By Katelin Hudson
Sara Radin was always drawn to the arts. Growing up, she dabbled in drawing and creating intricate collages – so much so that she even decided to attend college for a fine arts degree. But somewhere in the middle of school, she realized that although she adored the arts, but didn’t want to become a fine artist herself.
Leaving the University of Michigan with a BA in arts, but no desire to become an artist, Radin entered into the fashion industry. From there she had a few more odd jobs and internships ranging from cataloging fashion trends for small businesses to concept design for Converse.
Somewhere in the mix of these jobs she decided to start a blog and circle back to what interested her the most: art.
In her free time, Radin found unique artists within the community and would interview them for her blog. Through this she found that she enjoyed talking to people. She loved making connections with artists and learning about the meanings and processes that went into their work.
“Through my blog I kind of realized that writing was a really cool way for me to connect with people and myself,” Radin said. “It’s the perfect medium to express myself, while shining a light on other people.”
Between her odd jobs, Radin ended up finding a connection that allowed her to write for a streetwear fashion publication called HighSnobiety. She wasn’t paid for this job, but she got addicted to the thrill of pitching ideas to people.
From there, Radin e-mailed random editors, trying to get her work out there however she could. She wasn’t paid for a majority of her early work, but eventually she was able to start making money as a freelance journalist.
In March 2018, Radin became a full time freelancer. Since then, Radin has written for Teen Vogue, New York Times, Paper, MTV News, I-D, Vice, Dazed Beauty and countless other publications.
Although she has had her work featured in a broad array of publications, Radin has stayed true to her intent of original blog, which was to write about artists and their processes.
In September 2018, she wrote a piece titled “The Chic Nail Brand Fighting Transphobia with Lobster Emojis.” The story highlights the absence of a transgender flag on the emoji keyboard and how those who identify as trans have adopted the lobster emoji as a placeholder.
“I find a lot of the artists for my stories through Instagram,” Radin said. “I just feel like I’ve always been this like sponge – I’m always like looking for what the new fashion or art trend is, and from there I just look for the deeper story.”
With this specific story, Radin recognized a sudden surge in lobster art and messaged a nail artist on Instagram. From there she made other connections until she filled in all the gaps in her story.
After she finished sourcing, Radin wanted to highlight the process of nail art while intertwining the political message behind the art throughout the story. In doing this, Radin wanted to make the story more approachable to those who may not have any background knowledge in art or transgender issues.
Radin says she usually gets positive feedback from her stories. While she attributes part of this to not really engaging in political writing, she also attributes this to her background in art.
“I think having a background in art has taught me to think like an artist,” Radin said. “I think I just have like an understanding of art making in a way that is not universally known, and I think that allows me to convey the processes to others.”
Radin went on to say that the best advice she can give to aspiring journalists is to not give up.
“Haha, I know that’s so cheesy, but it’s so true,” Radin said. “You can ever let the word ‘no’ stop you from getting your work out there. Just don’t give up, and be fearless.”