact on females and always focused primarily on outer appearance. Almost every advertisement is reflective of that in most magazines for females. Most publications are superficial, so I feel like there is a need for something with substance and biblical values that focuses on what is really important.
AFAJ: What is the main focus of Real Girl, and what makes it different from other magazines for teen girls?
EB: This magazine was created to be a positive and wholesome influence for teen girls. The focus is on real issues that affect them such as eating disorders, cyber bullying, etc. The ages between 12 and 19 are really a crucial time when you are trying to find out who you are. Each issue incorporates biblical themes such as modesty, purity and humility. We also celebrate diversity such as girls of all ethnicities, shapes and sizes.
AFAJ: How has Real Girl been received among readers?
EB: Since the debut issue I have had positive feedback from adults, especially from ladies who have become contributors. Through those contacts, I have gained great content and resources for the publication. So, I feel like I've gotten a lot of exciting feedback. But I still want more feedback from the younger people.
AFAJ: How can we get a copy of Real Girl or get more information?
EB: You can go to our website to read the magazine. If you are interested in subscribing, you can contact me through the website. We are also a platform for the arts and feature original art and poetry from readers. And we would love to have more questions sent in for our "Ask Jackie" advice column.
Visit the website to see how to submit material electronically or send it by snail mail. If you like what we are about, then please "like us" on Facebook. If you own a business, please consider being a sponsor or advertising in Real Girl. Also, we are having a One Year Birthday Celebration on January 26, 2013, in Jackson, Mississippi, and a Real Girl Magazine retreat in the spring.
AFAJ: What is the most important thing you want readers of Real Girl to know?
EB: I would like for them to know it's okay to be pure and modest and not have a boyfriend. Find your worth in Christ and enjoy being the uniquely wonderful person God created you to be.
AFA Journal is a division of the American Family Association, the parent organization of the American Family News Network, which operates OneNewsNow.com.
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