As a former model for Wilhelmina LA, Sarah Dubbeldam knows about beauty and the illusion of the business. On one hand, she admired and respected the artistry of creative photo shoots, but she also knew that photos were usually retouched; models represented just one view of women and Sarah wanted more.
“(Modeling) was really awesome and gave me an interesting perspective,” she explains over the phone. Adding, “I love all sides of women and appreciate the diversity of beauty in everyone.”
So before she left the modeling world, she shaped the core of a magazine she believed would show the beauty of women in all their unique complexity. She drew from her wide range of creative experience: a bachelor’s degree in studio art, film production work, and commercial acting.
This new magazine would embrace women of different ethnicities and body types. Photographs would not be retouched, save for lighting and elements unrelated to the model’s physical shape.
“It really robs women of their joy, when you’re looking at social media, looking at other magazines, and thinking, ‘I’m not good enough’” she says. “That attitude is something we really have to reframe.”
The to-be-named magazine would highlight different personalities and aspirations of women, presenting in-depth, smartly written articles that explored ideas and thought. On top of all that, Dubbeldam would emphasize good design in dreamy, otherworldly fashion photo shoots and illustrations.
In 2012, Darling Magazine was born.
Dubbeldam successfully raised more than $19,500 through Kickstarter and pioneered her idea that blended smart design with articles about healthy women — physically, emotionally, and intellectually.
The latest issue, No. 6, has over 150 pages of articles that include practical tips on battling negative thoughts, interoffice relationships, the lost art of being reserved, global beauty, and chivalry being alive and well. And oh the pictures! Oodles and oodles of elegant models and wintry backdrops.
“We always want to talk to women from a voice of love, even if we’re offering constructive criticism, and just being uplifting in general,” she says.
More than a year later as Editor-in-Chief of Darling, Dubbeldam has created a community of Darlings who resonate with that message of love. Page by page, Dubbeldam hopes to gently break down unrealistic images of women, and defeat the notion that women need to buy products to look better. That doesn’t mean she won’t cover awesome fashion trends – she just hopes to contextualize them in a positive manner.