The Ins and Outs of Running a Gyaru Magazine

Papillon, a magazine for Western Gyaru, has been a HUGE success. They’ve only just released their second volume but it’s crammed full with useful tutorials, inspirational outfits, not to mention really cute designs! But behind this magazine is a whole team of inspiring gyaru, and today I’m having a chat with Lea (the head of the magazine) on the ins and outs of running a gyaru magazine.

Hey Lea! Thank you so much for joining me today. Let’s start right at the beginning: what’s your gyaru story?

I had been interested in Japan for a few years and was planning on studying Japanese in University…this is maybe a weird one but I played a lot of games on Facebook and added random people due to that. One of said people invited me (and my sis) to join her gyarusa… in America hahaha. I can’t remember if I knew of gyaru before that, but then I went to Japan on a trip, bought a lot of gyaru brands and makeup, but didn’t do much with it until about a year later. 

On my 20th birthday I tried gyaru for the first time (it wasn’t a great attempt as I didn’t own much makeup) but it sparked something in me and there has been no going back!

Awh that’s so cute! Okay so let’s sink our teeth into the main part of this interview… Papillon magazine! What made you decide to do it?

Another gal, Darla, posted on her stories that she wanted to make a Gaijin Gyaru Magazine so I immediately messaged her that I wanted to join! I love the comm and had been kinda bored and unmotivated with life and this felt like the perfect opportunity! Up until Volume 1 she was the head, but due to various circumstances she had to step down and I took over.

And how did you go about building up a team?

Lala made our mockup cover and was immediately the main editor, the rest came through suggestions as well and the model heads decided on the models and contacted them. We were also asking for help through our socials so some came to us! We’re always open for new additions, so if you have a skillset that could help please don’t hesitate to ask!

Awesome! How many people do you currently have on the team?

Our core team is me, Lala, Shin, Kelsey and Cattea. If I expand out a bit more we have Emi on the blog, Peg and Kieli have been helping greatly with editing, and Chris and Nene joined us on our newest issue to do editing too! Risa helps with the technical stuff on the homepage, Lizzie (YOU) is a writer and we also have two artists, Kumomo and Shani!

related post: on the true meaning behind gyaru

Oooh that’s a really well-sized team for a magazine! Speaking of… The second issue of Papillon is huge – over 100 pages! What difficulties did you all face when putting this together?

Time! Quarantine definitely provided a set of unexpected difficulties! Another one, and I believe this is true in any group project, is to stay organized and make sure we’re getting what we need from everyone participating. We’re still learning as we go ourselves, but bettering communications with staff would help us improve!

So how do you go about organisation (as I can imagine it being difficult with everyone in different time zones!)

It can be tricky! We organize video chats using “when2meet” and all have to put in our available times! The first time we did that we ended up talking for about 3 hours, but generally we chat everyday – whether it’s mag stuff or not. Hahaha.

Once we have gotten together and decided on what we will do then I will put together a document or some guideline for us that they then look over and then the chaos of making the magazine really begins!

So say there is someone out there who wanted to create their own magazine – what advice would you give them?

Have enough editors! Lala believed that she could handle it by herself when we were working on Volume 1, and while she’s an amazing editor she would probably drown if she didn’t have the other gals editing too! Hahaha.

Communication is also key – for us we need to get stuff from so many people, so being able to communicate what we need clearly is really important! 

related post: the differences between japanese vs western gyaru
Papillon gyaru magazine staff

What’s your favourite part about Papillon?

The obvious part would be that we have created a medium to help bring gals together!
The most important? The friendships we have made!

Awh that is so cute! Thank you so much for joining me on this, I think it’s really interesting to see the ins and outs of running a gyaru magazine. And I’m super excited to see what you have for your next issue! But before we go… What is your favourite dessert?

I have too much of a sweet tooth so this one is difficult… I love pancakes, but am definitely picky about them! I would regularly go to this Hawaiian pancake place in Shibuya called “Cafe Kaila”. They have THE BEST pancakes, perfect moisture, the cream is thick and sweet and SO MANY FRUITS! It’s a bit pricey, and while most would share it with a friend I could easily down one by myself hahaha.

Oh my gosh that sounds divine!

How to Run a Gyaru Magazine via hellolizziebee

And there you have it. I hope this article proves useful to those who are thinking of starting up their own magazine, and gives an insight to what really goes behind-the-scenes. Let me know in the comments below if you have any more questions!

Lizzie xx

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