McMicken College of Arts & SciencesUniversity of Cincinnati

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Of French and Fashion

Romance Languages graduate Jamie Bryant is the creator and editor of Kiki, a successful new tween fashion magazine.

Date: 5/5/2009
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Photos By: Courtesy of Jamie Bryant
When Jamie Bryant started to look for tween magazines for her two daughters, ages 8 and 10, she had a hard time finding one of substance. The so-called teen magazines held mature content she deemed inappropriate for her children; gossip, sensuality and kissing manuals filled the pages of magazines whose readership includes girls as young as 6.

“I noticed that there was this big gap between Highlights and Seventeen,” Bryant says.

Jamie Bryant.
Romance Languages alumna Jamie Bryant is the editor of Kiki, a tween fashion magazine.

So she decided to take the matter in her own hands by creating a magazine her kids could read. Bryant is now the editor-in-chief of Kiki, a magazine “for girls with style and substance.”

Bryant, a 1993 and 1994 McMicken graduate with a bachelor’s in French and an MA in Romance Languages, has a strong background in fashion design—for two years she was a fashion design major in the College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning—and academia. After graduating from the University of Cincinnati, she received another master’s in French from the University of Pennsylvania and started working at a local publishing firm that focused on textbooks.

The publishing background, the passion for education and the business mindset she acquired through a family business—stacked with the inspiration of her fashion-loving daughters—gave her the vision she needed to create Kiki.

“I thought, ‘If I made a magazine, what would it look like?’ It wanted it to be academic without looking academic,” she says. “And that’s what it is. It looks glitzy and fun and funky but it’s a great device to expose girls to different curricula, from fashion and art history to science and business.”

Kiki cover.
The spring 2009 edition of Kiki features an enviro-friendly theme.

The magazine features the college fashion design curriculum and tweaks it to make it tween appropriate. Readers can learn things like how to make a beach bag out of duct tape, read about how extreme fabrics like Kevlar are made, and hear the stories of strong, successful women.

Kiki is also unique in that its 80-page issues are advertisement- and airbrush-free, a sentiment that holds deep with Bryant’s desire to bring a positive message to young girls.

“Our true goal is to provide a magazine for young girls that is free from sexualized and negative body content,” she says. “We want to help them grow into strong, confident, capable young women.”

So far, the magazine is having great success. In its second year of publication, it boasts more than 7,000 subscribers across the United States and the U.S. territories and has received numerous parenting awards, including Mom’s Choice Magazine of the Year, two Parents’ Choice Gold Awards and a National Parenting Publications Gold Award.

Kiki’s office is based out of Cincinnati, but contributors span the globe. Christina Binkley of the Wall Street Journal is a regular contributor, as is Christine Van Dusen, formerly of the Baltimore Sun.
 
“We have a lot of strong women with whom the content of the magazine really resonates. It’s a big part of what has made Kiki successful so far,” Bryant says. “It feels good to get that reinforcement.”

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