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Building Wussy Magazine: In Conversation with Sunni Johnson

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Tell us the origin story! When did you start Wussy and what is the mission and what was the original inspiration or idea for it? How has it evolved?

Wussy originally began between a group of photographers and writers who came together to create art shows and events that featured queer performers. We all loved making femme-tastic portraits of queens and queers in our personal work and decided starting a blog would be a really rad way to document the art that friends and the community were creating. Wussy has grown considerably since our first few events and blog. Our print issue covers a more international range but the initial spirit of arts and culture exploration remains! We are passionate about sharing the stories of queer badasses across the spectrum that use art for further expression.

What can you tell us about the queer community and scene in Atlanta?

ATL has a massive queer community! You have everything from homo-normative cis gay men in Midtown to non-binary performance artists challenging the status quo in Southside warehouse parties. In comparison to the rest of the Southeast, Atlanta has an Emerald City vibe: queer people migrate to Atlanta in pursuit of connection with a larger queer community. We are one of the more progressive cities in the Bible Belt with a larger gay and lesbian population so the masses of kids who move here from smaller cities and country towns in surrounding states are immense, and not just for the job opportunities and culture. The struggle is real, however. Atlanta is rapidly growing and many event spaces are being shut down due to development. The DIY queer communities have been very headstrong about making spaces amidst all the changes which is incredibly awe-striking.

What is the best part of running Wussy?

Meeting so many amazing individuals of varying backgrounds and learning about their creative process and intentions behind making art has always been personally inspiring to me!

What are the most challenging aspects?

Communication over social media channels have made some conversations more difficult. Finding public forums for community to speak about issues IRL has been a worthy but difficult pursuit. We all have so much to learn from one another.  

What artists, writers, musicians, or cultural trends are inspiring you these days?

I'm really digging the newest SSION. Parker Day is one of my favorite current portrait photographers. Alok's writing is so rich, human and magickal all at once - we had the pleasure of interviewing them for a print issue.

Do you have any fashion or beauty icons? Whose look inspires you?

I love the fantasy in retro fashion and beauty: Grace Jone's disco androgyny, glamour space babes Thierry Mugler and the more creative fashions of glam rock, new wave and the many decades of NYC's queer club kids who are still going strong.

Do you wear makeup? What are your favorite self-care or grooming products or rituals?

I absolutely love makeup! Glitter nails, exaggerated cat eye, saturated shadow. When I was younger I had to buy very red blush at the theater store to use as eyeshadow. I am happy today that bolder shades like blue lipstick and metallics are more accessible!

Find stories and more at wussymag.com/