Goth Glam on Instagram

You probably already know of Josephine Lee, model and artist of @princessgollum fame. Josephine is currently serving as a Dazed Beauty Player, representing the “future of beauty” on Dazed Magazine’s new beauty platform.

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motherfucker im i’ll

A post shared by J•E•THЯEE (@darkwebhorsegirl) on

“Not a girl but a horse girl” (They/Them)

Jay gives us CONSISTENT intricate goth makeup looks with spiders, barbed wire, centipedes and more. They have beautiful pet rats and frequently change the color of their mullet. They also share about their journey of recover and sobriety which is EXTREMELY bad ass and goth! Follow for vulnerability, honestly, inspiration, looks and RATS.

art by Enne Goldstein

art by Enne Goldstein

Jay told em, “My account isn’t a dedicated makeup page, or health food page, or any type of account that I could see people wanting to follow. It’s literally just my life, and I guess 18,000 people take interest in that. I feel like people recognize that I try to be honest about the fact that while social media only shows your audience what you want them to see, my life isn’t perfect. I work a minimum wage job and live paycheck to paycheck. I’m in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction. I watch too much WWE and I’ve found that many people find that inspiring—that’s important to me. If I can use the slight following that I have (saying that makes me feel weird and icky but I guess it’s the case) to be a positive influence of some sort and of service to others, then I’m gonna keep doing what I’m doing.”

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frizzy hair madness

A post shared by louis (@slaytrixx) on

Here at em Magazine we LOVE to see local Bostonians lighting up the Instagram feed with goth glamour. Louis of @slaytrixx frequently sports studs, chains and leather but isn’t limited to one look. His Instagram also frequently features art, with details from paintings, sculptures and photographs for a bit of macabre inspiration. Louis told em Mag, “I would describe my style as glamour mixed with gritty, raw punk and goth influences. Many of which include Lou reed, Nico from the Velvet Underground, Rozz Williams and the British punk rock movement. Androgyne is a huge aspect of my style, I like to alter my form and appearance every single day, I never leave the house looking the same as I did before, almost taking on the form of someone else, it’s very invigorating for me.”


by Maya Pontone

Illustration by Coco Luan

Illustration by Coco Luan

The first thing I noticed was his height.

Before I had left for school in August, I was used to resting my chin on top of my brother’s head whenever he gave me a hug. But when Carter greeted me at the front door with that awkward side-hug so many 13 year-olds give, I was startled when the scruff of his dirty blonde hair brushed up against my cheek and ears. It had only been three months since I’d last seen him, but in that short time frame, I had clearly missed a lot. Now he was nearly as tall as me.

I can distinctly remember, in the weeks leading up to my first year of school, dreading the changes in my relationship with my family. I knew that while leaving home would give me the freedom to be my own person, it also meant separation from the people I saw every day from my first days of preschool to my last days of high school. As the oldest of three younger siblings, I wasn’t fully aware of the impact their daily presence had on my growth until I realized what my absence during some of the most formative years of their lives meant.

It suddenly hit me that I wouldn’t be there to offer guidance during their awkward middle school years, or to comfort them during the frustrating chaos of high school. Family group chats and phone calls could never replace sitting next to them at the kitchen counter while they struggled with Algebra homework, or listening to them from the front seat of the car while complained about some text a stupid boy sent them, or teasing them in the bathroom when they drunkenly brushed their teeth after their first party. Visits home over breaks wouldn’t just be vacations, but desperate attempts to play catch-up on all that I had missed in my siblings’ lives in the months I had been gone.

I never understood the true extent of everyone’s temporary presence in each of our lives until I realized those closest to me were no longer with me. I always considered my family to be permanent. But in reality, no one is meant to last forever. Regardless of how intertwined our lives may be with others, we are all leading separate lives; this truth can be hard to remember sometimes when we become unconsciously reliant on others’ unwavering presence.

Illustration by Coco Luan

Illustration by Coco Luan

Growing up, there were times when I felt overwhelmed by my family’s close proximity. It did not matter if I fled upstairs to my bedroom or snuck downstairs into the basement—there was no corner of the house where I could escape the noise of my family’s incessant yelling, laughing, crying, bickering, whining, and barking. I didn’t know then how much I would eventually yearn for this chaos when faced with the loneliness of individual silence

The Pirate Ship

by Sam Bratkon

art by Nic Sugrue


She’s much taller than most kids her age. Her feet are actually bigger than mine. From a height standpoint she was big enough to go on every ride at the beachfront carnival, but intellectually she’s right where she should be, 6-years-old. Myself being 15 years her elder, I often felt more like a mom than a big sister. Regardless, I was naturally uneasy when during our vacation to the beachfront carnival she insisted on riding the pirate ship.

I’ll go on almost every ride but that was where I drew the line. Rides with big drops or anything with movements resembling the Tower of Terror are a no-go for me. I feared the sensation that makes my feet squirm, of my bladder in my throat, that makes me count the seconds until I’m back on solid ground.

But she insisted on riding, announcing that she had been on a pirate ship before and was not afraid. A friend of mine volunteered to ride with her. My sister beamed a gap-tooth smile with every swoop, flaunting her enjoyment in the midst of my doubt.   

In addition to the nights spent at the waterfront carnival, on the last day of our vacation I took her to an amusement park about ten minutes from the house we were staying at. We went with some of my friends after lunch that day. She had a ham and cheese sandwich for the third day in a row. The meal would become a staple of her diet in the coming weeks.

The day was filled with high pitched screams, winning stuffed pigs from carnival games, and the sun glistening off her round brown eyes.

As we made our way around the park, our group approached the park’s pirate ship. Much to the insistence of her and my friends, I strapped into the ride, right in the center row. My sister decided to sit all the way in the back. Once the ride began I found myself surprisingly enjoying it. With the fear faded, I kept turning my head back to watch her shriek with joy as she experienced the ride.  

We filled the following hours with snacks and screams and spins.

I promised her one last ride at the end of our adventure and of course she requested the pirate ship. Having previously in the day conquered my fear of riding it, I chose to sit one row closer to the back to heighten the sensation of each swoop. After our bar was secured the ride took off and began gaining momentum. This time, sitting beside me, my sister admitted she was afraid. She began begging to get off as the ship ascended towards the clouds. I couldn’t understand why she was so upset this time around, considering she had pleaded with me to ride a few nights before.

I wrapped my arms around her head, pulling her into my chest, and asked her to close her eyes. I sang to her gently, to no song, in particular, just making up words about how it would all be over soon and attempting to murmur her shouts that arose with each swing.

When the bars released she ran off and looked up at me with those big brown eyes, swollen from tears, as we walked out the exit. I again promised her one more ride. Followed by one more game. And maybe a snack later. Because I can’t stand to disappoint her.

Although I decided years ago that I never wish to bear children of my own, I can equate to no other the pride I felt when the cashier at TJ Maxx asked if she is my daughter the week before our vacation. The possibility that something so beautiful and pure could be brought forth from me is humbling.

Stories and DMs

A Reconsideration

by Matthew Thomas

I experienced a sort of phenomenon the other week, when, lying in bed on a quiet Tuesday night, I numbly tapped away at my phone screen. It was around 11pm, and I had been off the grid for a few hours by that point, so I felt it appropriate to check in on those I knew—and those I really didn’t know at all—the one way I could: Instagram.

We have to consider what Instagram really is: a platform. It is not an extension of reality. Sure, it is a place where we document our lives in photographs. But nowadays you’d more easily find users of the app paranoid about “the grid” (how their photos look and flow together on their feed) than posting authentic, day-to-day material. We manicure our feeds, we don’t bare our souls on them. The only place on the app you might find any sort of soul-baring is on someone’s “finsta,” in which they can be truly unfiltered, only to a safe, select group who after years of each other’s company are not quick to pass judgement. But if our “finstas”—or what I like to think of as digital diaries enmeshed with shitposting—are only available to a limited and private audience, what new connections are we genuinely forming? With this in mind, I always perceived Instagram as a platform for performance, and therefore the last place for real human connection. It was all artifice, ulterior motives feigning authenticity, an artwork where the artist was involving less and less of their true self in the art.

But that night, my mind and heart were changed when I stumbled upon the story of a person who I really did not know at all. We had only met one night the previous semester in which we shared a juul beneath hazy neon lights, and exchanged social media information before parting ways. In this one story, the person chose to be refreshingly candid: there was no performance here, rather an untouched selfie against her bedroom wall, from which a Velvet Underground poster hung. The same Velvet Underground poster that hung above my own bed.

Art by Pixie Kolesa

Art by Pixie Kolesa

My fingers flew to the message box: OMG I HAVE THE EXACT SAME VELVET UNDERGROUND POSTER IN MY DORM. Then, I stopped. Who am I to “slide into the DMs” of this person, who I barely know, about something so trivial as a poster? This could end disastrously. That was when I realized, this poster would never appear in a “manicured feed.” It would never be something fresh or aesthetically-pleasing enough to coincide with today’s modernity, or even our obsession with “vintage media.” I was presented with a tiny, telling thread of information about this person, and that thread would be gone in 24 hours. Only this message box—this place for “DM sliding”—connected us, and it connected us via something real.

I approached my friend Sam to discuss this very trivial yet somehow dire situation. “Should I DM this person? Is it weird? Will they take it the wrong way?” And then he said something brilliant. “Social media, in so many ways that we don’t even really recognize, provides us with nuances—even mundane ones—about each other. It’s not the overt expression, but the little unique qualities about our shared habits [like a poster in the background of a photo] that can really connect people in ways that wouldn’t happen elsewhere.” In short, the story and DM feature of Instagram was (and is) taking a platform so expansive, so manufactured, so (in many ways) impersonal, and re-personalizing it. I finally saw it as media that was authentically social.

I hit SEND and held my breath. Suddenly: a DM notification. A week later, as I traipsed through the dining hall, a voice called out: “Hey Matt! It’s me, Julie.”

We haven’t stopped chatting since.

Second illustration.jpg