Interview With Jolie Ruin

As a supporter of the DIY culture, zines will always have a special place in my heart hence why I have introduced a new review section dedicated to them. To add to this I wanted to interview someone who had been making zines for awhile so I got in touch with Jolie Ruin.


What was your introduction into the world of zines?
I first heard of zines in the early/mid-90s. I used to see the “zine of the month” blurbs in “Sassy” Magazine. But I didn’t actually get my hands on one until 1995. I used to have lots of pen pals & we traded mix tapes (which is also how I discovered riot grrrl) & that led to finding more out about zines. Cool girls started sending their zines to me & I thought they were awesome!

What made you want to make your own?
one of my pen pals had told me about her zine & how she & her friend wanted to start their own record label. I thought that was the coolest thing ever! It just made me want to do it too. I didn’t do a zine for a few years because I thought it would be boring if I did it alone! I started doing spoken word & started a distro & label in 1996. THEN started doing zines in 1997. & i’ve been doing them ever since then.

Do you think zines are different now to how they were in the nineties?
Definitely. I’m not sure how to explain HOW they are different though! Now a lot of zines are more heavy text (including mine) & not as…artsy or visual, I guess. There are a few zines that still have that old school feel! But, I dunno…back in the day there was a lot more zine ADS & reviews. & there doesn’t seem to be a need for that now because of the internet. I still like to show support of my zinester friends by printing their business cards though!

There are many different types of zines out there, perzines, fanzines,poetry, art etc etc. What kinds of zines do you enjoying reading? Can you name some for us to check out?
Personal zines are my favorite. My favorite to read & to write! I like art zines & compilation zines with themes a lot too. One of my favorite zines is “sandy”. It’s a feminist zine for women by women! It includes a wide variety of contributions from grrrls everywhere—i have written for them & contributed some art in the past. I just love everything about “Sandy the Zine” so please check it out! I also like “Lady Teeth” by Taryn Hipp, “Muchacha” by Daisy Salinas, “She’s not a morning person” By Jen Venegas & there’s a ton more! Anything by Sage Adderley as well, she has been incredibly supportive of me & my zines for many years!

You have the riot grrrl zines in your store, some are photocopied from old Bikini Kill zines written by Kathleen. How did that come about?
Since I had copies of Bikini Kill, Girl Germs, etc…I wanted to make them available to other people that couldn’t get them. So I put together a “Riot Grrrl Zine Grab Bag” a few years ago. I didn’t plan on keeping it in my Etsy store but every time I take the zines out of my store, people ask me about it! So I just ended up keeping them in my store. I know that Kathleen is aware of it! Someone that ordered a “bikini kill” zine from me took it to a Julie Ruin show to have her sign it & she asked the girl if she had gotten the zine from me! I used to write to Kathleen a lot when I was younger & she knows who I am & everything, so I guess she’s cool with it!

What is your opinion of webzines and blogs? Some people are quite against them as they prefer paper based publications.
I’m not really against them, but I do prefer actual zines that I can hold in my hands! I started blogging a little bit just because I know a lot of people aren’t aware of zines or what they are, so the blog is for those people…but, I dunno. There are so many blogs out there, I really feel like i’d just get lost among those if I didn’t still do my zine. If blogging is a forum that you are more comfortable with or whatever, I don’t see a problem with it.

What do you see as the future of zines? Magazines have taken a big hit to sales due to online content so how do you think zines will do?
I hope they never go away! I’ve been doing zines for half of my life & it has been such a huge part of my life…the fact that they have been around for so long gives me hope. I don’t know what else to say about that…all I know is that I don’t wanna live in a world without zines!

And finally…I have to ask everyone…
Favourite book or author. I love Augusten Burroughs
Favourite album or band. Currently: The Get Up Kids & Sleater-Kinney

Check out her website here

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